He was there
Synopsis of sermon 3/14/10
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Text: Psalm 31:9: 9Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.; Psalm 31:19-24: 19Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!20Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. 21Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.22For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. 23O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.24Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
This is a prayer of David. The entirety of Psalms 31 is a prayer of David and it helps us understand the importance of being in place (or position). All of us understand this, because being in place is synonymous of being in purpose. Knowing this, Romans 8:28 makes a lot of sense, because it says 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. – In other words Romans 8:28 is referring to those who are in place.
No matter how much you know God’s word, there are times when we find ourselves spiritually and emotionally off center. Life and its circumstances can push us close to the edge and cause us to begin to wonder about the places we find ourselves. These places are not physical, they are emotionally and spiritually. We are talking about tension that can exist in our human relationships as well as our spiritual relationships. This is the kind of place where David is. It is the place where you keep declaring to God, if we come out of this, only he can bring us out. We don’t need this to happen up the road, we need this to happen right now!
David is transparent in this prayer and it really gives us some great lessons.
It is broken down in 3 parts.
a. Foes-From verse 1-8, David is talking about his foes or his enemies. He is talking about how his foes having done him wrong. They have taunted him, attacked him, and made a mockery of him.
b. Feeling. From verses 9-13, David is expressing his feelings. David wants the Lord to know what this is doing to him. He is heartbroken over this.
c. Faith-From verses 14-24, David talks about this faith. He is talking about his faith response in life through all the attacks and assaults that have been launched into his life. It is important to have a candid pray life with God. We should be real with God and be able to talk to him about what we are going through. What we will discover is what David discovered, that there is no place you can go where the grace of God can’t reach you. We can get through whatever we are going through simply because we know God is there. Some of you may not be spiritually and emotionally where you want to be. You are praying that you need some things to kind of line up now .Sometimes it takes a little while for those things to get properly aligned. The reality is you look over your life and you know based on what you experienced in God, that he is always moving. God is there. Somebody right now doubts this, because the enemy wants you to think that God has you in a place of isolation and you have become frustrated, but know that God is there. Ask some people around you and they will tell you God is there. Remember that the time the bottom fell out and you asked God what was going on and he spoke to you in the still small voice and reminded you that he was still there? Remember pulling the sheet over your head saying you can’t take this, and God reaffirmed that he was there? Remember that day that ever thing was going wrong and God reminded you that he was there?
No matter what you are going through, you move to a place in your prayer life where God reveals himself to you. The more transparent you become with God, the more God reveals himself to you that he is right there. This entire Psalms again is nothing but a prayer and David prays to God and asks him to move him from his crisis. We don’t know what is specifically happening to David in the text, but we do know his is being assaulted by the adversary. Remember the adversary will not always be a person. Anything that tries to prevent you from getting to the next dimension of your life is an adversary. It is an enemy to you. Triflingness is an enemy to us. Slothfulness can be an enemy to us. We have some enemies.
David is being honest and he talks about being damaged by his experience.
I. Damaged by your experiences
1. All of us have gone through some things in life that have left scars. David opens in verse 9 saying that he is in trouble. Yes David is anointed and has position, but he is not fronting. He is real about what he is going through. If you don’t move past your dilemma you will be paralyzed by it.
2. You know that there are things that you are dealing with such as private pain, layoffs, financial situations, and etc… Know that it doesn’t matter how many scriptures you may know, all of us have some troubles.
a. Trouble- In verse 9, David says he has trouble. Psalm 31:9: 9Have mercy upon me, O LORD, for I am in trouble: mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly.
b. Tears. In verse 10, David admits that he has tears. Psalm 31:10: 10For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. – Some folk know how to fake like they haven’t cried, but God specializes in tear and grief management. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
c. Tired- The b portion of verse10, David says to the Lord, he is tired and worn down. Psalm 31:10c: … with sighing: my strength faileth… Just like David, we are trying to push on, but we are tired.
d. Treachery – In verse 11, David speaks of treachery. Psalm 31:11: 11I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. – How do you deal with it, when the people that you thought were going to embrace you and be happy for you, turn their back on you? We can handle the people that are our known haters on our street doing us wrong, but it hard to handle the folk in church doing us this way.
e. Terminal – Psalm 31:12-13: 12I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. 13For I have heard the slander of many: fear was on every side: while they took counsel together against me, they devised to take away my life. – No matter how personal your pain is, don’t let yourself get paralyzed by it. Don’t let yourself get to a point of stagnation and make yourself a victim for the rest of your life. God is there moving providently behind the scenes and he has his hands on your destiny. There is no depth you can go to where the grace of God can’t find you. The effectiveness of your witness is found within your ability to go on and keep pursuing your goals regardless of your adversaries.
II. Deals with my enemies
1. Some of you found your prayer life expand the more you went through things in your life. Sometimes you have to throw the cute prayers to the side and wail before God. Psalm 31:14-15 says 14But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. 15My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me. – David says the enemy is trying to make him think they control his destiny, but he asks the Lord to remind his enemies that he is in the Lord’s hands. If we get laid off or anything happens to us, we have to know that God has our back.
2. David discovers that no matter what the enemy does, God has the power. Psalm 31:19-21 says 19Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! 20Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues. 21Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city. – Strong city means empire. It is a place where people will not change, yet in the scripture David God has done something miraculous. He has done something on the job that they thought couldn’t happen. Something they have never seen before.
a. Credit – David is saying God wants us to recognize the power of God’s credit. Why do we get upset? Look at God’s credit and what he has done for us in the past. He has been so faithful to us; his credit is good to us.
b. Cover – David says he needs God to cover him. Our adversaries are coming and God covers us in a pavilion. Sometimes when he covers us, he makes us a secret. Some of us don’t like this. We like to think every season is our season to be out front, but we need to appreciate when God covers us and make us a secret. After he has made us secret, he will elevate us when we come out. When he elevates us, he has moved stuff out of the way while we were in secret. People will think you popped up out of nowhere, but know that you were in secret.
c. Cares-God will provide for us in a strong city, because he cares. Even while God has us in secret, he is still putting food on the table and providing for us. Because of God, we are still paying bills and doing what people say can’t be done. Stop wasting energy on what they are doing to you, and give God the glory for what he is doing for you.
3. In every experience, the litmus test of maturity is your ability to make a shift from it just being about you, to taking your experience to encourage someone else. If when you get what you need stops you right there, then you have missed the whole process of why God wanted you to go through this process.
4. David makes this clear. He is determined to endure.
III. Determined to endure
1. When David shares in he has been broken, in verse 22, he admits he spoke too soon. Psalm 31:22 says 22For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee. – He thought God forgot about him, but God still heard his voice. David had made some assumptions about what God was going to do, but God reminded him that he was there. He was about to give up (for us this would be that we were about to get out of the choir or quit coming to church and etc…). God reminded him that he cared too much about him to leave him there.
2. God will reward the proud the doer. Psalm 31:23: 23O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. – If you love the Lord like you say you do, know that the Lord will preserve the faithful and he will plentifully reward the faithful doer. The proud doer is the one who has pride or that is stuck up. It is the one that has turned against you. God will always preserve the faithful. Remember that it was the same David that wrote “Fret not thyself of evil doers, neither be thy envious of the workers of iniquity for they will soon be cut down by grass and wither as the green earth …” This is the reward of the wicked. What we must do is trust in God, watch how God blesses us, and takes care of us.
3. Let’s look at Psalm 73:17 which says 17Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. – This means that God will always keep the faithful. We didn’t always do what we were supposed to do, but we kept showing up and paying our tithe and as a result, he preserved our life. God keeping us means if we got up and told our testimony, we don’t even look like what we have been through. We are well kept.
4. It is about what’s next. Psalm 31:24: 24Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. – This is an amazing scripture. David says he wants to pass the wisdom on. Be of good courage and as a result the Lord will strengthen your heart. The heart is the essence of who you are. Hope pushes us to possibility. Hope is about what’s next.
a. Be of good courage. People go to basic training and they obtain knowledge and consequently they go to the front line and are not scared, because of what they know. People are courageous based on what they know. Courage can be a result of knowledge. Ex- A movie is scary, but when you see it again, you are not scared because of what you know. Your courage is based on what you know. The devil has taken you through all this and why are you still scared? You have been though his before. Courage is based on what you know, which comes from the word, which produces faith. If we are of good courage, based on what we know, the man of God keeps putting us in the know with the word, and we become courageous because of faith. This word strengthens us, because we were tired of running and now that we have this word, our courage makes us fight right. Now we are believing God for things we never have before.
b. If you exercise your faith, God will eliminate your fatigue, so you can have expectancy regarding your future. Your faith eliminates your fatigue and your faith positions you for what you should expect in your future.
This whole message is about what you know. David is praying to God, because of what he knows through his relationship with God. He is trying to get out of a situation because he tired, but realizes God is there. As a result, God says he has him and will not leave him in that situation. Some of you, know God and came today (or reading this), because you know God. You need God, because you know you are in trouble. You want to know what God is going to do about your situation Ex-Pastor Freddie Haynes tells about his daughter who is in her terrible 2s. He says he was in his office and his wife was there with their child who was acting really badly. Mom put the child in the crib as a result of the child being bad. The child hated the crib, and she screamed at the top of her lungs. She screamed to the point that Freddie had to come into the room where she was to see what was going on. Fred hated to see his girl crying out like that, but he saw his wife looking at him with her eyebrow up. Freddie is in a situation or conflict. On one hand his wife has rendered justice on the daughter. The child is in the crib for a reason. When Freddie walked in the room, the child moved from crying out to crying to. When she saw her daddy, she directed her scream to her daddy. The child knew when Daddy shows up, he makes it alright. Now the baby was raising her arms up to daddy. Freddie wants to know what to do. How can he deal with his daughter, without disrespecting the justice of his wife? He is struggling. His daughter is trying to get out of a situation she don’t want to be in, but the wife is looking at him like “You better not take her out”, so what should he do? Freddie decided to get into the crib with the baby. God will do this for us too. He might not get us out of our situation, but he will get in the situation with us and hold us in his arms.