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How to Stay Up in a Down Time
Psalm 37:1-9
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 7, 2012
*Do you ever fret?
-- Charles Spurgeon tells us that to “fret is to worry, to have the heart burn, to fume, to become vexed” (angry, irritated, agitated, annoyed).
(1)
*Anybody who’s been paying any attention to what’s going on in our world has plenty of reasons to fret.
And even if you aren’t fretful about what’s going on in the world, -- you can fret about your family, your friends, your job, your checkbook, or your health.
*Everybody gets fretful at times.
But God wants us to stay up in the down times.
And in this Psalm He shows us how.
1.
The first thing to do is rush to the Lord for refuge.
*This is David’s message to us in vs. 1-3, where he said:
1. Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
2. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
3. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.
[1] David also tells us to trust the Lord in vs. 5, and in both cases the idea behind “trust” is rushing to someone for refuge and safety.
*Mary and I are pretty big dog lovers.
And we have had at least one dog for most of our 37 years together.
As far as I’m concerned, our dog, “Freckles” is the best dog in the world.
And in all my years, I’ve only had a couple of bad experiences with a dog.
*One was in the first grade.
It was summertime, and our next-door neighbors had gone on vacation, so, they asked me to feed their great big, mean-looking boxer.
No problem, -- at least for the first two days.
But on that third day for some reason, as soon as that dog saw me, he started growling.
And I started backing up.
When I got to the front yard, I started running as fast as my skinny legs could run.
Half-way across, I glanced back and saw him coming.
He was gaining every second!
-- Yaaaah!
*I got to the screen door just in time.
And as it slammed shut, I could feel his hot breath on my bare foot.
I sure am glad that door was unlocked.
*Running for safety, running for your life: You will never find a safer place to run than to the Lord Jesus Christ.
So we should trust in the Lord.
[2] And in the middle of vs. 3, David reminds us that we should trust God enough to follow Him and walk in His ways.
As David simply said: “Do good.”
*“Do good.”
This is God’s simple and sure command for us.
Church, remember what Paul said about good works in Ephesians 2:8-10:
8.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.
10.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
*“Do good.”
This is God’s simple and sure command for us, with the wonderful result that our doing good can lift our spirits when we are down.
So Charles Spurgeon said, “True faith is actively obedient.
Doing good is a fine remedy for fretting.
There is a joy in holy activity which drives away the rust of discontent.”
(2)
*So we rush to the Lord for refuge, trusting Him enough to do good.
[3] And when we trust in the Lord, He will surely provide for us.
As David said in vs. 3, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily (or faithfully) thou shalt be fed.
*That word “fed” is the word picture of a shepherd faithfully feeding his flock.
And that takes us back to David’s 23rd Psalm, where he opened by saying:
1.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
*Then in vs. 5, David said this to the Lord: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
The Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, certainly wants to feed His flock.
*Alabama Pastor Chris Adams once wrote that “God’s table is loaded with good things!
-Bowls of blessings.
-Platters of promises.
-Glasses of grace.
-Help yourself -- All you can eat!
-- Sharing allowed.
(3)
*So here’s another great reason why we should trust in the Lord: He will faithfully feed His sheep.
And Proverbs 3:5&6 tells us to:
5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;
6. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
*“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”
That’s the same word “trust” we find here in Psalm 37, rushing to the Lord for refuge and safety.
-If you want to stay up in a down time, rush to the Lord for refuge.
2. But also rejoice in the Lord.
*This is King David’s great message to us in vs. 4, where he said: “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
*Delight yourself in the Lord!
John Gill explained that you should “delight yourself in the persons in God, Father, Son, and Spirit.
Delight yourself in the perfections of God, his power, goodness, faithfulness, wisdom, love, grace, and mercy.
Delight yourself in his word, his Gospel, in his worship and his people.
And delight yourself in his works of creation, providence, and redemption.”
(4)
*James Merritt says: “That word ‘delight’ literally means ‘to take pleasure in.’
Nothing or no one should give you more pleasure than God Himself.
Nothing should take priority over your personal relationship to God.
It is more important than your relationship to your spouse.
It is more important than your relationship to your children.
It is more important than your relationship to your business.
It is more important than your relationship to anything or anybody.
As a matter of fact, the better your relationship is with God, the better it will be with other people.”
*Merritt adds: “Let me give you a principle never to forget: When you want what God wants, God will always give you more than you want.”
(5)
*“Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
When Ben Patterson was dean of the chapel at Hope College in Holland Michigan, he wrote about a group of people who found this delight for the first time.
*And Patterson said: “Imagine the mystery and delight of not just hearing, -- but seeing the story of Jesus for the first time, almost as an eyewitness.
That’s what happened to a primitive tribe in the jungles of East Asia, when missionaries showed them the Jesus film.
Not only had these people never heard of Jesus, they had never seen a motion picture.
Then, all at once, on one unforgettable evening, they saw it all: The gospel in their own language, visible and real.
*Imagine how it felt to see this good man Jesus, who healed the sick and was adored by children, held without trial and beaten by jeering soldiers.
As they watched this, the people came unglued.
They stood up and began to shout at the cruel men on the screen, demanding that this outrage stop.
*When nothing happened, they attacked the missionary running the projector.
Perhaps he was responsible for this injustice!
He was forced to stop the film and explain that the story wasn’t over yet, that there was more.
So they settled back onto the ground, barely holding their emotions in check.
*Then came the crucifixion.
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