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Worship Through Weeping

Encounter: A life of worship for a God of wonder  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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A proper view of God enables us to worship even through weeping.

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Introduction

ILLUST - Ex of distortion - distortion glasses. In science class we used glasses that flipped vision upside down. Kids were asked to walk and catch a ball. The reality of the world around them didn’t change, they just had a distorted view.
Life is not always easy
Sometimes following God doesn’t seem to pay off
Secret: Following Jesus doesn’t guarantee a pain-free life.
We look around the world and the scales seem off - the good seem to have trouble and the wicked seem to have an easy life in a big house.
Ever felt this way??
Sometimes our experience fails to line up with our understanding of the truth. Thsee questions can raise doubt. Doubt is not wrong - It’s what we do with our doubt that will either hurt our help our faith.
Doubt is not wr
Doubt is part of a thinking life. Doubt will the thing which either solidifies your faith or causes it to dissolve.
Others in the Bible have doubted
Satan attacks us when we are weak in order to use our experience that we might question the truth. He would have us question:
God is not
the goodness of God - “If God really loved me he would . . .”
the power of God - “If God is all-powerful why would he have allowed this to happen?”
the existence of God - “If there is a God, then where is he now?’
ps 73:1-16 NL
Psalm 73:1–16 NLT
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. 4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!
Psalm 73 ESV
A Psalm of Asaph. 1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. 5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. 9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. 16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. 18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! 20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Psalm 73:1–15 ESV
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. 2 But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. 3 For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. 5 They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. 7 Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. 8 They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. 9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. 10 Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. 11 And they say, “How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High?” 12 Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. 13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. 14 For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children.
Ps 73
Psalm 73:16–17 ESV
16 But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, 17 until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.
Psalm 73:18–28 ESV
18 Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. 19 How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! 20 Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. 21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Ps

Sometimes the truth of God’s goodness is in conflict with our experience of God’s goodness. (1-16)

The New Bible Commentary Psalm 73. ‘Not in Vain, in the Lord’

Asaph the Levite (1 Ch. 24:30–25:1)

Joshua 13:14 ESV
To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the Lord God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him.
Joshua 13:33 ESV
But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as he said to them.

Sometimes the truth of God’s goodness is in conflict with our experience of God’s goodness. (1-16)

The Psalm said it was written by Asaph. Who was Asaph?
The New Bible Commentary Psalm 73. ‘Not in Vain, in the Lord’

Asaph the Levite (1 Ch. 24:30–25:1)

Joshua 13:14 ESV
To the tribe of Levi alone Moses gave no inheritance. The offerings by fire to the Lord God of Israel are their inheritance, as he said to him.
Joshua 13:33 ESV
But to the tribe of Levi Moses gave no inheritance; the Lord God of Israel is their inheritance, just as he said to them.

Asaph was a Levi, a priest, a worship leader. He had devoted his life to God. He had no inheritance, no wealth - it was all for God.
Something happened to cause him to doubt and struggle with the goodness of God:
Perhaps, while his entire life and belongings were devoted to God, he saw those who wanted nothing to do with God growing wealthy, happy.
Perhaps Asaph is struggling with a physical disease (“My flesh and my heart may fail. . .”) and sees the wicked living a long life.
Whatever the case, Asaph feels like his walk with God has not done him any good - he would have been just as well off, or even better off had he lived his life apart from God.

We doubt the truth of God because of the pain we feel. (1-3)

Psalm 73:1–3 NLT
1 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. 2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. 3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
Pain
Ps
Sometimes the pain we feel causes is to distort the truth we know.
Asaph starts with a solid truth about God
Psalm 73:1 ESV
Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.
But then pain hits the pure in heart.
One of Satan’s greatest ploys is to use our feelings to raise questions that cause suspicion about the goodness of God.
Satan won’t challenge the truth, he raises a question.
Envy is the method Satan uses to raise the questions.
Asaph is honest and confesses how the pain he felt caused him to envy.
.
This is often the case. The pain we feel often will lead us to become envious - envious for what we wish we had and envious about what others have.
Satan plants seeds of doubt amidst the truth of God. (1-3) And he usually waters it with pain.
And he usually waters it with pain.
Envy is found in the depths of every human heart.
ILLUST - my kids are never better on measurements and proportions than when we are cutting a cake and splitting it between them.
Envy caused Adam and Eve to see the Garden of Eden as not enough.
(Envy is not based on the circumstances- it’s based on the heart)
Genesis 3:1–4 ESV
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Satan raises questions to build a case against the goodness of God.
Does God know all you’ve given up for him? And this is the thanks you get?
Would it really make a cosmic difference for God to give you what you want?
Why would God say that if you delight in him that he will give you the desires of your heart?
What or who are you envious of? When you think of your pain, to whom or what do your eyes turn for comparison? Could it be that Satan could be using envy to cause you to question God’s goodness in your life?
Satan plants seeds of doubt amidst the truth of God. (1-3) And he usually waters it with pain.
discomfort > doubt > distortion > despair
Trust the character of God when you can’t trust the feelings of your circumstances
Satan starts with a truth we cannot deny, and using our feelings as support, offers us a distortion of the truth we cannot see past. 
Don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light. - Joseph Bayly

Our suspicion of the goodness of God can lead to a distortion of our view of the world. (4-12)

Psalm 73:4–12 NLT
4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. 5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. 7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! 8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. 9 They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. 11 “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” 12 Look at these wicked people— enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
Psalm 73:
Satan starts with a truth we cannot deny, and using our feelings as support, offers us a distortion of the truth we cannot see past. 
Asaph begins to have an outward and exaggerated view of the world around him. Look at how many time the words “they” and “their” are used.
v4 - live ‘painless lives’ (NLT) until they die
v4 - they are healthy without disease
v5 - they have ‘trouble-free’ lives
They always get bumped up to first class, they live in the biggest houses,
What makes it sting even more for Asaph is the ones he sees getting the most are the ones who deserve it the least:
v6 - they are proud and are cruel seemingly without any punishment
v7 - they are self-indulgent and have everything they could ever want
v8, 9 - their words show how evil they are - they’ll step on anyone to try to get to the top - perhaps even stepping on you.
v10, 11 - they get others to join them and even make fun of God (and making fun of those who follow him)
They are obviously wicked and obviously flourishing.
Obviously not every person who doesn’t follow Jesus is flourishing. That’s part of the case that Satan builds - He causes us to exaggerate the situation.
Not only are bad things happening to the good people, but the good things are happening to the bad people.

Prolonged pain with the wrong perspective can lead us to despair. (13-16)

Psalm 73:13–16 NLT
13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain. 15 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people. 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is!

13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?

Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?

14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;

every morning brings me pain.

Is trusting God even worth it? Is a Jesus-first life paying off?
I tithe and can barely make ends meet
I’m putting Jesus-first in my relationship and we still fight, I’m still single, my feelings haven’t changed yet.
I’m following Jesus at work, but I didn’t get the promotion, I got laid-off, etc.
Have you ever - or do you now wonder if following Jesus is worth it?

Worship corrects our vision by turning our focus back toward God. (17)

Psalm 73:16–17 NLT
16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
In the sanctuary we encounter the presence of God. In the sanctuary we encounter the truth of God. In the sanctuary we encounter God.
In worship we lift our eyes from our pain and other people and focus on God.
Worship lifts our eyes from our pain and puts it in perspective next to the eternal goodness of God. 
Worship is not about forgetting about your pain, your hurt, your problems. Worship is about bringing those problems before the presence of God and seeing them for what they really are in comparison to Almighty, loving God of Eternity!
Worship gives us a picture and presence of God that causes us to:
Corporate worship helps us to walk together even when it feels like our “feet are about to slip”
- Consider the track record of God (character)
- Consider the cost of abandoning God
- Consider eternity
You need to find yourself in a regular place of worship where the truth of God can reshape our hearts, minds, and affections back to him.
Satan would love nothing more than to keep you away.

A clear view of God gives us a clear view of everything else. (18-28)

Worship gives us a picture and presence of God that causes us to:
- God is good
Don’t give up what you DO know about God for what confuses you
- Jesus is IT
Where else will you turn? Jesus is the only option and he is all you need.
- Life is short
Eternity has a way of placing pain and pleasure in perspective.

Seeing God shows us the futility of the faithless in the end. (18-20)

Psalm 73:18–20 NLT
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. 19 In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. 20 When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
The world has a temporal view and sometimes we get trapped in that short-sighted view as well.
When we see the eternal God rightly, we are corrected to an eternal perspective.
While the wicked may be prospering, in the eternal view it’s really only a moment.
For those of you who do not know Jesus, you are having your best life now. This is the closest to heaven you will ever get. For those of you who have trusted in Jesus, this time on Earth is the farthest from heaven you’ll ever be.

Seeing God shows us his faithfulness toward us all the time. (21-28)

Psalm 73:21–28 ESV
21 When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, 22 I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. 23 Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.
Psalm 73:21–24 NLT
21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. 22 I was so foolish and ignorant— I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. 23 Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. 24 You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
ps
A right view of God gives us a right view of ourselves.

When my soul was embittered,

when I was pricked in heart,

22  I was brutish and ignorant;

I was like a beast toward you.

Even while you struggle, God is ‘holding your right hand.’
2 Timothy 2:13 ESV
if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
What kind of love is this? This is the gospel!!
Seeing God clearly we realize that those who follow Jesus have:
presence of God
God has never promised you to be saved from suffering (in fact, Jesus promised it), but he has promised he will be with you through the suffering.
the grasp of God (He’s got you)
God’s guidance and plan for the future
Eternal glory which will outweigh any pain we could suffer here on earth.
ps 73:2
Psalm 73:25–26 NLT
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.
Psalm 73:25–27 NLT
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you.
Psalm 73:25–28 NLT
25 Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. 27 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
‘ I desire you more than anything on earth’
If you can say these words with sincerity you will find redemption in your pain.
Pain has a way of driving us to Jesus.
Joni Eareckson Tada - quadriplegic
I sure hope I can bring this wheelchair to heaven.
Now, I know that’s not theologically correct.
But I hope to bring it and put it in a little corner of heaven, and then in my new, perfect, glorified body, standing on grateful glorified legs, I’ll stand next to my Savior, holding his nail-pierced hands.
I’ll say, “Thank you, Jesus,” and he will know that I mean it, because he knows me.
He’ll recognize me from the fellowship we’re now sharing in his sufferings.
And I will say,
“Jesus, do you see that wheelchair? You were right when you said that in this world we would have trouble, because that thing was a lot of trouble. But the weaker I was in that thing, the harder I leaned on you. And the harder I leaned on you, the stronger I discovered you to be. It never would have happened had you not given me the bruising of the blessing of that wheelchair.”
Thank you for the wheelchair?!?
Jesus is worth more than all you can gain on earth and worth more than all you can lose in death.
What is the greatest thing in heaven? If you said HARPS - you’re wrong.
the right view of God causes us
to focus on God and not others around us.
It’s Jesus - He’s the reason heaven is HEAVEN.
to change our desires from what the wicked have to what only God can give.

I still belong to you;

you hold my right hand.

shift our trust from things in this world to God alone.
We can have the best part of heaven here, now if even not fully.
When you worship through your weeping you lead others to God.

Conclusion

Notice how the Psalmist ends the Psalm - based on all that he has worked through - his pain, his feelings, his uncertainty, his envy, his confession - the end result is this:
Trust in God’s character
Tell of God’s goodness
Psalm 73:28 NLT
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.
Ps 73:
Tell of God’s goodness
He has gone from envy to trust, doubt to witness.
Grandpop’s Bible
Trusting in Jesus doesn’t mean you’ll have all your questions answered, but it does mean trusting in the One who can answer them - trusting that one day all your questions will be answered and it will be worth it!
Be honest about your feelings
1. God doesn't care! - He says -
2. God doesn't hear! - He says -
3. God isn't even there! - He says -
I don’t know the pain or hurt or questions or doubt or envy you entered with today. But I do know that if you enter into the sanctuary of God today (prayer, worship) your circumstances may not change, but your perspective will.
Tell of God’s goodness
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