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The End

Summer of Psalms  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  1:00:16
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Psalm 143 The End. Introduction: This Psalm is the seventh and last of what is called the “Penitential Psalms” (6, 32, 38, 51, 102, 130, 143) From which we get our word penance. This is a Psalm of repentance. The Psalmist describes for us here something like “the dark night of the soul.” I’ve often wondered if the Psalmist was a morning kind of a person. Not that he was afraid of the dark, but he often describes the night in depressing, or terrifying terms and often is looking with anticipation for the morning. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”(Psalm 30) “O LORD, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” (Psalm 5) “But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.” (Psalm 59) It seems to me that this Psalm was written during one of the Psalmist terrifying nights. 1. The Cry 1. Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! 2 Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you.” 2. This Psalm begins with the Psalmist strong plea for mercy from Yahweh. The Psalmist is not appealing to God on his own worth, righteousness or purity, but according to God’s own proven characteristics of faithfulness and righteousness. 3. The Psalmist knows as he runs to the Lord for help that he himself is a sinner and in a sense doesn’t have a leg to stand on as he pleads his help…He knows that he himself is in danger of judgment.. for "no one living is righteous before you.” 1. But the situation is so desperate that the psalmist is willing to take his chances so to speak.. 2. The Reason - I’ve reached the End. 1. “For the enemy has pursued my soul; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.4 Therefore my spirit faints within me; my heart within me is appalled.”(dumbstruck, devastated) Vs.7 “Answer me Lord quickly for my Spirit fails,. Hide not your face from me, lest I be like those who go down to the Pit..” 2. First of all who is the enemy that the Psalmist speaks of? Tradition says that this is a Psalm of David. If that is the case, it could possibly be Saul, or the Philistines or one of David’s many enemies in David’s lifetime of dangerous events and situations. 3. But the language is ambiguous on purpose. Once again here’s where we see the Psalms speaking for God’s people. This Psalm identifies with anyone, anywhere, at anytime who has been overwhelmed by the pursuit of an enemy, or of evil. As Christians we know and understand that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (This means not only that we have enemies, but that we are never free from our enemies and evils until the Lord returns and sets everything right..) 4. How many times have you felt overwhelmed by the evil all around you? Maybe you are just an individual who is prone to pessimism or you struggle with depression. Whether it’s the constant voice of temptation to sin, your loved ones be overcome with sickness and disease, some evil tragedy befalling you or a friend or a family member. Maybe it’s the subtle evil’s of our surrounding culture and you fear for you’re own freedoms or your children’s freedom, or their minds. Maybe it’s the fear of war, disease, death, famine, joblessness, homelessness.... 5. Let’s be honest there is enough evil and enemies in this world to where each of us can identify and have identified with what the Psalmist is saying. Every phrase that the Psalmist uses in these verses is so heavy with distress there is not person on earth that he cannot identify with. The question is what do we do in times like these? 3. “I remember the days of old” 1. This is not some nostalgia that the Psalmist goes into, like some "remember the good times” mantra, in order to tune out the bad things that are happening in his life at present. This is a recollection of all that God has done in the past...He says, “I remember the days of old. I meditate on all that you have done. I ponder the works of your hands. I stretch out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.” 2. What the Psalmist does here is he remembers God’s acts in Creation and in his own nations History. Doing this reminds him of God’s wisdom, God’s power, God’s love and God’s faithfulness… and once he does this he stretches out his hands. 1. The way the Jew would stretch out his hands in prayer to Yahweh was quite dramatic. It’s positioning looks very similar to that of a young child that is seeking to be lifted up into the arms of it’s parent, and also very similar to the look of cruciform (cross position). It speaks of both dependence and surrender… 3. I can’t help but think that this is where Paul the Apostle got his own process for peace in the midst of the many trials, evils, enemies that often brought him discouragement, depression, fear, and anxiety. 4. In Philippians 4:6-9 Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." 5. At first we might think that Paul is calling us to think of high inspirational thoughts in general. But Paul says, to think. This is a greek accounting word that means “to reckon” or to “count up.” Paul is saying if you want peace think long and hard about the core doctrines of the Bible. 6. Usually we do the opposite when we are in a hard situation. We tune out, we watch movies, We turn up the noise, we seek numbing coping mechanisms (alcohol and drugs). We do our best not to think about our circumstance and the outcome. 7. But Christian peace comes not from thinking less but thinking more, more intensely about the big issues of life. 8. Paul gives an example of this in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” 1. Think about the glory coming until the joy begins to break in on you. 9. Peace comes from a disciplined thinking out of the implications of what you believe. Think on who God is, what he has done, who you are in Christ, what is in store for God’s people. 10. Jonathan Edwards Gives three doctrines to support the Christians “Joy” in all circumstances. 1. Their “Bad things” will work out for good. (Romans 8:28) 2. Their “Good things” - adoption into God’s family, Justification in God’s sight, union with him - cannot be taken away. (Romans 8:1) 3. Their “Best things” - life in heaven, new heavens and the new earth, resurrection - are yet to come. (Revelation 22:1) 1. Paul the Apostle says, you want peace? Think on these things. 4. The Turn 1. Just as the Psalmist is recounting these acts of God’s faithfulness and love, while wondering if he can make it another day… The sun begins to rise! (maybe only metaphorically) 2. He exclaims! Let the morning bring me word of your steadfast love, for in you I trust! 3. This word (one word in the Hebrew) steadfast love, is the Hebrew word Hesed. And it speaks of God’s Covenant love for his people. As I often repeat, "his never stopping, never giving up, un-breaking, always and forever love." He declares this love over himself! 4. “He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; 17 my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness[a] is; 18 so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” 19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! 20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b]his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” -Lamentations 3:16-24 5. If the Psalmist and the Prophets were confident in God’s steadfast love, even amidst their sin, and failures, how much more reason for us who are in Christ? We have seen and are recipients of God’s great love! “If God is for us, who can be[i] against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.[j] 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31-39 1. We are loved, we are loved, we are loved, we are fully known, and fully loved, and accepted. We are not alone, we will never be abandoned by God, we are ultimately safe, no matter what the situation. 2. You know, on Monday I was having one of those days…. and in the midst of a phone conversation with a friend..reminding him of God’s love for him and faithfulness to him I came across this quote by H.G Wells - “We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.” 5. The Prayer 1. vs.8-Now as the Psalmist has seen the way out, that he hasn’t reached the end, that the morning of God’s continued faithfulness has dawned like the morning Sun - he now asks for direction forward. 2. “Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul Deliver me from my enemies O Lord, I have fled to you for refuge. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! For your name sake O Lord, Preserve my life! In your righteousness Bring my soul out of trouble.” 6. The Final Assurance of Deliverance 1. vs.12 “And in your steadfast love you will cut off my enemies, and you will destroy all the adversaries of my soul, for I am your servant. (making this prayer our own)
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