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CHURCH-Hang on in There

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CHURCH – Hang On In There

Psalms 18:1-6

New Mount Carmel 11/9/2008

Pray with me if you would this afternoon as we talk about “Hang On In there.”

This afternoon I believe many of us are going through the getting through stage, and we’re simply hanging on by a thread.  With all of the chaos and drama in the world and in our lives sometimes it appears as though our faith is on the verge of becoming unraveled.  At times it’s all we can do to just hang it there.  As we are blessed by the study of this Psalm and the preaching of God’s word, I pray we may borrow light from David’s candle.   I also pray this message would both sing and sting in our hearts and minds.  I’m asking and petitioning God that the seed of this word would find fertile soil in our hearts and help us to hang on and hang in there just a little while longer. 

Psalm eighteen is a thanksgiving song.  It follows naturally upon Psalm seventeen which is a lament.  Lament is just simply praise in a minor key.  Thanksgiving and lament go together.  “If I never had a problem I wouldn’t know that God could solve it, I wouldn’t know what a little faith in his word can do.  But this afternoon I can shout in my spirit that through it all I’ve learned to trust in Jesus, I’ve learned to trust in God.  I’ve learned to depend upon his word. 

-The greater the difficulty or danger.

-The more perplexed the problem out of which we were delivered;

The greater our praise ought to be.

The greater the trial means the greater the triumph.

There is an interesting feature of Psalm eighteen which we see as soon as we turn to it.  Familiarity with God’s word leads us to II Samuel which is the psalm’s historical setting.  When we go to II Samuel, we find that Psalm 18 is duplicated almost exactly in chapter twenty two.  

In the Psalm before us we find David looking back over a lifetime of saving interventions by God and praising him for them.  Spurgeon says this Psalm is the song of a grateful heart overwhelmed by the manifold and marvelous mercies of God.   I think we too should pause and look back over God’s saving interventions in our own lives.  Let me ask you have you looked back lately and found anything to praise God for?   Allow me to help you.

Praise him for waking you up this morning.  Don’t worry about tomorrow; just thank him for this morning.  We have to learn to take life one day at a time. 

Praise him for having the activity of all of your limbs.  I tell you it is a blessing to be able to wave your hands and pat your feet to the rhythm      of the music. 

Praise him for another day.  You do know that this is the day that the Lord has made and all of us ought to rejoice and be glad about it. 

There is nothing wrong with looking on the bright side as we go through this life.  Let me tell you a story about a man with an extremely positive attitude.

Illustration

Frank constantly irritated his friends with his optimism.  No matter how horrible the circumstance, he would remark, “It could have been worse,”  To cure him of this annoying habit, his friends decided to invent a situation so bad, so terrible, that even Frank could find no hope in it. 

On the golf course one day, a friend said, “Frank, did you hear about Tom?  Tom came home last night, and found his wife in bed with another man, he shot them both, and then turned the gun on himself.”  “That’s horrible,” Frank said.  “But it could have been worse.”

“How could it possibly be any worse?” the friend asked.  “Well,” Frank answered, “If it had happened the night before, I’d be dead.”

Frank looked on the bright side of every situation. One writer stated, “There was never a night or a problem that could defeat the sunrise of hope.”         I came to encourage someone to hang on in there. 

In verse 2 David says,  The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. God is his rock.   Notice how personal it was with David.

My

-Rock.

-Fortress.

-Deliverer.

-God.

-Strength.

-Buckler.

-Salvation

-High tower.

David uses these metaphors to describe what God means to him.  He lets us know what God had been to him and how he had always been there for him.  In other words David is saying God is worthy of his praise.  He is also worthy of our praise.  Have I got a witness?

A rock during David’s time could be used for protection as well as shade.  As they faced the hot sandy lands of Bible times, the people struggled against the merciless elements.  It was hot and sometimes hotter than hot.  In the shadows of the rocks, a traveler could find comfort and shelter.  That’s what God was to David and that’s what he has been to me.

 Illustration

A little boy prayed: God please take care of yourself because if anything happens to you we're in a world of trouble!  Can I share with you this afternoon we are in a world of trouble, but God is in the trouble.

Whatever

-Trouble we are in, God is in it with us.

-Trial we face, God is in it with us.

-Storm we encounter, God is in it with us.  Hallelujah!

If we just hang on in there, God will see us through and bring us out.

Can’t you envision David standing on some towering rock, standing on a sure foundation, looking down on his enemies who were in helpless and hopeless pursuit?  Because of that rock, David was able to hang on in there.  Listen to Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.  2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.  The Psalmist says he waited patiently.  Think about a man who waited patiently as illustrated by the following story;

Illustration

An elderly man lay dying in his bed. Near death, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies. He gathered his remaining strength and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, down the stairs, gripping the railing with both hands, he looked into the kitchen. Were it not for death’s agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven. There, spread out on the kitchen table was literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies.

Was it heaven or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted wife. Mustering one great final effort, he reached for a cookie at the edge of the table, when his wife suddenly smacked his hand with a spatula.            “Stay out of those cookies”, she said. “They’re for the funeral”.  This old man was hanging on in there. 

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Not only does David say the Lord is his rock, and fortress; but he presents God as his deliverer.  Oh David ought to have some support here this morning who can say the Lord is their deliverer. 

Do we have any delivered people in the building?

Has the Lord delivered you?

Has he brought you out of darkness and into his marvelous light?

Did he

-Bring you up?

-Out?

-Through?

Because he loves us we have a very present help in the time of trouble. 

We have a refuge in the storm.

We have a bridge over troubled waters.

So David declares in verse 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

As you hang in there, I encourage you to call upon the name of the Lord. 

Can I just tell you what scripture says about his name?

His name is strong

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe

His name is excellent

Psalm 8:1 O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

His name is to be blessed.

Psalm 103:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

His name is to be praised.

Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD's name is to be praised.

His name is the source of our help

Psalm 124:8 Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

His name is royal.

Revelation 19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

We are Coming!

During the American Civil War, General William T. Sherman was driving his troops on his decisive march to the sea. He had left behind in a fort on Kennesaw Mountain a small contingent of men to guard the rations. General John Bell Hood of the Confederate Army attacked the fort, and a fierce battle followed. One-third of the men were killed or wounded, and J. M. Corse, the general in command, was severely injured in the fighting. Just as he was about to hoist up the white flag and surrender, a message came through the signal corps set up on a chain of mountains. General Sherman was within 15 miles of the fort and had sent the message: 'Hold fast. We are coming." Those few words so encouraged the defenders that they held on and kept the fort from falling into the hands of their attackers.

Our Heavenly Commander has also sent us the same message to “Hold fast.”

Somebody this afternoon needs to just hang on in there.

Hold fast.  Your help is on the way.

Close

God placed in my spirit a vision of Noah’s ark.  I thought about the various animals that made it into the ark and how long it took for them to get there.  Are you praying with me?

In my sanctified imagination, I can see the deer running swiftly.

The horses didn’t experience a problem; they made it with time to spare.

The cattle were herded and made it alright. 

The sheep and goats encountered no difficulty.  Their pathway was smooth.

But let me expand your horizons and increase your understanding of the struggle that one particular animal or insect had in making it to the ark.  The travel was smooth for most and they made it on time and in good time. 

But on any journey there is always a last minute arrival.  That’s the way it is on Sunday morning, some of you barely make it before the service starts.  Some of you don’t make it as you are always late.  One Sunday I think I will stand at the entrance and pass out tardy slips.

Some sleepy members barely get here before the sermon starts.  Have I got any witnesses thisafternoon?

Oh but what about the snail? 

It was only through much perseverance that the snail made it into the ark. Its travel was long and slow.  The hills seemed like mountains and every inch was equal to a mile. And yet the snail kept traveling. 

-Inching its way to the ark. 

-It kept on moving.

-Inch by inch.

-Step by snailish step.

The snail made it because it hung in there.  Let me encourage you through the word of God to hang on in there.  Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew:

Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Hanging in there is just keeping the faith.

Your determination is:

For all I

-Take HIM.

-Trust HIM.

-Thank HIM

Whatever you are going through today, Hang on in there.

Beneath all of the burdens you have to bear, hang on in there.

Despite the trials that may come your way, hang on in there.

As I take my seat, I want to leave these words of encouragement with you.

Come on church stand with me and help me encourage some saint.

Give your neighbor a high five and a holy hug.

Give some sister or brother a heavenly handshake and encourage them in the Lord.

Go ahead with your arms around somebody and rock them and shake them.

And then shake them and rock them in the name of the Lord.

Say neighbor, “Hang on in there.”

Yes, there’s a bright side somewhere.

You hang on in there.

Don’t you stop until you find it there is a bright side somewhere!

Hang on in there.

Be not dismayed whatever betides you.

God will take of you.

Hang on in there and when your burdens become unbearable and your problems are insurmountable; just say My, My, My.

What do you mean pastor Peterson?

I’m talking about the My, My, My of Psalm 18:2.

2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  

My

-Rock.

-Fortress.

-Deliverer.

-God.

-Strength.

-Buckler.

-Salvation

-High tower.

Hang on in there.

Can I leave you with a Psalm?

Can I leave you with a word for your time of trouble?

Is there anyone here who is hanging by a thread…

Is there anyone here who is going through something…

Is there anybody here that may have some wicked people out to damage your reputation ?

Has anybody here ever gotten weak from the constant struggle of hanging in there?

Psalm 27 1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

 2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.

 3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

 4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

 



 

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