18 years the woman had been disfigured.
18 years the woman had been crumpled over.
18 years the woman had heard the comments.
“Do you see the hump? What happened to her?”
“She looks just like Quasimodo. She’s a hunchback.”
“Oh, child – don’t go near her. You don’t know where she’s been.”
Her daughters used to come around – sure. But lately they had not wanted to be seen by her.
The same with her friends – their friendships stopped as the ridicule started. They didn’t want to be a part of it.
Every once in a while, a passerby would stop over her – drop a penny in her jar, tell her that “it’d be ok,” and they were “glad to meet her” but that was the end of it.
No new friendships blossomed.
None of these people returned.
Nobody seemed to care.
She was all alone.
That loneliness? It was powerful. It sunk to the bottom depths of our soul. It filled her with sadness – a deep and dark depression – an expectation that nobody cared about it. Not even God.
In the midst of another day alone with her darkest thoughts, a voice called out to her. This voice was different. It wasn’t mocking. It wasn’t pitying. It wasn’t talking about her or above her or down at her.
It was talking to her.
The owner of the voice was surrounded by a group of people. They all seemed to be very invested in what he had to say. But he seemed to only be invested in her. He called her over to him, “Dear woman – come here.”
This was different.
This was caring.
This felt wonderful.
And when she did hobble over – his gentleness not changing after he saw her disfiguration – she felt a peace overcome her.
He spoke to her, “Dear woman…”
The implication – I see you. I care about you. I am here for you.
Then he said this, “Be set free from your infirmity.” (Luke 13:12)
The woman felt a release. She looked at him. He smiled. She slowly straightened. She was healed.
18 years. 18 years – and now she knew – She wasn’t alone. Now she knew – Jesus cared.
Jesus cares about you too. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t times that we feel lonely – I even feel it as a pastor. Today’s Psalm helps to remind us that we are not alone – no matter how much we feel like it. Before we begin, let’s say a prayer: Lord, strengthen us by the truth, your Word is truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; open our ears to hear what you want us to hear; open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. How Long…Will I Feel Lonely?
Psalm 13 comes from King David again. So - similar to last week – there were lots of ups and downs in David’s career. Lots of good times, but also a lot of bad times. Times he even felt alone.
Like when he marched out to battle a giant of a man named Goliath – while all the other Israelite soldiers cowered.
Or the time when he ran away from the King of Israel – King Saul – who wanted to kill David before he took his throne.
Or he time when his own son, Absalom – tried to take the crown away from David, his dad – ousting him from the palace and turning the half the nation against him.
Pick one of those times – any of those times – and you get a sense of the loneliness that King David was feeling. Listen to what he writes,
How long LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Do you see the repeated question? How long... The implication is that David has been feeling very sad and lonely for what seems like – at least to David – a very long time.
Look at his accusations?
How long will you forget me? As if the Lord of heaven above – the very one formed him, created him, and Scripture says, “Anointed him specially to be king over Israel,” had forgotten all about him!
How long will you hide your face from me? As if David and God were playing a game of hide and seek, but God was refusing to come out – even after David had shouted, “Olly olly oxen free!”
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts? There’s this picture of a spiritual WrestleMania that was going on with David. The voice saying, “God loves you,” going one on one with the voice that says, “God hates you.” The thought of “I’m alone,” facing off in an iron man match against the thought, “God is with me.” The comfort of “God is with me,” being put into submission by the terror that “you are all alone.”
How long will my enemy triumph over me? Again – we don’t know exactly which enemy is referring to. Saul? David considered him God’s representative. Absalom? That was David’s son. One of the Philistines? Maybe.
But there could be another option.
Another enemy at work.
Another enemy that’s always at work.
An enemy that achieves that was achieving a great victory when he convinced David – God’s chosen instrument – that God wasn’t with him.
I’m talking about The Enemy - the devil.
What about you?
Do you feel like God has forgotten you?
Do you think he is hiding his face from you?
Do you find yourself wrestling with your thoughts against God’s promises?
Do you find yourself feeling – alone?
There’s a television show that took place around 2004. It was called Solitary. The premise of the show was that people would volunteer to be locked in a room without anyone else. The only one to talk to them was a giant robot named VAL. (Great name for a heartless, evil robot by the way) The show then served 2 purposes -- #1 it gave away $500,000 to the one who lasted in the room the longest, but #2 – more interesting – it showed how the human being reacts to being alone – to feeling alone.
It wasn’t good. Usually contestants left in tears, broke down or shouted at the top of their lungs until they were removed.
That’s because we are creatures that are meant to be together. Even back in the garden of Eden – “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two become one flesh.” (Genesis 2) Granted – that’s talking about the special relationship between a husband and a wife, but it’s also true that God wanted humans to exist in community. To communicate with each other. To be with each other. To be together.
That’s why being alone…is so hard. That’s why it leads to such depression. That’s why it leads to very dark feelings.
And that’s why when you feel that way – cry out to God! Look at how David’s heart cried out. Hear his cry for help:
3 Look on me and answer; Lord my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death
4 and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
And my foes will rejoice when I fall.
Maybe that’s your cry.
Maybe you want God to answer.
Maybe, you want him to show you, to prove to you that you aren’t alone.
Listen to what comes next
II. How Long will God be with You?
5 But I trust in your unfailing love.
There’s that key word again – one of the most key words in all of Scripture: But. But means “There’s more.” But means, “There’s a contrasting truth.” But means, “Listen and hear how God fixes things.”
Look at the phrase that follows. I trust in your unfailing love.
Here is the difference between humans and God. Human friendships last for a time. Eventually – they end. Whether it’s from distance, busyness, arguments or death.
Human friendships last for a time, but eventually fail.
If you trust in human friendships to give you community, these friendship will fail you. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But one day. They will.
But if you trust in God? If God is the source of your community?
Listen again – His love is unfailing.
There is no mountain high enough.
There is no valley low enough.
There is no river wide enough.
To keep Him from you.
He’s never too busy.
He does not die – he’s eternal.
And when we’ve been argumentative? When we’ve been sinful? When our refusal to commune with him has set up this barrier of sin?
He knocks it down!
Like my dog, Clay. He’s fairly loyal. He loves to be by his owners whenever he can. If he’s ever separated from his owners, he starts to whine. It’s kind of obnoxious – definitely high pitched. But comforting to know how much he wants to be with us.
With our new house – there’s a patio in back. The back patio has a screen door. One of the reasons that we got a new house was so that we could let them in the back yard to play. We specifically thought the dogs would like the yard.
And they do. But the first time we left Clay in the back yard? He whined. He barked. He scratched. He –literally – broke through the screen door and made his way into the living room just to be with us.
God’s love is similar.
God’s love is better.
When our sins separated us from God – he came down to earth. He busted through the barrier of sin. He died gruesomely on the cross; he went into the grave; he rose triumphantly from death – and broke down the barrier between you and him.
Do you hear that? Listen again – When you had separated yourself from God – God did the unthinkable – He gave up his life to bring you back to Him!
Still think that no one cares about you? God’s love is unfailing. It hasn’t changed. It hasn’t lessened. It hasn’t grown weaker. He still loves you and cares for you with the same incredible desire.
You are not alone.
God is with you.
III. What Now?
(1) Look Where You’re At!
Did you notice what it says in verse 6. My heart rejoices in your salvation. That’s the same heart that earlier was filled with hurt. Earlier was filled with sadness. Earlier was filled with loneliness.
Now? It’s filled with joy. Why?
Because it is In God’s salvation.
Pastor, am I in God’s salvation?
Do you believe in Jesus?
Then, look where you’re at. You’re in God’s salvation. That means you’re with God. Because God is in God’s salvation. He’s there. You’re there. You’re together.
You aren’t alone.
No matter what you’re going through.
Financial hardships? Not alone.
Relational struggles? Not alone.
Disconnected from people? Not alone.
God is with you. You are in his salvation.
Because what other way can you react when you realize that your incredible God is right beside you!?!
It’s like a musical! People break out into song all the time. They break out into song when they find someone they have a crush on. They break into song when it’s a “beautiful morning.” They break out into song when they are seeing the “Wells Fargo wagon coming down the street.”
How awesome to know that your loving, incredible, forgiving, all powerful, all loving God is with you and will never leave you!
(3) Look Who Else is With You
Finally, look at who else is with you. Because if you’re in God’s salvation and your neighbor is in God’s salvation and I’m in God’s salvation – many of us are in God’s salvation – It’s not a very lonely room. It’s a packed house.
Lean on our brothers and sisters. Feeling lonely? Tell them. Talk to them. Work on building relationships here so that you have someone to uplift you and remind you that you are not alone.
And if someone comes to you for that encouragement? Give it to them. Don’t ignore them. In fact, if you see someone who looks lonely, could you go out of your way to show love to them? Just like God went out of his way to show love to you.
God is with you.
And if God is with you – then you know that even the dark time you are experiencing now – will go away.
Because look how David finishes the Psalm – The Lord has done good things for me.
David remembered how he felt alone with Goliath – but God helped him defeat the giant.
David remembered how he felt alone with Saul was attacking him – but God kept him safe.
David remembered how he felt alone when Absalom rebelled – but God defended him.
When God’s there’s, there’s no need to worry.
So why worry? Amen.
The petition we are looking at tonight is what we might call the Superhero petition. It’s just like the Bat signal. When someone is in need of help from Batman, the commissioner turns on this giant spotlight to let Batman know that his help is needed to stop evildoers. If you’re more into realism, then think of it as the 911 petition. It’s what we call to get the police to help when evil is happening.
Of course – the One we’re going to for help is more powerful than the Batmobile and has a better response time than the first responders to an emergency scene.
It’s God. God to whom we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
I. What is Evil?
The question we need to answer first is: “What is evil?” Of course, there are certain things that immediately pop into our minds when we hear the word “evil.” Things like terrorism. Things like sex trafficking. Things like kidnapping. Things like mass shootings, serial killers and drunk driving.
Earlier today in the UK a police officer was stabbed near Parliament. Believe it or not – CNN and Fox News are in agreement. It’s bad. It’s evil.
But then there are the things we consider evil that are a little closer to our hearts. The coworker who consistently bad mouths us to the boss. The friend who betrays us. The guy at the coffee shop who is just plain rude to us.
What do these smaller evils have in common with those bigger evils? They are sin. Sin done to us. That’s the first thing that we are asking in this petition. To deliver us from Sin Done to Us.
But right before the seventh request is a request that ties closely to it: Lead us Not Into Temptation.
The reality is that if you are asking for protection from some sin that your coworker might do to you – Don’t you think there are people asking for protection from some sin that you do to them?
The Bible tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
That includes you. That means you sin. That means you do evil.
What’s interesting about the sixth petition is that it recognizes this. “Lord, lead us not into temptation,” means, “Lord, deliver me from doing evil. Protect me from my struggle with pornography. Keep me from raising my voice at my spouse. Stop me from gossiping about my friends. Lord, protect me from…me.”
That’s the second things we ask in these petitions: To deliver us from Sin Done by Us.
But this sin – the sin you and the sin done to you – comes from somewhere. There’s a bigger bad guy. A source of evil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12)
They aren’t the things of fiction. They aren’t myths. They are very, scarily real.
To put it simply – If we believe the Bible and we believe Jesus is our Savior and we believe angels are protecting us (the comforting things) – We also need to believe the scary things. That the devil is real. That evil angels are real. That long ago – the devil and the fallen angels rebelled against God and have been fighting against God’s plans ever since then.
God’s plan is to have you in heaven.
The devil’s goal is to have you in hell.
Look at how much the devil wants it: The devil is prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
He stalks. He prowls. He pounces. And if you’ve ever seen National Geographic, perhaps you know how brutally violent it is when the lion catches the antelope. That’s nothing compared to what happens when the devil catches ahold of you and me.
So, we pray a third thing – Deliver Us from The Evil One. Deliver us from the devil.
This all sounds scary. You might have gone into this night thinking, “It’s a pretty scary world.” But after recognizing the reality of the devil and his legions of demons – it only gets scarier. It’s like a horror movie come true.
But I’m not scared.
Not of the devil.
Not of his demons.
Not of evil.
Neither should you be.
Galatians 1:4 says this, “Jesus gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age.”
Which sounds strange.
You might have expected Jesus to fight him one on one. To go fisticuffs with the devil. To shoot powerful lightning bolts from his hands.
But the Divine knockout punch was much different:
It started on a Thursday evening. Jesus had gotten done eating a special celebration supper with his closest friends. It was a night that was supposed to be filled with joy. A night that was supposed to be a great connection between friends.
But there was something about that night that was off. About halfway through the meal, Jesus looked up to his disciples. His expression was sorrowful. He explained, “One of you will betray me.” (Matthew 26:21) “One of you will be tempted by evil and fall. One of you will do evil to me.”
Later that night as they were in a beautiful garden praying – the mood shifting again. Torches and clanking of metal preceding a mob of people led by Judas – the betrayal – hell-bent on killing Jesus.
Jesus approaches them.
Jesus sizes them up.
Jesus offers them his hands for arrest.
He says, “This is your night. The night when darkness reigns.” (Luke 22:53)
And it was.
Evil arrested Jesus.
Evil mocked Jesus.
Evil slapped Jesus.
Evil condemned Jesus.
Evil killed Jesus.
But the night when darkness reigned – was only one night.
Three days later, Jesus came back to life.
Three days later, Jesus defeated sin.
Three days later, Jesus defeated death.
Three days later, Jesus defeated the devil.
Three days later, Jesus delivered us from evil.
And he has the same promise for us. One day – at just the right time – he will take us home to heaven – a place apart from this evil world. A place apart from sin. A place apart from the devil.
A place of peace.
A place of love.
A place with the victor of life itself – Jesus.
Lord, deliver us from evil now until you deliver us from evil then. Amen.
The last two Sundays, you have been digging into the book of Psalms. These verbal masterpieces paint many word pictures for us on the canvas of Scripture. Today’s Psalm, 143 is no exception. In it we see the scene of someone on the run from enemies. And when he is caught, those enemies throw him to the ground and then throw him into a deep dark hole where he is left to rot. It is only the thought of the good old days and especially the thought of what His God has done for him in those days that gets him through the situation he is in. But when the morning comes, the man finds that God rescues him from this deep dark hole. From then on, he is determined to seek the protection of God and to spend the rest of his life in service to the One who rescued him from his oppressors.
That is the basic picture that King David sets before us in the Psalm. Now, it is our job for the rest of this morning to discover what this means for us and how we can apply this particular portion of God’s Word to our everyday lives.
A key to unlocking this Psalm is found in verse 9 “Rescue me from my enemies of Lord, for I hide myself in you.” So this morning, let’s consider how we are encouraged by Scripture to HIDE IN GOD. We Hide In God I. For Protection II. For Salvation and III. For Direction
I. For Protection Who were the enemies that David needed protection from? If you recall briefly the story of David, you will remember that there was a civil war within his own country. David was to be the next God appointed King in place of Saul. Although David served Saul faithfully, Saul did not trust him and tried to kill him. Even after David did become king there was plotting and murder and intrigue going on inside his own family. David even had to physically run and hide. At times, he slept in caves and lived on the run. 3 “The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart is dismayed”. That is a picture of physical and mental defeat. So where does he go? He turns to the Lord, the God whom he knows has done great things in the past. “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.”
If you were David what great deeds of his God would come to mind? Certainly, he must have remembered how God used him to defeat the giant, Goliath. Maybe he also thought about other ancient acts of God told to him by his parents like God delivering the Israelites from pharaoh by parting the Red Sea or of God protecting His people in the desert by appearing as a protective pillar of Fire by night and a pillar of smoke by day. Or maybe he recalled how God provided for the Israelite nation of over a million people in the wilderness by sending quail and manna for them to eat. … When David wrapped himself up in the facts of Who his God was and what His God could do, he could pray with confidence “For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble.” HIDING IN GOD David found confidence and protection from his enemies. That is the same God that we have too. Our enemies and oppressors are no greater than those that attacked David. Be confident in God’s promise to guard and keep you too. He has done it in the past for his people. He will do it for you as well because God’s promise to you is “If you make the Most High your dwelling...then no harm will befall you...for He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways. .” (Psalm 919-11)
II. For Salvation David certainly was oppressed by physical enemies in his life. Yet, it was the spiritual enemies that were even more dangerous. He knew what it was like to be tormented and oppressed by power, by guilt, by lust, by laziness. He had been there and done that. He was no stranger to sin. He knew how dangerous sin was. In V1 O Lord, hear my prayer listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.”
Do you remember the story about David and Bathsheba? David, as king felt he could have whatever he wanted and what he wanted was the wife of one of his generals, Uriah. So he arranged to have this general “accidentally” killed in battle so that David could have his wife, Bathsheba. For over a year, David tried to live as though he had done nothing wrong. But he could not stand before God. He had tried to live outside of God’s mercy. It didn’t work. His conscience and God’s law had condemned him. In fact David said in Psalm 32 When I kept silent my bones wasted away...for day and night your hand was heavy on me: my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. (Psalm 32: 3,4)
While being oppressed by other people can be a great burden and in some parts of the world, religious oppression can even be life threatening there are even more dangerous enemies than physical oppression. Satan certainly is one of them. The world around us is another as it threatens and entices us. Living as a Christian in a non-Christian world is not easy. When was the last time you noticed that TV shows were getting more moral and less offensive toward Christian values? Or when was the last time that our so called “freedoms” in this country have made it easier live your faith? Those are attacks on our God and our faith.
Our own sinful tendencies can oppress us too. We know God’s laws were not spoken only for everyone else. They were given for you and for me also. The reflection of ourselves that we see when we look into the mirror of God’s ten commandments isn’t very eye appealing. If our sins showed up like measles or chickenpox we would be red with sores covering our entire body.
Sometimes it is our own bad choices that get us into trouble in the first place. The person who has “just one more” drink and then gets behind the wheel and is the cause of a serious accident is responsible for that poor choice. The person who knows he has a problem with lust or with his words and then jumps on that runaway “train” anyway is still guilty before God. Our sinful choices are not only followed by consequences but also by tormenting guilt when the conscience says “You promised yourself you wouldn’t do that again. You know it is wrong and sinful but you did it anyway. You’re going to have to pay for that one yourself!
Where do you run to get away from guilt? The answer is not to try to cover up your guilt by ignoring your sin or to get involved in more sinful situations. In faith, King David encourages us to HIDE IN GOD. “O Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy: in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief.” In his sin, he did not hide FROM God but rather hid IN God because his God was the LORD.
It is the Lord that we also cry to for mercy. That name LORD, is loaded with meaning. It means the Covenant God, the God who promised to Abraham “I will be your God and you will be my people”. The Lord is the God who promised to save His people from their sins by sacrificing His only Son. The Lord is the God who is faithful to His promises so David and we can depend on Him. He forgives our sins, covers them, wipes them out so times of refreshing come to us…
God is firm and trustworthy. He does not waiver in keeping His promises. St. Peter put it like this “Salvation is found in no one else for there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved”. Or to put it another way, Jesus is the only way For Salvation. In the face of your own sinfulness, don’t run FROM God, run TO Him. Throw yourself into His loving, forgiving arms for your salvation.
III. For Direction We need to notice one last message of our Psalm this morning. After Hiding In God to get protection and salvation David also says he HIDES IN GOD For Direction in his life.. V8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul...10 Teach me to do you will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Hiding in God doesn’t me that once you have been blessed with forgiveness and protection you shut yourself up in a church and never peek out again. It means you stay close to Him as you live your life in the here and now. But how you live your life has been changed. Instead of living for self you live for Him who was selfless.
We look to our Savior God for direction in life. We find that direction from His Word. For example, Galatians 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Do you remember the wrist bands popular a few years ago - the WWJD ones? They stood for what would Jesus do. That is an excellent question to ask yourself as long as you aren’t trying to do in order to get. Our doing is done in order to praise God. Our doing is a response to who we are and what God has done for us. We love Him because He first loved us. The blessings we receive by Hiding in God lead us to love and speak and do and think for God. In order to walk down the right path, we must know. That is where the Bible comes into our lives. When we HIDE IN GOD we stay close to His message of love. We surround ourselves with His forgiveness as we celebrate Lord’s Supper with fellow believers. We received encouragement as we learn and grow and are guided by God’s Word.
There are many enemies out there in the big wide wicked world, the greatest of which you and I cannot even see. Satan and our own sinful desires want to attack and persecute us. Psalm 143 is a great place to turn when you are feeling oppressed. It is a handbook for a Christian’s life which centers around the encouragement to HIDE IN GOD. When you stay close to Him and His Word, you will find what you need the most in the face of oppression - protection, salvation and direction for your life here and your life to come. Amen.
Timaeus’ son never amounted to much.
To be fair it wasn’t his fault. He’d been blind for years. Without his sight, he couldn’t do much.
He couldn’t catch fish.
He couldn’t count money.
He couldn’t read Scriptures or make chairs.
He could only beg. For years, he had been setting up shop on the side of the road. He’d lean against a tree trunk. He’d lift his eyes up towards the road. He’d listen. And when he heard people coming, he’d shout:
Help! Help me! Some money. Some food. Some anything. Help me.
He was helpless.
As a lifelong blind beggar, Bartimaeus grew more hopeful when he heard certain voices approaching. The short, abrupt voices weren’t very kind. He barely received anything other than “get-a-job” pleasantries from them. But other voices, kinder voices, jovial voices would find some way to help him—a coin, a sandwich, a few pieces of beef jerky. In fact, that was so common that when he heard a voice like this he would sit up a bit taller, hold his hand out a bit longer, and wait a bit happier.
But on this particular day, as he sat in the glistening sun – his muscles growing tired from holding his palm out – he heard a voice that was different. A voice that was kind. A voice that was powerful. A voice that was divine.
Could this be Jesus? He had heard of him. His words. His thoughts. His miracles.
As the hubbub of the teacher’s group grew closer, the man pulled himself up with a tree branch and shouted out as loudly as he could:
Jesus! Have mercy on me. Jesus have mercy on me!
Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me!
Finally, his shouts quiet the crowd around him. After a few moments of silence, so quiet that he could feel the stares of everyone around looking at him, he heard that divine voice speak:
What would you like me to do for you?
As much money as he could muster.
Maybe Jesus could hook him up with a job.
I’d like to see.
The request shocked the crowd.
The request shocked the man.
How could he ask that? How could Jesus do that? How could he expect that?
But the silence was interrupted by footsteps.
Jesus walked over.
He put his hands on his eyes.
And…Bartimaeus saw something that he had never seen before.
Jesus had done it again. Jesus had helped the helpless.
That’s what Jesus does. And today we’re going to be reminded of that in a wonderful Psalm that’s tailor made for you when you’re feeling helpless. Our goal is to see just why God is the perfect one to turn to when you need help. As always before we delve in, let’s say a prayer and ask God to bless us: O Lord, strengthen us by the truth, your Word is truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; open our ears to hear what you want us to hear; open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. Lift Up Your Eyes
Psalm 121 is all about a guy who needs help. He’s, in fact, helpless. We don’t know the situation that he’s in. Is he months behind on the mortgage? Did he have a knock down drag out fight with his wife? Did he just find out that he has leukemia? Is he in danger of losing his job at work? We’re not told. Perhaps that’s for the best – it makes it very easy to insert whatever helpless feeling situation that you find yourself in.
Look at verse 1. He says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?” In that verse you get a semblance of how he’s feeling. He’s lifting up his eyes – the impression is that he’s in a very lowly place or at least feels very lowly. He’s sullen. He’s down in the dumps. He’s feeling very much like he’s fallen and he can’t get up.
This all leads up to a very important question that he ponders deep within his soul: Where does my help come from?
Before we any farther – to help us apply this to ourselves – we’ve got to ask ourselves the same thing. (And so) I’m going to ask you to the same thing:
Where does your help come from?
Of course, we’re in church. You might have a hunch that the right answer is God. You might have looked ahead in the Psalm and seen that the Psalmist’s answer is God. So, you might want to knock that softball Sunday School question out of the park and answer, “GOD! My help comes from God. Now, where’s my gold star?”
But just because you know that you should go to someone for help, doesn’t mean that you actually go to someone for help.
Who do you go to for help? Think about it.
• When you find out your behind at rent, do you pray to God for help OR do you start by making a list of all the ways that you can solve this on your own?
• When you get in a fight with your spouse, do you open up a Bible for guidance or do you try to fix it on your own?
• When you find out that there’s a problem at work, do you send your boss an email, “I’ll get to work on it right now, but praying for God’s blessings on this project.” ?
• When you have a health scare, do you look for the best doctor who uses the best medicine and works at the best facility but forget all about looking at THE best Doctor, who uses THE best medicine and works at THE best facility?
It’s sad, huh? We know where our help should come from. But that doesn’t mean that’s where we actually go to for help.
But that’s so foolish! Because when you’re on the ground, as low as you can go, and you only look down – you won’t find any help! The worm can’t lift you up. The piece of grass won’t offer words of comfort. The snail doesn’t have a helping hand to extend – he doesn’t even have hands.
If you’re feeling lowly and you keep your eyes on an earthly level, you won’t find the help you need.
Which will cause you to feel like no one can help you.
Which will leave you feeling helpless.
Which means our feelings of helplessness are because of a lack of help, but a lack of looking in the right place.
It’s a lack of looking up!
II. The Help Up There
Because look at the help that’s there when you look up. Verses 2-8 say it so beautifully. Listen to the description of your Helper in its entirety.
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip--
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
(1) A Universe Maker
Check out what verse 2 says:
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip--
Notice it doesn’t say that my help comes from my dog. It doesn’t say my help comes from a three-year-old kid. It doesn’t even say my help comes from Steve Urkel. Our help comes from the LORD! He’s no weakling. He’s not unable to help. He’s the Maker of heaven and earth.
We’ve got to take a break from our evolution, there is no god, the world evolved over billions of years society to properly understand just how powerful the maker of Heaven and earth is. Because our science books have such a grip on us that we forget that whole evolution thing is nothing more than a THEORY. Not a fact. Not a video recorded truth. A Theory.
And as a result, Christians have just melded God into that theory…as if God caused a big bang and then it took billions of years for him to accomplish the world that we have today. That’s cool—kinda—but it means that the power isn’t that incredible or instantaneous. That’s like someone solving a Sudoku after working on it for a year and a half. I guess that’s impressive?
But this billion-year evolution is not what the Bible says.
It’s not what God says.
It’s not what Jesus, the guy who died and came back to life – the guy that we trust with our salvation – says:
The Bible describes God creating the world in six, 24 hour days. That’s amazing. Stop and think of the logistics. It means that God spoke and mountains surged forth from the ground. God spoke again and waterfalls rushed into an incredible ocean. God spoke again and fully grown, seed bearing trees formed from Asheville to the Outer Banks. God spoke one more time and whales, elephants, lions, tigers and bears did whatever he wanted them to do!
That’s your God. Almighty. Powerful. That’s the one who is your help! The maker of heaven and earth!
Do you think helping you out of debt is really that hard?
Do you think healing a disease is all that difficult?
Do you think you think repairing a relationship is beyond him?
Do you really think the one holding up the stars and moon and Jupiter and those new planets just discovered outside our galaxy is able to let you slip?
(2) An Eternal No-Dozer
Because what good would this divine Creator be to you if he was asleep? That’s like a kid wanting some help with his homework but finding dad asleep on the couch. Not that sleep is bad; it’s just that sleep isn’t very helpful.
And everyone sleeps. Your doctor. Your dentist. Your car mechanic. They all sleep. All of our helpers sleep.
3 --- he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
He will never be too tired to help you out.
He will never be so groggy that he doesn’t notice you’re in need.
He will never be so far passed out that he doesn’t answer your prayers.
God doesn’t slumber.
God doesn’t sleep.
God doesn’t stop being ready to help you.
(3) Your Sunscreen
Ok. It doesn’t exactly say sunscreen and I don’t mean to imply that God can be found in a bottle at the local store. But look at what Verses 5-6 describe:
5 The Lord watches over you--
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
Because what does shade do? It keeps you out of the hot sun. When it’s 110 degrees and you’re hot and you’re sweaty and you’re tired and your skin is starting to ache as you slowly turn into a lobster, the shade of a tree is one of the best things you can find! It’s cool. It’s relaxing. It keeps you protecting from the danger of the sun.
He protects from the harmful burns of the devil.
He comforts us with His promises of protection.
He stops the harsh rays of guilt from destroying our souls.
He cools us down from the stress of life as he says, “Peace. I’ve got this. You’ll be ok. I love you.”
(4) A Keeper from All Harm
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm--
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
Which is a wonderful thought. But as you’re seeing this, maybe you’re thinking, “That’s not entirely true. If there was no harm, then I wouldn’t be feeling helpless. If he was watching over all the time – then what about last Thursday at 5:15pm when that awful thing happened?! Does he really keep from all harm?”
That’s a matter of perspective, isn’t it?
It’s like one of those pictures that seems like one thing until you turn it 90 degrees and then it looks like something different. There’s one famous picture of a duck until you turn it to its side and it looks like a rabbit. Different perspectives = different thoughts = same picture.
It’s the same thing with God. You and I look at it and we might think: This is no good. This is awful. This is harm!
But God looks at it and says:
This will cause you to look up for help.
This will cause you to rely on me like never before.
This will cause you to remain in faith until I bring you home to heaven.
That’s not harm.
That’s why we look up.
Because up is where the mountains are.
Because up is where our help is.
Because up is where our help is on a mountain.
It was dark.
It was sad.
It was bloody.
There hung Jesus. Losing blood. Running out of breath. Slowly dying. Looking like he needed help!
But he didn’t.
In fact, he wasn’t in need of help, he was up there because you were in need of help.
You were completely covered in sin.
You were deserving of eternal death.
You were without a way of helping yourself.
But on that cross Your Help reached out.
On that cross, the Maker of Heaven and Earth– created something new – a way for you to get to eternal life.
On that cross, the one who never slumbers or sleeps – remained awake until every last sin of yours was paid for.
On that cross, your shade in the day and in the night – was also your shade from sin, death, and hell.
On that cross, the one who protects you from all harm -- protected you from harm.
And he will do that. Always.
Just keep looking up. Your Help comes from the Lord.
The pharmacy aisle in the grocery story can be a confusing mess.
Julianna was sick last week. The virus sponges got to her. So, I was at Walgreens looking at medicine for a flu.
Problems is: There’s no such thing as just flu medicine. There’s medicine for the runny nose. Medicine for the stuffy nose. Medicine for the runny and stuffy nose. Medicine for a cough. Medicine for a hoarse cough. Medicine for a mild cough – for chills, for fever, for sneezes, for wheezes, for sore throat, for upset tummy, for high fever, for low fever, for nighttime, for daytime, for midday time – and for just about any of these countless combinations.
It’s hard to know which you need to treat your specific symptoms!
Today, we’re starting our series called Psalms of Lent. It’s a series based on Psalms – and we’re doing it in Lent. But it’s more than that. The Psalms are a collection of 150 God-inspired poems. They were often used as songs for worship. Some of the most well-known verses of the Bible comes from the Psalms.
Over the next five weeks, we want to look at five Psalms that specifically address 5 spiritual symptoms that you might be going through as we go through the Lenten season. Hopefully you familiarize yourself with them and keep them on hand when you are experiencing the very symptoms that these Psalms describe.
As always before we delve in, let’s say a prayer and ask God to bless us: O Lord, strengthen us by the truth, your Word is truth. Open our eyes to see what you want us to see; open our ears to hear what you want us to hear; open our hearts to believe what you would have us believe. Amen.
I. Reasons to Avoid Temptation
The Psalm we’re going to start with is Psalm 1 – the very first Psalm. As you’re paging to Psalm 1, a few notes: Psalms consists of 5 books. Mini-books, if you will. Each book is a collection of Psalms. (Think of it like sequels – Book One: A New Hope; Book Two: God’s Word Strikes Back; Book Three: Return of the Psalmist.) Now the Psalms in each book are often linked and arranged by authorship. That’s why many think Psalm 1 is probably written by King David. Most of the Psalms in book one of the Psalms were written by King David. Since this Psalm is next to other Davidic Psalms, a Psalm of David would be a pretty good bet.
The content of Psalm 1 would make a lot of sense then. It’s all about Temptation. Temptation is something that David knew well. Throughout his historic and well-written career as king of Israel, he had moments of following God’s Word and moments of following himself. Moments of Trusting God (see: defeating a giant named Goliath) and moments of trusting his own urges (see: luring a bathing woman up to his room to have sex with her.)
Whether it is David or not – Psalm 1 is a very important Psalm. It succinctly and efficiently offers encouragement to flee temptation and to follow God.
(1) Temptation Leaves You Unhappy
Look at verses 1-2.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
Or stand in the way that sinners take
Or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD
And who meditates on his law, day and night.
The Hebrew word “blessed” simply means “happy.” “Happy” is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked. "Happy" is the one who doesn’t stand in the path of sinners. "Happy" is the one who doesn’t sit amongst mockers. And you are all nodding your heads. This makes sense while we’re in church.
But it doesn’t always make sense, does it?
Pretend it’s Friday afternoon. You’ve finished all your work. Your desk is cleaned up. Your laptop is packed. You are ready to leave work, pick up your spouse, and head out to catch the show with the tickets you bought months ago!
Then, the boss pokes his head into your office: “I’m gonna need you to stay and finish the report I was working on. I’ve got a plane to catch for my trip to Hawaii.”
God’s Word might not make you very happy at that moment. God’s Word says, “Be gentle.” God’s Word says, “Listen to your boss.” God’s Word says, “Don’t gossip.” But at that exact moment you want to do the opposite of all those things! It might make you happier to call him names. It might make you happier to vent on Facebook. It might make you happier to simply leave work and not do anything he says ever again. It might make you happier to find his picture on the company website on his desk and draw a moustache on it with Microsoft Paint.
But next week Monday when you’ve got a pink slip on your desk and you don’t have a job anymore and you don’t have money to support your family anymore and there’s all kinds of long term stress in your life now...It might not be so happy.
There’s a reason we translate blessed as blessed as opposed to happy. Happy is a temporary word. Blessed is a long-term word. Blessed leads to long-term happiness, long-term, spiritual happiness.
There is no guilt.
There are better relationships with your family.
There are better relationships with your friends.
There’s a better relationship with your God.
Long term spiritual happiness is given to those who love to follow God’s Word.
Long term spiritual happiness does not come to those who follow temptation.
Keep that in mind the next time that you are tempted:
This temptation cannot bring you long term spiritual happiness.
Temptation can only bring you long term spiritual unhappiness.
Which is precisely why God wants me to avoid it.
(2) Your Spiritual Fruit Withers
How so? Psalm 1 explains by using an awesome illustration in verse 3:
The blessed person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither
—whatever they do prospers.
If you walk alongside church right now you’ll notice these little black, mechanical, robot looking things. They aren’t robots. They are sprinkler heads. Now that we’re entering the spring season – we’ll be getting plenty of sun. The sprinkler heads are a part of an irrigation system that gives the plants the necessary water in addition to the sun they have been receiving. Without it – and if the watering of the plants was up to me – the plants would probably die. They wouldn’t get enough water. I’d forget.
Of course, in the Old Testament, irrigation systems were a bit different. People would dig trenches from the edge of a river leading to the area with their crops. From there, they’d take buckets and water their crops.
But they didn’t need to do that near the river’s edge. How come? The water from the river naturally soaked into the dry ground on either side of it. The plants and trees growing near the water’s edge – got all the water they needed. They were extremely healthy.
It’s the same thing with the one who plants themselves near God’s Word. When they do so, they have planted themselves near the nourishment needed to keep a healthy faith.
They are planted near the promises of God’s love.
The roots of faith drink in the mercy of God’s grace.
The water of life provides all the nutrients needed to be exactly what God wants them to be.
They yield fruit – the exact fruit that God desires – the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
That sounds nice.
Unfortunately, the reverse is also true.
The farther you get away from the water; the less healthy a plant is.
The farther you get away from God’s Word; the less healthy your spiritual fruit is.
In fact, if you stopped watering a plant and only sprayed Weed B’ Gone on it – the only thing that plant is doing is dying. Quickly. That’s what it’s like to get apart from God’s Word and get into temptation. You’re only feeding your life with sin after sin after sin.
Your fruit will wither.
Peace is replaced with hostility because -- What I did wasn’t that bad.
Joy is replaced with guilt because -- What I did was that bad.
Love is replaced with hatred -- especially with that guy over there who is trying to judge me!
Gentleness, goodness, and self-control are replaced with harshness, badness and a complete lack of self-control.
The good fruit God had in mind for you – withers.
The last reason to stay away from temptation is simple and also extremely intimidating. Look at verses 4-6:
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
This section compares those who follow temptation to chaff. Do you know what chaff is? It’s the unimportant, light, worthless part of a wheat stalk. The part that doesn’t get made into bread. The part that doesn’t become flour. The part that doesn’t help to nourish and feed a family.
Chaff is the part that blows in the wind.
It’s the part that the farmer walks all over.
It’s the part that is completely and utterly worthless.
That’s the wicked. That’s those who follow temptation to wicked things.
They fly back and forth doing whatever pleases them—whatever wave of modern thought comes next – that’s the way the wicked go.
The result? Since they can’t stand up to temptation – they won’t stand before God.
They’ll fall flat on their back as God stands over them with eyes of fire and judgment ready to destroy them.
And that’s the final result of sin…destruction.
It’s true. Maybe you know?
Sin destroys relationships.
Sin destroys health.
Sin destroys mental health.
Sin destroys peace with God.
Sin destroys eternity.
It’s a scary reason, but a big reason to avoid temptation – it leads to destruction.
II. Are You in Danger?
Of course, you might be thinking: “Pastor, I appreciate all of this advice, but I don’t know that it applies to me. I don’t do a lot with the wicked. I don’t eat at the Waffle House each Tuesday morning with a group of Terrorists nor have I played Scrabble with a porn production crew. This sermon would be better preached to those out there not me in here.”
Just to be sure there’s not a disconnect on another word in this Psalm, let’s break apart the word -- “wicked.”
To humans us “wicked” usually means “the really bad people -- the other people –the people who do the sins that I would never do.”
But to God? To God – wicked means, “sinner.”
As in any sin.
As in any size.
As in falling to any temptation.
Look at what God’s Word says again, “Blessed is the one who doesn’t walk with the wicked nor stand in the way of sinners nor sit in the seat of mockers.” (v.1) This line of three is a key part of Hebrew poetry. A thought is repeated three times – three ways – for emphasis to clearly and completely draw out the truth that is trying to be made.
The truth that’s being made here? Those who are wicked…or mock...or sin are not blessed.
And those who stay influenced to sin by those who sin are not blessed.
It means if you walking with that group at work who tells dirty jokes about God’s gift of sex - you aren’t blessed.
It means if you stand in the back, nodding your head as your family says racist things about a group of people – you aren’t blessed.
It means if you sit at that fellowship table after church and participate in the gossip about WHO did WHAT and WHEN – you aren’t blessed.
And if you have a temptation that you’ve been following, then everything that we’ve just mentioned is happening to you!
You can’t know true happiness.
Your spiritual fruit is withering.
You’re on the path to destruction.
III. Follow Something (or someone) Else
One more word study. Verse 2 says this:
Blessed is the One...whose delight is in the law of the LORD
And who meditates on his law, day and night.
The word for Law in the Hebrew is Torah. But it also has another meaning, “Word.” This makes a lot of sense. God’s Word contains his law – things that he says. Universal truths that he enforces.
Which is huge.
Because God’s Word contains more than simply “to-dos” and “not-to-dos”. It contains Jesus Christ. The only one who completely and utterly defeated temptation.
We hear about it in Matthew 4:
Jesus has been in the desert.
He hasn’t eaten anything for 40 days.
He’s going through all the things that that tend to make us easy prey for temptation.
Now he’s on top of a mountain.
The devil shows up.
He glides over to Jesus.
He leans in.
His tongue speaks sweetly.
You think this is hard?
Wait till the next part of your journey.
God wants you to suffer.
He wants you to be crucified.
He wants you to die.
That sounds awful.
Tell you what – I’ll give you everything you’ve ever wanted.
Everything your eyes can see!
Only – stop worshipping your Father.
Bow down and worship me.
You’ll be happier.
You’ll be stronger.
You’ll prevent your destruction.
Just do it.
Jesus turns his head.
His energy returns.
He glares at the devil and speaks with authority. “Away from me Satan. It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.” (Lk. 4:8)
And good thing Jesus did.
That time and every time.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says this, “God made him who had no sin, to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Understand what this means --
Because Jesus lived apart from sin – he was able to offer his life for ours.
Because he died on the cross – he suffered the destruction for falling to temptation that we deserved.
Because he rose from the dead – he offers to you the perfect life that he lived.
In other words:
If you have fallen to temptation, turn to Jesus.
In him is full forgiveness.
That’s why staying planted by his Word is so – completely and absolutely important!
Because in God’s Word we hear about Jesus.
In God’s Word – we are nourished by God’s forgiveness.
One final blessing. Read verse 6 again:
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous.
There’s no one better to have on your side as you fight temptation.
There’s no one else who sees all of your struggles.
There’s no one else who sees all of your temptations.
There’s no one else who can offer temptation defeating power like our Lord Christ Jesus.
Over the course of Lent, we’re going to get a crash course on prayer from Jesus himself. We’ll be breaking part some of the most well-known words in the Bible – the words of the Lord’s Prayer. Tonight, we’ll be looking at the words of the 2nd Request in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy Kingdom Come.” Our goal is to better understand exactly what we’re praying for with that phrase.
I. What’s the Kingdom of God?
A good place to start is to identify what the kingdom of God is. Because if you don’t know what it is, you don’t know what you’re asking for and why would you ask for it?
And that’s what was driving the Pharisees nuts! Beside talking about it in the Lord’s Prayer, they had heard Jesus repeatedly shout: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
But what did it mean?
The number one idea of what this meant was a political kingdom. Follow the logic:
(1) Jesus claimed to be the Messiah
(2) The Jews understood the Messiah to set up a Jewish political power
(3) Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God.
(4) The Kingdom of God must mean a Jewish return to being a world power.
There’s a similar hope among Christians in America. The hope is that the Kingdom of God will be the time that Jesus ushers in a Christian utopia as the most powerful country on the planet. A Christian President, Christian Congress, and Christians on the Supreme Court.
But if that’s what Jesus meant, his words seem foolish…
Are we getting more Christian in America?
The words seemed foolish to the Pharisees too. They didn’t see Jesus gathering an army. His rag tag bunch of fishermen, accountants and political zealots weren’t exactly secret service. He hadn’t set a date nor handed out propaganda with a picture of Jesus pointing that said, “We want you!” There wasn’t any indication of a coup that would overthrow the Romans.
So they asked Jesus, “When is this kingdom going to come?”
Listen to Jesus’ response, “The Kingdom of God does not come visibly, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the Kingdom of God is within you.”
It’s not political.
It’s not social.
It’s not physical.
It’s not found anywhere on Google maps!
The Kingdom of God is in your heart.
II. How Does it Come?
If the kingdom of God is spiritual and invisible, that doesn’t mean it’s not true. God does all kinds of things that are spiritual and invisible. But it does cause us to ask the next question: How does it come? Or how will God build this kingdom?
Again – the Pharisees were convinced that they were already a part of the spiritual kingdom of God.
Because they did awesome thing.
They fasted more than any of the other Jewish people in their towns.
They put oil on their face so people would pay attention to the fact they were fasting.
They didn’t eat oysters or bacon -- things that were outlawed in the Kingdom of God.
They thought they were a part of God’s Kingdom because of the outward things that they did.
But Romans 14:17 says this, "The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy...”
The kingdom of God comes with righteousness.
The kingdom of God comes with “Without-sin-ness.”
The kingdom of God comes when you have complete peace with God.
The kingdom of God comes with joy that you and God are allies.
So…Are you in the kingdom of God?
Are you righteous?
Are you at complete peace with God?
Are you filled with joy because you are that connected to him?
Or do you struggle to separate yourself from sin?
Do you fail day after day to stop doing that one sin that you struggle with?
Do you feel the hostility of not doing what God says?
Do you find yourself attached to guilt from something that you did years ago?
Those are not things of the kingdom of God.
But take heart. Look at Romans 14 again:
The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
That’s an important phrase. It reminds us of the truth – that if we try to enter the kingdom of God by eating or drinking or fasting or praying or tithing or giving or serving at church or soup suppering or doing any kind of "Christian" thing to impress God, it will not work.
It will be tainted by sin.
We will never have the money required for down payment in his kingdom.
Our eternal visa will. Be. Denied.
We’re really bad at building ourselves into God’s kingdom.
But the Holy Spirit?
He’s the best eternal contractor that there is.
The Holy Spirit introduces us to the perfect housing program – Jesus Christ who gives us his righteousness -- the going rate for a house in God’s kingdom.
The Holy Spirit gives us peace -- the peace of knowing that our property deed has been signed on the dotted line with the eternal, unalterable blood of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit brings us joy – joy that looks out the windows of God’s Kingdom and sees the streets of forgiveness, lined with trees of life, and budding with the fruits of the Spirit.
God’s kingdom comes because of the work of the Holy Spirit. But He doesn’t work with bulldozers and 40 foot cranes. He works with God’s Word. He uses it to break ground on unsettled land. He set the foundation of Jesus Christ on our hearts. He carefully builds and effectively constructs with the Word of God.
Are you a part of his kingdom?
Is Jesus in your heart?
Do you believe that Jesus is your Savior?
You are in his Kingdom.
III. Why Keep Praying This?
If I’m already a part of the kingdom of God, why did I keep praying for God’s kingdom to come? Let’s go to God’s Word for two reasons:
(1) So You Aren’t Evicted
Look at what Peter writes, “Be on your guard so that you may not fall from your secure position.” (2 Pt. 3:17) The implication? You can certainly ruin your part in the Kingdom of God. You can certainly forfeit the righteousness that you need to remain in his Kingdom. This is greater than sin. This is great than making a mistake.
This is throwing away the payment Jesus made.
It’s destroying the foundation that you have in Jesus.
It’s refusing to do any building or maintenance on your faith until it gets old and dusty like that house on your street with the long lawn and the broken shutters.
Eviction comes from falling from faith.
Falling from faith comes from not doing any maintenance.
Maintenance is done in God’s word.
Don’t get deported.
Get into God’s Word.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
In God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will reinforce the walls of your house in his kingdom.
He installs security systems to keep the devil out.
He paints over all the inefficiencies and gives us a beautiful makeover as we live our lives for Jesus.
(2) A Second Answer
But this prayer isn’t just for us alone. Look at what Jesus says in John 10:16, “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice.”
Jesus wasn’t a shepherd – he was a carpenter.
He didn’t have any pets. Not a goldfish, not a dog, not even a sheep.
But he did call himself the Good Shepherd.
He did call his followers his sheep.
Here is saying that there are others sheep that aren’t his sheep yet that he needs to bring into his Kingdom.
In other words – Jesus wants unbelievers to become believers and join him in His Kingdom.
That’s what we’re praying in this petition. That God keeps building condos, apartments, and four story houses for people to dwell in his Kingdom.
It means this prayer is very important.
This prayer is for the people that you love.
This prayer is for your atheist neighbor.
This prayer is for your transgendered coworker.
This prayer is for your Buddhist cousin.
This prayer is for your complacent spouse.
This prayer is for me.
This prayer is for each other.
This prayer is for you.
That God would construct a house in our hearts and maintains that dwelling that we may live permanently in the Kingdom of God.