Summary: Part 11 in a Sermon Series through the 119th Psalm
Darkest Before the Dawn
Sermon Series: A Word about the Word
Date: May 25, 2003
Place: Allendale Baptist
Text: Psalms 119:81-88
In this section of the 119th Psalm, seems to be the darkest time during the psalmists writing. We are not told exactly what it is; pressure and persecution from within or possibly the outside world. Maybe a time of great discouragement and disappointment.
We hear in this section is the psalmist pouring his heart out before God.
It seems as if we can hear him crying out; “God why are you not hearing my prayers?” or “Why have you forgotten me?”
He feels as if he is all alone.
If you and I were honest with ourselves and with God, we would say each and every one of us have been there.
Many think that the writer is King David, some say Daniel or even Moses. The writer makes no specific identification of himself. To us as Christians this is good news. It means we can put our name on it; we can claim it. We can say this is my psalm.
As someone said we may not know who wrote it, but we know who is in the process of experiencing it- we are.
Some of us are walking through the most difficult times in our lives at this present moment; this is your psalm.
The psalmist is really up against it. He cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, or the positive side until he comes to the last verse of the section when he says, “Quicken me after Thy loving-kindness; so shall I keep the testimonies of Thy mouth.”
But in the first verse of the next section is probably one of the most encouraging verses of the Bible.
“Forever, O Lord, Thy word is settled in heaven.”
This section is broken into two divisions and the conclusion that points to a desired change his wants in his life.
First of all he speaks of a…
I. Distorted Condition
We see two elements of his condition that are abnormal
A. Fainting v.81
1. “My soul fainteth for thy salvation; but I hope in Thy word.”
2. The psalmist is in dire straights and longs to see a moving and a working of God in his life.
a. Have you ever been there?
b. Desperate to see God show up.
3. There are various types of salvation referred to in the Bible
a. Salvation from sin; from the penalty of sin; from the power of sin. A salvation that saves. It is the predominate and greatest kind of salvation.
b. But the Bible also speaks of salvation from suffering; salvation from sorrow; and salvation from circumstances.
4. This is the salvation the psalmist is crying out for.
Have you ever played that game of trust and hope, where you face away from the person and fall back and hope that the person will be faithful enough to catch you?
5. This is the picture the psalmist paints for us.
6. He has no other hope, but his hope in God’s unfailing Word.
7. If you are looking for a sure thing; here’s the only one. God’s Word.
Next notice the …
B. Failing v. 83
“Mine eyes fail for thy Word, saying, when wilt Thou comfort me? For I am like a bottle in the smoke; yet I do not forget Thy statutes.”
1. Have you ever seen a bottle that has been filled with smoke?
a. It becomes blackened with soot, dried and parched.
b. It begins to smell like smoke.
c. It may have set so long that when something is poured into it tastes like smoke.
2. The psalmist is comparing himself to this bottle.
3. Have you ever been to this place in your life you can read and reread the Word of God and it seems as if you cannot see anything?
4. Nothing seems to make sense.
5. I need to say this my dear friend, the good news of reading the Word of God, it is better than brushing your teeth.
a. When we read and stay in the Word of God it is doing its work whether or not you and I know it.
b. But he says; “…yet I do not forget Thy statutes.”
6. The problem with many of us when we run into that dry spell, where nothing seem to work we give up.
It must get better for the psalmist; not yet.
Now he talks about his…
II. Desperate Circumstances
1. v.84; “How many are the days of thy servant? When wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
2. Many of us have heard this statement; God answers prayer in three ways, yes, no and not now.