Summary: God teaches us a valuable lesson that keeps our spirits going when we become discouraged from the pressures and persecutions of our Christian faith.
Encouragement for the Pursued
Prairie Baptist Church – 9/6/09
Text: Psalm 3
Key verse: Psalms 3:5-6 - 5I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustained me. 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
Premise: God teaches us a valuable lesson that keeps our spirits going when we become discouraged from the pressures and persecutions of our Christian faith.
Two men were walking through a field one day when they spotted an enraged bull. Instantly they darted toward the nearest fence. The storming bull followed in hot pursuit, and it was soon apparent they wouldn’t make it. Terrified, the one shouted to the other, "Put up a prayer, John. We’re in for it!" John answered, "I can’t. I’ve never made a public prayer in my life." "But you must!" implored his companion. "The bull is catching up to us." "All right," panted John, "I’ll say the only prayer I know, the one my father used to repeat at the table: ’O Lord, for what we are about to receive, make us truly thankful.’"
Sometimes we feel like that in our Christian life. When we are living our faith and people pursue us and persecute us for what we believe and how we live.
Hopefully, we stop and pray.
The fact is that, much like David, the opposition can become overwhelming.
It can come from places we didn’t expect.
It is like the patient who had this dialogue with his doctor:
Doctor to patient: “I have bad news and worse news.”
Patient: “So let’s have it.”
Doctor: “The bad news is that you only have 24 hours to live.”
Patient: “I can’t imagine what could be worse than that!”
Doctor: “I forgot to tell you yesterday.”
Before we begin, we need to understand something about the enemy or enemies:
For lack of anything better up front, we have three enemies that attack us constantly:
• The world – this is not only a world system and God voided philosophy but it is a godless, flesh and blood mankind bent on living without God and rejecting God’s authority.
• The flesh – That is not only this body, flesh, blood, and bone, but also our emotions and desires driven by a still very possessive and powerful sin nature.
• The devil – We know who he is and that he is a very powerful, deceptive and influential being who wreaks havoc and leaves behind him destroyed lives and unfulfilled promises.
The opposite is what we as Christians are wanting:
• Instead of the world – we want the influence of the Word, the heavenly proclamation of God’s love
• Instead of the flesh – we yearn for the spiritual and the Spirit led
• Instead of the devil – we want to only hear Jesus; we want to hear the voice of God.
1. A Problem That Persists – 3:1-2
2. A Protection That Is Personal – 3:3-4
3. A Peace That Pacifies – 3:5-6
4. A Petition That Is Positive – 3:7-8
What can we learn from David’s experience that will keep our spirits going when we become discouraged from the pressures and persecutions of our Christian faith.
1. The Enemies Tactics That Trouble – 3:1-2
A. David expresses his trouble to God:
i. David is pursued by his son, Absalom, who has deceived the people into following him
Absalom did this through flattery and promises – 2nd Sam. 15:1-6 - 1After this it happened that Absalom provided himself with chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. 2Now Absalom would rise early and stand beside the way to the gate. So it was, whenever anyone who had a lawsuit came to the king for a decision, that Absalom would call to him and say, “What city are you from?” And he would say, “Your servant is from such and such a tribe of Israel.” 3Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your case is good and right; but there is no deputy of the king to hear you.” 4Moreover Absalom would say, “Oh, that I were made judge in the land, and everyone who has any suit or cause would come to me; then I would give him justice.” 5And so it was, whenever anyone came near to bow down to him, that he would put out his hand and take him and kiss him. 6In this manner Absalom acted toward all Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.
ii. He is driven from the palace
iii. He is cursed at by embittered people – 2nd Sam. 16:5-8 - 5Now when King David came to Bahurim, there was a man from the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei the son of Gera, coming from there. He came out, cursing continuously as he came. 6And he threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David. And all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. 7Also Shimei said thus when he cursed: “Come out! Come out! You bloodthirsty man, you worthless man! 8The LORD has brought upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the LORD has delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom your son. So now you are caught in your own evil, because you are a bloodthirsty man!”