Summary: Entrust Your Soul to the Lord 1) Because he rescues from enemies; 2) Because he forgives; 3) Because he guides
I have a family heirloom here that I want to entrust to someone for safekeeping. It doesn’t look like much but it is valuable to me. It’s a hat that my great-uncle wore. I’m proud of my great-uncle because he was our synod’s first resident missionary to Zambia, Africa and influenced greatly all those whom he met. In fact many of his parishioners in Africa named their children after him. This hat is one of the few things I have to remember Great-uncle Albert. So whom do you think would be a good choice to care for this hat? Should I give it to one of the babies here? No, probably not. After munching on it they would drop it for a more exciting “toy.” Should I entrust it to one of the Sunday School children? I’m not so sure about that either. I’m afraid you’d get bored holding this hat and would start tossing it around like a Frisbee. The best person to care for this hat is not here. That person is my father, someone who has the same, if not greater interest, in my great-uncle as I do.
This hat of course is not the most valuable thing I own. The most valuable thing I have, as well as you have, is a soul. Our soul is valuable because it’s the one thing we own that will never wear out (this is not to deny the resurrection of the body which, having been transformed on the Last Day, will endure forever). That’s both good news and bad news. Good news if your soul is bound for the eternal joys of heaven. Bad news if your soul ends up in the eternal fires of hell. Since heaven or hell is where your soul will end up one day, to whom will you entrust it for safekeeping? Should you attempt to care for your soul on your own? No. That’s not a good idea, not even with the aid of the latest self-help books. Instead, King David urges us to entrust our soul to the Lord. Why? Because he rescues from enemies, he forgives, and he guides.
David gets right to the matter of things when he sang in the first two verses of our text: “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; 2 in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me” (Psalm 25:1, 2). The first reason to entrust our soul to the Lord is because we have enemies. David doesn’t tell us what enemies he was facing at the time he wrote this psalm but we do know that some of his toughest enemies came from those closest to him. Remember how David was repaid for his service to King Saul? He was hunted the way you and I would hunt a rat in our house. Or remember how David’s son Absalom rebelled, forcing David into a humiliating flight from his palace in Jerusalem?
The toughest enemies we face also often come from those closest to us. It hurts deeply when a child doesn’t return the love we showed them from birth, or when a marriage crumbles and the one who promised to care for us seems the one most out to get us. Perhaps this morning you feel the way David did when he wrote: “I am lonely and afflicted. 17 The troubles of my heart have multiplied [lit. “Distresses make room for themselves in my heart”] (Psalm 25:16b, 17a).
How do you deal with those feelings and with the enemies that cause them? David knew how. He said: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25:15). That’s an interesting way to deal with a problem isn’t it? If you’re walking through the woods and your foot gets caught in an animal trap, wouldn’t you look down at the contraption clamped tightly on your ankle to see how you remove it? Though David felt as if he was caught in a snare he kept his eyes fixed on the Lord, not the problem. Why? Because he knew that it was only the Lord who could rescue him from his enemies. Remember how we expressed this truth in a sermon about the Roman centurion a month ago? We said: “Maximize the Lord and minimize the problem.” So often we do the opposite. We minimize the Lord and end up maximizing the problem.
This is not to say we can close our eyes to the problem. Attend to the matter but as you do don’t take your eyes off the Lord because in time he will rescue you – guaranteed! The Apostle Paul put it this way for Thessalonian Christians who were being persecuted for their faith: “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8). I don’t share this passage so that you rub your hands together in glee at the thought of your enemies being punished. The point is God will deal with our enemies so we don’t have to. We don’t even have to hold grudges against them, nor are we to do so. God sees what those enemies are doing to us and he will mete out justice in his own time and in his own way. We are to love our enemies knowing that God loves us and is looking after us.