Summary: God works deep in our lives to transform our deepest sorrow into an abiding joy. David knew this, despite that fact that he was one messed-up fella, and despite that parts of his life stunk. What's the journey from wailing to dancing, from despair to joy?
Sermon for Church at the Mission – July 3, 2016
The live version of this sermon is here: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/26627107/posts/1077921147
In God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whether we're doing well or poorly, whether we're in deep despair or dancing on a mountain top, we have a wonderful Father. our Father in heaven. A heavenly Father Who is loving and caring, Who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, Who sympathizes with our weaknesses and our troubles, Who is in His very nature and character beautiful beyond all description.
In Jesus, God also knew weeping nights and joyful mornings.
King David, who wrote the Psalm that was just read, had a unique relationship with God.
Now, king David, whose life we explored on a recent Sunday, was no saint. Very far from it. He was a mess, as I talked about last time. But he was a mess who loved God.
Through the haze of his suffering, his sins, his legal offenses and his character weaknesses, David emerged as someone who truly and passionately loved God.
He understood what God revealed about Himself, He believed in God on God’s terms, and, to our benefit, he was a musician and poet who expressed his love for God in song.
The record of David’s songs is found in the Book of Psalms.
Today we’re looking at a Psalm that David wrote at the dedication of his palace. Some believe that David wrote this prophetically about the temple that his son, Solomon, was to build.
Either way, this was David’s heart toward God, the God that he knew and loved.
And as we look at the Psalm today, you might see yourself reflected in David’s words. You might connect with his understanding of God. I hope we all do.
David had a particular history, to do with the problems he faced with a loopy and vengeful King Saul, his adultery with Bathsheba, then murdering her husband.
He also had a terrible time when his son Absalom, tried to usurp his throne.
Those were the particulars of David’s life, the chaos he experienced either from the hands of others or his own hand.
Each person here has a history, perhaps not as dramatic as David, or perhaps more so.
But it’s not taking much of a risk to suggest that each of us here has found ourselves, at at least one point in our lives, in a mess - again either of our own making or due to someone else.
Some of us have been close to death, at least once. Some of us have been lost in our addictions, at least once. Some of us have been found in our own version of what the KJV calls “the miry clay”. That’s not a good place.
Elsewhere David said: “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay” (Psalm 40).
It is a place of despair, a place of loneliness, a place of darkness, a place of hopelessness and helplessness.
David said: 1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
I heard a story recently, at our Toastmasters Club meeting this week, of a woman who had been in the Philippines. She was walking in the forest and stepped into quicksand.
If you know quicksand you know that once you’re in it, you don’t get out of it. She found herself sinking, slowly but definitely. She desperately prayed to God that He would save her.
She saw a small plant whose branches were close enough for her to grab ahold of. She reached out to it and was able to pull herself to safety.
After getting out of the quicksand pit, which was a very rare occurrence, she went over to this hearty plant and lightly pulled at it, amazed that it had supported her weight as she hauled herself out of the pit.
The plant came out of the ground without difficulty. It was a common, weak little weed. What had happened? God had rescued her.
David loved to list the reasons for worshipping God. That’s a good thing for all of us to do. So he says in verse 1 directly to God that he will exalt him, which means to lift Him up, because David himself had been lifted up.
“God, you brought me from here to here (hand down low, move to waist level); so I will exalt you from here to here (hand at head-level, move to high stretch)”.
Now God did actually lift David from here to here. David’s worship wasn’t actually having that effect on God. God is who God is an is the Rock of Our Salvation. He doesn’t change.
But in David’s spirit he desired to lift up the name of God, his own perception of God was elevated as he realized and was able to appreciate the powerful ways that God had impacted his life.