Summary: It's interesting how we view famous people or those in authority over us. We want them to be distinctively different from us and yet we long for them to be human enough that they're like us - we feel the same way towards God.
“Soul Talk: How Can I Ever Trust?”
It’s interesting how we view famous people or those in authority over us. We want them to be distinctively different from us and yet we long for them to be human enough that they’re like us – we want them to be removed from us and yet be our friend. We feel this way about ministers, presidents, famous athletes, and heroes. They must be different enough to earn our respect yet human and likeable enough that we are comfortable with them.
I believe we feel the same way towards God. We want God to be totally other – holier and more pure than we are; and yet we want him to relate to us as a dear friend so we can feel close to Him, so we can trust Him. And that’s alright – even Scripture holds this dual expectation. It’s within this perspective that we look this morning at the mind and heart of David, who was a servant, but also a friend of God.
Consider Psalm 31. This is A RECORD OF A FRIEND’S FAITH. David was in despair. He was in anguish physically, mentally, and emotionally. He was exhausted, weary from what had become the struggle of life. So in the midst of his brokenness HE MADE A DECISION. Verse 14: “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’” Rather than abandon his faith, or get angry with God, David decided to hang on with God, to trust Him. This is, therefore, a Psalm of trust. In verse 1-8 David wrote: “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge…be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me…you are my refuge…Into your hand I commit my spirit…I trust in the Lord.” Realize this decision to trust did not come from one who sat on the mountaintop where life is beautiful, peaceful, quiet, and undisturbed. It came from one who suffered from illness, was persecuted by adversaries, and shunned and rejected by his friends. But He stuck with God (9-14): “I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak. Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends-- those who see me on the street flee from me. I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. For I hear whispering, “There is terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life. But I trust in you, LORD; I say, "You are my God." PEOPLE COULD DESTROY HIS REPUTATION BUT NOT HIS CONFIDENCE IN GOD. Even though David could not see God’s hands, he willingly placed himself in God’s hands. He knew God had taken responsibility for his life and he trusted him with it.
I remind you today that at your baptism God also took responsibility for your life. Recall the words which end the baptismal ceremony: “In baptism you are sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked as Christ’s own fore ever.” TRUST DEPENDS NOT ON GOD BUT ON YOU. Are you willing to trust Him? Even if you are suffering from illness, being persecuted by adversaries, or shunned and rejected by friends, will you stick with God? Even if you came this morning unable to see God’s hands in some area of your life – will you willingly place yourself in His hands? As with David, the decision is yours.
David made a decision BASED ON A CONVICTION. Verse 15: “My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.” “My times are in your hands.” David was convinced that far from being removed from the events of his life, God was, in fact, INTIMATELY INVOLVED IN THEM. “Times” are those critical moments or events in one’s life which ultimately determine the course of one’s life. David is turning over the resolution of these times, these events, to God. “I entrust my life to your sovereign disposition. It’s up to you. And that’s okay!” I was once inspired by a message by John Maxwell in which he shared the defining moments of his life. One of his points was that he planned none of them – they all just occurred. His only task was to respond to them. And how he responded to them determined the course his life would take. That led me to reflect on those ‘times’, those defining moments in my life – and there are many. Sometimes I have responded well, and sometimes not. But every decision and response has impacted the direction of my life. But the ‘times’ are in God’s hands. They are mine only in that they happen in my life and they demand a decision from me. I, for example, never planned on pastoring Hope Reformed Church of South Haven. Sorry, but you were never on my radar! But God provided a time – a defining moment –which demanded a decision. So 10 years ago on Labor Day weekend, I preached here as we scoped each other out. And, well…for better or worse, here I am.