Summary: People need the Lord!
Did you hear last week about the family that tried to auction itself off on the Internet website called E-Bay? E-Bay is a well-known site that auctions off thousands of items from the memorable to the ridiculous!
A family composed of a husband and wife and two kids, offered themselves to provide life-long friendship and support among other things. Bids went into the millions for the family. However, it is illegal to sell people in this country and so no bids could be accepted.
Sounds incredible and ridiculous doesn’t it? But, people pay money for peace and love and contentment, correct? Some of that money goes to things like drugs and alcohol. Some goes for various aspects of sex. Some goes into buying things to impress people and get friends.
People, and that includes you and me, need love, companionship, respect, honor, and a whole host of other things. But, the problem is that we turn to all sorts of sources but the primary source to meet these legitimate human needs.
Last week we looked at five Biblical characters as illustrations of what it means to be fully following persons of God by being decisive like Joshua, courageous like Esther, wise like Solomon, willing like Peter, and passionately committed like Paul. (Overhead 1)
This week we continue to discover what it means to be fully following persons of God by understanding that we express our commitment to people by being hopeful like David, holy like Joseph, authentic like Jeremiah, and celebrative like Nehemiah. (Overhead 2) But how do we do that? (Overhead 3)
In James 5:14-16, which was read a few moments ago, there are two ways that we faithfully and Biblically express our commitment to others. One way is clearly stated in the passage - prayer. The other way is implied in the process of prayer and confession - relationship.
As we read through this passage, it assumes there are good and trusting relationships in place. Otherwise why confess your sins and acknowledge your physical needs with corporate intercession and anointing?
Laced throughout this passage is an unspoken assumption that when the church is at its best as God’s people, meaningful relationships are in place that God uses to draw people closer to one another and to Himself. In other words, a very important avenue to being a fully following congregation is the avenue of standing with others during times of trial and difficulty - physically and otherwise.
But in this process of prayer and intercession, what do we have to offer? I suggest that what we have to offer is hope, holiness, authenticity, and celebration based on the acts of God through Christ as stated in the Bible and in our own lives.
In Psalm 40 we read these words, “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be astounded. They will put their trust in the Lord.”
Time and again throughout the Psalms, David expressed hope in God as He came to work in the circumstances of David’s life.
People need hope and it is a hope that is not based on circumstances or things that are here today and gone tomorrow. It is a hope that is based on God. People need hope! People need the Lord!
Notice in this passage of scripture how David chose to respond to his situation. “I waited patiently for the Lord to help me.” The key word is patiently.
Something has created a troubling situation for David and he has a choice in how he is going to respond to it. He chooses to wait patiently. He chooses to wait patiently for the Lord to help him.
Waiting for God to act during difficult and stressful times is hard. Waiting patiently is even harder! But that is what David did!
Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1 verse 5 and following: “A life of moral excellence leads to knowing God better. Knowing God leads to self-control. Self-control leads to patient endurance and patient endurance leads to godliness. Godliness leads to love for other Christians and finally you will grow to have genuine love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more you will become productive and useful in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
David demonstrates that patient endurance in his patient waiting because the other things Peter lists are also a part of his life. But, David also waits for God to act on his behalf because David has great hope in God!