Summary: HOW TO HANDLE PRESSURE SITUATIONS = CASTING OUR BURDEN ON THE LORD
HOW TO HANDLE PRESSURE SITUATIONS = CASTING OUR BURDEN ON THE LORD
David was an expert at handling pressure situations; we’re not talking about sports
(that’s all about competition and fun), but rather about the serious types of pressure that threaten our very life;
It is possible for pressure to build up to such an extent that we just snap and have a nervous breakdown; all of us are very fragile and in need of the grace of God.
How should we handle pressure situations?
Talking here about the pressure of persecution and physical attack -- people are trying to kill David;
Same principles apply to other types of pressure (financial, job-related, relationships falling apart)
I. (:1-3) PRESSURE SITUATIONS ARE PRAYER SITUATIONS
This point is fundamental and most important -- Where do we turn for help?
Remember how the Israelites were always getting in trouble for turning to Egypt for help?
"Some trust in horses and some in chariots, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God" -- Psalm 20:7
A. Prayer Seeks an Answer from God
Sometimes we go through the motions of prayer because we know it is the right thing to do, but we don’t really expect God to answer; Sometimes we are so vague in our request that we would not even recognize
an answer, were God to provide one.
Intensity of this prayer was such that David was wrestling with God like Jacob wrestled
with the angel = "I will not let you go until you bless me" Gen. 32:26b
B. Prayer Requires All of our Focus and Concentration
The pressures around us distract us and make us restless -- making it more difficult to complete tasks and be productive. At times, we are almost dysfunctional, but we can still focus on God in prayer.
C. Prayer is the Best Response to Unfair Attacks
We are powerless to turn our enemies into friends (temptation is to hate our enemy).
teaching of Jesus: Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you;
temptation = to go around and badmouth our enemy to others;
We are powerless to convert the wicked to righteousness
temptation = to get self-righteous and forget that the grace of God has made us what we are;
We are powerless to remove the pressure of unfair troubles
temptation = to try to escape on our own
We are powerless to quiet the anger of unfair grudges (temptation is to get angry in return)
That’s why we must turn to God in prayer
II. (:4-8) PRESSURE SITUATIONS OFFER NO EASY ESCAPES
David was in a real bind and no SuperMan (or SuperBird) was going to suddenly appear and carry him away to safety
A. The Fear can be Crushing (:4-5)
terrors of death
fear and trembling
horror has overwhelmed me
B. The Fantasy of an Easy Escape is Attractive (:6-8)
"wings like a dove" = SuperBird to the rescue
fly away to paradise = somewhere out in the wilderness where no trouble can attack me;
not much of a ministry perspective here
the only place of refuge is right in the midst of the pressure situations but under the loving, protective care of the Great Shepherd;
hidden in the cleft of the Rock of Ages
III. (:9-11) PRESSURE SITUATIONS SURROUND US WITH NOTHING BUT TROUBLE
A. Violence and Strife
B. Iniquity and Mischief
D. Oppression and Deceit
Not a pretty picture
"Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues" = reference to what God did at the Tower of Babel incident where he completely frustrated the mission of the pride of men;
there are many surprising ways for God to show Himself strong on our behalf and win the victory
"O Lord, make these enemies begin to quarrel among themselves; destroy them with their own violence and strife"
David recognizes he faces attacks from those who are prideful and arrogant = those who do not hesitate to attack the anointed of God;
cf. Time when Saul and his men were about to capture David after the Ziphites had betrayed him;
God sent a diversionary attack of the Philistines against Israel to cause Saul to retreat back to counter that threat (1 Samuel 23:24-29)
IV. (:12-15) PRESSURE SITUATIONS HURT THE MOST WHEN WE ARE BETRAYED BY A CLOSE FRIEND
A. When Trouble comes from Expected Sources, We can Brace Ourselves
an enemy = then I could bear it
one who hates me (who has exalted himself against me) = then I could hide myself from him
B. When Trouble comes from Unexpected Sources, We are Defenseless
a man my equal
my companion and my familiar friend
we who had sweet fellowship together
walked in the house of God and in the throng
V. (:16-21) PRESSURE SITUATIONS DRIVE US TO OUR KNEES TO CAST OUR BURDEN ON THE LORD