Summary: When life gets too hard, instead of turning away from God, we should be reaching out for God’s hand that is reaching out for you.
Psalm 138 reads, “I will praise You with my whole heart; Before the gods I will sing praises to You. I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name, For Your loving kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
In the day when I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord, When they hear the words of Your mouth. Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord, For great is the lorry of the Lord.
Though Lord is on high, Yet He regards the lowly; But the proud He knows from afar. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out your hand Against the wrath of my enemies, And Your right hand will save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.” –Blessed be the reading of God’s Word this morning.
“When I cried out, You answered me, And made me bold with strength in my soul. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me.” The psalmist was reaching out for God in the middle of his darkness, his trouble. What is most interesting about the psalmist is that he doesn’t begin his search for God by complaining about his life. He doesn’t begin his search for God by listing all of his problems and heartaches.
How does he begin? Look in your Bible this morning. He begins his search by PRAISING God. He starts his search by praising God for His tenderness and mercy. He praises God for His truth, power and promises. There is no doubt that David is going through hard times. He says that he is in the midst of trouble and that his enemies are in hot pursuit of Him. But still he doesn’t forget to praise God even though it is hard to see the end of all his problems. What was really on his heart?
When you were watching the skit did you notice how one person was willing to go towards the light while the other person was afraid, even angry at the light? Not far from how we deal with trouble is it? Either we are willing to come to God right away or, more often than not, we run away – afraid, even angry a God while all the time still in the dark, still in pain and feeling like we are on our own.
But David shows us what to do in this psalm. He immediately begins thanking God for taking care of him. He praises God for His great power that he has seen in God’s promises. But easier said than done, isn’t it? Many of us live busy congested and complex lives and when something goes wrong it can shake us up. When we get that phone call or letter that jerks our brain or crushes our heart it is easy to do nothing but think and dwell on that problem. It’s easy to get stuck.
In 1835 a man visited a doctor in Florence, Italy. He was filled with anxiety and exhausted from lack of sleep. He couldn’t eat and he avoided his friends. The doctor examined him and found that he was in prime physical condition. Concluding that his patient needed to have a good time, the physician told him about a circus in town and its star performer, a clown named Grimaldi. Night after night he had people rolling in the aisles. “You must go and see him,” the doctor advised. “Grimaldi is the world’s funniest clown. He’ll make you laugh and cure your sadness.” “No, “replied the despairing man, “he can’t help me. You see, I am Grimaldi!”
Are you like Grimaldi sometimes? Do you think there is no one to help you? While you are busy making everybody else feel good you’re really suffering inside. David was suffering, too. He was king of Israel, he had it all, but he was suffering. But what got David through his depression and trouble was his focus.
In this psalm David addresses God twenty-five times. Do you know how many times David refers to himself? Thirteen times. That’s almost half as much as he talks about God. There is a huge lesson in that word count. David knew the order of things: God is first. God deserves the attention no matter what the circumstances.
In a museum in Deadwood, South Dakota there is an inscription left by a prospector who was going through serious trouble, it reads: “I lost my fun. I lost my horse. I am out of food. The Indians are after me. But I’ve got all the gold I can carry!” If we were to write our own little inscription this morning, what would it be? Would you list your troubles but remember that you have, “all the gold you can carry?” That gold being God and the salvation you’ve been given?