Summary: How to Handle Difficult Days
Psalm 25 - How to Handle Difficult Days - July 31, 2016
Turn with me this morning in your Jewish hymnals to hymn number 25. Or for those of you who haven’t brought your Jewish hymnals with you, we’ll put the words on the screen. But just a reminder for those of you who might be a little unsure what I am talking about - the Jewish hymnal is the book of Psalms! These are the collected songs that were always on the lips of the Jews.
My mother was a singer, and whether she was washing the floor, putting up wallpaper, or weeding the garden, she was always singing. Songs help us put words to the emotions that well up inside us. The Psalms are not just an account of what David [or another psalmist] was feeling, but rather the psalmist bares his soul to us, draws us into his world, and calls us to share his feelings and emotions as he uses example after example to teach us. The book of Psalms is not so much a liturgical library, storing up standard literature for religious ceremonies, as it is a hospitable house, well lived in, where most things can be found and borrowed after some searching, and whose first occupants have left on it everywhere the imprint of their experiences and the stamp of their characters.
Today, we want to look at Psalm 25, and learn what David has to tell us. The first thing we see as we turn there, is a little title that simply says, Of David. So this is a psalm of David, the shepherd king. David writes the lion’s share of the psalms, and David is a man who shares his emotions freely. So let’s look what he has to say.
Read Psalm 25 - Pray
This is a psalm of trouble. David talks about his enemies, the treacherous, affliction, distress. We don’t know when David writes this, but the wording leads many to think that possibly he writes it when his son Absalom seeks to overthrow his kingdom and replace his father as king. But whenever it is, it is a time when David is facing trouble. That’s something we can all relate to. We all have good days and bad days, but the bad days seem to make such a great impression on us, and cause us to live defeated lives. So, DAVID, How do we handle difficult days? David has some answers for us today. If you have a pen or pencil, jot these points down and mark the verses in your bibles. The first lesson David gives us is this:
1. Turn to the Lord - (in Praise) When life has you down, LOOK UP! David writes in verse 1, To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul. What is your “soul”? Sometimes we merge body, mind, soul, heart, and spirit together. We talk about a person’s soul as that which lives on forever. But specifically, we identify the mind as the center of our thoughts, the heart as the center of our will, and the soul as the center of our emotions. And more than we would like to admit, we are often DRIVEN by our emotions. We logically KNOW what we should do, but we emotionally FEEL something totally different.
As David talks about lifting up his soul, he is talking about intentionally turning his emotions over to reflect on the Lord. He is talking about worship. He is talking about praise. In Psalm 37 David talks about this same idea. He starts out Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong - but then he goes on to talk about this INTENTIONAL refocus of our emotions - Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him. When we are going through difficult times, we intentionally choose to praise the Lord. Not to praise God for the trials, but to praise God that the trial is not worse, to praise God for the health we have, to praise God for His promises to us, to praise God that He has not forsaken us - In 5 minutes you could probably think of 30-40 things that you can praise God for EVEN IF you are going through the worst trial of your life!
You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you CAN control your RESPONSE to your circumstances. Think about Job - he loses his cattle, his wealth, his children, and his health - his friends accuse him of sin and they blame him - It’s all your fault, Job - his wife tells him curse God and die! But what does Job do? He praises God! He says, Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.”