Summary: Is God calling you to a new place or will you continue on the same limited path with the same limited results?
December 28, 2008
Text: Psalm 40:1-10
Subject: Trusting in God
Title: Reshaping Your Spiritual Plans
Here we are at the end of another year. Most of you will agree with me that it seems as though the time goes faster and faster. I don’t know about the rest of you but at the end of the year I like to pause and look back and take in the past 12 months and then see if there is anything I can do differently in the next year to better myself or to change the direction the church is going in order to make it better. That means that if I see something or the Lord desires something different from me I must be willing to change. For many the idea of change is difficult – sometimes too difficult to cope with. For us here today the idea of change may be less palatable simply because we just came through a political campaign where all we heard about was change. But, for others change is something we welcome with open arms.
A man from the Tennessee mountains found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father hollered to his youngest son, "Billy, go get mom."
What I want to share with you today is a biblical concept of change – not necessarily a change in your actions as much as a change in your perceptions. Who is God? Who are you? What is it that God wants for you? My guess is that most of us have basically been doing the same things in our relationship with God for many years because we have found that it works for us. Is that good or bad? I don’t think it is either.
Let’s look at Psalm 40 today to see if there is anything new that the Lord would desire for your life.
I. WAITING FOR GOD TO GIVE YOU NEW DIRECTION. (1-3) The first thing David tells us in this Psalm is what his attitude was toward hearing from God. 1I waited patiently for the LORD… and then what God’s attitude is toward you when you seek Him. …He turned to me and heard my cry. Why was David crying out to God? What was going on in his life that caused him to seek God? He found himself in what he considered to be a slimy pit. The KJV describes it as a horrible pit. Let’s look at those two words. Slimy or horrible literally mean destruction. Pit refers to a cistern. David found himself in a place of destruction with no way out. The only thing you can do in a cistern is to look up. God’s response to David was this. 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. You know King David’s history. He was a man after God’s own heart, yet he continually operated out of his own wisdom rather than following God’s plan for his life. It eventually placed him in grave physical danger as his son sought to overthrow the government and make himself king. So when verse 2 says that God set David’s feet on a solid rock what is that referring to? Most would say that is referring to Jesus. Even though this was before the birth of Jesus, He has always been the Rock of our salvation. I think that it is more than that. I think the solid rock refers to your understanding of who Jesus is and who you are in your relationship with Him. I believe that is something that is in a continual state of change – or at least should be. Do you remember back in Matthew 16 when Jesus asked the disciples who people said that He was? And then He asked, “Who do you say I am?” Peter’s answered Him, “You are the Messiah or the Christ, the son of the Living God.” Peter’s understanding of Jesus’ nature was in a state of change. Look at how Jesus then responded to Peter. 17Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Contrary to other church beliefs, the rock that Jesus was going to build His church upon was not Peter, but on Peter’s ability to receive a revelation from God concerning the nature of Christ. It was about his confession. It was about being willing to hear from God. Romans 12:2, Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. I want you to understand this. God desires to reveal Himself to you in a new and refreshing way on a daily basis. But this new revelation is not something that is outside the scriptures. It will always line up with scripture and more often will come from the scriptures. Now back in verse 2, 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire… Could it be that David had mired himself into a rut of the same old same old? Could it be that David’s own spiritual failings came because he kept doing what he had always been doing without seeking a change in direction that would take him to new places in God? Madame Chiang Kai-shek once told the story of a young Buddhist monk who sat outside his temple two thousand years ago, hands clasped in prayer. He looked very pious and he chanted ’Amita Buddha’ all day. Day after day he intoned these words, believing that he was acquiring grace. One day the head priest of the temple sat next to him and began rubbing a piece of brick against a stone. Day after day he rubbed one against the other. This went on week after week until the young monk could no longer contain his curiosity, and he finally blurted out, "Father, what are you doing?" "I’m trying to make a mirror," said the head priest. "But that’s impossible!" said the young monk. "You can’t make a mirror from brick." "True," replied the head priest. "And it is just as impossible for you to acquire grace by doing nothing except chant ’Amita Buddha’ all day long." Bits & Pieces, April 1990, p. 12. Once David began to look to God for direction He set his feet on the solid rock. When that happened a change began to take place in David. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Notice that when God gave David a new song He didn’t just put it in his heart to keep inside. He put it in his mouth to be sung. Jump down to verse 9, I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly. When God gave David revelation He didn’t keep it to himself. He told everyone else about who God is. When God begins to take you in a new direction and change takes place something else happens. People will notice. Go back to the last part of verse 3, Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD. Waiting on God doesn’t just change your life. It affects those around you.