Summary: Sermon on prayer
ROBINSON CRUSOE’S TEXT
I want to begin today by reading to you some excerpts from Daniel DeFoes book’s Robinson Crusoe.
If some people knew that the book Robinson Crusoe actually contained the gospel they might seek to have it removed from the shelve.
What we see in the book Robinson Crusoe is that he wisely takes that promise of God in that passage an applies in three ways. To his deliverance from sickness, to his deliverance from the island, and to his deliverance from his state of sin. What we see from the story is that God is faithful in delivering Mr. Crusoe from all three of his troubles.
Now I know that Robinson Crusoe is not here this morning, but perhaps there is one here very much like him. A person who is suffering a shipwrecked life, one who is in the mist of illness, one who may remember better days but you find yourself in the mist of trouble. Maybe you are feeling that the only thing that lies ahead of you is misery and trouble and problems. May I say that Mr. Crusoe’s verse can become your verse.
There are perhaps many here who are feeling joy, who are on top of the world, things are going great. A would just remind you that many times today’s joys become tomorrows sorrows. You too would do will to listen and hear Robinson Crusoe’s text.
Please turn with me in your Bible to that text, which is Psalm 50:15, that is page 493 in your pew Bibles this morning. As you turn there I would just say that you may find great comfort in this wonderful passage of scripture. Psa. 50:15; “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (repeat)
The Lord is telling you to call upon Him in your day of trouble, and He WILL deliver you, for His glory. I pray that the words of this verse will turn your sorrowing into joy. I pray that these word’s would bring you hope, that you would see the blessedness in them.
There are four realities that I would like us to discover this morning. The first is this, God prefers “realism over that which is ritualistic”. We can see this more from the context of our passage then the passage itself. What the Lord is telling the people is that He had little interest in the formalities of worship when a person hearts is not in them.
Listen to verses 8-15 “I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices Or your burnt offerings, Which are continually before Me. I will not take a bull from your house, Nor goats out of your folds. For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; For the world is Mine, and all its fullness. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, Or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God thanksgiving, And pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.”
What the Word of God is teaching here is that the most important form of offering or sacrifice that we can give to the Lord is our prayers and praise.
Now why is that?
First of all real prayer is better then ritual because there is true meaning in it. We can go through all the ritualistic worship we want, we can light candles, sing songs, go through all the motions but if they are devoid of the heart, as is the case with so many, they mean nothing to the Lord.
But when we look to the Lord in our day of trouble, when we call on Him to deliver us in our anguish, it is in that prayer that there is true meaning. There is meaning in the person who calls out this promise in their day of trouble.
Secondly real prayer is better the ritual because it is more Spiritual. John 4:24 tells us; “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” There surely is something spiritual of one who cries out to God in their need.
You know I could pray for you a beautiful prayer. One with eloquence, and spiritual sounding words, but if the heart is not in it then it become just empty words. We may just as well repeat the alphabet and call it a devotion.
If we join together as one and sing a hymn the best it as ever been sung, yet we do not mean it from the heart, it is nothing more the empty ritual, and would be nothing to God. Yet when you find a person in anguish and he or she cries out to the Lord, “God be merciful to God, God save me!” there is spiritual life in such a prayer. Spiritual worship is what the Lord desires, and is it what He will have, or He will have nothing. “those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” There is no other kind of true worship.