Summary: A sermon on Psalm 130 Suffering
"Suffering, A Cry for Help!!"
Psalm 130 begins with these words:"Out of the depths I cry to thee, O Lord!! Lord, hear my voice!! Let thy ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication!!"
Out of the depths, out of the inner reaches of his soul, the psalmist was crying to the Lord. Crying, calling out for the Lord, for God, to come to him. This is one of the most famous lament psalms in the Bible along with Psalm 22:1, as Jesus cried the words from the psalter,"My God,my God why hast thou forsaken me?" These Psalms which are entitled lament psalms are the cry, the longing of someone to pour out the deepest emotions which are penetrated in a person?s heart.
The question I would like us to wrestle with this evening as we look at these lament psalms, and our need to cry out from the depths of our souls, is this:TO WHOM ARE WE ADDRESSING THESE CRIES??? How is this God, this Lord seen? Can we share with God, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit the deepest emotions we have those emotions of fear, frustration, anger, sorrow, the pain of shattered relationships and the brokenness of this world??? Are we allowed to share these feelings with God, with His Son, with the Holy Spirit ??
Or, or, do we share with God only those emotions we think are acceptable to Him? Our joys, our happiness, our faithfulness to His word. Can God handle my anger, my frustrations, my feelings of injustice and unfairness with life? Can God handle all of me?? Paul says in Romans 8:15ff "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of son ship. When we cry "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ..." Paul continues in verse 26:"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."
Paul is saying isn?t he?-- that God can handle our deepest emotions, because His Holy Spirit searches our hearts to find those emotions so that His Spirit and our spirit together may cry "Abba Father" or" Daddy God", as we turn to God through prayer. So these lament Psalms are not something new to God, but God is asking us to share with Him all the feelings of life, the good as well as the bad, the happiness as well as the unhappiness, the acceptance as well as the anger we feel or just the broken situations in which we find ourselves in day after day.
To return to our question:TO WHOM ARE WE ADDRESSING THESE CRIES??? We are addressing God with the totality of our emotions, because God can handle it. One of my favorite plays and movies is "The Fiddler on the Roof" and the character Tevye is for me at least, a good example of someone who is comfortable talking with God about all the emotions, all the feelings in his life.
I would like to share some of his words with you this evening: Remember the opening scene: the village and you see a fiddler on the roof and Tevye says:"A fiddler on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? but in our little village of Anatevka, you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof, trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn?t easy. You may ask, why do we stay here if it?s so dangerous? We stay because Anatevaka is our home. And how do we keep our balance? That I can tell you in a word--TRADITION--Because of our traditions, we?ve kept our balance for many, many years. Here in Anatevka we have traditions for everything---how to eat, how to wear clothes. For instance, we always keep our head covered and always wear a little prayer shawl. This shows our constant devotion to God. You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you---I don?t know.
But it?s a tradition. Because of our tradition, everyone knows who he is and what God expects him to do."
Tevye is a man who is comfortable with His God. He might not understand everything about this God, he might not understand why he does things for this God, but he is comfortable with God. Later in the play we find Tevye talking to God. Listen to the honest, forthright statements Tevye makes to God. Imagine the relationship he has with God.