“Knowing Jesus….in times of trouble” (Psalm 25) (John MacDiarmid)

“Knowing Jesus..in times of Trouble” (Psalm 25)
Talk given by John MacDiarmid at PCF on Sunday morning 22 February 2015

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The first part of our Mission statement is “Knowing Jesus…” and  we are currently looking at a selection of Psalms to help us discover how we can develop our relationship with Him.
There have been singers in every generation who capture the hearts of the public with the songs they sing. God had His man, King David, who has left us a legacy of songs that have helped God’s saints over the centuries.

We look today at Psalm 25:

In you, LORD my God,
    I put my trust.
 I trust in you;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    nor let my enemies triumph over me.
 No one who hopes in you
    will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
    who are treacherous without cause.
 Show me your ways, LORD,
    teach me your paths.
 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
 Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
    for you, LORD, are good.
 Good and upright is the LORD;
    therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
 He guides the humble in what is right
    and teaches them his way.
 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
    toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
 For the sake of your name, LORD,
    forgive my iniquity, though it is great.
 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD?
    He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]
 They will spend their days in prosperity,
    and their descendants will inherit the land.
 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
    he makes his covenant known to them.
 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
    for only he will release my feet from the snare.
 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    for I am lonely and afflicted.
 Relieve the troubles of my heart
    and free me from my anguish.
 Look on my affliction and my distress
    and take away all my sins.
 See how numerous are my enemies
    and how fiercely they hate me!
 Guard my life and rescue me;
    do not let me be put to shame,
    for I take refuge in you.
 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
    because my hope, LORD,[c] is in you.
 Deliver Israel, O God,
    from all their troubles!

It is extraordinary that the man who wrote Psalm 23, rejoicing in the tender goodness of God and experiencing his care and compassion, was the same man who wrote this Psalm, in pain and torment. But in fact that is what it is like being a believer sometimes – we are in contentment and in warfare, often at the same time.

Psalm 25 does not lend itself to structured analysis as it is a man pouring out his heart before God – not a structured business (though in fact it is carefully arranged in a acrostic manner). But in our consideration of it we can observe a number of things:

1. Facing things with God

Fear: David was experiencing fear at the hands of his enemies “nor let my enemies triumph over me” Which of us has not known fear at the hands of the enemy of our soul?
Loneliness: “I am lonely and afflicted”. Amazingly, for a man who was surrounded by people, David was experiencing loneliness. For a man under pressure, only they know the pain and the circumstances that they face. We have to come to God on our own sometimes.
Guilt:  “the sins of my youth, and my rebellious ways”. David’s difficulties were compounded by the fact that he knew that his own folly was the cause of much of his difficulty. How real that is for every believer!
Confusion:  “show me your ways” He really didn’t know what to do next. Haven’t we all been there!
We will see as we go on how to deal with these things – but the first thing to note is that he faced up to them with God. We need to realise that these are perfectly legitimate emotions as we follow God , own up to them with Him and allow Him to deal with them.

2. Asking things from God

The next thing we note is that having faced up to them with God, he did what every believer ought to do. He asked God to do something about them.
• Fear…..VICTORY. David’s fear of his enemies led him to ask God for victory. “Do not let my enemies triumph over me”
• Loneliness….COMFORT “turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted”
• Guilt…FORGIVENESS. “Look on my affliction and my distress, and take away all my sins”
• Confusion…GUIDANCE “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths”
In all our needs we can simply come to God, tell him what the need is and ask him to do something about it.

But it’s not simply  a case of asking Him to help us in our distress. The fact is that we can   come to Him on the basis of what he has already said he will do, and call his help on the basis of his word.

3. Thanking God for things

• Promise of VICTORY – we can ask God for victory on the basis that he has already said that he wants to help us “no one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame”
• Promise  of FRIENDSHIP – God gives us comfort in our loneliness, by giving His friendship “the Lord confides in those who fear Him”. Here we have a lovely picture of the friendship that the ruler of the universe offers to his children.
• Promise of FORGIVENESS – forgiveness is available on the basis of his covenant with us, which David did not understand, but knew about “according to your love remember me for you are good”
• Promise of GUIDANCE  –  “He instructs sinner in His ways, he guides the humble in what is right”
• Promise of PROSPERITY  -“he will spend his days in prosperity” – literally “his soul shall abide in well-being” – it will be well with our soul
• Simply, we can come to God ion the basis of his promises and his character and pray for him to act, and expect Him to do so.

4. Telling God things

As we noted above, this is not a structured Psalm – toward the end, David goes over it all again, showing the measure of his distress and pouring out his heart to God, whilst expressing the depth of his confidence in his God. We need to follow his example and pour out our hearts unreservedly to God.

5.Promising God things

Whatever happens, David promises to keep his integrity. We need to learn to promise to do the right thing, and to leave the consequences with Him.
David is really going through it in this Psalm. We may well wonder why such a man of God was permitted to go through it like this. It was ever thus. The apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians writes:
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.  Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again”
The key phrase in here is “that we might rely not on ourselves, but on God to who raises the dead”. We need to learn to rely on God. So, as he allows us to go through difficult circumstances we rely on Him we get to know Him and his kingdom advances.

John MacDiarmid
February 2015


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