January 30, 2022
Sermon Series: Introduction to Some Selected Psalms
Sermon # 5
HOLDING ON TO HOPE
QUOTE: “It is not our trust that keeps us, but the God in whom we trust who keeps us.”
Introduction: There is a question that men ask when the trials and storms of life gather. Often you will hear them ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Has this question ever plagued your mind? Of course, it has! We all want to know why the bad things in life happen to good people we know, or even to good people like ourselves. One day, a woman asked R.C. Sproul that particular question and his answer to her was a classic. Dr. Sproul said this, “I don’t know, I haven’t met any good people.” His answer was designed to accomplish two purposes. First, it was designed to remind the lady that we are all sinners. None of us are really good people! Secondly, he wanted her to understand that no one is immune from trouble. This second truth is driven home in the Psalm we have before us this morning.
Times of tribulation either make us or break us. That is, it either drives us closer to God, or it drives us further away from God. But no one remains the same through the experience of deep pain. It all depends upon where a person’s faith rests. A time of adversity for the person whose trust is in the Lord becomes a season of increased dependency upon the Lord. So it was for the psalmist, whose ordeal drove him close to God.
Psalm 43 is an epilogue, a concluding part of Psalm 42. In Psalm 42, the psalmist found himself in difficult times, increasingly reliant upon those things that could not be shaken. The psalmist’s storm showed no sign of lifting, so in Psalm 43, he continued to seek God in prayer while still oppressed. The message is loud and clear in Psalm 43: “Put your hope in God.” I will preach on “HOLDING ON TO HOPE!” Hope is confident expectancy; it includes trust, confidence, refuge in God; Christ Jesus is our hope.
PRAY FOR GOD TO DEFEND AND DELIVER YOU
After crying out to God about his troubled soul, the psalmist prayed about the critical situation in which he found himself. With boldness and staunch conviction, he asked God to judge or vindicate him, to determine that he was innocent of his enemies’ accusations. The psalmist then wanted God to plead his cause and to defend him before the people. God and God alone could deliver him from such oppression.
Pray for God to defend and deliver you:
A. Because you live in an ungodly nation---among deceitful and wicked people (v. 1).
B. Because God is your strength, your refuge, your haven (v. 2a).
C. Because you feel rejected by God---forsaken to suffer oppression (v. 2b).
At various times in our lives, we find ourselves trapped in situations over which we have no control. Like the psalmist, we may be victims of slander or false judgment by people who want to hurt us. Or, we may be facing grave illness, marital or family problems, financial crises, or the death of a loved one. At some point in time, we will all know the feeling of being powerless to change an extremely grievous situation.
When we reach the end of ourselves and our abilities, we need to remember that God can do what we cannot do.
ASK GOD TO RESTORE YOU
The psalmist again asked God to deliver him from his pit of despair. He needed God to restore him to a place where God’s presence dwelled.
Ask God to restore you:
A. To give you His light and truth to guide (v. 3a).
At times in the psalms, light refers to God’s presence. It also speaks of God’s comfort and guidance during the dark times in our lives. On another occasion, it refers to God’s Word.
Truth is one of God’s attributes, one of His unique, holy characteristics. It speaks of God faithfulness to His holy character, His laws, and His Word.
B. To lead you into His presence----the place where He lives (v. 3b).
C. To make way for you to worship and praise Him----God, who is the source of your joy (v. 4).
Nehemiah 8;10, “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” Even though God punishes sin, but also God blesses obedience. That is the reason why we should celebrate.
More than deliverance from his enemies and returning to his home, the psalmist yearned to be in God’s holy presence once again. He exuberantly confessed that God was his exceeding joy, his greatest joy, more that anyone or anything else.
There is no greater joy in life than basking in the presence of God, then spending time in fellowship with Him.
ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD
The Psalmist closes with self-encouragement. Until God delivered him from his oppressors and returned him to Jerusalem, the psalmist determined to love above depression and despair. As he evaluated the reasons why he was so downcast and disturbed, he realized that his hope in God was greater than the circumstances that depressed him. God was his Savior and his God. Triumphantly, he resolved to praise Him regardless of his circumstances.
This lesson teaches us what to do when we are deeply discouraged or suffering from problems: we have to encourage ourselves in the LORD and focus on the great hope we have in Him. HOLDING ON TO HOPE!