The Voice Of My Cry

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Sunday, 16. February 2020

Go ahead, if you would, and please leave your Bibles open to Psalm five. Our lesson is coming from there this evening. It's good to be with you all tonight.

It is always a joy, on the Lord's day, to be able to come back and worship with those of like precious faith. As I'm looking out over the audience tonight, I don't see visitors this evening like we had this morning, but I'm grateful that each and every one of you are here. As Carl says, from time to time, all the beautiful people are here today. I think you're beautiful no matter if you're here or not, but, I'm glad that I get to worship with you.

This particular song (and we're just going to introduce it real quick) with the title of our lesson: "The Voice Of My Cry." It comes from an early part of this particular song, and it is one that, when we look at it: "Give ear to my words, oh Lord, Consider my meditation, Give heed to the voice of my cry." In verse one, it is David crying out to the Lord... It is David's prayer.

Rick, when he read from it, he read from the, New King James version. He read a title that is commonly given to this particular prayer; where it says, "A Prayer of Guidance," in Psalm five. In my Bible, which is similar to his, I don't necessarily know that title was put there by anybody, but the translators. It was not put there by God. But the "Chief musician, with flutes, A Psalm of David" very likely tells us what was included with this particular song. It is a Psalm of David and we're not necessarily told the circumstances that are surrounding this particular song. I do believe that many -- especially if you do a lot of external reading from other sources -- believe that this is probably just prior to Absalom's rebellion. Now, I don't know that to be, you know, written in stone, but that seems to be feasible. It seems to be reasonable to do that. But one thing is certain about David at this particular time is that he feels surrounded by his enemies. He is in a predicament that he turns to God for. And I think that there are going to be some things that we're going to look at this evening that David wants, you know. He turns to God as a righteous servant and looks for God's guidance; looks for God's help in this particular circumstance. One of the things that you might notice is the number of times God is mentioned. Some translations will probably use the word Jehovah, but it is striking because of his abundance of confidence in God. I believe that is above everything else. David is one of those individuals that when you read his words, you know exactly how much he loved the Lord.

You know exactly how he feels about God. You know that he looks at God as a righteous God and that God will take care of the righteous. And I think those are some of the things that we're going to see in this lesson this evening. One of the things that I want you to pay attention to is, we are going to break this Psalm down a little bit into a couple of verses, apiece, and then after we do go through the song, we're going to make some applications for our own lives and see if we can find some similarities there along the way. But as you look at the text, especially in verses one through three, what you find out is David believed that God answers prayer, and I believe we believe the same thing, don't we? David is one in that, in these verses that prays to God, one who has heard the prayers of his people, who has listened to them and ever since men began to call upon him. And God, according to you know, thinking about David, David feels God stands ready to hear the pleas of his children.

So he turns to God in this prayer. One of the things that you will notice in David's prayer, he addresses God as, "My King and my God." There is reverence. There is the idea of him being a servant of a King, but reverence toward God. And I want you think for just a second here along the way, too, that in many ways we sing a song that puts us in a similar position: When we sing the words, "I'm not ashamed to own my Lord." David in this particular instance, when he's praying like this, is stating something very similar to that. And so it's important for us to understand that when David calls him my King and my God, he's not just saying, "I'm in possession of you," but rather he's recognizing himself as being in God's service: Jehovah God is my King. In other words, I do not serve any others and that is something for us to keep in mind because he's making this communication special. He is saying, "You are my God. You are my creator. You are my sustainer." And often when we pray ourselves, isn't that how we should be praying? When we pray to our God? Where else should David turn in times of trial? Where else should we turn in times of trial? Jehovah is no stranger to David at all. David is no stranger to God, because they communicate -- David communicates with God regularly. And so, David views himself not only as a servant but as one of his children... And we do the same. What you see, then, following verses four through six is that God hates sin. God does not like those who live unrighteous lives, for he hates the unrighteous way.

When you look at these verses again, "For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness." There is no joy for God to do that. I get a picture in my mind of a father looking at his children that have done something that displeases him. I don't know that God sits up in heaven looking down on us, at times, and when we make the biggest blunders of the day, he's just shaking his head at us. But what I do know is that when you hear these words: "For you are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness," He is telling us that that doesn't make him happy. How can a God of love, a God of mercy, a God of salvation, hate anything or punish anyone? As you know, we live in a world today that asks that question: "If he is the God of love, then everybody is going to be saved." But the truth of the matter is there's a better question that we should be asking: "How can he not hate those things?" Because God's justice demands that he hates wickedness, doesn't it? God's justice is such that it demands that he truly loves righteousness. And so one is more important to God: Righteousness! Living uprightly as opposed to those who want to walk in wickedness. God's promise to the downtrodden child demands that he repay the guilty. And you consider this how many men have gone into eternal punishment because they contradict themselves and try to shatter God's justice in their lives. If we are to be his children, like David is claiming to be, then we are supposed to be the righteous. Those who walk in his ways, we're supposed to be his children and we need to stand in ways live in his ways, and if we do, then he's ready to hear our petitions.

But if we've asked amiss, we are given over to wickedness. We should not expect that God will give ear to our petitions. Psalm 66 and verse 18 reads, "If I regard iniquities in my heart..." And what he means by regarding iniquity in my heart, is not just give it one of those, you know, passing, "Okay, it's fine for them. I won't do anything about that." No! If I regard iniquity, if I make it a part of my life, the Psalmist says, the Lord will not hear me. If that's the way that I choose to live, then the Lord will not listen to me. One of the things that I really love about David and his Psalms is he has this desire to live righteously. Yes, David was a weak man, David sinned, he did not always practice righteousness. He did practice wickedness at times. But he was a man of a contrite heart, one who was willing to repent, one who was wanting, with all of his being, to serve God faithfully,

Verses seven through 10 talk about entering God's house, "But as for me, I will come into your house in the multitude of your mercy." God's house of mercy. Well, I know this: "David seeks guidance because he is surrounded by those who actually are seeking his death." But I also want to consider this too: That even though we may be constantly bombarded by those who seek our spiritual failure, not necessarily our physical death, there are enemies that surround us just like there are David. David wants to seek help from God. What we have to do in our efforts to seek help from God, is to understand who our adversary is? Now, David, being a King, is naturally going to have enemies from without... The sad part was: David also had enemies from within his own kingdom. And so when David prayed, unless they were named specifically, or we know about the events, because each prayer was for a specific time period, we can assume that this is going to be about any one of the enemies that David had.

This could be a general prayer for that matter, for what is surrounding him. But just as real as David's enemies are, ours are real also. We have a spiritual enemy, one in particular that you probably familiar with: Satan? His desire is for you to fail spiritually, to die spiritually, and he will put whatever temptation in your way that he can, to cause you to stumble, to cause you to fall. Think about Absalom's rebellion: When it came to David, it was at a time of David's life, where surely, the distress of his own son rebelling against him to usurp the throne from him. That would have been one of those times that it would have been disturbing to his faith -- something that would have made it difficult for him to continue to serve -- but yet he fought through it. We are endangered and troubled anytime we seem to be that lone Christian in the midst of many who show little respect for Christ.

Like I said this morning, in this morning's lesson: It is real easy for us at times to develop that "Elijah" complex to allow that to happen. But we need to understand that there is danger in going along with unrighteousness, and that is what David is setting forth right here: To avoid. What we need to do is avoid that perceived trouble. There is danger in hiding our beliefs to avoid mocking. Or in being overcome by mocking, or even just getting into that wickedness. And there is danger in gradually being won over. I think in our society today, that's probably the greatest danger that we have. Political correctness: Gradually being won over by political correctness instead of biblical correctness. Peter informs us of Satan's strategy: In first Peter chapter five, verses five through 11, Peter talks about the devil being that roaring lion who is waiting to devour. And we understand that lions, when they hunt, pick out the weakest in the herd. And Satan is looking for us in that same manner. But Peter also tells us that we can resist the devil. James tells us that very same thing too. And if we are able to resist the devil, what will the devil do? He will flee from us. I think David's confidence in God, by going to God's house of mercy, is an understanding, too, that forgiveness can be received there. And one of the things that hinders us the most is believing that we can't be forgiven.

But in this particular instance, when you look at this and you see, "...but as for me, I will come into your house in the multitude of your mercy, in fear of you. I will worship toward your Holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies. Make your way straight before my face." One of the greatest prayers that we could ever pray, I guess, is just that: That we ask God to prepare the path for us, so that we can follow it -- so that we can remain on it, and remain faithful to him.

David also has, in verses 11 and 12, then (especially in the last part of verse 12), a shield. We might call that, "a shield of trust that surrounds the righteous." But what David has done in this particular song, is actually drawn a line. He's drawn a line with righteousness on one side, and wickedness on the other. God's people -- God's enemies. And all too often today, men, out of compromise, do not draw those defining lines like David is doing.

There is something that we need to understand: There is a right way, there is a wrong way. There is no middle there, but that line, and we have to make up our minds which side we are going to stand on. But we avoid drawing lines, sometimes, when it comes to accepting the lies of false teachers. I saw something just this week: A man who I thought was making a change in his life. I thought he was getting ready to come out of that type of persuasion, but he didn't. As a matter of fact, he went deeper and further than what he was before.

He didn't cross the line to be on God's side. He started by saying he was responsible for healing thousands of people at one time, and it just blew my mind. He was in a foreign land, but it is just one of those things: People cannot withdraw from the world. And when they don't, it means they make a choice to stand on the opposite side of God's line.

It's true that when we look at those who have gone astray, there is a line, but what we don't want to do -- is, we don't want to cross that line and join them. I think David is saying pretty clearly which side of the line that he's going to stand on.

Let me say this real quick, too, the line that needs to be drawn is not a line that the elders draw; It is not a line that I draw as a preacher. It is not a line that "local churches" draw -- It is a line that God has already drawn! We choose to serve God or to serve self. It is our choosing heaven or hell. It is our choosing salvation or personal reputation. It is our choice of fellowship with God, or fellowship with darkness. Which one do you think David chose? He wanted fellowship with God! And so when you look at David in this song, some of the applications that I see in here primarily have to do with prayer and I know I talked about prayer and I read a list of things that we can pray for this morning and I got some big eyes when I said I had a list of 46 things to read off of that list. I got through it fairly quick, but I want you to consider for just a moment that the day begins with prayer.

We have been assured that God will hear us. David understands that God will hear his children. Here's people and this assurance should be enough to convict us in our own hearts, to live and die with God's name on our lips. To live and die with his name in our hearts at all time. Morning prayer is one that actually anticipates the day. You know, I know that James talks about those who make plans without God, but I believe that when you look at that prayer that Jesus teaches in the sermon on the Mount, there are things in it -- and I'm not going to read it, you can look at James or Matthew chapter six beginning at verse five and read down through verse 13. You see how private the prayer should be. And you get to see certain things in it. What I want to suggest to you is this: What these prayers anticipate first is, it anticipates temptations. Lead us not into temptation, and so what you begin the day doing is by asking for guidance similar to what David is asking for. Here is a prayer that anticipates the impending joys and offers thanksgiving for blessings.

It also can be a prayer that anticipates God's daily presence. Knowing that God is with us, that God is our caretaker, the one who will provide us with the spiritual strength that is necessary. He keeps us from distraction in our meditation for him. But that prayer is also accompanied by patience. Probably the greatest impatience of children of God today is how quick God answers prayer. Because, you know, with computers now, the way they are set up on the internet, the studies out there are talking about how short attention spans have grown. And everybody wants this instant gratification that is supposed to come along with video games and things on the internet.

The truth of the matter is we grow impatient when we act like God is not listening. When we say he hasn't answered our prayers properly. After praying, David waited patiently for an answer. After praying, what we should desire more than anything else is that peace that surpasses all understanding. Whether we get the answer that we want or not, we need to understand, too, that answers come in three forms: God may grant our request now. He may not grant it right there on the spot, but still grants our request later. Or, he may deny our requests.

Think about the apostle Paul for just a moment: In Second Corinthians chapter 12: Remember what Paul prayed for there? He had a thorn in the flesh, and he said he prayed three times to God for that didn't he? What was God's answer to him? Paul said, concerning this thing, "I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me and he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore, most gladly, I would rather boast in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

That right there is one of the most powerful reasons that sometimes we should expect to know in our prayers. I'm not saying Paul was praying for the wrong thing. Or that it was wrong for him to pray that thorn might be removed, but it's the respect for the answer to that prayer that is amazing to me. We forget sometimes that God is more glorified in our weakness than when we are at our strongest.

And then, that answer just simply may be delayed. And we know how impatient we are. How many children... -- remember back when you were a child and you just simply asked your parents for something. You didn't get it that day and the next day, you reminded them again. How many times did you.. or did you ever do that? I remember traveling down the road in the car and the kids, in the back seat were wanting to do something, or wanting something, and Cindy and I didn't give into it at all. And I remember coming away from that thinking that my children were always saying, "Gimme, gimme, gimme; I want, I want, I want." And sometimes when we pray, that's how we pray -- That's what we expect from God.

But I also realize, too, that a God of love must hate that which preys upon love. Wickedness, actually preys upon love. I mean it sits there, and will devour it, if we're not careful. And when you consider this, and consider that God truly abhors those who are workers of iniquity, and understand that they will meet their own fate, then things become a little bit clearer to us. David, in Psalm one, beginning at verse four said, "Therefore the ungodly are not so, but they are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous, for the Lord knows the way of the righteous. But the way of the ungodly shall perish." David recognizes that, "The boastful shall not stand in your sight. You hate all workers of iniquity," Psalm five.

Those who sew discord among brethren, will reap what they sow! Those who trouble the innocent; they will reap what they sow. Those who try to destroy the righteous; they will reap what they sow. Now, David talks about a straight path, but there's also a crooked way when you consider that. The people of whom David speaks were rebellious against God. They oppose him and it does not look like there's any hope for them to repent. And therefore David clearly foresaw their destruction -- their ruin. But David prayed for God's justice, and this to me, is one of those times that the light bulb goes off: When I listen to David's prayer, David is praying for God's justice. He's not praying with that lust for vengeance that I want. He's praying for justice and a just God that will provide that very thing. You know, he is not praying for an "eye-for-an-eye" or "tooth-for-tooth," he is wanting God to be just. Isaiah describes men that "live in iniquity with chords of falsehood" in Isaiah chapter five and verse 18: "Woe to those who draw iniquity with chords of vanity and sin as if with a cart's rope." There are men and women that are harnessed to the falsehoods of the world. They could also be harnessed to the falsehoods of religion.

And each time that we think about that, they have these ideas of some form of idolatry, some form of misconceptions about God and who he is... And all they're doing is dragging their sins after them. They are entangleed in sin. Their entanglement in the iniquities of this world has made them slaves to sin instead of slaves to righteousness. But what did Jesus tell us to do in Matthew chapter five when it came to our enemies? Pray for them. Love them. Things that run counter to the way that we normally view people, isn't it, especially to those who are enemies?

But here's the thing, too: Let all my enemies be ashamed and greatly troubled. Let them turn back and suddenly be ashamed." That's chapter six in the last verse, but in chapter five, verse 12: For you, Oh Lord will bless the righteous with favor. You will surround him with a shield." There's God's protection. David oftentimes talks about God being his refuge; his fortress. He talks about him being a shield right now. Do we view God in similar fashion? We have a shield in God. If we put our trust in him, he has assured us of his power. He has assured us of his love, because he sent his son into this world. You look at Ephesians chapter six verses 14 through 16 and you look at the armor of God and what's part of that armor? It's a shield.

I know that when we went through the book of Ephesians shortly after I moved here, and was looked at in the Bible class on Sunday morning, this was not just some little small shield. It wasn't something that was wrapped around the arm and circular and just defend off blows. This was something that when it came for protection that it was large enough that the soldier could kneel down behind it and not only be safe from the blows of a sword, but from the arrows that were being hurled in the air. And the shield that we have in Jesus Christ encompasses all around us. It can lead us not into temptation. It will if we allow it to protect us from sin and it will also remind us of which side of the line we are actually standing on.

So... when we think about this, are we people that put our trust in him? Are we people who live like we have this assurance in God's power? Are we people who pin our hopes on the promises that he has made to us? Well, if we have properly adorned ourselves, then this next question you should be able to answer in the affirmative. Have you found that shield yet? We live in a world that doesn't want us to express our faith, doesn't want us to pray, doesn't want us to talk about religion at all. But here's the thing: Whose side of the line are you willing to stand on? If you stand on the Lord's side and I believe David clearly had that in mind, then you will have found that shield. And if you found that shield, use it because it will protect you from the fiery darts of Satan.

It will protect you when you most need it. Never lay it down. Keep it by your side and wield it faithfully as a servant in God's kingdom.

If you are here this evening and you need to reconcile your life to God. You can do that. We stand ready to assist you if you need. Whatever your soul's need is... Let us help you.