Let's Talk Week 4: The Unusual Speech of a Crushed Believer
Female: It’s been a really long day. I wonder if I have any notifications. Okay. Nothing. It’s fine. Everyone else is probably just busy, too. Everything is fine. Wow. That girl is really pretty. I’ll never be pretty like her, or popular like her. Whatever. I’m such a loser. I don’t deserve to be loved. Fail. F. D. F. Fail, fail, fail. I must be the stupidest person on the planet. Why can’t I do anything right? God wasted His time on me. I’ll never be good enough for anyone.
Narrator: Pause. Sometimes we forget how powerful words really are, so let’s dialogue. Let’s unpack this together. Let’s talk.
Well, good morning to everybody, and good morning, also, to those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. We’re in a series called “Let’s Talk.” We’re talking about the power of words. Up to this point, we’ve really been talking about the words that we speak, what Scripture has to say about that and how it could potentially ruin our witness and could also hurt others. But one of the things that we all know — and as we watch that video, there’s not anybody in here that has not had those words in their head that have just sort of wrestled around at different times, that have beat you up and made you feel like you couldn’t do it. Whether it’s at work, whether it’s in a relationship, whether it’s just in life. As those words come, it’s like you don’t know where they came from. They’re there and they really get bad when life goes out from underneath us. When everything in life is just taken out from us, we weren’t expecting a tragedy, a lose or whatever it may be, all of a sudden, those words are there and they’re so defeating and they’re so nasty. They just get in there.
And you don’t know where they come from. It’s like you want them to go away. And everybody’s got that issue from time to time. You don’t have to worry if your neighbor or the person behind you or in front of you has ever had negative self-talk at all. Everybody has had that in their life. And, I mean, we’re aware of it, as humans. They’ve got things now called “neuro-linguistic programming” where they’re trying to figure out how you can say things to deal with the fact that you say negative things. You’ve got people that say, “The answer to that is to go get a good workout regime. Get the endorphins going.” Other people say you’ve got to have a better diet. Eat some kale, seaweed, a raccoon toenail and a strawberry, or whatever, and, all of a sudden, all your problems will go away.
But the reality is that you know as well as I do that they’re there. Those words are there. That’s why we come and gather as saints in a building like this on the weekends to say, “What does God’s Word have to say about that?” Believe it or not, there is something profound in Scripture that deals with this. It’s Psalm 42. We’re going to look through that whole Psalm today, and then we’re going to do some takeaways at the end; some practical application.
But before we do that, I want to just get ourselves sort of thinking in the direction of this Psalm. There was a great man named Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones. He was the minister at Westminster in London for over 30 years. Prolific writer. He wrote a book on Psalm 42 called “Spiritual Depression.”
I want to just read a couple of excerpts out of this book that refers specifically to Psalm 42, and then we’ll get into the Psalm itself. But I think this will get us sort of thinking in the way that we need to think about the subject matter that we’re going to talk about.
He says, “Take those thoughts that come to you the moment you wake up in the morning.”
You don’t have to raise your hand, but all of us have had those thoughts that came in the morning. It’s like, “Where did they come from? What is going on?” But they’re just there. He says, “You’ve not originated them.” It’s not like you woke up and said, “Let me start speaking negative to myself.”
“You’ve not originated them, but they’re talking to you. They bring back the problems of yesterday, etcetera.”
Somebody is talking. Who is talking to you? Yourself is talking to you. That’s who’s talking to you. Now, this man’s treatment in Psalm 42, which we’re going to look at in just a second, was this:
“Instead of allowing this self to talk to him, he starts talking to himself. This other man within us has got to be handled. Don’t listen to him. Turn on him. Speak to him. Condemn him. Abrade him. Exhort him. Encourage him. Remind him of what you know instead of listening placidly and allowing him to drag you down and depress you.”
We’ve all had that. Everybody here has had those moments where the negativity is there. “I don’t feel like I can measure up. I don’t know if God loves me anymore. I’m not quite sure why this happened.” Some of my voices are like, “Way to go, Chip. You said you were going to lose five pounds at the beginning of the year. You’ve only got 32 to go,” or whatever that may be. You hear these thoughts and they just sort of beat you up and tear you down. It really gets bad. It really gets bad when you’re just in a funk. And I’m talking about a funk that’s such a funk that you’re funkified. Anybody ever been there? It is funkification. You know? You’re just in it and it doesn’t seem like there’s any help. You’re there. You look out there and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, there’s nothing that looks like anything is ever going to get better and you’re just in it. It is what it is, what it is and what it is. Those words start coming. This talk starts coming. Those words pierce, bite, cut and really tear you.
Well, let’s look at this psalm because this psalm’s going to help us out. And I want to say at the beginning that this psalm is tough. It’s emotional. It’s heavy. It doesn’t end on a happy ending. It just ends there. We’ve got to work through it. We’re committed, as Christians, to the Word of God. We don’t believe there’s any surplus in Scripture. We believe that these passages are there for a reason, so we’ve got to work through it. You’re going to feel the weight of the psalm as we go through it, but we’re going to learn some really massive gems that we’re going to be able to take out of this thing and take home with us. So, let’s get to going here.
The psalm has a heading. Not all psalms do, but some psalms have a heading. We don’t consider those to be inspired, but they really help us to understand how to interpret a psalm. This psalm says, “To the choirmaster.” That’s important. That means this psalm that we’re getting ready to read was a song. They sang this thing. As you go through this psalm, you’re going to go, “I would never want to sing this thing. If we sang this thing in church, it would make me depressed. Why would I sing this song? That guy’s depressed. I don’t want to get depressed. I don’t want that to leap off me.”
But they would sing this song. There’s got to be a reason why they would sing it. We’re going to learn about that, but we’ve got to work through it. So, it’s to the choirmaster.
“A Maskil of the Sons of Korah.”
That’s also helpful. This word “maskil,” we don’t know what it means. It’s a transliteration out of the Hebrew and it’s “maskil.” It’s a rascal because we don’t know what maskil means. We sort of have an idea of what we think it may potentially mean. It comes from a root or a stem to point, teach or instruct. So, we think that this is a psalm that people would sing that would instruct them. And it’s by the “Sons of Korah.” Who are the Sons of Korah? Well, Korah was the guy that led the rebellion against Moses with 250 other people. If you remember, the ground swallowed them up. Can you imagine being one of Korah’s kids? You’re in school and they’re like, “So, what does your dad do?”
The kid’s like, “Oh, my dad’s a farmer.”
“That’s cool, man.”
“What does your dad do?”
“Oh, my dad’s a dentist.”
“Oh, really? What does your dad do?”
“Yeah. You know, the ground swallowed him up. That’s what happened to my dad. Yeah. He’s just gone.”
So, they knew loss. They knew hurt. But as that lineage continued on, by the time of David at the Davidic Kingdom, the Sons of Korah, the Korahites, were orchestral leaders. They led worship for the Children of Israel. You see it in passages like 2 Chronicles 20:19 here. The Korahites stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. They were people that led worship, led the precession, led singing and led the people in worship.
So, what we know is we have a psalm that was a song that people would sing. So, these were words that they would sing that would instruct them. It was written by the Sons of Korah. Now the only other thing we’ve got to do is the provenance of the psalm, or the Sitz im Leben, the situation in life in which this is written, the context of where it’s at. Probably written during the time of the Babylonian captivity where there’s no temple, no festivals. There’s none of that. These people who led in worship are now not able to lead in worship. They’re there in Babylon and the enemies are over them. They’re just in it. I mean, just in it. So, the psalmist writes. Let’s see what this person writes. Remember, this is a song that would be sung by people. It’s teaching us something. It’s instructing us somehow.
“As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.”
“God, I need You. God, like a deer that is possibly dehydrated or going to die of thirst, looking for that stream.” It could also be that he’s talking about a deer that’s being chased by an animal that’s going to kill it. A lot of times, deer, when they’re being chased, will look for a stream to get in and run up the stream. The reason is because they’re no longer leaving a scent anymore that can be followed. So, we don’t know. Probably, the thirst is what’s going on here, but we don’t know for sure. But what we know is that this deer is absolutely in need of a flowing stream. The psalmist says, “In the same way that deer is panting for flowing streams, so pants my soul for You, O God.”
“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”
“I need God so bad.”
“When shall I come and appear before God?”
And now we enter in. We understand why he is crying out for God. “God, I need You. I need You like a deer that is dehydrated and maybe even at the point of death. It needs water. God, I need You so bad. When am I going to see You again? When are You going to show up?”
“My tears have been my food day and night,”
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a situation in your life — a tragedy, a loss, a divorce, lost a job, lost a house, lost loved one — when it’s just like the world comes in and everything in your life has just been toppled. The emotion is real and raw. It’s just there. I mean, it’s just there. It’s just heavy and weighty. All you can do is just cry. You don’t even want to cry. You can’t stop the tears.
It says, “My tears have been my food day and night,”
It’s so bad, if you’ve ever been in those times, where it’s like you can be in an office, drop a pen on the floor and just start crying because you dropped a pen on the floor. You wouldn’t normally cry because the pen fell on the floor, but it’s just there. He says, “God, I need You like a deer searching for a stream. I thirst for You, God, because my tears have been my food day and night.”
“While they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’”
We’re going to find in just a minute that his enemies are taunting him. “Yeah. That’s great. Look at you.”
“God, they can see it on my face. They can see it in my being that I’m just depressed. Everything in life is just hanging on me. They’re looking at me and saying, ‘Where is your God? Where’s He at? Where’d He go? Didn’t you guys used to have a temple? Didn’t you used to lead worship? Didn’t you used to be excited? Didn’t you use to be jubilant? Didn’t you use to have excitement in your life?’ God, I need You so bad. I need You like a deer that’s looking for water. My soul is thirsting for You. God, all I’ve had is tears, all day long, and they keep saying to me, ‘Where is your God?’”
“These things I remember, as I pour out my soul.”
“Everything within me is just pouring out. I remember...”
“How I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival.”
“God, I remember those days when it wasn’t like this. It was like this. There was a day when it was exciting and we were leading the people into the house of God. It was festive. It was all those good things that I wanted in my life. I remember them, but it’s not now. Right now, all it is is tears all day long. All it is is taunting from my enemies. ‘Where is your God?’ But I remember — I do remember how I would go and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts. I remember that.”
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?”
“Stop. I’ve got these words going on. People are talking to me. I’m in a funk. My soul, this thing within me, something within me is just in turmoil. It’s cast down.” He turns and speaks to his inside. “Why are you like this on the inside? Why are you in such turmoil within me?”
“Hope in God; for I...”
“You may not, soul. Soul, you may not, but I am going to. It may not be tomorrow. It’s surely not right now. And it may not be next week, but I’m hoping in God, for I shall again praise him. There will be a day that I praise Him again. I know you’re inside, you’re cast down, but I’m not going to listen to you. I’m going to tell you hope in God. I’m going to preach to you. I will, again, praise him, my salvation and my God.”
“My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.”
“I remember. I remember the days that it wasn’t like this. Even when I remember those days...”
“Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;”
“Even as I remember the place as the dew would come down off of Hermon and into the Jordan river, and how You would water the area of Israel — even when I think of that, which should bring me some peace, all it does is that water just breaks over me and crushes me because I am just down and out.”
This is just crazy talk from someone who is in it. Listen to what he says.
“By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,”
How in the world are you saying that? There’s nothing in your life that’s going good. There’s nothing in your life that’s good. There’s nothing in your life that’s going well. You don’t see God. You don’t taste God. You’re cast down. Your enemies are taunting you.
But, “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life.”
Man, that is some interesting language being spoken by someone who’s in it. These words don’t make sense unless you see them as words of faith.
He says, “I say to God, my rock...”
My rock. Listen to the anguish here.
“I say to God, my rock [the one I trust in, the one that’s my fortress]: ‘Why have you forgotten me?’”
I mean, listen to this. “You’re my rock, but You’ve forgotten me.” You see the struggle on the inside of this person.
“‘Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?’ As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, ‘Where is your God?’ Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
And it ends. It’s like, “Well, come on. That’s not happy. That’s not getting me excited. Why would we sing that? Why would anybody sing that? Why would you even speak that? If I’m not depressed, that would depress me. Why would I even want to read that?”
It’s funny. Mindy came last night to the five o’clock service and, as she was leaving, she’s like, “How in the world are you going to preach that sermon five times? That’s heavy. I’m coming at 11:45. I want to see if you still have energy to preach it.” I’m going to tell you right now I’m going to have energy to preach it at 11:45. I’m going to be slamming some Red Bull or something. You know?
But you see the weight, you feel the weight. The reason I’m doing a little bit more than just teaching today is because I want you to feel the anguish and the pain and the despair and the crushing that’s going on in the psalmist’s words. There’s got to be a reason why that’s in the text. There’s got to be a reason why it’s part of the Psalter. There’s got to be a reason why Psalm 42 is there. I think if we can take some time and just look through this, I think there are such powerful things being said that we need to see. So, let’s talk about this.
First — and this is profound. Let this resonate. Let this cascade over you. Let this pierce into your soul. First point: The writer doesn’t desire deliverance, he desires God. Listen to this. There’s a reason why they sang this. There’s a reason why they confess this. Nowhere in this text is the writer looking for deliverance. He’s looking for God. See, this is a psalm that makes you sit back for a minute and think because — see, listen, as your pastor I can say this authoritatively and mean it. I can look at you and say, “Listen, if you become a Christian and understand who God is in your life, you’re going to have an abundant life. If you understand who God is, He is a God that can give you the peace that surpasses all understanding. He is a God who can heal. He is a God who can provide for all of your needs.”
But what this does in the middle of the absolute depression and crushing-ness of life is it gestures to you and me, “Do I serve God? Do I come to God for what I can get or do I serve Him and do I love Him because He Himself is enough?” He’s enough. No deliverance. I don’t need the deliverance. What I need is God. He says, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for an answer. So pants my soul for deliverance.”
No. He says, “As a deer needs that water, so pants my soul for You, O God. God, I need You. Lord, You are who I need. Lord, my soul thirsts for the living God.”
I was in my office and I just was immersing myself into this psalm. I sort of know what I’m speaking about multiple weeks in advance, but during the week, whatever week it is that I’m speaking on a message, I just sort of read the same passage over and over and over and over and over again. I just sort of let it get within me. I just feel it. I was sitting there at my desk and I was going, “Man, he’s desiring God.” Like, not all the benefits. Not that there are not benefits, but that’s not what he’s after. He wants God. So, I get out my iPad. I’ve got that cool pencil that you can write with. It’s really cool. I know a lot of you all, if you’re new here, they call me “PC” for “Pastor Chip,” but I only use Apple products. So, PC. Apple.
Anyway, I’m writing and this is what I wrote. It may not be perfect English. It may not be perfect grammar. It may have a Kentucky flair to it, but whatever. Here’s what I wrote. I think this is profound:
“A real serious and deep Christian faith that is mature realizes that answers to a situation are not what we need. We need God.”
We need God. Why did they sing this thing? Why did they speak this thing? Why did they let it just hang with no answer? Because it’s teaching you and me and instructing you and me that in the midst of just crying, when all your soul and all the words are there, is God enough or is He not?
Second, he remembers. He remembers. He says, “These things I remember, as I pour out my soul. As I’m pouring out my soul, I remember these things: How I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Because I remember. I remember those days when we would get together. Not now. It seems so far away, but I remember. I remember that what we did, as we got together as the people of God, it mattered. It really mattered.”
Because, see, when we get together, there are people that walk in here that are on life’s last grasp. Years ago, we had a young man that was coming to church for suicide. He ended up getting saved and baptized. See, what we do matters. Because, see, you come in here and you’ve got all the funk of the world, all the garbage of the world and maybe that handshake, that macaroon, that cup of coffee, that nice smile, or something in the song that was sung, or something that was spoken to you matters. He says, “I remember when we got together.”
Do you realize there are people — I prayed this last night with the band. I said, “Think about this for a second: There are people, when we get together, that move from death to life right here.” Right here. He says, “I remember these times.” See, when you’re in it, sometimes you’ve got to remember. “I remember the day that God called my name. I remember the day when I prayed for that person. I remember the day when I was in it and God answered it.”
Because when you go back and remember the faithfulness of God in your life, you can say to yourself that the Jesus that was there with me then, Hebrews 13:8, He is the same today, yesterday and forevermore. He remembers. And I wonder sometimes — and this is from my heart. This is from me to you. I’m just being honest here. I wonder sometimes, do we have things that we can remember? Do we have those things or do we come, we just gather, fold our arms and work through a song? “I’ll show up during maybe the third song, listen to a little bit of the message, thing about Chili’s and move on.”
Let me tell you something, having those moments where God has been real in your life are important when you’re going through because you need to remember what He’s done.
Third, and this is huge, huge, huge: He clings to the sovereignty of God. Listen, I teach systematic theology. I teach sovereignty. I teach providence. I stand in front of my class and I tell them there’s not one thing that happens in life, not even a bird falls to the ground apart from the Father’s will, and yet the choices that you make and the things that you do, you are responsible for. And everybody goes, “Well, how does that work?” I go, “I don’t know.”
They go, “We paid a lot of money. Can we get a better teacher?”
I’m sure you can. I don’t know. But what I can tell you is this: When you’re going through the funk, you’d better know that your God’s not up in heaven playing peek-a-boo with you and trying to figure out what to do because He doesn’t know. You need to have a rock that you can trust in that you know is a sovereign God. And just because we can’t explain the sovereignty of God doesn’t mean that we can’t affirm it in faith.
Listen to what he says: “All your breakers and your waves have gone over me.”
“I don’t know, God. I just know that they’re Your breakers and Your waves. I don’t know how that works. I don’t even know how to explain it. I just know that it’s true. Somehow, in the middle of my life, You’re not absent.”
That’s why James can say, in James 1:3, “When you fall into various trials, complain.” No. “When you fall into various trials, join a small group and tell everybody about it.” No. He says, “When you fall into various trials, count it joy.”
Well, how in the world can you do that? I don’t know. I can just tell you it’s what you’re supposed to do. He clings to the sovereignty of God.
Lastly, he speaks unusually strange language to his soul. I call it the language of faith. Have you ever been next to somebody at a stoplight when you listen to The Joy FM or whatever you listen to, you look over and you have to do a double take because they’re in their car talking to themselves? Have you ever been that person? He starts talking to himself in this psalm; preaching to himself. He says, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? What’s going on in here? Why are you in turmoil within me? It’s me, but you’re in there. You’re creating turmoil for me in there. Hope in God.”
That’s crazy talk. If I was out there in the hub going, “Chip, get it together, son,” you’d be like, “We need to pray for the preacher. Those five services are really hurting him.”
He says, “I shall again...” — listen. “I shall again.” This is such a statement of faith in the gutter of life. “I shall again. Not now, but I’m going to again. I know I will.”
Now, listen to this one: “By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,”
Like, where does that come from? That is such a statement of faith.
“And at night his song is with me,”
I’m going to ask you a question. Do you have a song that you can sing when you’re going through the difficulties of life? Is there a song? In Acts 16, when Paul and Silas are beaten and thrown into the Philippian jail, what are they doing at midnight? They’re singing. It’s crazy. It is. It’s crazy. It’s just unusually crazy to be singing after you got beat. Crazy to be saying, “And at night his song is with me.”
We just sang a song, the third song that we sang today, “It is well.” Can you, in the gutter, even though you don’t see it and you don’t feel it, do you know that your God is a sovereign God to the fact that you can say, “Whatever my lot, it is well with my soul?”
It is well with my soul. I think of this here: Lamentations. Maybe you’ve never read it. It’s one of those books that you read and you go, “Wow. That was a doozy.” It’s five chapters written by Jeremiah as he laments over the fact that the temple has been destroyed and Israel has gone off into Babylon. Five chapters. Chapter One and Chapter Two, Chapter Four and Chapter Five, twenty-two verses. Why is that? Because they’re acrostic. They start with “alef” and “bet” and go all the way through the Hebrew alphabet. Twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet; twenty-verses. It starts with each letter of the alphabet, one through twenty-two in Chapter One, one through twenty-two in Chapter Two, one through twenty-two in Chapter Four and one through twenty-two in Chapter Five.
In Chapter Three there are sixty-six verses. Three “alefs”, three “bets” and all the way down. Why does he do that? Because what he’s saying as he’s writing that book is, “I don’t understand what’s happened here. I don’t understand how the God of a sovereign universe can allow His temple and His house to be destroyed by the Babylonians, but ‘alef,’ ‘bet,’ ‘gimel.’ All the way down. I know there is an order to what’s going on. Even though I don’t understand it, I affirm it.”
It’s powerful. It’s powerful to be able to say, “I know this is true.” See, we have circumstantial Christianity in America. Things are good, God’s good. Things are bad, it’s the devil. Where did God go? That’s what we do. We all do that. We just sort of play in this whole circumstantial Christianity thing. So, when things go bad in our life, where did God go? What happened to God? This is why you need these psalms because they remind you and me that in the midst of the garbage and the funk, God is enough.
Now, let me get real and honest here. I remember we started Grace in August of 2010. And I didn’t really start Grace. I wasn’t looking to pastor a church. I had a gentleman that came into my office and said, “I’m going to buy you a church.”
You go, “Chip, there’s no way that happened.”
I’m telling you that happened. I don’t care what news company you watch. Maybe they tell you things that are crazy. But I’m telling you right now that’s true. Okay? It’s true. It happened. I didn’t want to do it. I was working 60-70 hours a week. I had a good life. I’m like, “Dude, I got out of ministry.” I didn’t want to be in ministry. I got out of ministry. I was like, “I’m done.” So, he buys a church and fits this church out. In August, we show up. I’m leading worship. Me leading worship is a mixture between a banshee and a wolf howling. I don’t know. Maybe even put a cow in heat blended in there or something. I don’t know. It’s just terrible. Sorry. I’m from Kentucky, if you’re new. Anyway, pray for me. I’ll be talking to myself after this service.
Anyway, I was there and I was doing this. I’m working 60-70 hours a week. About six months into this gig, there’s just a handful of people at the church. Everybody that was coming in were the ones that the churches around the church that we had had kicked out. You think I’m joking. I’m not joking. It was like it couldn’t have been more dysfunctional. People in desperate need. I didn’t have time. I was working 60-70 hours a week. I’m like, “God, this is unfair.”
So, one day, I’m up leading worship. Remember? Wolf, coyote, cow. That deal. I’m leading worship. This lady comes in on the front row, reaches into her purse, pulls out two flags and starts just waving flags as I’m worshiping. She’s hitting people in the head and all this stuff. I’m sitting there going, “God, I hate You. I don’t know what I did. Did I wake up one night, walk in my sleep, kill 13 people and worship a golden calf? What did I do, God, to deserve this?”
I go to this lady after church and I’m like, “Listen, you can’t be doing the flags like this.” She said, “Oh, you’re one of those that quench the Spirit.” I was like, “I’m going to quench them flags. I may be a sinner saved by grace, but I’m quenching them flags.”
Done, done, done. So, about eight months in or a year in, I found myself going to church on Sunday morning and yelling at God, going, “Why am I doing this? I can’t believe I’m doing this. I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want it. I don’t know why You’re doing this.”
I would go home at night, grab Mindy and go, “I hate doing this. I don’t know why I’m doing this.” She’d be like, “Look, I love you. Whatever you want to do is cool.” I would go sit in my closet every Sunday night and just cry. I’d say, “God, I didn’t ask for this. I didn’t want this. I don’t know why You’re putting this on me. I quit once before and I don’t want to do it again.”
Every time, the voice would come reminding me, “Don’t you remember at 18 years old I called you to do this?”
And I can’t tell you when. I’d like to tell you. I’d like to tell you a date. I don’t have a date. I can just tell you at some point we moved up here and things changed and it became “again.” It was an “again” time. Again, I felt like this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Again, I embarrassed the call. Again, I said, “Okay. I’ll do this thing.” I say that because here’s what I want you to hear. This is what the psalm is telling you. In the midst of every bit of depression and funk, when you’re on the bottom of the barrel, let me tell you something, the bottom is solid because God is there with you. And He’s enough.
“Hey, Pastor. Why do you tell us these things? We thought you were more spiritual than that.”
Listen, I am not asking you to look at me. I am doing my best with everything within me to tell you I want you to know God in a real way. I want God to be your God in a real way. I want you to know when life comes in that your God is God. He is God.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You right now and pray for two things. Lord, I believe with all of my heart that every time we meet there’s someone that either doesn’t know You, never lived their life for You and they’re here, or at one time they lived their life for You and they’ve just put it aside, and they’re here today and they say, “Yeah. You know what? I do. I need to move forward in my relationship with God.”
If you’re there today, if that’s you, right there at your seat — nobody’s going to embarrassed you, nobody’s going to call you out. In your seat, say, “God, I need You in my life. God, like the deer that pants for that water, I need You right now, God. I need You to be real to me. I need You in my life.”
If that’s you, when we’re done praying and we dismiss, find somebody with a name badge or a lanyard. Go grab somebody and say, “Hey, I prayed a prayer. I asked God to be real to me. I need to know what to do next.”
For those of you all who are Christians here, though, for those of you all who need to hear this message, as all of us do, I just pray that right now, in the mighty, strong name of Jesus, you would let Psalm 42 pierce your heart and soul so when you find yourself in the midst of it all, you can know that you know that you know that your God is enough.
Lord, move through the chairs and the aisles right now. Speak to Your people. Let them know You are enough. You’re enough.
Lord, we thank You. We ask that as we walk out of here today You would continue to lead, guide and direct us, that You would watch over us and protect us and bring us back safely to when we meet again. Lord, I pray in Jesus’ name that You would help us to stay focused on the things that You have us to do here at Grace, which is to reach the unchurched by being intentional neighbors that reflect Christ. Lord, I love You. We love You. We honor You and we praise You. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”
Give the Lord a big hand clap. Tell Him you love Him. God bless everybody.