Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Trusting in God" (Psalm 40:1-10)


We've recently talked about a whole lot of challenging stuff about engaging with the community, building relationships with people, being ministers of reconciliation, and taking on any areas of injustice. This is because, as children of the living God, we are called to be active in bringing about God's new creation - bringing God's Kingdom to earth.

We live in the period between Jesus' resurrection and his return. In this season, we are meant to live lives of active integrity that partner with God in the activity of restoring (a once "very good") creation. This includes all aspects of God's original and ongoing creativeness.

This is a great challenge, even for the motivated. This is a challenge that can't be taken lightly. Only God can ultimately enable this to happen, for we are so dependent on the Holy Spirit's power and effectiveness, for any real solutions to manifest. This means that we have to trust completely in God (in every aspect of our lives). We have to examine, understand, apply and practice what it means to trust in God.

So, initially, we turn to Psalm 40. I see in the first ten verses here, at least 5 aspects or principles of trusting in God:
(a) building relationship (with God)
(b) embracing newness
(c) expressing worship
(d) growing in discipleship
(e) going public.


Verse 1 has the sense of sitting with God, practicing the presence of God, building a consistency with this, digging deeply into God; and in our "waiting" ... knowing that the Lord is hearing and WILL provide. We should be honest ... no point not being so. We can share all our pain, uncertainty, doubt and frustration. We can share our concerns and needs.

The idea behind what is translated "I waited patiently", is being expectantly expectant - looking eagerly for what we know God will do ... not necessarily a specific answer that we have in mind, but more so an appreciation that God will bring His best to us (in terms of our real needs). We accept that our view of our needs can rightly bear God's scrutiny.

As we confess and repent, God looks at us through Jesus. This is all about NOT being content with the status quo, but rather wanting to build a closer and deeper relationship with our Creator and Saviour. In this way, we can turn finger-tapping impatience into an eager expectation of blessing and growth.

God is never slow, only sometimes waiting for us to be undistracted. Where is our primary focus? If anything other than God is our highest priority, then we have created a 'false god' in our life. Yes, your family and job and schooling are important, but these areas will NOT work out for the best ... if they have displaced God from number one position.


In verse 2, we see the most dramatic change in circumstances, the most dramatic conversion story - moving from a desperate extreme to a whole new and better realiity. The "desolate pit" and "miry bog" indicate drowning in mud, a helpless feeling of floundering and of being alone (and separated off) in the struggle. This could be the case for many reasons: illness (physical or mental), sin, impending peril, grief or loss, suffering in general.

God has an "open ear" to this (v.1,6). And God is ready to offer something different ... a new reality. Our feet being set upon a "rock" suggests a firm foundation from which we will never sink. From a new testament perspective, we might see how this suggests becoming a disciple of Jesus (like Peter did ... being called the "rock").

To have our "steps made secure" indicates that we now have a clear pathway, with less diversions and dead-ends; not a steeple-chase any more, but a straight run ... with a map, and a guide-book, and an inner voice bringing guidance and confidence.

So we should NOT give in to despair, but rather allow God to rehabilitate us. We should accept the steep learning curve ahead of us. God wants to bring new out of the old - we just need to be open for this. Are you open for this? Will you embrace newness?


Newness in the depth of our being, leads to a "new song" being in our mouth (refer verse 3a). This is a story about the change God has made (and is still making) in our life ... a testimony to God's grace.

This is combined with our new freedom to worship God with enthusiasm and faith. We do this on our knees, and, as we whistle down the street or hum our latest favourite worship song; but most we worship in the company of our sisters and brothers in gatherings such as this.

This "new song" shows how positive we have become ... how hopeful, joyful, thankful, loving, compassionate and peaceful. As an aside, if we don't actually feel peaceful about something, could it be that we haven't prayed about this issue, or haven't really left it with God?! [It could also be that we haven't let control go - we're not ready to receive an answer that may be different from what we have become somewhat locked into.]

Coming with a "new song" will necessitate leaving some stuff with God; because in this life there will always be some stuff to deal with. And as we have discussed, in the Jesus-following life, there actually may be more stuff to deal with than less ... as we are serious about our lives; the good side of this being the growth, maturity and completeness that can come out of it all!

There will be an upcoming message on strength in weakness.

Each of us has a unique "song" to contribute, and each of these "songs" will have great depth because of the struggles that have been worked through. And, God will bring together all these diverse "new songs" into perfect harmony.

In the second part of verse 3, we see a reaction or response to our "new song". This is great and really rewarding. Others see something they want! Isn't this what our dreams are made of - other people newly putting THEIR trust in the Lord Jesus. Our "new song" RESONATES with people, it is heard, the sincerity of it is seen, it evokes a reaction ... which will, often enough, be a good reaction, for which we praise God.


Trusting in God at greater levels, will naturally mean that we are able to follow Jesus more closely. Verses 4 to 8 take us on a mental journey about life in solidarity with Jesus. We don't follow false trends, nor do we follow those who will tend to take take us toward false trends. We will more and more know what activities count for God, and those that don't. A "false god" is anything that gets preference over Jesus.

There are so many popular yet highly falllible alternatives to trip us up. In better days, Israel was tempted to cosy up to their former enemy Egypt for advantage, but this was never going to go well. There may have been some alluring promises, but they just were NOT trustworthy enough.

We see in verse 6, that even a psalmist caught deep into a system of sacrifice and burnt offerings, knew that this was NOT the ultimate path. The ultimate path is having an open heart to God - with an open ear ... to really hear what God would teach us.

Look at verse 8. Our heart is now God's. God controls our thinking, our attitudes, our motivations, our priorities. What the psalmist referred to as "law", we as people under 'grace' would understand as God's Word, God's will and God's ways. This is our heart!

But not only our heart, but also our character; and, if we look back at verse 7, our reputation as well - what we are known for!! In God's record of earthly adventures, it can be said of us ... "I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is written within my heart".

Are we able to say that of ourselves? Yes!? Beautiful. No?! Don't get down on yourself - God can still make this happen. Trust in God, open your life in prayer, build your relationship with God, become new, get worshipping, start growing.

I read this week some words from an old hymn that appealed to me - "Glory to Thee ... for all the grace ... I have not tasted yet".

One aspect of trusting in God left ...


Jesus can be seen in the normal activities of our life. But this can be cranked up. This is covered in verses 9 & 10:

"I have told the glad news ..."
"I have not restrained my lips"
"I have not hidden your saving help"
"I have spoken of your faithfulness ...".
To truly trust in God we need to be known for who we are ... no secrets ... a complete revelation of a complete person. This doesn't mean we get in other people's faces with our faith, but it certainly means that we shouldn't cover it up. There will be gentle, respectful and relevant ways of sharing with others, as we commit ourselves to listening to them and sharing their journey.

We should never under-sell our particular story of faith ... as if it's not dramatic or significant enough. There is at least one person, if not more, out there, who would benefit from each of our unique spiritual experiences.

So, in Conclusion ...

Every experience of the Lord's grace in the past, should lead us to look up to him with trust ... for the present, and the future (Wilcock). We walk in relationship with our Heavenly Parent as children of the Living God, being 'new creation', worshipping with everything we are and have, following in the path of Jesus ... for all to see. Amen!

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