Do you ever wonder if the Lord has forgotten you?
Does it seem as if He’s not paying as much attention to you as He once did?
Do you ever get the feeling that God is so distant you begin to doubt that He cares?
Do you ever accuse God for your Christian life?
If so, remember that appearances can be deceiving. Regardless of how it looks right now, the Lord is not far from you. He may be giving you an opportunity to trust Him and for you to wait for His help rather than rely on your own resources. The Christian life for many is like a roller coaster ride! You have mountain top moments to despairing moments of panic, grief, and hopelessness. If you don’t that’s great! But we do have beloved brothers and sisters where this very real to them. Even a man after God’s own heart had moments of despair!
Look what David pens in this psalm 4 times David cries out “How Long” which literally means “until when” In the midst of David’s troubles he has tolerated them as long as he could. Now! It seemed as if they would never come to an end. Now, for some of us we don’t feel this way when we go through short term moment in our Christian life…but when things continue on and on and on. Some of us begin to doubt where God is in all this. Has he abandoned me? At this moment David feels that his troubles will never come to an end. Is this you at times? Do you feel like David as he cries out or pours out His heart to God in the midst of despair? Let’s look at these four questions that David cried out to God with!
“How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?”(v1a)
We can see that David is in great despair and he feels that he’s been forgotten so long, and there appeared to be so little outlook of rescue. It seemed as if God is never going or would return and visit him with mercy and grace. The expression signifies David’s state of mind; he is on the verge of despair. “Despair” by definition is “the complete loss or absence of hope”
Despair leads to questioning God
Why, O LORD, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Ps 10:1
Despair leads to possible habitual sinning
"But they say, 'That is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.” Jer 18:12
Despair leads to believers to believe the lies of Satan.
“And I said, "My strength and my hope Have perished from the LORD." Lam 3:18
We would say “No, not David” The same David that said “But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God." And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine."…" 1 Sam 17:34-37. This can’t be the David of the Bible who said “Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:6
This David? No, this Psalm must be written by a different David. Not my David, who has slain bears lions and a man some 9 feet tall. No, I refuse to believe that this is the David, the man after God’s own heart David. See the reality of this Psalm is shows that we are all susceptible to feel this way from time to time. For David, this feels was real and we can’t live in denial that this may be happening to you this morning. Satan wants nothing more than for you and me to doubt that a holy God loves us and a desires fellowship. God hasn’t abandoned you or me, He has never left. He hasn’t forgotten about what you’re going through or what lies ahead.
“How long will hide Your face from me?” (v1b)
What is David saying? What happened to our friendship and how long is going to last with you ignoring me. This word “hide” give us the impression that David is lamenting that God is angry or treating him as if he is His enemy. “Why do You hide Your face, And regard me as Your enemy?” Job 13:24. This is how we feel at times when we are in despairing moments. We would call this dark thoughts and uncontrollable emotions. It’s the idea that we no longer sense that God is blessing us and we tend to ponder on our failures and get into an emotional low. And when our emotions take over it’s always hard to get back to level ground. Do you feel this way when you feel God is being silent in your life? We can be our own worst enemy of God’s grace, by thinking this is how the God of the universe feels towards us. God doesn’t hide from anything! He is everywhere present David also penned these words “O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!” Psalm 139:1-8. God doesn’t make His decisions or act upon His will by emotion. God knows what He is doing in your life and in your present situation.
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in heart all the day? (v2a)
David’s sorrow was every day; constantly. Is this you this morning? There was “no intermission” or “time out” to his troubles. Its’ one thing after another…..It’s kind of felt that way this week for me! I don’t know about you. With Terrie looking like he is on deaths door, personal conflict with my brother, to Arlene passing away and to hear the news of Don passing away Wednesday and the wickedness of people around the globe……can be overwhelming! Especially if you have littles who don’t understand the concept of death and why God does what He does when it pertains to life and death. For David The sorrow in his heart seems to have been not merely by troubles from without, but also that which sprang from the painful attempt to form plans for his own relief. Plans which seemed to be in vain, especially if it didn’t involve the LORD. We do that at times we take our eyes of Christ and we begin to look horizontal at our problems and our life at that moment feels like its spinning out of control. And it leaves us asking questions we should never ponder! “Is God punishing me for what I did then?” I confessed my sins and believed He forgave me. But maybe He is bringing it up again and putting me on hold because of it.” There are extreme times where people think “God has abandoned them forever.” This psalm reminds us that we are vulnerable and fragile in this life, especially when we allow our emotions to govern our life.
How long shall my emery be exalted over me? (v2b)
How long will my enemies feel that they have won the battle and will boast it over me? Don’t you feel that way at times when you see who gets the praises from our world system? When you are mistreated by other and it seems the whole world is against you. When Elijah told God that it would be better for him to die than to live, it was not only the desperate emotional letdown following his victory that had affected him. There was also a presence of his enemies. “There he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" He said, "I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away." 1 Kings 19:9-10. In the same way David knew what it was to be pursued by his relentless enemy King Saul and anyone else who betrayed David. This is why he said “How long will my enemies triumph over me?” Most of us at this time in our lives could say we don’t have that problem with someone who want us dead, like David or Elijah. This is not an issue for us humanly speaking, but we do have a spiritual enemy who is worse than any human enemy imaginable. Peter warned us about this person “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:6-8. Martin Lloyd Jones said “The Devil is the adversary of our souls. He can use our temperaments and our physical condition. He so deals with us that we allow our temperament to control and govern us, instead of keeping temperament where it should be kept. There is no end to the ways the Devil produces spiritual depression. We must always bear him in mind.”
Satan is a great deceiver in making you think God has abandoned you.
You might be thinking to yourself how does God get the glory in all of this? These 4 questions expose the heart of David and show us his feelings to what is happening in his life. We see that David knows exactly where to go when he allows his feeling to get the best of him. His original confidence had been in God only, and not in himself. This is where we find hope, grace and not allowing our emotions to dictate our circumstance. This is the answer to David’s despair, your despair. BUT! This is a big but as David concludes this Psalm in (v5-6) “But I have” this is where we see David turn his focus onto the one who can deliver him from whatever is before him. What we learn from this transition is David psalm is this! Despite how we feel, despite how David felt he turned to God in his darkest hour. This is prime example we should never rely on our feelings when we are faced with troubled times. We hear so many times people contradict scripture saying “The Lord told me to …..?
The Lord told me to divorce this person.
The Lord told me it’s ok to abort my child.
The Lord told me I should sue my neighbor.
The Lord told me it was ok to keep the money I found in the parking lot.
The Lord told me it’s ok to be a Sens fan.
The point is this! We need to be careful how we handle the word of truth and we are to be very discerning when it comes to our emotional driven choices we make. Remember we can easily deceive ourselves remember what Jeremiah said! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds." Jer 17:9-10. The idea for this transition in David’s psalm is a reminder for you and me to always keep looking vertical not horizontal or within you. What David is saying here is “I have trusted in the mercy of God; I still trust, and I will trust forever.” What was David’s turning point? Prayer and turning his eyes vertical to the only one who can give us peace and rest.
Does God seem far away from you? It’s your opportunity to learn what David learned—that the Lord never leaves you. He sustains all who put their trust in Him. He who abandons himself to God will never be abandoned by God. In the pain and struggle of living without answers, we can always find comfort in our heavenly Father. The believer’s desires often turn to impatience, and days seem like weeks or years when the soul is cast down. And just because God’s face is hidden, it doesn’t mean His heart has forgotten you or your situation. If we hold to God by faith, we will at the same time be assured that victory is coming and that, after all, God has dealt generously with us.
“He who abandons himself to God
will never be abandoned by God.”
This is what David is reminding us about this morning! No matter what you are going though God will always get the glory in….. sustain you, restoring you, and reminding you of His goodness and grace.