God’s goodness shows up in our lives everyday- 03/29/20

Message: God’s goodness shows up in our lives everyday                                        Text: Psalm 86

Introduction: I recently read an article in Psychology Today called ‘The Digital Psychological Disconnect’ written by Shoba Sreenivasan and Linda Weinberger. The general idea is this: Quote

The digital psychological disconnect; namely, that of diminished emotional awareness and connections, can emerge when a society interacts increasingly more with devices than directly with people.  
When one feels disconnected it may lead to feeling “less than” others.  It may engender a sense of alienation, lack of validation, and feeling judged and rejected. 

It seems to be saying that the more we use social media to ‘share our thoughts,rather than in person, the less connected we become to the people around us.

Now, this article was not a religious one, but I can see its connection.

Weve become accustom, even as Christians, to tell others about our problems, struggles and needs, particularly on social media, before even bringing it up to God in prayer.

The strangest thing is this: more often than not, our ‘friends’ on social media can’t actually help us.

With great regularity, I see this on social media, it leads me to be concerned that we’re developing a ‘spiritual disconnect’ with God.

One that directs us to digitally connect more with our ‘friends’ on social media, than we do spiritual with our God in prayer.

And the result is that we feel just like the people in the Psychology Today article who are connecting to devices more than to people. Let me remind you of what they found out:

When one feels disconnected it may lead to feeling “less than” others.  
It may engender a sense of alienation, lack of validation, and feeling judged and rejected. 

When we fail to regularly ‘connect’ with God through prayer, and instead try to ‘connect’ with people, through social media, itll draw us away from God because we’ll begin to doubt His presence, His power and His love in our lives.

And we’ll begin to feel likeGod is more of a judge than as a father. And that will keep us from our knees.

Psalm 86 is a prayer of David.

Its his heartfelt cry to God to help him in a very difficult situation.
But, I think even more than that, it’s also David’s attempt to grab hold of God, to strengthen his relationship with God, even in the midst of that difficult situation.

As I read it, it’s almost as if David is saying

Yes, God, I need your help,
but what I truly desire is you. To be close to You, to sense your presence and to rest in your love, your grace, your mercyYour goodness.

Christian, prayer is not justrepeating to God your spiritual wish list. Prayer, is one of the ways we nurture, deepen our relationship with God.

So that we never experience a ‘spiritual’ disconnect with Him.

Over the next few weeks or so, we’ll be looking at prayers in the Bible and how those prayers can

not only deepen our own prayer life,
but help draw us closer to the one who saved us, loves us, keeps us and directs our lives.

Transition: Open your Bibles to Psalm 86

1. Psalm 86:1-7  David’s need pt.1

1 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. 2 Preserve my life, for I am godly; save Your servant, who trusts in You—You are my God. 3Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to You do I cry all the day. 4 Gladden the soul of Your servant, for to You, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. 5 For You, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon You. 6Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. 7 In the day of my trouble I call upon You, for you answer me.

First notice David is asking God for things he needs:

Incline Your ear
Answer me.
Preserve my life
Save Your servant
Be gracious to me
Gladden the soul of Your servant.
Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer
Listen to my plea for grace

From these verses we can feel David’s loneliness, his sense of isolation. He feels pressured, like he’s backed into a corner with no where to turn.

Anyone else feel that way? How are you handling our government-imposed stay at home order?
Are you lonely, isolated, stressed, wondering when this will all end and how will it end for you?… Physically? Financially?

We see that David cries out to God from a place of need. Let’s remember something: who is David?

He’s king of Israel.
He has riches, property, the devotion of.. well most of his people. He has all the creature comforts his lavish position affords… YET
He cries out from a position of need.

You see, David first and foremost approaches God from a place of humility. He knows he can not get through this difficult situation, w/o God.

Every line of this Psalm, every word of David’s prayer, acknowledges that God alone is David’s only source of help.

To help us get that picture, David describes himself as:

Poor and needy, Your servant
Sad, in despair (it’s why he asks his soul to be gladdened.)
He’s a sinner (it’s why he acknowledges God as forgiving)

But notice that in the midst of David pouring out his need to God, David takes the time to acknowledge his relationship with God.

5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 

David who is one of the all who call upon you, could only have known those things about God,  because he had a deep, ongoing relationship with Him.

David is not only concerned about having his needs met by his God,
but with building up his relationship, with his God.

Natalie Grant has a song called ‘More Than Anything.’ I love it! The chorus goes like this:

Help me want the healer more than the healing.

Help me want the savior more than the saving.

Help me want the giver more than the giving.

Oh help me want you Jesus more than anything.

That’s where David is in this Psalm.

Christian, in the midst of your despair, of your struggle, in humility, seek the face of God, tell Him all your needs.

But… also take the time to remember who God is to you and spend time nurturing your relationship, your fellowship with Him.

2. Psalm 86:8-10  David’s praise pt.1

8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. 9 All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. 10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.

Here David shouts out in praise, God’s awe-inspiring character.

7 times David refers to God as LORD, or Adonai in this Psalm.
Adonai emphasizes God’s Lordship, His sovereignty over all creation… by implication, even over David’s time of trouble.
The rest of the time David uses the word LORD, it refers to Yahweh or Jehovah the relationship keeping God.

Do you see it again?

David cries out to the God who is sovereign over all things, including his time of trouble.
And David cries out to the God with whom he has a relationship with.

David reminds God; really reminding himself, that God has in the past, done wonderful, great things for him. With the idea that He will continue to do them…

Because God is sovereign and can do those things for us.
Because God is a relationship keeping God and cares to do them for us.

David cries out There is none like You among the gods, O Lord.Gods here refers to idols.

One of the things we’ve found with all the shutdowns related to the Coronavirus (like the entertainment, and sports industries)
is that we can live w/o our idols (actors, athletes, singers, reality TV stars)

Here David reminds us that in all the world, yes, even in all of social media, there is no one like our God, no one who can do these great and wonderous things.

3. Psalm 86:11 David’s desire

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, that I may walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.

It’s here I believe, that we get to the heart of David’s prayer.  He has 2 very important requests of God: Teach me Your way. Unite my heart.

Teach me Your way, O Lord. Lord, here is Jehovah, the relationship keeping God. David, in great humility, is asking Jehovah for a teachable heart.

You see, God’s way out of this trouble might not be the way David wants. So, Teach me Your way, O Lord.
You see, David might need to learn something new about God’s ways so that he can walk in obedience to God. So, Teach me Your ways, O Lord.

Unite my heart to fear Your name. Davids heart is torn between looking to the world and being obedient to His God.

He wants what he wants right now, the way he thinks his request should be answered
and at the same time he’s waiting for God to answer his request in the way and the timeGod wants to answer it.

Sound familiar?

Is your heart ever scattered or divided?
Is it torn between what the world says and what God requires?
Is it uncertain, full of doubt and hesitant when it comes to walking in obedience to your Lord?

David, with some honest reflection, can see this and asks God to give him a single heart for Him. An undivided heart loyal only to his Lord.

David was asking his Lord to gather the fragmented pieces of his heart and hold it together by His sovereign and loving hands.

One of the greatest things we can ask God for dear Christian, is an undivided, teachable heart.

4. Psalm 86:12-13  David’spraise pt.2

12 I give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify Your name forever. 13For great is Your steadfast love toward me; You have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

This is David’s 2nd shout of praise to God. Note David’s praise is for the future work of God in his life.

He just prayed for God to unite his heart and to save him from his trouble.
He now gives thanks that God has united his heart and delivered him from the fullness of his trouble.

David can say this because it won’t be the first time God has done this for him.  

This tells me this is not the first time David asked for a united heart and for God to deliver him from trouble.

For David, because God has heard his past prayers, this assures him God will hear to his current prayers as well.

But remember, he also asks God to give him a teachable heart. Why? Because God may not answer him in the same way, in the same time,as He did before.

This is a shout of praise for God’s consistency in answering David’s prayer.

And that challenges us to look back and see how God has heard our prayers and praise Him today that He will hear our cries during our current time of trouble surrounding the Coronavirus, or whatever your current trouble might be.

5. Psalm 86:14-17  David’s need pt.2

14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set You before them. 15 But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

16 Turn to me and be gracious to me; give Your strength to Your servant, and save the son of Your maidservant.

17 Show me a sign of Your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because You, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

David’s enemies are confident that they will bring him down. But,they dont have a relationship with God.

God will eventually give them what they deserve… judgment for their sin against Him.

But praise God,

even though David is sinful;
even though he is not always obedient to God,
even though he is not always trusting in God,

God will not give him what he deserves, instead

God will continue to be merciful and gracious to David.
God will continue to show love to David.
God will continue to provide David with the strength he needs to meet this trouble.
God will continue to be David’s comfort.

All of that because David has a relationship with God through faith.

Finally David ends his prayer with asking God for a sign of His favor.

This is not a fleece, this is not a name it and claim it kind of prayer.

The text makes it very clear what David is asking. He saying God, do something, anything that shows You and I are in a relationship.

Here’s the big part… so that You (God) might be glorified.

I know it doesn’t say that, but it implies it when he says that those who hate me may see and be put to shame. Follow me on this:

Those how hate David, also hate God.
God will be glorified when those who hate Him are put to shame, are proven wrong about their disbelief in God.

Conclusion: Pastor Ray Steadman tells the following story: President Lincoln came to know Christ personally through the burdens that he faced during the Civil War. He later said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.

That was a man who understood that he needed God in his life. That w/o him, he could do nothing. So he was a man who was committed to prayer.

Are you committed to prayer? Have the challenges of the past month or so, driven you to your knees?

Like David, are you humblyseeking God’s face and making your requests known to Him?
Like David, are you praising God for who He is and for the relationship you have with Him?
Like David, are you asking God to unite the fragmented parts of your heart and to hold them together in his hands?
Like David, are you asking God, above all else, to give you an undivided, teachable heart so that He will show you His ways and you will walk in obedience to them?
And finally, like David, are you asking God to be glorified in how you transverse life under the Coronavirus or whatever your current trouble might be?

Let’s pray.