Trust in the goodness of God. 06/14/20

Message: ‘Trust in the goodness of God’                      Text: Psalm 16

Introduction: So, what makes you happy? Tell us?

We can get excited, happy over a lot of different things:

  • I get excited, happy over a soft serve orange vanilla creamsicle cone from Kohrs Brothers on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights. Especially with my friend Jeff Murad.
  • I get excited, happy when I get to play an all mahogany, 12 fret, 12 string Taylor Guitar. I can’t afford one so I have to go to El Cajon California where the factory is to play it.
  • I get excited, happy when I get to see a classic muscle car like a 1973 Mustang Mach 1 Fastback with a 351 Cleveland Cobra Jet engine, dual ram air front hood scoops, rear spoiler and read window grill… Banana yellow with black striping…

 

Yes, a lot of things get us excited, make us happy…

But listen, I’m here to tell you this morning that there’s one thing that should always get us over the top excited, make us beyond happy…

  • GOD IS GOOD… He is a good God. Amen?
  • Can I get a car honk?

 

Background: Our text this morning is Psalm 16. It was written by David and it seems to be in response to a present crisis in his life. Perhaps Corrie Ten Boom, a Christian who helped Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II and who wrote the book ‘The Hiding Place’ perhaps had this Psalm in mind when she wrote this:

  • Often I have heard people say, ‘How good God is! We prayed that it would not rain for our church picnic, and look at the lovely weather!’ Yes, God is good when He sends good weather. But God was also good when He allowed my sister, Betsie, to starve to death before my eyes in a German concentration camp.
  • I remember one occasion when I was very discouraged there. Everything around us was dark, and there was darkness in my heart.
  • I remember telling Betsie that I thought God had forgotten us. ‘No, Corrie,’ said Betsie, ‘He has not forgotten us. Remember His Word: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him.”
  • Corrie concludes, “There is an ocean of God’s love available, there is plenty for everyone. May God grant you never to doubt that victorious love, whatever the circumstances.” God is good. (Jim Mccutchen)

 

I realize that at times like this with the panic and fear of COVID-19, and with the growing racial unrest in our country, it might be hard to believe that God is good.

  • But, I assure you, dear friends, He is…
  • God is good in all His ways.

And in Psalm 16 we’ll see just 5, of the ways God is Good.

 

Transition: Open your Bibles to Psalm 16:1, or use your WRI.

 

  1. Psalm 16:1-2 Good God

1 Preserve me, O God, for in You I take refuge. I say to the Lord, You are my LORD; I have no good apart from You.

David, in this Psalm, asks nothing of God.  This is David’s prayer to God, simply declaring his trust in the goodness of God… in the midst of his current crisis.

Yes, I know Preserve me, O God sounds like a request. But, there’s a missing You in the sentence. It’s the English grammar ‘you’ understood. For instance: I could say, You go to the store. Or I could just say Go to the store. The ‘you’ is understood.

  • It’s understood here in verse 1 as well.

So, verse 1 could be translated You Preserve me, O God. Make sense?

When we face a crisis, we need to recognize/admit

  • that God preserves me, that God delivers me.

Why? Because over and over again in the Bible we find that God is our refuge, our shelter, our strong towner, our hiding place, our fortress… that means:

  • God is present, He’s there for us, so that when we’re in a time of crisis, we don’t need to fear, we don’t need to panic.
  • Instead we can trust that God will protect us because He is our strong tower,
  • because God is good!

Look, David’s life was one crisis after another. And David is so assured of God’s goodness, that he says

  • You are my LORD; I have no good apart from You.

You are my LORD, my Adonai, my Master.

And Your name Adonai tells me that as my Master,

  • You will provide all that I need, You will defend me, You will help me, You will provide for me
  • since I am Your humble servant.

Therefore, I know that the good that comes my way in life… is from You, my LORD.

  • David was demonstrating his humility before God.
  • David was telling God, ‘All the good that comes my way I, I did nothing to deserve it, I did nothing to earn it.
  • God, It’s because You are good, that I’m blessed with good things from You.

Perhaps James, the brother of Jesus, had Psalm 16:1-2 in mind when he wrote James 1:17

  • Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with Whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Brothers and sisters, has God been good to you?

  • Then in whatever the circumstance, whatever the crisis, trust that God is good.

Transition: God is good. (and all the time, God is good)

  

  1. Psalm 16:3-4 Good fellowship

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.

ILL: Pastor Steve Shepherd recounts the following true story: Dr. James Dobson said one time,

  • I visited a family in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful day that I will not soon forget! Folks in that part of the world, many of them Mennonites, remember how a family is supposed to function.
  • In the home where I was a guest, at least 20 people are invited for as meal after church each Sunday. A half-dozen grandkids buzz through the house as adults, family members and outsiders, enjoy each other’s fellowship and conversation.
  • Then the most incredible meal is set before them, cooked lovingly by some of the greatest chefs who ever graced a kitchen.
  • One might wonder how they find time to prepare and serve such a spread? Well, their priorities are just a little different from their contemporaries’.
  • They believe this kind of togetherness is important. And they’re right! Life gets difficult when we live it in isolation from one another.

Thank God, Praise God that our 3 months of relative isolation is almost over! Apart from our experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, we don’t have to live in isolation. Because of the goodness of God, we have the community of the local church.

  • Thank God, Praise God for God’s people that we get to worship and fellowship with each Sunday! Amen?
  • Thank God, Praise God for God’s people that we get to spend time, fellowship with, on the other 6 days of the week as well! Amen?

Friends, that’s what David is saying in verses 3-4.

  • God is good, and He has given us the good gift of each other.

Note that David called God’s people; saints, excellent ones.

  • If you belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ, you are a saint, you are an excellent one!

David is saying that God gives us the good gift of each other, for the purpose of fellowship.

And let me tell you how David felt about the saints he fellowshipped with: He said in whom is all my delight.

  • Christian, is that how you feel about your brothers and sisters in Christ?
  • Are they a good gift from God, are they what brings you delight?

Calvary Baptist Church should revolve around people. Not programs, not traditions. People!

  • God’s people; the saints, the excellent ones for fellowship, encouragement, guidance, support, love, prayer… freindship.
  • And lost people; those who have yet to place their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sin. We reach out to them, we love them, lead them to God’s amazing grace.

David says this in verses 3-4 because we can choose not to hang out with the saints, the excellent ones, but instead choose to hang out with those who are not either, by application, those who do not live for Jesus.

And there’s a warning: The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply.

  • David warns that if you follow after the world, if you follow after the idols of the world,
  • if you surround yourself with those who deny Jesus,
  • your sorrow will grow, it will not go well with you.

So David declares that he wants the goodness of God and will not be a part of those who deny God and reject Jesus. He said

  • their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.
  • David wants no part of them or their idols.
  • He will not allow them to draw him away from his faith in God.

So Christian, when you have the choice to spend time with others… what’s your go-to?

  • The excellent saints or those who run after another god?

Our good God, gives us good people, in order to have, good fellowship.

  1. Psalm 16:5-6 Good life

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

First, understand this: for those who have yielded their lives to Jesus, God gives us a good life; Let me explain using David’s own words.

First, The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; You hold my lot. Christian, give thanks for the blessing of your relationship with God.

I believe David’s choice of words points in some ways, to the Levites.

  • When Israel entered the Promised Land, God ordered portions of land to be given to every tribe… except the Levites.
  • Because they served God in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple, for them, God would be their portion, not the land.

The idea is God was all the Levites would need.

In Psalm 73:25-26 David again declared that God was all he needed, his portion in life.

  • Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Christian, God has showered His goodness upon us by being our portion, all that we need.

  • Is God… enough for you?

Second, David declares: The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.  Christian, the good life that God gives you includes a good inheritance.

Now, an inheritance is something we get in the future when perhaps our parents pass away. But, here David is talking about God giving us our inheritance today

  • You see, our inheritance… is life, life today, in Jesus.

Look, too many Christians spend their life looking back at what didn’t happen the way that they wanted it to happen.

  • And they choose to live there, in the past,
  • bitter, disappointed in the life they have now because of what they didn’t get in their past.

David says that God is so good to me now, today, in my present… and I will choose to live in the present, because the place that He’s brought me to today, is pleasant.

Christian can you say with David:

  • The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance… in the spouse God has given to me.
  • The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance… in the family God has placed me.
  • The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance… in the job God has placed me.
  • The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance… in the neighborhood God has placed me.

Are you stuck living in the past? God is good and the good life He has for you… is not tomorrow, it’s today.

  • Enjoy the good life God gives you, today.
  1. Psalm 16:7-8 Good direction

I bless the Lord Who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Have you ever asked the question…What’s the secret of…

  • It could be the secret of your friends broccoli salad.
  • It could be the secret of how a couple you know have stayed happily married for over 50 years.
  • It could be the secret of how your daughters vegetable garden is so much more fruitful than your own.

I think, If I could ask David any question it would be ‘What was the secret behind being a man after God’s own heart?’

I think his answer would be two-fold, at least according to verses 7-8.

  • Trust that God’s leading is always good.
  • Make your good God the center of your life.

First, trust that God’s leading is always good.

  • I bless the Lord Who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me.

David always sought God’s counsel, His will regarding the difficult times in his life.

  • Look, you can’t be mad at God when He doesn’t answer a prayer you failed to ask.
  • You can’t be mad at God when a decision you made went horribly wrong, if you failed to ask Him for wisdom.

Has either of those things every happened to you? Did it change how you viewed God’s leading in your life?

David is saying that God has been there for him, giving him good advice, good counsel, that gave him good direction in his life.

Second, Make your good God the center of your life. I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

David was declaring that:

  • God is my ONE; my ONE guide, my ONE deliverer, my ONE master, my ONE hope, my ONE thought, my one necessity, my ONE love.
  • God is my ONE!

What or who is your ONE? Your go-to when life is hard, when life is good?

  • We live in a culture of self-awareness, self-fulfillment, self-actualization… a focus on self. And IF you want to be religious, just make God one of the many things in your life.

David would have nothing of that!

  • David said I have set the Lord always before me. The Lord is my ONE and there is no greater, no higher, no other.

My good God is at my right hand,

  • He is always with me, He is always on my side.
  • He is always at the position of strength, even when I am at my weakest.

And when I set my good God always before me,

I shall not be shaken.

  • Nothing, no one can stop me, no one can hurt me, no one can take me out of His hands, no one can remove me from His will.
  • I will not falter, I will not doubt, I will not fear.

Is that the kind of faith you have in God? Is that the kind of faith you want to have in God? Then be like David and set the Lord always before you. Make your good God… your ONE.

  1. Psalm 16:9-11 Good future

9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. 10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let Your holy one see corruption. 11 You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

 Remember I said that when David wrote this Psalm, it’s believed that he was facing some crisis? Well, it’s possible that he even thought he was going to die.

  • But listen, even death didn’t stop David, even death didn’t bring him doubt or fear.

David declared:

  • Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let Your holy one see corruption.

David not only knew there was life after death, he believed that his good God would be there waiting for him when he dies.

  • Which is why he could say with great confidence:
  • my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices

Do you have that same confidence?

  • Have you admitted your sin to God?
  • Have you asked for His forgiveness?
  • Have you placed your faith in Jesus’ death on the cross to be the payment for your sin against God?
  • Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior?

If you said yes, then you can have the confidence David had about death…

  • You have a good God who when you die, will bring you to Himself, in Heaven, forever.

And oh what a place heaven will be! While David doesn’t give us a complete description of heaven, he gives us enough to want to be there. He said:

  • You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

You see, the path of life, for the Christian, is also the path of death,

  • both are living in the presence of God, forever.

And what will we experience in the presence of our good God?

  • fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore

Here’s a truly wonderful thought, truth actually:

Since the path of life, for the Christian, is also the path of death… living in the presence of God,

  • we’ll experience the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore,
  • both partially in life, now.
  • And in their complete sense in death, then.

Christian our good God, gives us a good future, that we get a preview of, now, in the present.

  • How good is that?

God is good… and all the time God is good! Amen!

Conclusion: C.S. Lewis wrote

  • We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
  • We are far too easily pleased. (Steven Cole)

Is C.S. Lewis describing you? Take a deep look at your life this week.

  • Examine where your thoughts drift off to.
  • Examine how and where you spend your time.
  • Examine the words that come so easily off your lips.
  • Examine who you spend your time with.
  • Examine how you spend your money.
  • Examine how much time you spend with God.

Then ask the following questions:

  • Has God been good to me?
  • Have I set the Lord always before me?
  • Is God my ONE?