Monday, June 30, 2014

Psalm 34

(Edited from the sermon preached at the Prayer meeting for the Church and Nation, 4th April 2014.) 
Psalm 34 : 15 & 17

“The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”

Dear brethren, take comfort, as God has in the past, He will in the future, come to our aid. This was the peace that David had within his heart.

In the title, we are plainly given the occasion that led David, being inspired by the Holy Spirit, to compose this Psalm; “A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.”

In 1 Samuel 21 : 10 - 15, we have this occasion recorded for us; wherein we observe that Abimelech, who was otherwise known as Achish, the king of Gath. In verse 1 David offers praise to the Lord, “I will bless the LORD at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad.” Following on from verse 2 through to verse 8, he exhorts others to do so, considering God, and then his own experience.

In the portion from verse 8, to verse 10, he declares the blessedness of trusting in the Lord. “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” In verses 11 to 14 he gives further exhortation and instruction. Turning to the latter part of the Psalm, David sets forth, from v15, the privileges of the righteous, and, in contrast, the misery of the wicked. Returning to our texts in verses 15 & 17 we read; “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.”, “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”

There are three things for our consideration tonight, before we come to prayer: 1stly The Lord who sees. 2ndly The Lord who hears. 3rdly The Lord who delivers.

1stly The Lord who sees 

Ps 34:15 “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.”

The Lord sees, He has knowledge of all men, He knows their actions, their words and their innermost thoughts; His sight is far reaching. In 1Samuel 16:7, we read, “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” Dear congregation, He knows.

Now, as we note here in this verse, He has special concern for His people, they are dear to Him. Dear brethren, He favours us and shows us pity. Because of our sin we grieve Him, however, take comfort He has pity in His eyes for us.

Psalm 56 was penned around the same time as this Psalm before us.

In verse 8 of that Psalm we read; “Thou tellest my wanderings: put Thou my tears into Thy bottle: are they not in Thy book?”

David had been a fugitive. Having gone from place to place, eventually he found himself in Gath. Some of the Lord's people have faced a similar experience. Take for example those who have fled from Syria. However, though this may not be what you have experienced, we, being the Lord's people face many days of trial, wherein one may be restless, and our thoughts roam from to place to place. In Job 7:4, Job describes his restlessness, “When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.” There are our wanderings though the vales of afflictions. Note again those words, “Thou tellest my wanderings:” He knows; He marks as a tally, numbers, records, declares, or shows forth. It is known to Him. David takes comfort in this, and believes that God will come to his aid.

In Deuteronomy 2:7 we read, “For the LORD thy God hath blessed thee in all the works of thy hand: he knoweth thy walking through this great wilderness: these forty years the LORD thy God hath been with thee; thou hast lacked nothing.” Take comfort, He is watching, He is not unmindful, He sees our tears, and in a tender way He stores them up, He does not forget! Those tears that have fallen down the cheek, and dropped upon your lap, have all been noted by the Lord.

'The Lord sees.' Take comfort, dear brethren, let us not forget, the Lord is looking on the church with pity in His eyes.

2ndly The Lord who hears

Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.”

In Psalm 66 : 18, we read; “ If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:” Sin, if regarded, is a great hindrance to prayer. The Unconverted man must take heed, and seek the Lord in a penitent way. However, in view of the humble prayer of the righteous man; “His ears are open unto their cry.”

He is a Heavenly Father, to us His children, who are the objects of His pity. He is a gracious shepherd, who attends to His flock, therefore; He will bow down His ear and hear their cry. What a comfort this affords dear brethren, we have One to turn to, who is ready to hear.

Now, He is so Holy, He hates sin, yet, He is ready to hear us. In the Song of Solomon 2 : 14, we read our Lord addressing His people;

“O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let Me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” Our blessed Lord wants to hear you, “let me hear”..!

He is there, He desires you to speak, therefore, be assured, He is ready to hear your prayer. In difficulties, when providence seems dark and mysterious, let us not question; “has He turned from His gracious promise and now forsaken us?” No, humbly, as a weaned child, look to Him.

In the light this truth, when you are in difficulties, earnestly cry unto the Lord In Psalm 57 : 2, the Psalmist said, “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.” Recognising that God, in His holy and wise providence has brought you to this situation, commit the situation unto Him. In those familiar words found in Psalm 37 : 5 we read; “Commit thy way unto the LORD”. Commit, or roll thy way upon the Lord. Dear brethren, Roll your burdens on the Lord! How amazing is this truth; has it not afforded to us much comfort in our pilgrimage through this world?

As individuals, but then also as local congregations, take comfort His ears are open. We met in His presence, He is here, and He is listening.

3rdly The Lord who delivers

Psalm 34:17 “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”

David believed this when he was in straits, and looked back on it in numerous occasions. Let us grasp this truth like David; He will deliver. In accordance to His Will, in His perfect time, He comes and delivers us in a powerful and gracious way.

Sometimes it seems deliverance will never come, but it will, for our difficulties are not everlasting. We here in in the United Kingdom, have seen declension year after year in the Church, is not this a cause for great concern. Many prayers have been offered, many a cry has been uttered, “how long?” In Psalm 70 :1 the Psalmist said, and also Christ said, whilst here in His humiliation, “ Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O LORD.” Let us, with awe in our hearts say unto the Lord, Make haste! In His appointed time, in accordance to His sovereign will, He will, in a gracious and merciful way, deliver. Of this we can be assured. In verse 17 we read, “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” Again, in verse 19 we read; “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” He will! Consider, He is our Covenant God, His power is infinite; He has an arm of power! Deliverance is coming. Whether it be be for you as in an individual, or, for the Church as a whole, look up, your prayers are heard, and in accordance to His will, they will be answered. Consider again verse 19; we can expect deliverance from all our trials. Many are our afflictions, but great is His mercy; we will be delivered from them all.

At death, our trials will be no more, as one has said, “death will be the funeral of all our sorrows”. One day they will be the former things, yet are we not thankful that certain trials we face in our lives will be over before. We can look back on many a time when the Lord has delivered us. As we look to the future, and the hurdles that are still before us, take comfort, one day we will be over them all. The Puritan, Thomas Adams wrote; “Be our troubles in number, strange in nature, heavy in measure; yet God's mercies are more numerous, His wisdom more wondrous, his power more miraculous; He will deliver us out of them all.” Dear brethren, look forward, yes, there will be valleys, but there will be the green pastures, and then one day we shall be there in our desired haven.

In conclusion, in difficulties, rightly we must cry out to the Lord, but as we do so, let us trust Him. In Psalm 56:3 we read, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.” Trust Him! Believe His word. In days of great difficulty, believe that the Lord will lead us on and bring us through.

Moses exhorted the people, when the Egyptians were now in sight, by the Red Sea, “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.” Exodus 14 : 13.

May God help us to exercise faith, and let us be in expectation, that He will deliver. Dear brethren; He sees, He hears, and He will deliver.