Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Psalm 44 Sermon Notes

Psalm 44 To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, Maschil.
Sermon Notes
We Have Not Forgotten
August 6, 2017
Lynchburg, Virginia

         We continue on our studies through the book of Psalms. This Psalm is very interesting. It is one that argues for these Psalms coming to us in a series. As a stand alone Psalm it might even be distressing. So, keep the following Psalms, 45-50, in mind as you read and meditate upon this one.
         In verses 1-6, the Psalmist praises God. He recounts the former glories of Israel and glorifies the Lord for His mighty acts. He is remembering the Lord. Keep this remembering in mind, as he later speaks to the Lord as having forgotten His people.
         In verses 9-16, the Psalmist records his lament to the Lord, Saying “Why have You cast us off and put us to shame.”
         In verses 17-22, the Psalmist vindicates himself and his people. All this has come on us, yet we have not forgotten, thee neither have we dealt falsely in Thy Covenant.
         Finally, in the last few verses, 23-26, the Psalmist calls upon God to act, Arise for our help, and redeem us for Thy mercies’ sake.

         His argument is this:
Lord we remember You and Your works. We have not forgotten ascribed our victories to ourselves. Yet, You have cast us off and not defended us from our enemies. You have forgotten us. This has happened to us even though we have been faithful to Your covenant. Lord, since we have remembered You and been Your faithful people, arise and remember us and act on our behalf!

         Doctrines: 1. God is Sovereign Over All Things 2. Trials are not necessarily caused by our immediate sins.  

God Has Been our Strength and Might
1 We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old. 2 How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
As we speak to God, one of the best places to begin is to recount what God has done. In our Mens’ Prayer meetings, with our young men’s Bible Study and among the elders and deacons, we have been learning how to pray using the Lord’s Prayer as a template. The opening petition is, “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name.”
This petition comports well to what the Psalmist says here. Before we start naming off a list of items we would like the Lord to provide for us, we should remember who He is and what He has done for us. He is our Father. He is the creator. He is in Heaven. He is Holy. He has done great works. He is holy and we are only holy in Him. Thus, we owe Him all of our allegiance, loyalty, gratitude. The glory goes to Him for His kindness to us.
Tell the stories of God’s victory. Tell Bible stories. Tell family stories. Tell church stories. Do this often, when you rise up and go by the way and lay down to sleep. Let the glories of the Lord be always on your lips. Do not forget and do not let your little ones forget. Forgetting is a great sin and the one that always leads us to perdition.
Joshua’s great victories were accomplished by the Lord. The people Israel always knew this and five hundred years later, they had not forgotten.
We have a 500 year anniversary coming up. Let us not forgot what God did in the Reformation. He delivered His people from the tyranny of oppression, from the lack of His Word, from the feebleness of unbelief. Through faithful men that He raised up, He gave us the Bible back! God did this, for us! Don’t forget. Don’t go back to Egypt!

3 For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.
What do you have that is not from God? From whence is your strength? Who is at the Lord’s right hand? The Lord Jesus. God’s people get the victory when God has favor upon them. And when this is the case, even the enemies of God and the enemies of His people, cannot thwart them.

4 Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob. 5 Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.
He has remembered and is now calling God to act again. You have fought for us and gained the victory. Remember us and do it again.

6 For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. 7 But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. 8 In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.
David and his men were mighty warriors. They were great in battle. They obtained many victories. And yet, he says that he does not trust in his bow. He knows that God is mightier than the mightiest army. God proved it many times through the ages. Even in after ages, after these Psalms, God defends His people with stunning victories, setting the enemy against themselves and wiping out hundreds of thousands of enemy soldiers in a single night. No sword can do that.
So, when we do get the victory, where is our boasting? In God, we boast all the day long, and praise Thy name forever.
What victories have you got? Are your grown children faithful? Is that because you are such awesome parents? Or, do you boast in the Lord? Are you promoted in your work? Is that because no one can work better than you, or because the Lord has looked upon you with favor? Have you been delivered from illness or an automobile accident? Is this because of dumb luck? Or has God intervened upon your behalf?
In all these things, we seem to have a combination of answers. Our children do turn out because of good parenting. A man skilled in his work will stand before kings. Things like illnesses and car accidents seem to happen randomly and all across the board to the just and to the unjust. But how do you, Christian, view such things?
The Psalmist sees all of these things as intricately wrapped up in the will of God. If God is all powerful and all knowing and all wise, then nothing that happens to us escapes His notice, or His ability to do something about it. Thus, we ascribe all to Him. If we do this, then in any victory or in any trial, we must turn to Him as our only help and stay.
Furthermore, we do not understand the reasons why things happen. He is all wise but we are not. Thus, we submit to His divine will and call upon Him to act on our behalf.

But Where is God Now?
         O Lord, you have acted on our behalf. It is clear to us that You have done so by Your own good pleasure. It pleased You to deliver us. But now, we are not delivered. What has changed, O Lord? Why did we go from an exalted and blessed people, to a humbled and humiliated people?
9   But thou hast cast off, and put us to shame; and goest not forth with our armies. 10 Thou makest us to turn back from the enemy: and they which hate us spoil for themselves. 11 Thou hast given us like sheep appointed for meat; and hast scattered us among the heathen.
The Psalmist gives God glory in their victories. That is excellent. But he also ascribes causation to God in their defeat. God, You did not go out with us to battle! We would have won if You did, but You did not, so we lost. Because You were not fighting for us, we had to turn our backs and flee from the enemy.

12 Thou sellest thy people for nought, and dost not increase thy wealth by their price. 13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us. 14 Thou makest us a byword among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people.
The Lord had apparently put a great value on Israel at one time. But now, He values them little. They are sold as enemies to the surrounding nations for nothing, for a trifle. This is a way to say that we are now worthless to the Lord.
Also, we are held in scorn and derision. When we were mighty, our neighbors feared us for Thy sake. Now, they do not fear us because they see that You are not fighting for us. This is like that little kid, taunting an older kid because his own stalwart teenage brother is standing behind him. But what happens when the enemy catches you without big brother? Scorn and derision.

15 My confusion is continually before me, and the shame of my face hath covered me, 16 For the voice of him that reproacheth and blasphemeth; by reason of the enemy and avenger.
My confusion is before me. We used to boast in the Lord but now we cannot even do that. The enemy has the upper hand and I am dumbfounded. I have not to say. I cannot even boast in the Lord because He has stopped acting on our behalf.
It is good to  note here, that if you have the right doctrine and teaching, this sort of humiliation and confusion turns you in the right direction. How could this have happened? I don’t know but I know that my Redeemer lives. I know that God is for me. I know that the only place I have to turn is to Him. In fact, one of the unspoken reasons for such trials and troubles is to continually turn us back to our true source of strength.

We Have Not Forgotten You
         It is difficult to know how truthful the following statements are. We know that the Psalmist understands that he is not sinless. He confesses his sins but also stands on his integrity in various matters. I am a sinner, he says, but I am innocent of the charges of unjust men.
         We would expect such a man to be honest and truthful here. We have not forgotten You, O Lord. We have not dealt falsely in Thy covenant. Our hearts are not turned away from You. We are walking in Your way. He seems to assert in the strongest possible terms, that their recent defeat is not due to apostasy.
Furthermore, he is talking in corporate terms. We are Your faithful people! We worship you. We have not gone after other gods! If we did, You would know and would be justified in Your chastisement of us. As it is, I don’t understand how You could do this to us.
17 All this is come upon us; yet have we not forgotten thee, neither have we dealt falsely in thy covenant.
18 Our heart is not turned back, neither have our steps declined from thy way;

19 Though thou hast sore broken us in the place of dragons, and covered us with the shadow of death.
We have been faithful, but instead of victory over our enemies, you have broken us before dragons, you have covered us with darkness and gloom. We would have rejoiced in your light and life but instead are adrift in darkness and death.
Perhaps he would do well to remind himself of the Shepherd’s Psalm? Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.

20 If we have forgotten the name of our God, or stretched out our hands to a strange god; 21 Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
O Lord, search us out. A godly man, a godly woman, is not afraid for the Spirit to search the heart. We desire the truth to come out. Have I forgotten You? Remind me. Have I been idolatrous? Show me. You are all knowing, all wise and know the secrets of the heart. Then, reveal them to me.
As a corporate head, a King should desire that God reveals the sins of the kingdom. This is true of a pastor, a father. Have we failed You, O Lord? Show us how that we might confess, repent and do that which is right in Your eyes.

22 Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
See How the Apostle Applies This Scripture
God is for us. Even though we are killed all the day long and counted as sheep for the slaughter, nothing can separate us from the Love of God, in Christ Jesus!
1.   The Holy Spirit prays for us.
2.   God ordained all of this for our good.
3.   If God is for us, then all the enemies in the world cannot assail Him.
4.   Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
5.   We do get the victory!

Rom. 8:26-39   Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Rom. 8:29   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Rom. 8:31   What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Pleading to the One Who Can Change Things
23 Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever. 24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and forgettest our affliction and our oppression? 25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust: our belly cleaveth unto the earth. 26 Arise for our help, and redeem us for thy mercies’ sake.
So, we turn to God, through Jesus Christ, our Savior. God, rise up on our behalf. Assail the enemies of Christ. Remember us, O Lord, and we will remember You.

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