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If God Be For Us

Psalm 44

1.Introduction

a.Bit of an interesting week this week was – 1) church picnic – cancelled, 2) Flea Market – cancelled,

i.Now dear ones, do you believe that God had anything to do with us not going to the Flea

Market yesterday? Do you believe that God had anything to do with us not getting to the park for our picnic today? Does Eph. 1:11 mean that God is involved in the details? Does the Bible teach that every breath we take God is at work? Yes – it does:

Psalm 104:10-23 (ESV)

[10]You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

they flow between the hills;

[11] they give drink to every beast of the field;

the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

[12] Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell;

they sing among the branches.

[13] From your lofty abode you water the mountains;

the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

[14] You cause the grass to grow for the livestock

and plants for man to cultivate,

that he may bring forth food from the earth

[15] and wine to gladden the heart of man,

oil to make his face shine

and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

[16] The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

[17] In them the birds build their nests;

the stork has her home in the fir trees.

[18] The high mountains are for the wild goats;

the rocks are a refuge for the rock badgers.

[19] He made the moon to mark the seasons;

the sun knows its time for setting.

[20] You make darkness, and it is night,

when all the beasts of the forest creep about.

[21] The young lions roar for their prey,

seeking their food from God.

[22] When the sun rises, they steal away

and lie down in their dens.

[23] Man goes out to his work

and to his labor until the evening.

(2)John 6:11 (ESV) – Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. Gave thanks to Whom? – to God, of course … . Why? Because God provided it. He is involved in the details and if He is not then we have no God.

On Wednesday the Psalm for the day in my devotional reading was Psalm 44 and I presented it as the devotional at Prayer Meeting and we had a good discussion around it. Then I got to thinking about the cancellation of the picnic and then there was the inability to get to the flea Market yesterday. So this morning I would like to walk you through Psalm 44 and bring some truths to your attention that I trust will help you in seeing God a little more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly.

b.Psalm 44

i.Five Major Divisions

(1)    1-3 – Past Mercies of God Upon Israel – v. 1

(2)   4-8 – Testimony of Faith in God – v. 6

(3)   9-16 – Hard Providences from God – v. 14

(4)   17-21 – The Testimony of Righteousness – v. 17

(5)   22-26 – The Plea for Mercy – v. 26

2. 1-3 – Past Mercies of God Upon Israel – v. 1

a.Our Fathers told us

i.The best teachers are the fathers. Fathers, do you pass on to your children the things of

God? Do you realize that this is a job that God gives you before He gives it to anyone else? Do you realize that there should be virtually no difference between what your child know about God, Christ, salvation … if we did not have Sunday School than if we did? Remember Genesis 18:18f; Deuteronomy 4:6; Psalm 78; Ephesians 6:4.

ii.O fathers, mothers – see the glories of a great God and marvel at what He has done. Get

into the Bible and learn about what God has done and be utterly stunned by it and then pass on what you learn to your children. How can you not share the greatest treasure there is with the ones that you love the most?

iii.The fathers here have done a good thing but note that the Psalmist does not seem to have been told by the fathers that God’s providence is not always what we want it to be. If they had, perhaps the Psalmist might not have chafed so much under it.

iv.Do you read history? Do you read biographies of people? Do you read of the great works accomplished by God throughout the history of the church? You should. It is a great encouragement to the heart. See what God did in pagan Rome that took the church from a few thousand in the year 30 to over 10% of the whole empire by 300. Read about what great things were accomplished through monasteries. Read about Patrick and Columba and Hus and Knox and Luther … … . Fearless men who believed the Gospel and had a burden for people to know the great God that they knew. Read about the Protestant Reformation – quite possibly the greatest act of God in the history of the church after Pentecost itself. Here is the church, mired in ignorance of the Scriptures, politics, corruption at the highest levels … Read great missionary biographies, obscure missionary stories … . Read accounts of God doing great things against any indications that anything good was able to be done at all. Oh people, read church history. You should read such things because you have the same God that these heroes of the faith had. In fact, you have the same God that Gideon and Samson and Jonah and Moses and David and Peter and Paul all had too.

(1)Read such things and then marvel at what God has done in the world through the faithfulness of his saints and be encouraged to know that you serve the same God that they did. And that takes us to the second matter that the writer of this Psalm brings up.

3.Commitment to trust God – v. 6

a.Ah, when we read in the Bible about the works of God, the grace of God, the love of God, the power of God, the utter incomprehensibility of God … , the Christian response will be: “this God I will follow. I will trust Him. This God I need. If THIS God is for me, who can be against me?”

b.The God their fathers told them about is the same God who is for them. He has not changed. He has not moved away. He is still there and He is for you. Did the fathers tell their children this. It appears so. So, the fathers told the writer of this Psalm great things about God and the Psalmist and his fellow Israelites have believed what they were told. And now they affirm their faith in the God that their fathers told them about.

c.Dear ones: the reason I urge you to read about the workings of God throughout history is so that you will see what God has done and know that you have the very same God.

i.You have the same God as Matthew 28:18-20 who still gives you the same mandate that

He gave those first recipients of the Great Commission. You have the same promise of power that those first founders of the church had. This is your God. The God of Ephesians 3:21, II Peter 1:3, Romans 8:28, Philippians 4:19, Psalm 23,

(1)Ephes. 3:20-21 (ESV) Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

(2)Romans 8:28 (ESV) And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

(3)Philip. 4:19 (ESV) And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

(4)2 Peter 1:3 (ESV) His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

This is your God.

d.Our fathers needed you to act and so do we. Without you we can do nothing

i.Psalm 46:1; Psalm 20:7;

e.Verse 6 – Not in MY bow do I trust cf. V. 3

We believe the testimony of the Scriptures about God and about ourselves and about what we can do in Him compared to what we can do without Him.

f.God tells us these things so that we may see what a great God WE have. What a God is there for US.

4.9-16 – Hard Providences from God – v. 14

a.God has afflicted us – and all of a sudden some believers start to do a double take. Well, “no”, God is not involved in a bitter labour dispute. He had nothing to do with the cancellation of our picnic. His hand was not at work yesterday when we were unable to go to the Flea Market. Proverbs 19:21 does not apply here:

i.Proverbs 19:21 – Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

b.Dear one – how many gods do you have? Do you have a god for the good things that happen to you and a different one for the bad things that happen to you?

c.This current affliction is not arbitrary. It is not “random” as they say. It is not a coincidence. This did not happen to them while God was on a coffee break. God is involved in it. God is doing it. God has seen to it that they are opposed and oppressed and afflicted.

i.See Genesis 15:13; How did God know that they were going to be in captivity for 400 years? “Well, you say, God knows everything.” Indeed – but God does not look into a crystal ball and find out what is about to happen. The reason God knew that the Israelites were going to be in captivity for 400 years was because He planned it. Is the Psalmist mistaken? Was Joseph mistaken in Genesis 50?

(1)Genesis 50:20 (ESV) As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

d.Is this your testimony when things go well? “God has done it. I couldn’t have done this myself. I planted and Apollos watered …” Can it stand the test? Are you willing to say those things when things turn sour, that the hand of God has been at work just as much, with just as much love for His children as He had before (Deuteronomy 32:30; Job 1:20-22)

5.17-21 – The Testimony of Righteousness – v. 17

a.The hardships come and you search and search for a reason. Is God disciplining me? Is He angry. Have I courted His displeasure? And for all your searching you cannot find a reason. You seriously do not know. Consider:

i.1) You may have missed something

ii.2) You are right in your assessment. Your life is not perfect but you know that there is no big hidden sin that you are trying to keep the world from discovering. You have not deserted the faith. You have testified about the Gospel. You have lived differently than the world around you … . Why has this happened?

(1)It has happened, as verse 22 points out, because they have been faithful. This hardship is not disease – everyone gets sick – Christian, Muslim, Hindu Jew. This affliction is not the death of a loved one or unemployment or not getting a parking space at the mall or an abusive husband, wayward children, … . None of those things that we sometimes refer to as the normal human experience. This is because you believe in Christ. These are hardships that would not have happened if you were not a believer. II Cor. 4:8-12, 17

(a)No these things have been allowed into their lives because they are faithful. Want the trouble to go away? Stop being faithful. Because they are faithful. Not in spite of their faith. Hear Matthew 5:11

(i)Matthew 5:11 (ESV) – “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

iii.3) How will you respond? Will you believe that Romans 8:17 is being fulfilled? Will you bow to the truth of Romans 8:28?

(1)Dear one listen. Whatever it is – whatever it is, God is testing your faith – James 1:2-4

(a)James 1:2-4 (ESV) – Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, [3] for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. [4] And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

(b)Deut. 8:2 (ESV) – And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

(c)Luke 8:13 (ESV) – And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.

(2)All things come from God. This is the clear testimony of the Scriptures (Roman 11:33-36; Prov. 16:4) The trials of life, whether they are because of our faith in Christ or not, come from God for our good (Romans 8:28; James 1:2-5)

6.22-26 – The Plea for Mercy – v. 26

a.This section is a plea for God to come through for them. And what we must not miss here is that in his calamity the Psalmist still cries out to God. The troubles do not cause him to abandon calling on God. This man, for all his griping is still in possession of a great faith. He does not know why these things are happening to him but he knows where they come form and he knows that there is nowhere else to turn than to God.

b.WE know that the God who brings such things into our lives is the God who loves us, who has a great eternal purpose for us, who will not allow anything into our lives but what is for our good. We know that THIS God is the God of Romans 8:29; Eph. 1:22f, I Cor. 10:13; Phil. 4:19; Romans 8:16f; Phil. 3:10-12

c.We often fault people for the complaints they make under the hard providences of God but we need to remember that the complaints in this Psalm are being made to God directly. Coming to God is a matter of faith (Heb. 11:6) and so we know that this man’s faith is still in tact.

i.Dear ones – do you allow the troubles to distance you from God?

d.Do not allow your troubles to break fellowship with your God. The troubles we see many heroes of the faith in, in the Scriptures send them fleeing to their God, not abandoning prayer and fellowship with the saints.

7.Conclusion

a.And then the Psalm ends. Someone said on Wednesday evening when we were looking at this “I keep waiting for the “but”, as in “But God has restored me, God has healed me, God has destroyed all my enemies”. But the Psalm does not end like that at all. It ends with him calling out for God for mercy.

b.We would feel much better if it ended with: “And God heard the cry and they lived happily ever after”. Some Psalms do end with the prayer for help being answered. But not all of them. And not this one.

c.Why not? Acts 14:21-22 is why:

i.When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, [22] strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

ii.2 Cor. 4:16-18 (ESV) is why: So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. [17] For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, [18] as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

iii.Romans 8:31-39 is why: Romans 8:31-39 – What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised— who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [36] As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” [37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

8.The Gospel in Psalm 44

a.Verse 1-3 – God has done a great work – the cross

b.Verse 4-8 – Put your faith in a great God, who, in Christ, has done a great thing. Make verse 6 your testimony about Christ.

c.Verse 9-16 – Know this. You are being called to trust Christ and that will mean dying for Him. It will mean opposition because you believe all that the Bible says. It will mean putting yourself down in order to life Him up. Salvation is free dear one, but living for Jesus is very costly. If you are not willing to surrender up everything for Him, you cannot have Christ. The choice is set before you. Chase after what the world can give you and die in your sin. Or give up everything for Christ and know God, know real joy, real purpose, the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting.

d.Verse 17-21 – Live a God pleasing life no matter what. Suffer for righteousness. Never suffer justly because of your sin and your evil.

e.Verse 22-26 – Live a life of complete dependence on Him. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Let us pray.