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TRUSTING IN GOD IS A SIGN OF TRUE WISDOM

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT

THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
American Baptist - United Methodist

23 JUNE 1996

BY Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Psalm 4:5-6
        86:1-17
Jeremiah 10:1-16
1 Corinthians 8:4-6
Revelation 15:1-4

Most people allow themselves to get into some sort of trouble before they reach out to God.

If these people had sought the Lord beforehand, they might not have behaved as they did.

And if they had trusted in the Lord in the first place, they would have been spiritually prepared for every event that confronted them.

Itís as we are told in Psalm 4:6.

6.  Many are saying, "Who will show us any good?"

Lift up the light of Thy countenance upon us, O Lord!

This is the prayer of those who lack trust.

It may sound sincere, but they sought the Lord only after they had problems.

On the other hand, in the previous verse we are told the difference in attitude of those who remain in the presence of the Lord:

5.  Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,

And trust in the Lord.

The life of these people offers the sacrifices of righteousness, the ever-present desire to do the will of the Lord.

This is not an animal sacrifice, which did nothing to bring a person to righteousness.

This is a sacrifice of ones own heart and mind to do the will of the of God.

Thus, they trust in the Lord, for they know His constant presence and of His desire for them.

They are confident that the Lord will bring them through any problem and give them peace.

Listen to how David prayed in Psalm 86, for in his words we see this peace and trust, even in the presence of trouble:

1.  Incline Thine ear, O Lord, and answer me,

For I am afflicted and needy.

2.  Do preserve my soul, for I am a godly man;

O Thou my God, save Thy servant who trusts in Thee.

We know who we are, and if we trust in the Lord, we know that He knows who we are.

We cannot lie to Him and get away with it.

If the desire of our heart is to be Godly and we sincerely try to be so, then we, too, could pray as David did.

3.  Be gracious to me, O Lord,

For to Thee I cry all day long.

4.  Make glad the soul of Thy servant,

For to Thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

5.  For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive,

And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee.

Remember, also, that this implies that we have a repentant nature, and not a heart that deliberately sins and then asks to be forgiven.

6.  Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;

And give heed to the voice of my supplications!

7.  In the day of my trouble I shall call upon Thee,

For Thou wilt answer me.

This is the prayer of one who is prepared, and of one who constantly trusts in the Lord.

David knew the truth, even though he didnít always follow it.

Others may think there is another way, but there isn't:

8.  There is no one like Thee among the gods, O Lord;

Nor are there any works like Thine.

People in Davidís day still sought after other so-called gods.

They made images of them and then bowed down and prayed to them.

But they only fooled themselves, and got themselves into more trouble; and as time went on, things got worse and worse.

Now letís turn to Jeremiah 10:1-16, and listen to how bad things got for those who didnít put their trust in God.

1.  Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel.

2.  Thus says the Lord,

"Do not learn the way of the nations,

And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens

Although the nations are terrified by them;

3.  For the customs of the peoples are delusion;

Because it is wood cut from the forest,

The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool.

4.  "They decorate it with silver and with gold;

They fasten it with nails and with hammers

So that it will not totter.

5.  "Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they,

And they cannot speak;

They must be carried,

Because they cannot walk!

Do not fear them,

For they can do no harm,

Nor can they do any good."

Do you see the foolishness of these people?

But we, today, say weíre not foolish like them. We don't make idols of wood, and silver, and gold.

But Iíve heard some young people say that they need to smoke some grass to make them feel good.

And Iíve seen others rush out of church, and the first thing they do is light up a cigarette; and the same for others at work -- they need a smoke.

And what about the person who has had a hard day and says, "I need a drink!"?

And what about the person who is unhappy and overeats as a form of comfort?

Since people seek comfort from them, arenít all these things really idols before God?  For these people put their habits before God, and trust in them, before they trust in God.

Letís continue with Jeremiah:

6.  There is none like Thee, O Lord,

Thou art great, and great is Thy name in might.

7.  Who would not fear Thee, O King of the nations?

Indeed it is Thy due!

For among all the wise men of the nations,

And in all their kingdoms,

There is none like Thee.

8.  But they are altogether stupid and foolish

In their discipline of delusion -- their idol is wood!

9.  Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish,

And gold from Uphaz,

The work of a craftsman and of the hands of a goldsmith;

Violet and purple are their clothing;

They are all the work of skilled men.

And we are just as stupid and foolish when we put other people or things before God.

10.  But the Lord is the true God;

He is the living God and the everlasting King.

At His wrath the earth quakes,

And the nations cannot endure His indignation.

Many people don't want to see Godís hand in these things; for if they admit that they see these things, they also must admit the awesome power of God, and that there is none before Him.

11.  Thus you shall say to them,

"The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens."

12.  It is He who made the earth by His power,

Who established the world by His wisdom;

And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens.

13.  When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,

And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth;

He makes lightning for the rain,

And brings out the wind from His storehouses.

14.  Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge;

Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols;

For his molten images are deceitful,

And there is no breath in them.

15.  They are worthless, a work of mockery;

In the time of their punishment they will perish.

16.  The portion of Jacob is not like these;

For the Maker of all is He,

And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance;

The Lord of hosts is His name.

The same message is for us today.

Letís go back to Psalm 86:9.

9.  All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, O Lord;

And they shall glorify Thy name.

10.  For Thou art great and doest wondrous deeds;

Thou alone art God.

Listen to what we are told in Revelation 15:1-4 concerning what David said about all the nations coming to glorify God:

1.  And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.

2.  And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had come off victorious from the beast and from his image and from the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.

3.  And they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying,

"Great and marvelous are Thy works,

O Lord God, the Almighty;

Righteous and true are Thy ways,

Thou King of the nations.

4.  "Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?

For Thou alone art holy;

For all the nations will come and worship before Thee,

For Thy righteous acts have been revealed."

Many who claim to be believers will be left out; but believers from every part of the world, who trust in the Lord, will rejoice in heaven.

Before we go back to look at the remainder of Psalm 86, letís look at what we are told in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6.

4.  Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.

5. For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,

6. yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.

Is this passage talking about us?

I pray it is, for this is the only way to heaven and everlasting peace.

It is not through the killing and eating of animals, even with thanksgiving; it is only through our faith and trust in God.

This understanding and acknowledgment is the sign of true wisdom. It shows that we have put our trust in God.

We have heard people misapply Paul's words to say that it is meant to give them permission to eat flesh; and by such interpretation, these people are admitting that they have made an idol out of the flesh of animals.

They are trusting in their plate and not in the Lord their God.

We need to put our whole faith and trust in the Lord.

And this attitude is confirmed in Psalm 86:11.

11.  Teach me Thy way, O Lord;

I will walk in Thy truth;

Unite my heart to fear Thy name.

12.  I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart,

And will glorify Thy name forever.

13.  For Thy lovingkindness toward me is great,

And Thou hast delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

Even when these things are so obvious, there are still some people who deny the truth, and try to hinder others.

14.  O God, arrogant men have risen up against me,

And a band of violent men have sought my life,

And they have not set Thee before them.

See what we are told: people who act like this do not trust in the Lord, they trust in themselves and other things first.

These are very foolish people.

15.  But Thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious,

Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.

16.  Turn to me, and be gracious to me;

Oh grant Thy strength to Thy servant,

And save the son of Thy handmaid.

17.  Show me a sign for good,

That those who hate me may see it, and be ashamed,

Because Thou, O Lord, hast helped me and comforted me.

Note carefully, that in this Psalm David doesn't seek to take vengeance on either his or Godís enemies.

He only seeks to have Godís love and mercies show abundantly in his life, that others who don't believe will be ashamed and return to the Lord.

So, if we hear a so-called Christian make a statement about needing a gun for protection, or that we should go to war, know for certain, that such a statement is not from God, but from their idols of power and un-love.

We should easily tell by their "fruit" that they do not trust in the Lord their God, and that they lack wisdom.

We are not to follow such people.

We are to trust in the Lord our God, and follow Him.

For the truth and wisdom to live in the here and now, and in the life everlasting to come, is found only in Him.

Seek the Lord, and trust in Him.

Amen.

Your Comments are welcome

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