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The Hand of God
Pastor Steve
Psalms 44:0
June 03, 2018

[, Music ]. Today we come to the second of the Psalms of the sons of Korah. Now, if you're reading your Bible and you look at the heading, you might wonder since we covered to last week, why did to say the third of song psalms of the sons of Korah but psalm 42 and 43 actually go together and I actually think the guy Who divided up the chapters made a mistake there? You do remember that the chapter divisions in the Bible are not divinely. Inspired on, they are made up by a guy who just was trying to make it more organiza below. We are in Psalm 44, which is the second of the psalms of the sons of Korah, and it also apparently, is one of the more difficult Psalms to preach. You know every week when I on prepare my messages. I I read commentaries. I read the text. I try to develop an outline and if I get stumped, I sometimes look at other preachers and read their sermons, and I did that this week only to find that I could only find 17 sermons from Psalm 44 and I read all 17 of them. 15 of the 17 had nothing to do with Psalm 44. So today you get what is apparently a very unusual message from Psalm 44. I hope by now you've turned there we're going to read the text and then we'll delve into it. Psalm 44 to the choirmaster. On that skill of the sons of Korah - Oh God, we are heard with our ears. Our fathers have told us what deeds you performed in their days in the days of old, you with your own hand, drove out the nation's, but you planted them. You afflicted the people, but then you set free for not by their own sword. Did they win the land, nor did their own arms save them, but your right arm and your arm your right hand and your arm and the light of your face for you delighted in them. You are my king, Oh God ordains salvation for Jacob through you. We push down our flows through your name. We tread down those who rise up against us for not in my bow. Do I trust. Nor can my sword save me, but you have saved us from our foes and have put to shame those who who hate us. In God, we have boasted continually and we will give thanks to your name forever sayla. Now, if the psalmist had ended here, I'm sure I would have found many sermons from Psalm 44, but the Psalms, the sons of Korah go on the verse 9, but you have rejected us and disgraced us and have not gone out with our armies. You have made us turn back from the foe and those who hate us have gotten the spoil you have made us like sheep for slaughter and have scattered us among the nation's. You have sold your people for a trifle demanding no high price for them. You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us. You have made us a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the people all day long. My disgrace is before me and shame has covered my face at the sound of the taunter and reviler at the sight of the enemy and the Avenger. All this has come upon us, though we have not forgotten you and we have not been able and then Falls to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back, nor have our steps departed from your way. Yet you have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death. If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god would not, God discover this, for he knows the secrets of the heart. Yet, for your sake, we are killed all day long. We are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered awake. Why are you sleeping O Lord rouse yourself? Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression for our soul? Is bowed down to the dust our belly clings to the ground rise up, come to our help, redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love. This is the word of God. It seems the sons of korah we're having a bad day. They can remember all the things that God did in the past. This is a little grapey. Sometimes we forget things which we should remember, and there are other times when we remember things we should forget. There was a couple have been married for 60 years. They were in their mid 80s and they were having difficulty remembering things, so they decided to go to their doctor to get things checked out, just to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with them when they arrived at the doctor's, they explained their their issue. The problems they were having with their memory and the doctor, checked them out and told them that they were physically, ok but part of the aging process for a lot of people. As we tend to forget things, and so they might want to start writing things down and make notes to help them. Remember a couple faint, the doctor and left later that night, while watching TV like at 7 o'clock, the old man got up from his chair and his wife asks. Where are you going? He says to the so she says: will you get me a bowl of ice cream sure she that says, don't you think you should write it down, so you can remember it. No, I can remember you want ice cream. Well, I'd like strawberries! On top, you better put a note down. I want ice cream with strawberries on top, because I know you're gon na forget I'm not gon na. Forget you want ice cream with strawberries. I don't need to write a note. Well, I'd also like cream on top some whipped cream. You know the kind you spray on there, so ice cream, strawberries, whipped cream, write it down says I can remember. You want ice cream, strawberries and whipped cream. It'S not that big of a deal. I don't need to write anything down. I can remember that he fumes and goes into the kitchen after about 20 minutes. He returns from the kitchen with a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment and says I knew you were gon na mess it up. You forgot my toast. Sometimes we forget things that we should remember and other times we remember things we should forget. When we look at the past, we have a tendency to do so through rose-colored glasses in simpler times the bad things weren't as bad and the good things were better. Do you remember when eggs used to taste good chicken tasted like chicken, it didn't taste like well dog? You know I really was tempted to bring my dog to church today, but then I was afraid some of you would think we had a potluck afterwards. If you don't know what that's a reference to, you should listen to this last week's sermon on online, because there was reference to dogs. Remember when gas was twenty three cents a gallon. This is some of you are way too young for that when you look forward to the Sears catalog for more than just the pictures of the new products, it refreshed that what you needed in the outhouse, one of the appeals of that presidential slogan make America great Again is the nostalgic idea that things were better back in the good old days. We remember those days with fondness, because the difficulties, the disagreements, the diss, face distasteful events of old, are replaced by memories of the successes, the stories and the simplicity of the past. I'Ve experienced that the older I get the better I was in my youth, sometimes we're better at forgetting than remembering life isn't going as planned for the sons of korah. They look back to the lessons that were taught by their father. They remember and they boast remember, the history has taught us the activity of God in the past our past and humanity's past, the things God has done in our lives personally and the things he has done corporately and in remembering we boast that's what verse 8. Ultimately concludes so the first eight verses of this Psalm are looking back at what God has done for Israel. We have heard with our ears. Our fathers have told us now, here's a little lesson for all of fathers in our midst. It'S a good idea to tell the great stories of the faith to remind your children what God has done, and it's also a good idea to put an emphasis upon what God has done, rather than what you have done throughout this song, the big sons of korah. They say: look what you have done. Your arm. Your right hand has done this, not our own armies, but what you have done see how the memories of the work of God progress through the mind of the psalmist upon entering the promised land, God by his hand, drove out the nation's. The victory was not the result of their strength, verse three, it wasn't their own strength that achieved the victories of the past. Our victories are not our own. Victory comes ultimately through the hand of God, through the light of his face. Through his delight, we remember and proclaim you are my king of God. Our success comes through him. Therefore, we don't trust in our own strength. In our own ingenuity, we trust in God and in verse, eight we boast continually and give thanks forever, which is all well and good, but then would reflect upon our present situation with dismay. Something bothers us. Is God still there? We reflect upon a world situation now and frankly, if you have your eyes open, you're, somewhat bothered by what's going on, essentially verses, 9 to 17 of our text are a picture of the world. As the psalmist sees it, you have rejected us. You have disgraced us. You have turned us, you have made us turn back from the foe. You have made us like sheep for slaughter. You have sold your people for a trifle. You have made us to talk of our neighbors. You have made us a byword among the nation's. These are all significant complaints that they look at the world today and they say all day long. My disgrace is before me: how can the God of the fathers abandon the children at the heart of the charges is the feeling that the Lord cares little for his people, even though by the psalmist's own estimation, the people are innocent. Look at the fence that the defense given beginning in verse 17. We have not forsaken you. We have not been false to your covenant. Our heart has not turned back. Our steps have not departed from your way. It were pretty good people, that's what the psalmist is saying. The psalmist remembered what the father said taught how God had been with them throughout the past, but what about now? Is God still there? Where is he now? I grew up in the Chicago area, and State Street in Chicago was home to a number of magnificent department stores on Marshall Fields, which now has been taken over by Macy's and on Sears. Was there and Carson Pirie Scott was there in Carson's? Was a mid upper range department store? It was a store that began in 1854 and just last month began a liquidation process. They'Re out of business now and for over 150 years was a staple of the shopping experience along Chicago State Street in the 1970s and 80s. They ran a radio commercial with this jingle, hey Carson's, I love you say us and all your special buys, but I want to know ho what have you done for me lately? What have you done for me lately, and that is the way we are with God. What have you done for me lately? That'S what the psalmist is saying, although not nearly as beautifully because they didn't sing it. We all know the things he has done in the past, but we often ask what have you done lately and the problem isn't with God. The problem is with us now, like the psalmist's, we review our life and come to the conclusion in a comparative analysis, because we always compare ourselves with people who aren't nearly as good as us. We come to the conclusion that we're doing pretty good and we also lose just tend to lose sight of what God is doing today. It'S pretty obvious that the people of Israel who experienced in the events where, in retrospect God was working at the time they often doubted it. So when they were in Egypt, they wondered where was God when they were leaving Egypt and they came to the Red Sea? They wondered: where is God when they were in the wilderness and running out of water? They wondered: where is God when they were in the wilderness and they were in on a food? They wondered. Where is God when God provided food and manna they wondered? Where? Is God why do we have to eat this stuff in the desperation of daily life and the struggle to move from Egypt to the promised land? The Bible records numerous times when the people of God are asking? Where is God, and yet years later, the psalmist looks back and says: look at how God was there time and time again? Isn'T it wonderful the way God provided even someone as in touch with God, as Elijah able to see God extend the oil raise a child from the dead caused it to rain or not rain? This man felt all alone and abandoned, asking where's God. Yet God was there, and so it is with us in those times when we feel so abandoned, God is still there. Our problem is that we fail to see him in the everyday events of life, so we arrive where the psalmist arrives at verse. 23. We look back, we remember and we boast in God all the time we reflect upon life today and we're so bothered that it just doesn't seem that he's actively involved in our lives as he was back then, and so we make a request and we do so Boldly awake wait: why are you sleeping O Lord okay? Some of you just woke up again from your slumber. I apologize I'm just repeating the text here. Just you know, rouse yourself do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression? Our soul is bowed down to the dust. Our belly clings to the ground rise up, come to our help in the kicker redeem us. For the sake of your steadfast love, the whole psalm is a prayer put to music from the beginning. The psalmist has been talking with God, but his prayer reaches its apex in these closing verses. You can almost hear the crescendo of music as the singers reach. The final stanza, the clean cymbals clash the instrumentals into Memphis playing myth so forte the vocalist ring out in song. Oh wow, [, Music ], as though God is asleep. They need to pull him out of his slumber into action, but God is not asleep and he is not dead he's alive. He is there with the psalmist, even as he prays for evidence of the presence of God till he reaches that last phrase. Redeem us, for the sake of your steadfast love at the end of the day, Lord God, Almighty does not about me. It'S about you and your reputation. We request vuelven not for ourselves, but for the reputation of God himself. So here is our conclusion. When we remember the great activity of God in our past, we do well to boast in him when we reflect upon the world and and are rightly bothered by what we see is a general unbelief. In God, we are right to be bothered and from that frustration with our inability to see God a desire to see him act in mighty ways. Today we boldly request that God would show himself to us, but perhaps we ought to instead pray that he would open our eyes to what is already and always there his hand working all things together, for we know that God causes all things to work together for Good to those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, so we need to train our eyes to be the eyes of faith, to see him so three steps in that process. As we close, you know, I say no songs a little faster temple than I thought I was going to so I have. I can dwell a little bit more on these three points. If you want to see God today, recount the things the good things, it's easy to look back and talk about what God has done in the past, it's easy to go back and think of how great it was. We went to camp and we had these great fireside chats and we we got close to God. We read these books and back then time when we read books and and they challenged us and we read J, I Packer and all these great Saints of old and I remember CS Lewis, we used to read him, but instead of recalling the good things of the Past recall the good things of today, because today, God is doing good in your life Clippy ins for says, whatever things are good pure, upright true worthy of positive report set your mind on these things. If you want to see God in your every day, you're gon na have to begin by recounting the good things today and then, following along with what happens in this song, reconsider how you've got those good thing. We live in a society where we have a tendency to believe that we're self-made people, it's a matter of fact. One of our presidents gotten a lot of trouble by saying you have a business. You didn't build that and as much as he got hassled about that, the reality is that none of us got here on our own and it's a group effort. Someone was asked if half a dozen scientists were trapped on a desert island and had to produce society. Would they be able to make a computer, and the blunt answer was no, they couldn't even make a pencil because they need someone to mine the or someone to refine it to make the lead. It'S not really led to graphite someone to cut down the tree. Someone to create the machinery to cut down the tree to shape the pencil someone to mine the ore to make the little thing on the the holds eraser on there. Some a whole nother group of people had to mind the stuff and create the eraser itself, and then people had to make the machine and a half a dozen people couldn't do it. They wouldn't have enough knowledge, we all depend on one another and when you consider the good things in your life reconsider how you got them. Yes, you may have worked hard and it's a good thing to work very hard. And yes, you may have done many things that other people did not do, but God was with you and if you believed the scripture, then you know that you didn't get there because of the strength of your right arm or the strength of your bow or the Strength of your coding ability, you got there because God was with you all along every step of the way and then finally rejoice in the one who gives every gift. James says every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father of lights, every good gift that you have your ability to sing your ability to. Well, whatever you did, you do to raise pigs, your ability to find someone to butcher those pigs for those of you. They can barbecue your ability to invite your pastor over to have barbecue every good and perfect gift comes from God. Our society says you did it yourself, you're you're, awesome the believer in Jesus Christ says he is awesome. He has gifted me. I am here yes, because I worked hard but more important than that, because he has gifted me. Is it only by the virtue of the luck of where you were born that you happen to be here? They have access to what you have access to all praise. All glory all honor goes to Christ, the King. You want to see God every every day, recount the good things every day every day write something down that God did for you every day, give him credit and praise him, and every day you will see God. Let'S pray, [ Music, ], [, Music, ]