A Stable Heart
A STABLE HEART IN UNSTABLE TIMES
Last Sunday morning we sang the hymn, "HE KEEPS ME SINGING." Can you hear the chorus in your mind?
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Sweetest name I know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go
This is a song that I have sang many many times, but Sunday the fourth verse caught my eye.
Though sometimes He leads through waters deep, trials fall along the way;
Though sometimes the path seems rough and steep,
See His footprints all the way.
These are the words of a precious believer who has lived through some difficult times and has found God to be with Him through it all. There is yet an even older song that captures the reality of God with us, Psalm 46.
Psalm 46 is one of those nobal songs written especially for the choir director, and it provides us with some of the most comforting words during times of trial and affliction.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear" (1-2a)
"The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold" (7)
"Cease striving and know that I am God" (10a)
Trails and afflictions will lay seige to our hearts threatening to destroy our peace and joy, but within this Psalm are ancient truths about our living God that we must be reminding our hearts of when the waters are deep and the paths are steep.
1. HE offers you the only true security and strength:
"God is our refuge and strength" (1a). Where do you turn for security and strenght during difficult times? FOOD. SOLITUDE. ALCOHOL. TELEVISION. WORK. Each of these things (and there are more) offer only temporary security, which is really no security at all. These other "securities" are like a dead fall trap that seeks to crush you when you come under their influence. The Psalmist here knows that there is only one place to find true lasting peace, God himself.
2. HIS help is present: "A very present help in trouble" (1b)
This is help for today, not tommorrow.
3. HIS presence and power make fear irrational:
"Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip int o the heart of the sea; though its waters raor and faom, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride" (2-3).
God's presence with us has consequences. Since He is an unchanging and immovable refuge and strenght for all who trust in Him there is no need to live with a downcast and anxious heart.
4. HIS river of gladness flow to HIS people. "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God" (4a). His grace and mercy flows down like a mighty river to all who are seeking Him.
5. HE is with you in the affliction. "The holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved" (5a). If the enemy is to overpower you, he must first overpower your God, and He shall not be moved!
6. HIS help comes at just the right time. "God will help her when morning dawns" (5b). It has been said that it is darkest just before dawn. God may "lead through waters deep", but you will never drowned for His hand will lift you up at the precise moment.
7. HE is the reason for all your hope. "The nations made an uprar, the kingdom tottered; He raise His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold." (6-7)
8. HE has left a trail of triumph! "Come, behold the works of the LORD" (8a). Think about Moses, Joseph, David, Samson, Esther and the many others whom God delivered by His mighty hand.
9. HE will provide universal peace. "He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire" (9). One day the first heaven and earth will pass away and all things will be made new (Rev. 21:1-5). The wars between nations will cease. The diseases that threaten will disappear. The sinful patterns that scar us and cause all of creation to groan will be wiped away!
10. HE will be exalted among the nations. "Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (10) It can be difficult to move forward and outward with the good news when things are hard, but God promises there will be people from every nation singing His praises. We can press on going global with the good news of Jesus because God has guaranteed that difficult times will not stop His plan to be exalted among the nations.
11. HE is on the Believer's side. "The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold" (11). God will not abandon even one of His sons and daughters. He has promised His personal presence to everyone who trusts Him (Matt. 28:20).
These are wonderful promises of how the living God sustains the hearts of His children through the roughest seasons of life. I would be remiss, however, if I fail to make it clear that these promises are only for God's children. Are you a child of God? A child of God is someone who is presently submitting to the rule of Christ over them. A child of God is someone who is trusting Christ alone for everything: forgiveness from sin, peace with God, provision in this life, joy in the midst of suffering. If this does not describe you, but you desparately want the peace, joy, and stability that God offers then hear the words of Jesus and respond: "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from ME, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).
When you read through this Psalm, you will notice that the word Selah appears at the end of verses 3, 7, and 11. It is a musical term that tells the singer when to rest. This pause would allow the singer to breathe and the congregation to reflect on the stanza that was just sung. This encourages us to allow enough time to pause and think about the goodness of God as we read through this Psalm. May God bless you with a stable heart.
HOW TO USE THIS SERMON REVIEW
1. Read a few verses and then stop to meditate. Consider writing down your thoughts.
2. Share this Psalm with a friend who is walking a dificult path right now.
3. Use the verses during daily devotions to help your children learn about goodness of God.