We need to laugh more. And we can. We can laugh with joy and freedom because of our God who loves us and has given us a sign of his love. Genesis 21:1-6, Romans 4:18-21.
This is an old person’s psalm. Sorry, but it is. It is the psalm of someone – probably King David – who is at the end of his life. It is the psalm of someone who has seen many troubled days, who has walked through the fire. It is the psalm of someone whose hair is grey and whose body is weak. It is the psalm of someone who is almost begging to go home to heaven. It is the psalm of someone who is begging God, at the end of their days, “Don’t leave me now!” And yet, though this psalm comes from the heart of someone who is at the end of their life, this psalm is full of hope for people in any season of life. This psalm is full of hope for those who are just starting their journey of faith. This psalm is full of hope for those who are growing up. This psalm is full of hope for those who are adulting now, who are grown and who are trying to handle the curveballs that life throws. And this psalm is especially – yes, especially full of hope – for those of you whose hair is grey. So, if your hair is grey, this is one psalm that you might make part of your daily prayers. This is one psalm that might be good for you to know and to pray as you wait for Jesus to take you to heaven.
Of all the things that we struggle with in the race of faith, we struggle the most through the hard moments of life. I think everybody does. We struggle with the length of the race; we’re running for a lifetime. We struggle with burnout and faith-fatigue because the race is so long. We struggle with distraction, i.e. we struggle to keep our eyes focused in the right place and on the right thing. We’re lured in all sorts of different directions after all sorts of the different things, some of them are even very good. We struggle with temptation and deceit. We struggle with all kinds of things in this race of faith, but perhaps, perhaps the hardest and most painful thing we face in the race of faith are the hardships and trials of following Jesus. We all deeply during trials because those hard moments seem to go so contrary against the good that God has promised. The hard moments and hard times of life lead us to question just about everything. The hard moments and the hard times of life lead us to doubt just about everything that God has said. Tonight as we unpack Genesis 22, we learn a lot about faith as he watch Abraham trust God no matter what he saw or felt.
There are times in our life when we feel like God has left us. There are times in our life when we feel like God has left the building, that God has abandoned us and even turned his back on us. There are times in our life when might even feel like God has become the enemy. This psalm, Psalm 85, is a prayer for those times.
There are times in our life when we feel empty, dry, tired, and nothing left. There are times in our life when we struggle to peel ourselves out of bed. There are times in our life when we’ve got nothing life and we need some restoration and revival. This psalm, Psalm 85, is a prayer for those times.
There are times when we look at the world around us and see all the bad stuff going on – the wars, the racism, the hostility, the shootings, the bombings and we just cry out to God about it. There are times in our life when we look at the morality of the world around us and just cry. There are times in our life when we look at the Christian church and see all the false teachings and just weep. There are times when we look around and see so many people not believing the message or leaving the message behind and it just breaks our heart. This psalm, Psalm 85, is a prayer for those times.
Whenever you're running a race, especially a long one, you need to refuel and rehydrate otherwise you'll bonk. The same is true of the race of faith. We've got to refuel and rehydrate or we risk bonking. God is gracious to provide oases for us so that we don't. This is an Advent devotion for your family as you wait for Jesus.
Psalms are real talk, real prayers, real songs, of real people. So they’re a beautiful thing. We get to see authentic believers struggle in prayer with God. We get to see believers wrestle and even get upset with God. We hear them cry out in desperation. We hear them sing out with joy. We hear them worship. We hear them pray. We hear them preach. We hear them complain. We hear them struggle. We hear them yell at God. We see them fall into his arms. The psalms are full of real people living in a real, living, breathing, wrestling, open and authentic relationship with God. Over the next few weeks, during our Sunday services, we’ll be looking at some of the psalms of Advent. Today, we’ll start with Psalm 24.
Nobody likes to wait and it has only gotten worse. In this day when we can get just about anything on demand. If we want to watch a movie, go rent it from iTunes; go watch it on Netflix. If you want something, just get on Amazon and you can have just about anything that same day, without even leaving the comfort of your own home. We just pop some food in the microwave and voila, it’s done. Nobody likes to wait and its only gotten worse.
In this evening meditation, we learn from Abraham and God’s Word how to wait on God to keep his promises, no matter how long it may take. We take a hot air balloon ride over Abraham’s life and see how God helped through his long wait.