Family Fusion Week 4

Pastor Don Prewitt & Sherri Prewitt

09-27-15

 

Psalm 63

O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your loving kindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
They shall fall by the sword;
They shall be a portion for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

 

SHERRI

The Psalms bring such comfort. God knows we need it. Living here on earth can be a challenge and it's nice to know as we read through different Psalms in the bible, that we are not alone in how we experience struggles and that there is also every reason to hope if we know God .

DON

"There has got to be more than this, right?"

SHERRI

If you have ever wondered that, you are not alone. "Is this all there is?" is a question that has been asked throughout the ages. It's a question that is asked by all kinds of people within every people-category that can be named; Rich, poor, single, married, educated, uneducated, young, old, non religious, and people of faith.

This is a universal question asked by people everywhere; often at the strangest times. Sometimes the question comes after a devastating loss; a death, a failure, a disappointment. We might ask, "Really, God. There's got to be more than this, right?" Or strangely enough, the question can arise out of a huge success; a hard earned career promotion, a new major purchase, a long anticipated wedding, or even following the birth of a beautiful baby.

We might push the nagging question down as it pops up uninvited at the most unexpected times. "Is this all there is?" 

We can push it down, but perhaps it would do us well to acknowledge the question when it pops up and seek out the answers. It's not a random thought, and it's not necessarily the devil trying to disillusion us. It is something deeper and something that, we believe, come as a gift from God. It is the gift of LONGING.

DON

Longing isn't always a pleasant feeling. It may not feel like a gift at all. It is a bit like thirst. We may be in a dry and thirsty land and that thirst is uncomfortable, sometimes it burns, and it demands to be quenched. We are not satisfied, we want relief. We long for something more.

SHERRI

This longing is something put into us by design to keep us ever seeking after God and pressing on toward heaven. Longing reminds us that this world is not our home, this life is not all there is, and that no matter how wonderful it may be (or how horrible) it is temporary and there IS more than this. Heaven will be much more than this. JESUS is more than this; being in close relationship with God is more than this.

Here in this world, we are at times hurting, lonely, dry and we are THIRSTY. We are thirsty to be with God. Thankfully, we don't have to wait to get to heaven in order to be with God. We can experience His presence today.

DON

Today, you may be:

Single or married or divorced or wanting to be married and feeling the pain of yet another family sermon series.

You may be:

Happy with children

Longing to simply have children

Living with messed up children, compliant children, gay children, old children that won't leave the house, or newborn children

You may have a home filled with dysfunction or a home filled with God's love - or both!

You may have a home that you rent or a home you have purchased or a home on the streets or a home filled with cats --Whatever! 

If you are a human being, and you're willing to acknowledge it, you probably experience longing at times. Whoever you are, whatever situation you find yourself in, maybe you are like us. Though our home is filled with people and with blessings, there are days that a longing rises up from deep inside of us and cries out for something more.

We could probably break down people that fill our churches today into 3 categories:

 

1. Those who embrace the longing:

To some of you, this is nothing new. You are currently experiencing the reality of the wilderness. You feel the heat of being tested, you know the dryness and thirst. You acknowledge that there is a need for more.

 

2. Those who keep the longing pushed down

Some may also feel the longing for something more, but it doesn't seem acceptable to have those feelings when we have been given so much. So those feelings get stuffed down and busyness with family, friends, work, and even church may fill up the days because it is feared that if there is a moment of quiet, the longing will be there and the longing feels very uncomfortable.

 

3. Those who completely ignore the longing

And some of us ignore any feeling that doesn't line up with what we expect a follower of Jesus to have. We may use faith to deny that we have a need or a thirst and we may lie to ourselves and to God. Sometimes, out of that longing we are trying to ignore, we seek out things, people or experiences that don’t satisfy us, but actually end up hurting us or others.

 

SHERRI

Let's look again at Psalm 63:1-5 in order to understand this longing a little better.

 

A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah.
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

 

First, we notice that the title of this Psalm says that David was in the wilderness of Judah. For those who have read the Bible, we might be thinking he is hiding from Saul who is trying to kill him, but if we look down to verses 9-11 it says:

 

But the king shall rejoice in God;
Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

 

This tells us that David was already king and Saul was not chasing him anymore. So, most likely, David was hiding from Absolom, his very own son. His son that he loved so much was trying to take the kingdom away from David. He continually betrayed his father.

So, David found himself in the wilderness again. And he was carrying within him a broken heart. God had said of David, "This is a man after my own heart" and yet, David was hated by someone in his own family. Family can hurt us like no one else can. Some of you know exactly what that kind of pain feels like. You understand the family heartbreak that can drive a person into the wilderness.

 

DON

Have you felt like David before? Have you felt the loneliness and desperation of the desert in your own life?

SHERRI

Sometimes the wilderness can seem to last a long time. If you find yourself there today being tested by the elements, you can draw strength from Psalm 63. You can find hope in God. David shows us how.

DON

In verse one, David cries out, "O God, You are my God” Now, we read this part of the passage in our inside voices, but most likely David cried out with all his might “O GOD, YOU ARE MY GOD…” The longing in David's life was real, but  David knew God and God knew David. David knew who to go to with his burning thirst. God and David had a relationship. David knew from experience in that relationship that in both good times and in bad, he could trust in God to be there and hear his crying out.

When we know God and are known by Him, we can be standing in the quicksand of our emotions and we may feel like we are sinking down but then we remember God and He is the Rock under our feet. Jesus is there to hold us up and keep us from going under.

Our LONGING can turn into our BELONGING!

What happens in the desert when we DON'T bring our longings to God? 

-we grumble

-we question God's love for us

-we compare ourselves to others who are seemingly NOT in the desert

-we become dry, inactive, not functioning well, not praying, just stuck and bitter

-We may try to satisfy that longing and thirst with things that may seem to bring temporary relief, but leave us more empty than before and in that process, we may hurt ourselves or others

-We could fall into despair and want to give up.

SHERRI

What happens in the desert when we DO bring our longings to God?  (3 points to remember)

1. The desert can bring about beautiful worship when we acknowledge our longing & thirst for God.

-we trust in his love and in the relationship with have with Him

-we allow that longing in the wilderness to turn into a desperate cry of worship and hope like David did:

 

DON

O God, You are my God
Early will I seek You!
My soul thirsts for You
My flesh longs for You

SHERRI

We cry, I know there IS more than the ups and downs of my day to day life. There is more that what I have here in this world. This is not all there is! You are what I want. You are who I need. So with all my heart, all my soul, all my might I cry out for YOU! Please walk right beside me, God, and let me know You better than I thought possible on the other side of this wilderness.

DON

O God, You are my God
Early will I seek You!
My soul thirsts for You
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.

SHERRI

4 times David cried out "YOU" in this passage. He had decided in his heart that God was better than anything else that the world could offer. Even in his confused and heartbroken state there in the wilderness, he was able to cry out to the one he knew as God.

Yes, the desert can bring about beautiful worship when we acknowledge our longing and our thirst for God.

Verse Two of Psalm 63 says,

 

DON

So I have looked for you in the sanctuary,
To see Your power and Your glory.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name
( an act of surrender to God).

SHERRI

We see in David's words a surrender to God. It’s interesting that David finds strength in remembering his times in the sanctuary. The times when he had gone to corporate worship, he had witnessed God’s power and glory. Remembering these experiences with God, made it easier for him to come to the place of surrender. He said that God's loving kindness is better than life. David was basically saying that God's love is better than any other gift in this life. He prefers God's love over friends, family, sex, food, job satisfaction, accomplishments, money, or happiness.

SHERRI

Let’s review:

1. The desert can bring about beautiful worship when we acknowledge our longing & thirst for God.

2. As we surrender to God's love, we come to know Him better

 

By David's example, we learn to surrender our lives to God's better-than-life-love rather than to the gifts we know of here in this world. We recognize that our God is worthy of our attention and our affections belong to Him above anyone or anything else.

DON

One more time lets review what happens when we DO bring our longings & thirst to God.

  1. The desert can bring about beautiful worship when we acknowledge our longing & thirst for God.
  2. As we surrender to Gods love, we come to know Him better

     3. In God's presence, our soul will be SATISFIED.

 

At the beginning of this Psalm, David expressed his longing and his thirst. Now, after spending time in God's presence in worship and surrender, David declares that God has filled him up. His perspective has changed, his feelings have even changed. He has found that God is enough to fill those empty places and David's soul is truly satisfied.

SHERRI

My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night watches,
Because You have been my help,
Therefore in the shadow of You wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;
Your right hand upholds me

DON

If God is powerful enough and loving enough to fill David's empty places, He is the same here for us today. No matter how hopeless our family situation, few can compare with the one David was in at the time of this Psalm. We may come to God with a longing so great that it hurts. But as we cry out to God, as we worship Him and surrender our lives to Him, we can trust Him to hear us and be near to us. He is able to change our perspective as we experience His power and his fullness. There is a feast to be had in God's presence. In Psalm 63, it refers to “marrow and fatness.” The fatness on the meat meant there was an abundance! There is no need to remain thirsty, or be hungry for very long.

SHERRI

Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4 that He gives water to drink that will quench every thirst we ever have. In verse 14, He says that,

"whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life."

 DON

As people who follow Jesus, we know that He is our God and He is our source of everything good. Its so easy to reach out for things that look like they would bring relief in the desert, but in the long run keep us asking “Is this all there is?” Why do we expect joy and power to come from other things? Jesus is the only cure for our longings on this earth and He is able to give us what we need; whether we're in the wilderness or on top of a mountain. Let's go to Him for the sake of Him; not his gifts, but Him.

 

Get out your water bottles that were handed to you at the door. These are to remind you that in those wilderness times in our lives we have real needs, we have real thirst. Water will quench our bodies for just a moment, while the living water given to us by the love of Jesus Himself is available to turn our wilderness into a place of worship.We have purposely made our sermon short so that we could spend time talking to God today. So here is the plan. We are going to lead in some worship and we are going to ask that you, along with us find a place at your seats or here at the altar to spend some time alone with God.

 

-Maybe we need to repent for trying to silence and fill up our longings with things that will never satisfy.

-Maybe we need to cry out to God “YOU are my God” acknowledging His deep love for us in the wilderness, even if the wilderness doesn’t make sense.

-Maybe we need to just worship, and exalt the Kind of kings as a way of surrender and thanks for who He is.

Wherever you are, in this moment, we ask that you not be silent but call out to God and let Him fill up every longing you have today!