My sermon from 5-28-2017:
Chaos. Crazy. Fast. Uncertain.
How would you describe your life?
Reading through Psalms, we hear about the people crying out for God’s help. They prayed, they cried, but yet they kept on sinning and kept on making God angry. And if they attributed their plight to God being angry, then they knew that they were the ones doing it.
The Israelites really had a history. They lived a life of uncertainty. From Abraham came so many Israelites, that the Egyptians became afraid of their sheer numbers and enslaved them. Then Moses led them out of slavery, they wandered for 40 years, and finally arrived at their new homeland. They worshiped God in victory, but continued going back to their ways of worshiping idols as well. They demanded a human king, and Saul showed them how a human king can be. David was his successor.
Life was very different then. There were no grocery stores, no conveniences of life. If drought came and the crops didn’t produce a harvest, people starved to death. It was the cold hard truth. The people prayed for rain, and rain was something they saw as a gift from God. When the rains didn’t come, they saw this as God’s anger.
People now have more confidence in, and reliance on themselves. We have crop insurance, life insurance, and if the rains don’t come, we assume other parts of the country will still produce a harvest, and no one starves. We go to the grocery store and buy food when we need it. We have a home, which is our shelter, and we have house insurance in case something goes wrong.
We don’t live day to day like the people did then. When it rains, we generally don’t sing “hallelujah” and dance in the streets. Well, some people probably do, but they’re the minority. Back then, rains meant life. But too much rain would wash the crop right out of the fields, so they needed just the right amount, at the right time. Farmers now also need rain, but the average farmer grows a lot more food than just what feeds their family, they grow thousands of acres of crops, something that would have been unheard of back then for lack of machinery and technology. The plants were different too. They were not hybridized to produce a better crop.
They really knew what it meant to trust in God. They gave sacrifices to try to make God happy. They lived in fear and anxiety every day. But even with all our modern marvels, we still live in fear and anxiety.
How can you make your life better just by trusting in God? Its easy, but yet its hard. Happiness is not just a feeling, its a way of life. Its something you choose to be. If I have a bad day, or a bad week, I can choose to wallow in the depths of my despair, or I can choose to acknowledge it, and then let it go. I can choose to let it rule my life with fear and anxiety, or I can choose to say, “what will be, will be.” It takes practice. Trusting in God with your whole heart is not easy. We tend to trust in ourselves the most, and that’s not really what God wants. God wants us to trust in Him, to listen for His voice, to follow His path. He wants us to live a full life, not one of fear, but one of love. God’s way is love.
I think many of us tend to put God on a shelf until something really bad happens, something we can’t control. That’s when we usually look to God for help. But what if you asked God for help in your everyday life too? What if you truly thanked God for everything you have, even though you worked hard for it? What if we trusted in God like the people did way back when. How do we even do that? How can I thank God for my food when I went to the grocery to buy it, with money that I earned from working at my job, that I got because I studied hard at school and got top grades? If we trust in ourselves more than God, we may see it just like that. But if we trust in God, we can thank him for the food we were fortunate enough to be able to buy. There are so many people who don’t have the money or the opportunity to buy their food. We have it so easy here in the United States that I think we have a hard time even imagining life otherwise. Even here though, there are people who are hungry.
We can be thankful for our health, for our lives, and for those loved ones around us. We can be thankful for the weather, the flowers blooming, and the stars that light up the night sky. We can always be thankful, we can always rejoice.
There are so many stories in the Bible that show us that God is love. He sent us Jesus to show us how much He loves us, and how much he cares about us. Some of the Psalms are song lyrics. The word “Selah” is believed to be a musical direction to pause the singing. I like to think that God probably enjoys the Psalms greatly. The songs of gratitude and hope, love and praise to God. There are the sad parts too, the desperate crying out for help, the people begging for mercy. But these were the songs of many people, including King David, who is believed to have written 75 of the 150 Psalms. Number 68 is believed to be his writing as well.
Think about your life, are there ways you can improve it by trusting in God with your whole heart? Are there things that you’ve never thought about that you could be thankful for? Can you see the beauty of God’s creation in a stream, in a rainstorm, or in a full head of wheat? Can you see the beauty of God in a child’s smile, a crisp slice of watermelon, or the bird’s song early in the morning? I urge you to take some time this holiday weekend to pause. Selah!! Listen for God’s voice, look for God’s beauty, and ask God to help you trust in Him completely. Let us be thankful to those who have given their all so that we have the freedoms we have today, and let us thank God for all that He has given us.