Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #217 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Psalms 27-28 today and our focus is on How Should We Handle Various Fears? What is Our Response When We Don’t Feel Like God is Hearing Our Prayers? We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in . Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Both of our Psalms today are almost 90% hopeful, and – as we’ve seen – that’s not always the case. Sometimes the Psalms are 10% hopeful and 90% despairing. As I’ve mentioned before, I find the Psalms to be remarkably genuine and true to life in this way – they reflect the up and down nature of our emotions, and always call us back to the unchanging bedrock of God’s goodness and His care. God is always watching, and always caring, but we so frequently go through the same kind of emotions that the Psalmist did when he wrote:
Lord, I call to you;
my rock, do not be deaf to me.
If you remain silent to me,
I will be like those going down to the Pit. Psalm 28:1
So often we pray, and don’t feel like God is listening, and our only solution is to keep going forward. The testimony of Scripture over and over and over again is that God moves on His timetable and He has perfect timing, and sometimes Him moving on His proper timetable makes us feel neglected or unheard, but ultimately that is not what is going on. How do we respond to these feelings of abandonment and feeling like God is not listening? Well, I think first we need to realize that our feelings are quite transient – they are like the weather during a tumultuous season: always changing. The Psalms does NOT invalidate our feelings – the Psalms are FULL of up and down feelings being expressed to God, but the Psalms do help us put our feelings in the right perspective. Once we’ve done that, I see two main approaches we should take when we feel like God isn’t listening.
#1 – KEEP praying. (As Jesus says in Luke 18, always pray and never give up!) We see this perseverance in Psalm 28:2:
Listen to the sound of my pleading
when I cry to you for help,
when I lift up my hands
toward your holy sanctuary. Psalm 28:2 and in Psalm 27: 8 My heart says this about you:
“Seek his face.”
Lord, I will seek your face.
#2 ASK God to hear your prayers – mention feelings of abandonment. God doesn’t need reminders to listen to us, He is paying attention and misses NOTHING, but the Psalms are FULL of them, which tells me that such prayers are not only biblical but very helpful for US!
Do not hide your face from me;
do not turn your servant away in anger.
You have been my helper;
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation. Psalm 27:9
#3 Remind yourself of truth – truth comes from God’s Word and what the Bible says about God (not from your feelings. Sometimes your feelings are true, sometimes not – God’s word is always true.) We see David doing this in various places in our Psalms today:
Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me. Psalm 27:10
I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13
Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart be courageous.
Wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has heard the sound of my pleading. Psalm 28:6
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart celebrates,
and I give thanks to him with my song.Psalm 28:7
The Lord is the strength of his people;
he is a stronghold of salvation for his anointed. Psalm 28:8
Let’s read our Psalms and then discuss fear.
Fear is a big focus of Psalm 27, which begins:
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom should I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
whom should I dread?
2 When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh,
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army deploys against me,
my heart will not be afraid;
though a war breaks out against me,
I will still be confident.
Lest you think that David is showing bravado here, I will remind you that he expresses fear in other places in the Psalms, and it is clear everywhere that his confidence is not in himself. How do we deal with fears when we are inundated with them? We see one great and important reminder in Psalm 27 – that we should question our fears in light of the supreme power and sovereign watchcare of God. Ultimately, we are to fear God and God alone, and not the other things. When God is our stronghold, then we are secure forever, no matter what happens to our flesh. Here’s Martyn Lloyd-Jones on where David’s confidence comes from in the 27th Psalm, and where our’s should come from in the 21st century:
But the thing about the psalmist is that he is filled with this spirit of assurance, of rejoicing and praising, all of which is due to the fact that his confidence is not in himself. So the first thing we must always learn in this world, the first great characteristic of us as Christian people, is that we are no longer self-confident. We know the truth about ourselves. Like the apostle Paul, we realize that “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [or heavenly] places” (Eph. 6:12). We know what we are up against, and we realize our own utter weakness and helplessness: “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.”
That, then, is the first point, which is a negative but an all-important one. If you feel that you are competent to stand up to life and that you can deal with all these things that are set against you, you are the simplest novice, an ignoramus. You do not really understand the problems, and you do not understand yourself. This man’s confidence is not based upon himself, and he makes it quite plain as to what the source of his confidence is: It is “the LORD.”
This is always a distinguishing mark of a Christian. Our confidence is entirely and altogether in the Lord. The psalmist brings this out in a tremendous manner: “The LORD is my light and my salvation.” He starts with the Lord. And how does he end? “Wait, I say, on the LORD.” He begins with Him, and he ends with Him. Altogether, in this psalm of fourteen verses, he mentions the name of the Lord thirteen times—six times in the first section, four times in the second section, and three times in the third.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones and Christopher Catherwood, Seeking the Face of God: Nine Reflections on the Psalms (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005), 160–161.
Bible Memory verses for the month of August: 4 Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, 5 is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. 6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
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