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HOPE IN THE MIDST OF YOUR BATTLES
Intro: As I read the words of this psalm, I see the imagery of battle being portrayed in these verses. Words like “enemies and foes in verse 2; “host in verse 3; “war in verse 3; and enemies in verse 6 all speak of warfare. Phrase like “though an host encamp against me, verse 3; and “though war should rise against me, verse 3 speak of a battle being waged against David. It appears that he is in a difficult situation. Yet, it is also very clear from reading these verses that even in the midst of the battles he is fighting, David still has hope.
Hope is a powerful thing. G. K. Chesterton said, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow. Emily Dickinson, in one of her poem said, “Hope is a thing with feathers, / That perches in the soul. O. S. Marden said, “There is no medicine like hope . . . Pliny the Elder wrote, Hope is the dream of a waking man.” Martin Luther said, “Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.”
Here is how the dictionary describes hope. “to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely. Hope, from the world’s viewpoint is just what that definition describes. The world sees hope as a wish or a desire. Hope, for the world, is a longing for something that may or may not take place.
The Bible teaches us a vastly different definition of hope. Listen to the words of Jeremiah, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is, Jer. 17:7. Hear also Paul, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity, 1 Cor. 13:13. The world says that hope is merely a fond wish or desire. But, the words used for hope in the Bible tell a different story. They teach us that hope is “A deep settled confidence that God will keep His promises!
Now, I know you have battles; but do you have hope? Are you resting in the sure confidence that God will do just as He has promised He would? That is the essence of hope and hope is a possession we all need to be sure we own in large quantities. I want to look into these verses for a while today and I want to preach about Hope In The Midst Of Your Battles. I want to show you, from the words of David, why you and I have a reason to hope in the Lord. Notice with me where our hope comes from and what hope will accomplish in our lives.
(Ill. David begins his psalm of hope by declaring his personal faith in the Lord. Notice the three-fold use of the word “my in verse 1. David has a personal relationship with God. This is the basic foundation for hope.)
A. v. 1 Confidence In The Person Of The Lord David tells us that God is his light, his salvation and his strength.” There is a tremendous blessing in these three titles attributed to our God.
1. As Light, God delivers His people from Darkness Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:, Colossians 1:13. As Light God guides our Steps (Psa. 37:23; John 16:13; Psa. 119:105)
2. As Salvation God delivers His people from Damnation Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life, John 5:24. As Salvation God secures our Souls (John 10:28; 1 Pet. 1:5; John 6:37)
3. As Strength God delivers His people from Defeat But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 15:57. As Strength God guarantees our Success (Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 2:14; Isa. 54:17)
These three great characteristics of God serve to give us hope even in the midst of battle! Because of Who our God is, we need not fear any enemy that should arise against us. Satan himself is no match for our sovereign God!
B. v. 2-3 Confidence In The Performance Of The Lord David declares that his present hope in the Lord rests upon that which the Lord has done for him in the past. God did not fail him then, and He will not fail His child today.
That same confidence is ours today! The God we serve is unchangeable, Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8. He is the same God with the same power that He has always been. He has never, and He will never change. Because He has been faithful in the past, we can count on His being faithful now.
(Ill. Think of all the things He has done; the victories He has won; the enemies He has vanquished; the mountains He has moved; the victories He has won. Think on these things and remember that the God who performed countless wonders in the past is still that same God today! That should give His people hope!)
II. v. 4 OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE
A. He Is Committed To Lingering Near The Lord David wants to spend his entire life in the house of the Lord. He wants to be in that place where the Lord dwells and where the Lord’s presence is real. This is a theme David repeated in Psalm 84:1-4. There, David envies the little birds that make their nests around the tabernacle. They can be near the house of God all the time, while David cannot. He has a desire to be where God is; to be in that place where God is worshiped and honored. That is his heartbeat.
That ought to be our desire as well. We need that same passion to be where the Lord is honored and where He is worshiped. Of course, we have the church and we are commanded to be in attendance, Heb. 10:25. But, I think there ought to be a desire to find that place of closeness and intimacy with the Lord. We can have that place where we can linger in His presence all the days of our lives.
If there is a genuine desire to be near Him, it will manifest itself in clear action. There will be a commitment to prayer and to the study of the Word of God. There will be a commitment to public and private worship. Those who want to linger near the Lord will find a way. And, when we make a move toward Him, He will make a move toward us, James 4:8.
B. He Is Committed To Loving The Lord David wants to behold the beauty of the Lord. That is, he wants to “seek His face.” You see, not only is David committed to being where the Lord is; but he is also committed to worshiping the Lord. That is a worthy goal for life!
This should be the goal of every believer as well. If we are going to worship the Lord, we are going to have to do it His way. Jesus told us how to worship in John 4:24. As we yield to the Spirit of God and worship God for Who He is as He is revealed in the Word of God, we will be engaged in the business of loving Him. How long has it been since you just loved on the Lord?
C. He Is Committed To Leaning On The Lord David also expresses his desire to call upon the Lord; to commune with God; and to make requests of God. This is another image of worship. David here declares his utter dependence upon the Lord for the necessities of life. David looks beyond his own abilities and sees the limitless provisions of the Lord. Therefore, he wants nothing more than to be able to call upon the Lord
My, what a limitless resource we have been given in prayer! We are invited to pray, Jer. 33:3; Matt. 11:28. We are promised that God will hear and answer our prayers, Isa. 65:24; John 14:13-14; John 16:23-24. Therefore, let us also learn to lean upon Him! Instead of worry and fear, let us learn to turn to the Lord. He will see to our needs, Phil. 4:6-7; 19. He will never fail us nor will He ever turn us away empty-handed, Matt. 7:7-11.
(Note: Our commitment to Him provides hope in the day of our battles. As we Linger near Him; Love on Him and Lean on Him, we can have the absolute confidence that He will see to our needs and to the things that would cause us to worry.)
III. v. 5-6 OUR COMFORT IN THE LORD PROVIDES HOPE
A. v. 5 God Has A Sheltered Place For Us David tells us that the Lord will hide him in His pavilion. A king’s pavilion was a tent that erected in the middle of the army’s encampment. The tent was then surrounded by an army of brave soldiers. With all the host of the army camped about, the king’s pavilion was the safest place on the battlefield. Those who were fortunate enough to be allowed to enter the king’s pavilion were protected by the soldiers and entertained by the king during the battle! (Note: The word “hide means to treasure away.”)
As the battles of life rage about us, we are safely tucked away in our King’s pavilion. The Bible tells us that “your life is hid with Christ in God, Col. 3:3! Could there be a safer place in all the universe? Of course not! Those who have entered His pavilion are protected by Him and, even while the battles rage around them, they are entertained with the peace and joy of the King Himself. This is promise to those who will abide in that close place! No enemy can penetrate the defenses and enter this private place. It is protected from the enemy!
The assurance of His sheltering place allows us to weather the storms of life with hope. This was what allowed David to face Goliath. This was the confidence that kept Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. This was the assurance that gripped the heart of Daniel! This was the knowledge that allowed Paul to continue, even when he suffered greatly, 2 Cor. 12:7-11.
B. v. 5 God Has A Secret Place For Us The word tabernacle brings to mind the place of worship. The “secret refers to the holy of holies. That place which was off limits to all but the High Priest, and he could only enter there one day per year, and the only with the blood of an innocent sacrifice. It was a place that other men entered under the penalty of death.
Yet, it is that secret place, to which God takes His precious friends. The Holy of Holies was a place where the very presence of God dwelt and the glory of God could be seen. It was there that God took David during the battles of his life. It was there David found himself shut up with God and shut off from the world around him.
In a king’s home, this place referred to the private apartment of the king. It was a place no one could enter unless they did so at his bidding. To do otherwise invited instant death. (Note: The word “hide means to conceal.)
It is amazing that there is a place of solitude in a world filled with people. There is a place that you and I can flee to during the crushing battles that rage about us. A place that affords us quiet, peace and the profound presence of God. Those who have learned to abide in Him have been to that place and know the glory of it. It is a place where the enemy dares not follow. It is a place reserved for those who love the Lord their God. Have you ever been to that place? That place where God meets with you and you alone. That place where all else falls away and you are left with Him and Him alone? That is the place He invites those who abide to enter!
Stephen was in that place at the moment of his death, Acts 7:55-56! Paul was in that place during his life, 2 Cor. 12:1-4; Acts 27:23. It is possible for us to enter that sacred, secret place where the world dims away and God becomes larger than everything else!
C. v. 5-6a God Has A Secure Place For Us David has the assurance that even when life threatens to overflow him, the Lord will set him on a rock, a place that is unchangeable, powerful and immovable. Of course, this Rock he refers to is none other than the Lord Himself, Psa. 40:1-2. The rock referred to in these verses is a “great craggy rock. It is a rock that juts far above the battles going on at its feet. It allows those who ride its heights to rise far above the tumult beneath!
This is the gift to all those who know Him! We are promised that we have a place of refuge that will lift us far above the stormy seas that would threaten to drown us. Like the eagle, who takes refuge above the storm until it has passed; those who abide in Him are given grace that bears them higher than the storms and keeps them safe until danger has passed, Isa. 40:31. Those who wish to rise above there circumstances are given wings to do so!
(Note: Notice the passive nature of all the things mentioned in verse 5. All of these things David mentions are not things he does to himself; but they are things done to him by the Lord. The believer is required to do nothing but be in a close relationship to the Lord. These things are done by the Lord for His child.)
D. v. 6b God Has A Special Place For Us David says that he will worship the Lord; he will praise the Lord; because of the things the Lord has done for him. Because the Lord has lifted him above the battles; because the Lord has hidden him away in the secret place; because the Lord sheltered him away from the terrors of the battles; he will praise His name!
What a lesson to us! When hope has turned to reality in our lives; when the Lord has come through for us again and delivered us from the enemy; we should be quick to praise Him and offer to Him the worship and adoration He deserves. When He brings us through our battles, He will put us in a special place from which we can exalt His lovely Name, Heb. 13:15!
Conc: Are you fighting some battles today? Of course you are! But, in the midst of your battles, do you have hope? Do you have the deep settled confidence that everything is going to be alright? If you do praise the Lord, for He has already brought to that special place of blessing from which you can offer praise to His name.
But, if you lack that hope this evening, it can be obtained. How? You can do this by Reaffirming your Confidence in the Lord; by Renewing your Commitment to the Lord; and by Resting in your Comfort in the Lord. Do you need to talk to Him about your battles and about your hope? If you do, this altar is a good place to take care of that business!