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STEPS TO PEACE IN THE PATHS OF LIFE
Intro: Psalm 37 is a Psalm that was written by David when he was an old man, v. 25. He addresses a problem that has plagued the people of God since the dawn of time. That problem is: Why do the wicked seem to prosper while the righteous suffer? This problem is also addressed in Psalms 73 and 49. It is also a prominent theme in the book of Job.
Whether we will admit it or not, it is also a problem with which we also struggle from time to time. There is help for us in these verses tonight.
In verses 1-2, envy is condemned! Especially when the object of that envy is a lost person. Sometimes, it does seem like the wicked prosper while the godly suffer, yet, we always need to remember that our earthly existence is as close to Hell as we are ever going to get. For the wicked, however, their few days of pleasure are short and they have no future beyond this life. In fact, this world is as close to Heaven as they will ever be!
Since we are told not to worry when we see the wicked prosper, how
are we supposed to deal with this problem? Well, in verses 3-8, the
Psalmist offers us an alternative to worry. There are some simple steps
offered here, that if followed, will enable us to find peace, even during
the most trying times of our lives. Now, notice with me these Steps
To Peace In The Paths Of Life.
I. V. 3 CONTROL YOUR WALK
The emphasis of this verse is for the believer to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord. When this is accomplished, the result will be the Lord's smile upon that life.
A. The Command - The Psalmist issues a two-fold command in this verse.
1. Trust God - That is, walk by faith and not by sight. We must remember that things are never as they appear to our human vision. Even when things look like they going totally wrong in our lives, God is still working out His eternal purposes in us, Rom. 8:28. Therefore, we must learn to trust the Lord in all of life!
(Ill. There are times when God's way is difficult to figure out. During
those times when you cannot trace God, learn to trust Him anyway. Remember,
"The just shall live by faith", Rom.
1:17. The life of faith is the ONLY way to please the Lord,
2. Do Good - this is a command to holy living! God
expects His people to live a life that is honoring to His name! If God's
people could ever learn that God is pleased when we live for Him, we
would see Him bless us in great ways. The formula for success in the
Christian life is found in Matt. 6:33. It is as simple as trusting in
the Lord and living for Him!
B. The Comfort
- When we do His will, He will take care of us! How well David knew
this! He was an old man who had seen the Lord allow him to sit on his
enemies throne. He knew that serving God always paid off!
(Ill. The whole point here is this: if you will walk with your faith
in God and will live your life to please Him, He will commit Himself
to taking care of you - Phil. 4:19.)
II. V. 4 CONDITION YOUR WILL
A. The Command - "Delight" yourself in the Lord! This word means to "take exquisite delight" in the Lord. When life goes bad, we tend to focus on the problems that arise around us. When this happens, we become defeated and depressed and fall into sadness. However, at all times of life, we are challenged to let the Lord be the focus of our attention! If we can focus on Who He is to us, what He has done for us, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:", Eph. 1:3, where He is taking us, and how much He loves us, even the darkest day can be endured because we know something better awaits us down the road!
B. The Comfort
- When we are lost in Him, then our will and our desires will be lost
in Him as well. When this happens, He will lift us out of our sadness
and fill us with His glory!
(Ill. By the way, I think that latter portion of that verse is a promise
we can claim! When the Lord is our delight, we will only want the things
which bring Him glory and which please Him. When we arrive at that place,
God will open the windows of Heaven and give us every desire of our
III. V. 5-6 COMMIT YOUR WAY
A. The Command
- "Commit" your way unto the Lord. This word means
to "roll onto". The idea here is that we are
"roll" the burdens of life over onto the Lord. The
Lord has not asked His children to carry the burdens of life alone.
He tells us that bring them to Him, Matt. 11:28; 1 Pet. 5:7.
We do not have to bear the heavy burdens of life all by ourselves. We
have a God who cares ans commands us to bring our burdens to Him!
(Ill. In the middle of the storms of life, let us learn the truth
that we are not in them alone! We are to commit our "way" to the Lord
and trust Him to take care of us. This was the resolve of Job when he
was called upon to suffer, Job 1:20-21, Job 23:10; Job 13:15.
Let this also be the resolve of our hearts this evening!)
B. The Comfort
- The whole emphasis here is that when we are walking in faith, placing
our burdens on the Lord, He will take care of us. We may not like the
way we are called upon to trod, but in the end, the faith of the child
of God will be vindicated! Friends, God is never hurried by our worry!
He does not get excited when we struggle against the situation we find
ourselves in. What He is looking for is faith, obedience, and yieldedness
in the midst of the struggles of life. His promise to us is that our
faith will never be in vain!
IV. V. 7 CONSECRATE YOUR WAIT
(Ill. We are told in this verse to "rest"
in the Lord and wait for Him. The word "rest" means "to
be silent". Then, we are told not to "fret".
This words means to "to blaze, to get hot".
It carries the idea of getting ourselves worked up into a rage over
the condition of the world and over the valleys we have to walk through.
Our duty during the difficult days of life is to be patient and silent
while the Lord works out His purposes in our lives.
(Ill. This is not easy, but this kind of attitude was modeled for us by the Lord Jesus Himself. When He was abused, mocked, crucified, etc, He did not respond, but endured His afflictions in yielded silence, Isa. 53:7, "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." Therefore, regardless of the burden you are called to bear, learn not to whine, but to bear it for the glory of God, waiting patiently on Him to work out His will in your life. This isn't easy, but it is an attitude that God can bless and use for His glory!)
V. V. 8 CONQUER YOUR WRATH
(We are commanded here to refrain from anger. It is easy to get bitter at God, the church, etc, when the problems of life mount up against us. When we see the wicked live their lives of ease while we walk through the deep, dark valley, there is a tendency to become angry with the Lord. However, we must be careful that we do not abandon righteous for evil in the day of our affliction.
(Ill. God's will for us is that we stay the course! There will be an end to our struggles down the line, but for the moment, we are to abide in the will of the Lord faithfully and allow Him to have His will in us. Ill. I doubt any of us will ever suffer like Paul did for the glory of God, yet when he reached the end of his life, he was able to say that he had fought a good fight, he had finished the course, he had kept the faith, 2 Tim. 4:7. I want to be able to say the same thing! How about you? If so, learn not to be angry with the Lord! Learn that righteousness does pay off in the end, just consider verses 9-11! God is working in you to develop His image more perfectly, sometimes, this require Him to put pressure on our lives. Never give up! Rather, give in to Him and He will see you through!
Conc: All of this sounds difficult. It sounds like we are to just lay back and allow life to take us where it will. However, the truth is that the commands in these verse are a call to action - Trust, Delight, Commit, Rest, Cease! God is calling us to take control of ourselves as we yield to Him. He is calling us to be involved in the process! You see, I may not can control when happens in my life, but I can control how I respond to what happens! I am the master of what I do in these areas of life. Let us determine this evening that we will seek the Lord's way through the valley and that we will take these five precious steps to peace in the paths of life.