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THE WORD TO OUR HEART:
Deepening Trust & Endurance: Psalm 119:121-128 Ayin(ע)
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday September 1, 2019

Psalm 119:121-128, is our 16th study, it is the 16th stanza which teaches us how we can suffer, even when it is unjust, while relying on God, and we’ll see a path to deeper trust and endurance of faith. Moreover, for this study, we’ve said, that this Psalm is a heart text, that just like as Jesus walked with those disciples who were obscured from seeing him and opened the word to them as their hearts burned within them, these Scriptures too, should cause the same reaction. Today’s text is no different.

Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)
9  The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick;

who can understand it?

The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters, each has 8 verses starting with that letter, dwelling on how the Word of God touches our hearts and touches our lives grows us. The Word of God changes us, progressively moving us over time.

As we digest the word, and grow, and walk in the spirit and be conformed into Christ’s likeness, as we see in Romans 8:29. The word of God is like a hammer: Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” lets too be broken into pieces and build back up in Christ through this text. Is that your expectation? I hope so!

Romans 8:29 (ESV)
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers

Jeremiah 23:29 (ESV)
29 Is not my word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

As we walk up to the hammer of the Word today we’ll see a difficult truth, there will be times that we’ll suffer for nothing more than doing what’s right:

1 Peter 3:13–17 (ESV)
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?
14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.
17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

This is what we’ll see in the Psalmist. He is finding enemies because of his trust in the Word of God, and what we’ll see is not a plan to move past suffering, not a plan to defeat his enemies, but rather a deepening trust and endurance in God as is sovereign Lord.

Maybe this comes up with family? People in your social spheres? Maybe with co-workers? We’ll see this psalm take a 4 part approach:

4 part approach:
Wailing for God’s help (121-122)
Waiting for God, patiently sort of (123)
Wanting God to teach him 124-125
Wowing in God’s goodness 126-128

And this approach grows the Psalmist in his trust and endurance for life.

Psalm 119:121-128 Ayin
121  I have done what is just and right;
do not leave me to my oppressors.

The Psalmist is crying out to God, wailing and the Psalmist isn’t suffering because he’s walked away from God or that he’s been disobedient to God, rather he has done what is “just and right”. He’s been just, and honest, he’s been fair, but the people he is living around (perhaps friends and family, maybe co-workers, maybe his social circle), the world he is in, has been filled with oppressors. What about him to they oppress, his desire to live boldly for justice and righteousness. To perhaps proclaim what is true to be… true. We live in a world where increasingly you cannot have a stand for truisms, having a truism is increasingly seen as hatred. D.A. Carson wrote a book in 2012 called “The Intolerance of Tolerance” in that book he says: “Intolerance is no longer a refusal to allow contrary opinions to say their piece in public, but must be understood to be any questioning or contradicting the view that all opinions are equal in value, that all world-views have equal worth, that all stances are equally valid. To question such postmodern axioms is by definition intolerant.”

People who are against him because he is just and right, perhaps he is being seen as “intolerant”. This would seem strange if we hadn’t seen all over scripture that the human heart is wicked and grows towards the darkness and not the light.

John 3:16–20 (ESV)
For God So Loved the World
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

While Jesus came into the world and this was people’s reactions, he simply revealed what their desire already was, people desire darkness. Don’t believe me? Why was there a Texas shooting, simply because guns exist, or because people without Christ have dark hearts?

Why was a lady walking around with a knife stabbing children with their parents in the face at random? Darkness?

Why did I watch a television show about a 13 year old girl who was messaging on KiK with an 18 year old Virginia Tech engineering student who picked her up, killed her, then he and a girl he met at school disposed of her body together – normal freshman shenanigans, or dark hearts without Christ?

The Psalmist said:

Psalm 119:118–119 (ESV)
118  You spurn all who go astray from your statutes,
for their cunning is in vain.
119  All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross,
therefore I love your testimonies.

These are the people, who are the enemy, now of the Just and Right Psalmist. Christian, as you live boldly representing God, as you share your convictions with the people you live among, some will desire darkness and not the light, will you be surprised by that, every. single. time? Here is the Psalmist wrestling with the same situation you may perhaps find yourself in right now:

122  Give your servant a pledge of good;
let not the insolent oppress me.

Here he asks God to (as he did in 121, do not leave me to my oppressors) now he says God be my guarantee and my deposit “pledge of good”. This is translated forward from a legal term where the outcome is being legally guaranteed by another, think of that call you should always say no to, …”will you co sign on a _____ for me”, God is the cosigner on the outcome, that’s the ask of the Psalmist, here are several translations have worked at that.

{translations]

In 124 and 125, as well as here, the Psalmist identifies himself as God’s servant.

Why?

Because he’s recognizing that he is totally at the disposal of his master, God. He’s the humble humbled servant who trusts God for absolutely everything. And this is how we should face suffering for righteousness sake.

Matthew 5:10–12
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What then will the Psalmist do in this trial that he recognizes he’s the servant of God in?

123  My eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.

He waits.

Waiting is trusting. Waiting for God, looking for God to come, praying to God, pouring out his heart looking totally to God for his rescue. He expects the promises of the word will be fulfilled, because he’s lived them, he’s read them, and he’s studied them and he knows God is faithful and just.

We too, in affliction should focus our attention on God himself. How do we do that?

Hebrews 12:2
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

This trial, is deepening trust and endurance in his following after God.

How does David endure similar trail and testing, lets see from the Psalms:

Psalm 25:1–5 (ESV)
1  To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
2  O my God, in you I trust;
let me not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me.
3  Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4  Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
5  Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

We should let this be our prayer as we deepen our trust and endurance.

124  Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love,
and teach me your statutes.

Another “servant” appeal. “seat-fast love” is for God’s hessed his love for the Lord’s own people, without condition or end. Not only does he appeal to God’s great love towards him, but he sees God’s love as something that will teach him God’s statutes, truth, he believes that God’s love will grow his understanding of God’s own word.

Have you expended this? During trial and testing your understanding of scripture grows deeper? It’s been said, God whispers in blessing and screams in trial. We cling tighter to the word, see it more, grow in it when we’re tried. And so the Psalmist realizes that his deeper trust and endurance will come through this time of trial for righteousness sake.

125  I am your servant; give me understanding,
that I may know your testimonies!

The servant, the one who God loves, desires to better know God’s testimonies, because the endurance of trial brings about growth, leaves behind lessons – the psalmist is looking for those. When you come into trial and or affliction, do you start looking for areas to grow, or do you wallow and be miserable?

Closer to the beginning in this Psalm we read Psalm 119:18 “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” – this is great in blessing, this is necessary in trial.

What better time to grow in what you know than when you’re suffering for proclaiming it.

This can happen even with family and friends as well as co-workers, what you believe to be true can be challenged heatedly. How do you live in these times, trusting God and standing peaceably on truth, or fighting for it wildly?

I think we see a patent, steady, calm, reliant Psalmist here and in this next verse (verse 126) we see the Psalmists heart for this situation:

126  It is time for the Lord to act,
for your law has been broken.

Did you see it? He doesn’t appeal to God, his master, for deliverance – but rather its time for God to act, to intervene to do something, why… “your law has been broken”. That’s the basis and the motivation here, that the law has been broken.

We see in the Psalmist a life that’s concerned with Gods glory. This life can distract us from the truth of the situation we’re in. Our lives are temporary, God’s glory is lasting.

Hebrews 1:3 (ESV)
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

If we who live now, know and are known by God through his son, Jesus, the radiance of God’s glory. How much more should we be motivated by God’s glory, that Jesus radiates, than we are for our circumstances.

That’s the motivation that depends the trust of the psalmist. Because it leads into 2 therefore. Therefore flows from a love for God’s glory in His Word.

127  Therefore I love your commandments
above gold, above fine gold.
128  Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right;
I hate every false way.

So because he’s jealous for God’s testimonies he love the commandments and considers everything God shows true to be greater than treasure. Those difficult truths, the hard sayings and passages, he loves everything and loves what ever is true and right.

All this in the midst of trial, like we saw in Psalm 119:120 last week, the truth has an anchor – the anchor here that allows him to depend his trust and endurance, is loving truth and having a hatred for false ways. Love for scripture which is truth, creates a hatred for falsehood and lies. This is totally different from:

John 3:19
For God So Loved the World
19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

Life in a fallen world if we’re honest with our convictions will cause friction and may result in persecution for our stands. But our battle isn’t against flesh and blood:

Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

If you’re experiencing this now, perhaps this is a time God has allowed you to grow during this period. Look to the truth of scripture, look to a greater understanding, and be in the position of a servant – like the Psalmist, and cling to truth.

Whether you’ve explained this yet, suffering for righteousness or not, if that should come how will you be prepared? Psalm 37:7 gives us a pattern for growing in unjust suffering – deepening our trust and endurance for life in a world where our fellow inhabitants love the darkness.

Psalm 37:7 (ESV)
7  Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

Remember the Psalmist’s pattern:

Wailing for God’s help (121-122)
Waiting for God, patiently sort of (123)
Wanting God to teach him (124-125)
Wowing in God’s goodness (126-128)

Pray, Observe, Apply.