The Fear of the Lord (Part 3)
In the last two messages on this Psalm I covered only the first three of the eight truths in this Psalm, so without any further introduction we will go straight into the other five points of this teaching Psalm, and the fourth truth is:
4. EVERY DARK CLOUD HAS A SILVER LINING (verse 4)
“Even in in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.” This verse should be an encouragement to those believers who are at present in some sort of trouble. Every believer is not freed from trouble and problems that the world offers, and which we so often bring upon ourselves by our own disobedience and hasty decisions.
Just because the dark clouds blot out the sun from our sight does not mean that the sun has disappeared. The sun is still there, just waiting to shine upon you when the break in the clouds occur. So it is with God. God is still with the believer even if the going is so tough that it seems that God has forsaken us. The worst darkness we can ever be in is the darkness of the world without Christ. In this condition the unbeliever will never have the Light of the world in his life.
When the unbeliever comes into the presence of the Son of God and makes the decision to let Jesus come into his life, then that silver lining will always be there, and even better, when the dark clouds pass by he will be blessed by the warmth of the presence of the greatest Light ever, Jesus Christ. To really enjoy this warmth the believer has to be a minimum of three things.
- GRACIOUS: ie, pleasing, graceful and agreeable.
- COMPASSIONATE: compassion in its original form, com-pati in Latin, means to “suffer with”. It means nothing to just say sorry. You have to put yourself right into the situation together with the person thaty is suffering. You have to feel suffering.
- RIGHTEOUS: We looked at this in our previous message, so all I am going to say is that we must be in right standing with the Lord and upright in our life.
5. SURELY GOOD AND MERCY WILL FOLLOW ME (verse 5-9)
This is the firth truth. Verses 5 and 9 form an entity, they are part of one thought, so we have to treat them as one truth. Generously and freely are brother and sister, they go together. Jesus once sent the twelve Apostles out with the following instructions in Matth. 120:7-8, “As you go, preach the message: “The kingdom of heaven is near’, Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”
We are to give freely and generously, not only give the Good News of the Gospel to others, but we are to seek the leading of the Lord in giving and helping out the needy and the lonely and the sick and the elderly who cannot come by on their own. In giving freely we are also to act with justice, ie, with the right motives. When we act properly in the interest of justice and to the glory of Jesus, then God will honour our work, and “dignity” will be your reward, for dignity is what is meant by the word “horn” in verse 9. The sixth truth is:
- WE MUST SECURE OURSELVES TO THE ROCK OF ALL AGES (VERSE 6)
“Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered for ever” Another title for this verse could have been called “Rock Steady on the Rock” Looking through my Cruden’s Concordance, the unabridged version, on the subject of Rock I saw that this subject on the different rocks mentioned would make an exciting message on it’s own.
We don’t have time to go deeply into it now but only to touch the surface. In Exodus 17:6 we read of Moses striking the rock, to miraculously let water out of it, and in Cor. 10:4 Paul writes, “They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” Where we have God or Jesus compared to a rock, etc. etc., we have what is called a metaphor, and the Bible is full of metaphors, so much so that sometimes the reader and Bible expositors get themselves mixed up with the real and the imaginary.
My dictionary has this definition of a metaphor: A metaphor is a figure of speech in which the term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable, in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God: God is given the metaphor of a Rock because God is the strength and refuge of those who put their trust in Him. He is also, among others, the Rock of Salvation.
I have to put the inevitable question to you who are listening this morning; is He YOUR Rock of Salvation? Have YOU secured yourself to the Rock that is unshakable? The choice is in your own hands and I pray that you make the right decision; because it is a decision that will affect your entire life, right into eternity!
When we anchor ourselves in Jesus against the temptations of the world we find that even if the winds and the waves roll over us and batter us we will still be standing after the storm has abated. This is what trust in the Lord does for the believer. The world sees when the storm hits the believer and it is your testimony of this that leads others to Jesus. Other people remember how you reacted in the circumstances, and that is why the Psalmist says that the righteous man will be remembered for ever!
7. THERE IS ONLY ONE PLACE TO FIND TRUE PEACE (verses 7-8)
“He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” It is only when your heart is steadfast in the Lord Jesus Christ, and by steadfast means that you have received Jesus as your constant companion and Saviour, that you can accept any type of news and still stand upright, not pushed into the ground by the weight of the troubles of the world.
The peace of the world differs from the type of peace that God gives. Jesus in John 14:27 said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” Jesus is telling His disciples that if they accept His peace they need not be afraid of circumstances in their life, no matter how big or small. That peace is also available to all of you today as well, if only you take the step, in faith, and claim it in His Name.
What are the requirements that qualify one for that peace in one’s life? Paul in Phil. 4:4-9 said these beautiful words of encouragement: “Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: rejoice! Let you gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Listener, when you have done this, Paul says further, “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, (what will it do?) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Paul, that wonderful Apostle of Jesus, further gave us what is necessary to stabilize that peace in our hearts. Listen carefully to what he said in verses 8-9 of Phil 4, “Finally, brothers [he is writing to believers and not to unbelievers] whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned from me, or seen in me – PUT IT INTO PRACTICE. And the peace of God will be with you.”
It is of utmost importance to put ALL these into practice, because, before the peace of God can make its home in your heart, you have to do so. James, in James 1:22 gave this warning: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what is says,” and he then goes on to compare it to a man looking in a mirror. It would do all good to read this portion of Scripture, James chapter 1, again, slowly and prayerfully. The eighth and last truth is:
8. DO NOT FOLLOW THE WAY OF THE WICKED (verse 10)
Many have said that the Bible consists of just do’s and dont’s, and because of that, they will not commit themselves to the Christian lifestyle. I don’t entirely agree with that statement for the following reason: The worldly system has so many more do’s and dont’s and yet these objectors seem to be more happy with the world than with the Lord. Even then they complain about every restriction placed upon them, by others and the country. The believer should be the opposite, for if you REALLY love the Lord, ALL of God’s commands will not be a burden on you at all.
A lover will do almost anything to please his loved one, and so it must be with our relationship with Jesus. If you want to be called the bride of Christ and want to sit one day at the Lamb’s Wedding Feast, then you had better see to it that you are on the right road to it and that you are properly dressed for it.
Most of all, you must be ready and waiting for it; ever ready with your lamp constantly full of oil and the wick trimmed. The Lord is very serious about how you live and how you conduct your life. Are you willing to abide by Jesus’ commands?
In conclusion, take the Word of the Lord in a very serious way, for if you don’t, then the day will come when you will regret not committing yourself to Jesus. Only you can take that decision. Each day has its own problems, and you may just have the problem of not responding to this last opportunity, for tomorrow may not be there for you.