For the week commencing 18 August 2019
Notes for next Sunday’s sermon on “Dear God, sometimes I’m not sure if you care”
Here’s the outline for our current series “Dear God”:
11 Aug Do I have to go to church? Heb 10, 1 Cor 12, 1 Peter 2
18 Aug Why aren’t you real to me? Psalm 13
25 Aug Sometimes I’m not sure if you care Psalm 62, 2 Cor 12
01 Sept How can I trust your promises? Psalm 46, Psalm 119
08 Sept I’m not a very good Christian Romans 10:9-13
15 Sept My kids don’t want to know about you Mark 10:13-16
“Sometimes I’m not sure if you care.” I could almost guarantee we have all felt – at some point or another – that God doesn’t care about our situation; or that if he once did, he doesn’t any more. While sometimes such feelings are related to a medical episode of depression, it is not necessarily the case. We can feel this way when it seems our prayers have been unanswered, when we are doing it tough financially, when facing a difficult family situation, when we’ve lost our job, or we are going through a time when nothing ever goes right.
Where do we turn when we’re not sure if God cares? We turn again to the Scriptures and bully our feelings with the facts.
DAY 1: Read Psalm 62:1-4
We need first, to note vv3-4 as they are the context for this Psalm. David complains to his enemies and about his enemies. He is obviously under serious attack, as he was many times during his life. He challenges them by asking them for how long will they continue to attack him. Will they throw him down though he is but a leaning wall? That is, he is in a weak and vulnerable state. It would not take much to win victory over him. He sees in his enemies, an intent to topple him. He observes their lies and their hypocrisy: With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts, they curse. David was just hanging on. He was on the brink of collapse. Perhaps in his heart, he was saying, “Dear God, sometimes I’m not sure if you care”.
So David is under attack. His very life is at stake. His enemies are lying hypocrites. He’s at breaking point.
Nevertheless, he’s able to remind himself that in God alone he can find rest, from God alone comes salvation and in God alone can he find a fortress wherein he will never be shaken.
“Dear God, sometimes, I don’t know if you care.” But the reality is, we have nowhere else to turn. Ultimately it is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation that is ours through God’s mercy, that demonstrates to us in a very powerful way, that even if at times we don’t feel like God cares, we must counsel ourselves to find rest in God alone.
How are you today? Doubting God cares? Look again to Jesus’ death and resurrection and see God caring for you in the most profound way possible. For God SO loved YOU, that he gave his one and only Son, so that if you believe in him you will not perish but have eternal life. That is how much he cares!
DAY 2: Read Psalm 62:5-8
Do you ever talk to yourself? Well, you know what some say that is a sign of!! However, there are times we need to give ourselves a good talking to! And wondering whether or not the God of the universe cares about us is one of those times.
David talks to himself in these verses – and then talks to his people. Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. He urges his soul to be still before God. In the face of enemies and in the face of uncertainty, he urges himself to trust God. Note that he announced this to us in v2 and now he is reminding himself of the very same truths. As a preacher, I often need to preach to myself, that which I proclaim to others and that is what David is doing here. The sense of resting in God here is being silent before God. Not rushing to him with loads of request, but simply waiting on him in silence. And in so doing, he will find God to be a fortress and in turn, he will not be shaken.
It was right for David to speak frankly of the traitors and their plots in the opening verses. But now it is David’s wisdom to brood on them no longer. He fills his thoughts with God.
Now in v8, he commends what he is doing, to us. What God has been to him, he can be for others. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. What he has found in this crisis, is something to draw from in other crises and something WE should draw from too. What ought we do when we wonder whether or not God cares? We should pour out our hearts to him! Note that we see the two most significant things we can do in prayer when we are struggling: we need both to wait on him in silence (ie to rest in him) and pour out our hearts to him. Pouring out our hearts will result in resting in him and resting in him will lead to pouring out our hearts to him all the more! Practice it today!
DAY 3: Read Psalm 62:9-12
Every translator struggles to portray what is understood by ‘lowborn’ and ‘highborn’. Hebraic poetry often makes use of different words meaning the same thing, simply for emphasis using repetition. The words translated ‘lowborn’ and ‘highborn’ are simply two different words for ‘man’. So it is equally possible to treat both [parts] of 62:9 as a general reference to mankind: ‘mankind is but a breath; mankind is but a lie.’ David is making the point that human beings (generally speaking – and when compared to God) have nothing to offer. We would be mad to put our hope or try and find our rest in them!
Nor should we hope in extortion, stolen goods or riches! David had seen men advance through cruel or dishonest ways. He warned the people against this, understanding that the results never justify the evil used to get the results. David ended up being a very wealthy man, though most of his earlier years were lived in deep poverty. He knew what it was to see riches increase, and he knew the foolishness of setting one’s heart on them. It’s possible to hold great wealth without putting one’s trust in them! But it isn’t easy!
David reminds himself – and us – that power only belongs to God and to no one else and nothing else! That is why David was so determined to trust in God and God alone. David refused therefore, to look for strength anywhere else. Yet even though all power belongs to God, he is also the one with unfailing love for us! So David says that he has learned two things: that God is strong and that God is loving! Power without love is brutality and love without power is weakness! Power is the strong foundation of love and love is the beauty and the crown of power! And that is why (v12) we can trust the way God deals with us!
DAY 4: Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Dear God, sometimes I’m not sure if you care. Perhaps Paul felt this at times when he was struggling with his thorn in the flesh. He even asked the Lord to take it away, but the Lord answered, ‘no’.
And yet the Lord promised that as he struggled with his thorn, God’s grace would be sufficient for him.
There will be times when we cry out to the Lord to deal with something difficult in our lives and to remove from us one particular challenge or another. It may well be that the Lord says, ‘no, but my grace will be sufficient for you’. God’s all-sufficient grace will help us deal with whatever it is we are facing. And we will find with Paul, that his power will rest on us and that when we are weak, then will be strong!
Dear God, sometimes, I’m not sure if you care. Whenever we start to think this way, may we return to God’s word, rest in him, pour out our hearts to him, and then find his all sufficient grace.
Resources: Derek Kidner’s IVP commentary and https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/psalm-62/