Psalms - Songs of Hope: Week #2

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April 25, 2020 • Dave Workman

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Are you feeling troubled, afraid, or without hope? It’s time to move past the fear and anxiety that is prevalent throughout our culture. This weekend at the Vineyard, we continue the message series, "Psalms: Songs of Hope." Guest speaker Dave Workman talks about a secret weapon found in Psalm 13 that may help you with anxiety, fear, and circumstances in this season.

Message Transcript

Hello and welcome to Vineyard Cincinnati Church, where we believe that small things done with great love can change the world. We're glad that you've decided to worship with us and because you matter to God, you matter to us. We pray that you're encouraged today and invite you to worship and study God's word with a hopeful heart

hi, I'm Jenny Sasson, the pastor of the Hispanic ministry of our Vineyard Church. We are so glad you are with us today. Connecting with others is proven by research to be good for our moods and even our physical health. And that connection and fellowship is what you and many other people have been looking for in our church. So during this season, God has given us creative opportunities to be the church and fulfill his plan. Are you curious about how church and ministry look like now? Please take a look at what our Hispanic ministry has been doing to connect with the community. We share daily devotionals on Facebook reaching thousands of people in the last month. Our life groups meet through Zoom every Wednesday night leaning into the word of God and prayer and couples are using Right Now Media, doing Bible studies for marriage. Isaiah 43:19 says this, "I am about to do something new.

It is beginning to happen. Even now. Don't you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land." Thank you Vineyard Cincinnati for being faithful to God with your giving and allowing us to continue to serve our city, especially during this COVID-19 crisis. You can encourage others through our city by giving online at vineyardcincinnati.com/give or text the number on your screen and enter the amount you want to give. Your ongoing faithful giving really does matter to the Vineyard, being able to continue to serve the city of Cincinnati, so thank you for helping build God's work through this church. Let's pray. Heavenly father, thank you so much for providing everything that we need for our families. Thank you because we can joyfully give to you what belongs to you and so bless your church. We believe You are making a way for us. It's in Jesus' name that we pray.

Amen.

Hello, I'm Andy Bowman with Vineyard Kids here at Vineyard Cincinnati Church. You have countless opportunities to engage with other churches and ministries online. Thank you for joining us today. We hope you've been encouraged looking for a fun way to bless and serve this season of coronavirus. All you need to do is tag your neighbor. Number one, it's easy. Simply go to our website and print out a tag that looks like this. Number two, it's family friendly in a great way for parents and kids to serve together. And number three, it makes an impact. Your neighbors will feel the love and it will be prompted to pass it on, but most importantly, be creative and have fun. While you're at it, post a photo with the hashtag #smallthingsgreatlove and #VineyardCincinnati. Now go be the church. If you lead people at work, the Vineyard wants to help you both now in this season and beyond because we know that God is working in our midst.

We want to serve you by hearing where you are and by learning what you need right now with a six question survey. So if you lead people at work, please text the word LEADERS.(that's with an 'S') to 97000, that's the word LEADERS to 97000 to receive the link. Do you love to pray? Vineyard Cincinnati is partnering with the Greater Cincinnati prayer canopy and has opportunities available to cover our great city in prayer for 24 hours a day, every day. Would you commit to praying for one hour every month for our church and for our city? Pray wherever you are and we'll provide a monthly prayer guide. For more details, visit vineyardcincinnati.com/prayer. If you'd like to know more about the heart of Vineyard Cincinnati church, visit our website at vineyardcincinnati.com or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Hey everybody, it's good to be with you even though I'm not really with you. If I haven't met you yet, my name is Dave Workman. And what I do is I help churches and pastors to get little healthier, a little more effective through an organization called Elemental Churches. My goal is to keep pastors off ledges and away from sharp objects because it's a tough job. And before that I was part of this church VCC for 30 years. Hard to believe it is such an honor and I'm so excited to be here and thanks, Beth, so much for inviting me to speak. And it's been almost six years since I've been here. It's hard to believe, although, call crazy, but I think there were more people in the room then. LUh, like everyone else since we've been social distancing, I've been watching churches online and I'm fascinated by how the different pastors and communicators, they look around the room and I've wondered, wonder what they're looking at, you know, and uh, I, I'd like to show you, okay.

Could we get a camera shot from my vantage point here? So how weird is all this? My wife and I, we were in Kroger's a couple of weeks ago with our masks on and I texted my kids, I said, I don't know if I'm shopping or planning a robbery. It's just also a strange, but I will say this, I think, I think we'll come out of this actually is better people with, maybe better, a better outlook and certainly better priorities. You begin to think what's really important here. About a month ago, I drove my 93 year old mom to a memory care home. She's struggling with dementia and feels heartbreaking. COVID 19 hit, I can't go see her. She's so confused as to why I can't see her. Last week at Christ's hospital, my oldest daughter, Rachel and her husband, Tyler, welcome to our fourth grandchild into the world, little David Wilder Garvey.

And we of course, weren't allowed into the hospital to welcome him. And it's all, it's just pretty strange. And I'm thinking he's probably going to enter the world thinking everyone has a mask and maybe no one has a mouth. I don't know. Nearly 20% of us now have lost our jobs and for the under-resourced and the marginalized among us, this is an unbelievable layer of hardship. And so when Beth invited me to speak on the Psalms, I thought, well, that's perfect, right? Let me give you a little background why. First, the obvious as it's been said, the Psalms are songs, they're poetry. And maybe in God's wisdom, knowing that they'd be translated hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times in different languages, the Hebrew songwriters actually didn't use rhyme. They used repetition. And that was kind of their poetic device. For instance, Psalm 136 repeats the line

"His love endures forever" 36 times while it recounts Israel's history or they used repetition to reinforce an idea. Like in Psalm two, the writer says, I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth, your possession, kind of repeating that idea. And they're really cleverly written as well. Psalm 119 is a super long song. It's actually the longest chapter in the Bible. It's an acrostic poem. There are 22 stanzas that are each named after one of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. And then each one of the lines in that stands up begins with that particular letter. It's really, really clever. It just wasn't whipped out. It wasn't, you know, Hey, here's a song the Lord gave me. As a matter of fact, I used to hear musicians say that back in the day. They'd say this a song the Lord gave me and they start to play and I think, wow, the Lord needs a YouTube class on songwriting.

That was horrible - but anyway, the songs are brutally honest. At times they express dark human emotions and the highest of highs, they're almost bipolar in the way they express. They aren't sugar code ccoated. Sometimes they're violent. Some songs actually sounded like country music and one of the Psalmist writes day and night, I cry and tears are my only food that that's really bad. That's, you know, that's like you live in a trailer and your dog dies and your pickup is repossessed it. But the power of these songs being sung corporately was that it helped the Israelites remember who God was, who he is, and what he had done in their past, and how he was there. A defender there, a refuge, their protector, their provider, and how much he loved them. Music is really powerful in that respect. Think about, some of us can't remember Bible verses, but we can remember every line from some Smashmouth song from the 90s and that's the power of music in the Hebrew nation.

They knew that. As a matter of fact, at one point in Judah's history, they were about to be conquered by several different armies that banded together and were way more powerful than Judah and so the King at the time, King John Joshua, he cries out for help. He cries out to God for help and then as if God didn't know, he reminds God of all the things he had done for them in the past and then suddenly through this prophet the Lord speaks and he says, the battle is not yours but it's mine. And so in response to that, when Judah's armies, when they went out to battle, they put the worship band in the front and I'm probably the drummer even in the front because they knew that's how the battle would speed up. That's like a musician joke, no kidding. They were singing the most repetitious song, more than likely, Psalm one 36, the one that I mentioned because they went out seeing over and over and over his love endures forever.

So the invading armies, they end up confused in this whole thing. They end up attacking each other and the battle was over. The war was over. So here's what's really interesting in all of this, in the songs we discover a secret weapon, so to speak, to fight off fear or anxiety, doubt, even in the worst of circumstances. And in light of where we are with COVID-19, I just thought it would be important to know that. And that's why I want to talk about one little song that kind of represents this idea that's done over and over actually in the Psalms. But this one is only six verses. And if Psalm 13, the setup is this, the songwriter is David. David is the youngest sibling, um, in a family of sheepherders. And shepherds, by the way, were like, they were the lowest in the social scale.

The, the Egyptians called them detestable in Genesis. So David has this, this fantastic mix of musician and military strategist and poet and songwriter and politician and soldier. Think of think of Harry styles with a bazooka or okay boomer, Bob Dylan with a rocket launch. And so we all know the story of David and Goliath and most of us know about King David. But between those two stories are those two events where years of being chased by a psychotic King who wanted to murder him. And then years later when David becomes King, that the, the dysfunctional family dynamic was so bad that at one point there's a coup and David has to run for his life from the palace because of the son and they end up in a, in a major war with each other. It, David's, his journey was not a walk in the park.

And so at one point David writes this song that is so transparent, it's so vulnerable that I think we can all relate to it at one point or another if we're honest. And Psalm 13 it begins with this plea. How long Lord will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? I mean, that's boom, right off the bat. And you can hear the frustration in that opening in that little verse that he is writing. Have you ever felt like, have you ever felt like God had kind of overlooked you? That you are some, you know, expired can on the shelf of some cosmic supermarket or something or worse, he's just tired of hearing about your problems when something just seems to drag on and on and on and you feel like God must not even want to hear you anymore, you know, or mess with you.

Have you ever felt abandoned by God or wondered God, are you even there? Is any of this real, keep in mind that this was after David had had huge public military victories over the Philistines and the other armies and he was advancing up the corporate ladder in Israel. His PR was fantastic and then it all came crashing down, but he's not even finished. He's just getting started. And he goes on and says, how long must I wrestle with my thoughts? And day after day have sorrow in my heart. So what's going on is a David is stuck in his inner world. I mean, if you, have you ever kept replaying the video, something that happened or someone who created pain or disappointment in your life day after day, you keep reminding yourself how heartbreaking your circumstances are, are some decision that you made or what so and so did to you or, or why me?

Type of thoughts. Then you lie in bed late at night and you can't sleep and you just play that video over and over and over. And then David blurts the injustice that someone did to him and how long that person has been gloating over David's failures. Maybe you can relate when everyone else seems to be doing okay and you're not. And so David writes, how long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, Lord, may God give light to my eyes or I'll sleep in death. And then my enemy will say, see, I've overcome him and my foes will rejoice when I fall, when I fail. That's really honest. So just, just stop there for a moment and take that in. And again, have you ever been there? Let me read it again and think back to that moment. Or maybe it's a moment that you're in right now.

I've been there in the past and I want to read that first little passage. When David first writes a song, I want to read it from the message Bible and listen how this is paraphrased. David writes long enough, God, you've ignored me long enough. I've looked at the back of your head long enough, long enough. I've carried this ton of trouble and lived with a stomach full of pain. I mean, that's, that's pretty powerful, isn't it? A stomach full of pain. That's, that's when you have that, that a knot in your stomach when life just seems to have a sucker punched you in the gut. David, what he's doing is acknowledging his pain and apparently he knows that God isn't afraid of that kind of talk. Some of us have been afraid of even thinking about talking to God like that, but let's get real about our circumstances.

I mean for, for any of it, it could be a financial pit that feels like it's closing in or a relationship difficulty that just seems impossible to fix now or a job situation or lack of a job situation that seems a crushing or an emotional black hole that just seems to suck in all the light and life from you, right? When you're in that moment, you're really looking for just one thing, one thing that's a way out, an escape patch, a way to blow a hole in the walls that are squeezing in on you, and interestingly enough, the Psalms provide a secret weapon that that does that. It's a divine rocket launcher, if you will, and David is well aware of that. Remember David is a military guy, right? But it works differently than how you might think. If you look closely in a number of the songs, they reveal it that when you can no longer do anything to change your circumstances or when you realize that you have, you don't have any control, you have no control in this particular situation and something has to change.

What's the only thing left to change, it's you. And the way it works is the writer suddenly makes this proverbial paradigm shift. And suddenly in search two words into the lyrics, you can see this over and over in the Psalms two words into the lyrics that are something like yet I or nevertheless I or, but we then they go on and the whole tambour of the song and the, and the attitude of the songwriter does a does a 180 and suddenly the tone is completely changed. The feelings aren't denied, but the way of thinking does is that the way of thinking changes. And so David, he pours out his confusion. He pours out his pain, his feelings of abandonment. And then in the very next verse in Psalm 13 this is what he writes, but I trust in your unfailing love in my heart rejoices in your salvation.

That keep in mind that the salvation David is talking about is his rescue from his current circumstance. It's based on his, this past experiences with God who has rescued or are saved him in the past. And what David does is he has a history with God that he wants to remind himself of where, where that is expressing itself in trust despite his present pain. Because God has been so good to him. Past tense, right? He's doing it because it's easy to forget when your circumstances go South. It's easy to forget what God has done in the past or when you're in pain. So what David is doing is he's putting his, his trust in a truth about God, that God loves us with an unfailing, never changing, totally trustworthy, kind of love. And in David's current situation, there is nothing that he has any control over except how he thinks about God's character and God's track record with him.

But it's one thing to, it's one thing to trust God or at least assent to God's trust. And it's another thing to actually give legs to that trust. And deep down, you know the difference. You know, I've gone twice in my life, I've gone skydiving. Don't ask me why I'm afraid of Heights. But the first time I got talked into it by a guy at the vineyard, he had done dozens and dozens and dozens of jumps and he taught me that when you get up there, it is the most natural thing in the world to want to jump. And that turned out to be completely untrue there. There is absolutely nothing natural about falling toward the ground at 120 miles an hour. It's just nothing. Anyway, it's one thing to say that you trust in the person that you're strapped to. That's the jump master.

It's one thing to say you trust them when you're on the ground, but it's a whole other thing to look out the open door on an airplane at 14,000 feet and the houses looked like monopoly pieces and the guy says to you, okay bro, lean over and your life is really in his hands. That point. That's the way trust works. Until you actually do something, you don't really know how trustworthy it is. And so David in the last verse, he gives evidence of his trust of his change in attitude and this is what he writes. So I will sing of the Lord's praise for he has been good to me. And what David is saying there is I will myself to worship. I will myself to sing about how good God is. I will myself to give expression and my trust this. This is an activist will.

This is a choice that David mix and what he's doing is offering a kind of a classic sacrifice of praise in spite of this previous fears and anxieties and in spite of his circumstances, it's really empowering and something happens to us in that exchange. And frankly, I think something happens in the way that God deals with us. It's it's why the writer of Hebrews is writing to the Christians in the New Testament who were living in really, really difficult times. He writes, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to his name. It's, it's worship as an active sacrifice in spite of your feelings of fear or your anxieties or your circumstances. And the bottom line is this. There is no real worship without sacrifice. It's impossible. The concept of worship and sacrifice is one act all throughout the Bible.

You cannot have one without the other. It's a classic story of this. It's a the story of Abraham in Genesis. And in that, in this chapter we find a single verse that turns this idea of worship, of true praise, upside down. Abraham, as you probably know, was the father. He's the progenitor of the nation of Israel. He's the true beginning of it all. He's actually the nexus of the three great world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And if you know the story, he and his wife were childless and when you 75 years old, God told him he would make a great nation out. And so for 25 long years, he lived with that promise and nothing happened. I mean, I've prayed for stuff and if it didn't happen in three days, I'm like questioning my own salvation. That's 25 years. In one night during the time when nothing was happening, God reminds him again of this promise and he wakes Abraham up in the middle of the night.

And Abraham, you know, unzips a sleeping bag and grabs his flashlight, steps outside the tent and he hears this voice say to him, Abraham, look up. Can you count the stars? That's how many of descendants you'll have. So later when his wife was a 91 and Abraham was a hundred, they had their first son. This was several thousand years, B C, um, heck. This was BV before Viagra. This was the child of promise through whom all the nations of the world would be blessed and through this lineage, eventually it would come the Messiah who would rescue the entire planet. This though was Abraham's dream boy. So years later, God asks Abraham to sacrifice Isaac their only son, the child of the promise that he had waited years to see fulfilled. And now this the unthinkable is asked of him in light of what's been promised. And listen how Abraham handled this.

After traveling for three days, he sees the mountain in which he would sacrifice his son, his only son is that like a harbinger of, of times to come through the Messiah. But if he sees the mountain where the sacrifice would take place, it reads in Genesis 22 he's, he said to his servants, stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there, we will worship and then we will come back to you. And apparently he saw the giving up of his, of his own son as an act of worship. What's more, according to the writer of Hebrews, he believed that if necessary, God could raise Isaac from the dead. And so he says, we will return to you. We will come back to you. Worship, sacrifice and risk taking. They are forever linked together. Real worship has nothing to do with your circumstances.

Paul and Silas saying worship songs after they were beaten and thrown in jail, right? Maybe offering a sacrifice of worship, a sacrifice of praise, worshiping God when everything says he's abandoned you is the purest act of trust in a might be the most overlooked spiritual weapon in your arsenal. The risk part is maybe feeling ridiculous or feeling stupid or feeling like you're in denial or even your own questions about where is God in the middle of all this? Maybe that's the Isaac in your life that God wants you to surrender to trust, instead. Is that your Isaac or and trust is expressed by worship? When trust is expressed by worship, that may be the most powerful weapon against anxiety and fears and feelings of aloneness and isolation that you can ever have. The decision to turn from pouring out your pain, disappointment to saying, nevertheless, I will, or yet I will or but I will trust in your unfailing love.

I will sing the Lord's praise. Then may take several verses first, have some real difficulty in your life, but honesty and vulnerability is your friend in your deepest, truest relationship with God. He already knows him and he cannot apply the Sabbath healing until we admit that we even have a wound. The turn is not about denial, especially after you've poured out the truth of all your feelings or your feelings of abandonment you may have and the healing will always take place in your soul before it takes place in your circumstances. So let's, let's close our eyes and make some choices today. Please, wherever you are, just humor me and close your eyes. I'm an old man. If you're new to this whole church thing in some of this, maybe it didn't make any sense at all. Or maybe you're not even sure if you believe in God, just hang in there each week here and I know things will begin to fall in place. I know it, but for all of us, let's just close our eyes for a minute and let these verses wash over you. But I trust in your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord's praise for he has been good to me. And so father, we trust you in spite of our confusion. In spite of our pain, we will trust you. So God bring your, bring your healing, bring your life.

Bring your power to every person listening here. Holy spirit. We welcome you. We acknowledge your presence. We invite you to have your way with us. And maybe for those of us here who have never really said yes to God or never started a history with you, I just pray today that you would cause a prayer to come out of our hearts, God, that we would say Jesus forgive me, cleanse me, make me a new creation. I cry out to you. Oh God. I give you my brokenness in exchange for your wholeness, your life, your peace. And I turn away from the way I've been going and I turn to follow you. Fill me with your spirit and I'll follow you all the days of my life in your name I pray.

We give you our hearts. Our lives are yours. Jesus name. Amen. All right. God bless you. Go be the church. Thanks for joining us for vineyard Cincinnati church online where for over 30 years we believed that small things done with great love will change the world. Vineyard. Cincinnati is open to everyone. No matter your thoughts are about who God is or what church is, whether you're new to church or have been around your whole life, you're in good company with those of us who are exploring who got is or rediscovering what church can be. If you've enjoyed this service and want to know more about us, visit vineyard cincinnati.com we hope you join us again very soon.