“Lord, it is because of you I can and will…” Part II

After last week's sermon, several people shared a particular part that spoke to them, stating “This is where I am” or “This is me”. This week we work through the second half of the message. It is my prayer that as much as we all may have identified with the pain and suffering described in the first half, we will see ourselves walking and proclaiming the hope and victory of the second half by understanding the four keys for leaving the camp of despair.

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The H2H team shared today, including testimonies by Mike, Paige, Heather, and Kimber.

 

10:53 There are a lot of critical things that I skimmed over in last week’s message. Let’s take a closer look at a few things. As I shared last week, Psalm 116 is really a journey. Hezekiah (or whoever wrote this psalm, Zine) was in extreme despair. Emotional and physical pain to the point they were undone, empty, with nothing left. On death’s bed. He cried out to the Lord. And God heard his cry. God hearing means that He bends to listen with intent. And God responded and brought healing to Hezekiah’s life.

 

Now the psalmist says, “Now that I’ve been restored, I have a responsibility in how to walk in life and leave this camp of despair.”

 

Psalm 116:1 ¶ I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.

 2 Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.

 3 The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish.

 4 Then I called on the name of the LORD: ‘‘O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!’’

 5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.

 6 The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me.

 7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

 8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;

 9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

 10 ¶ I believed, even when I spoke, ‘‘I am greatly afflicted’’;

 11 I said in my alarm, ‘‘All mankind are liars.’’

 12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?

 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,

 14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

 16 O LORD, I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant. You have loosed my bonds.

 17 I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.

 18 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,

 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD!

 

In this psalm we see the rollercoaster ride of a man who has found himself in despair, received a promise of God, and decides to live out the promise of deliverance from the Lord.

 

There are 4 keys to leaving the camp of despair. The camp of despair—a lot of us find ourselves in it.

 

Despair is similar to depression. Some of the symptoms are feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, apathy, inability to feel pleasure, insomnia, restlessness,irritability, irritation, lower libido, excessive sleeping, change in appetite, unexplained crying spells, headaches, body aches, feeling worthless, withdrawal from social situations and normal activities, thoughts of death or suicide.

 

The leading cause of despair is this: dealing with life. That’s the truth. Life has its ups, downs, twists, turns, dark times, unknown times, thing that catch us unawares. We can become overwhelmed. And when we have these feelings of being overwhelmed, it’s easy to despair. We can have physical symptoms.

 

Here are the four keys for leaving the camp of despair:

1. We need to return to a place of rest.

2. We need to believe in God and his word.

3. The importance of praise and vowing to proclaim the deliverance and promises of hopes in God.

4. Understanding that the Lord values and purposes life, and has great concern for our untimely/premature death.

 

Here’s how the Scriptures talk about these 4 things.

 

Ps 116:7 -  7 Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

 

There’s a place we must go to. We must position ourselves correctly in order to be brought back again to the restful place of protection and wholeness. God wants to lavish his care.

 

There’s some things we must do to position ourselves in the place of rest. 

A. Position to remain in fellowship. When despair comes, we tend to separate ourselves from others. Instead of isolation, we need to remain in relationships outside this building. We need people in our lives who can speak encouragement and pray for and with us. Scripture says Heb 10:25 (not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.). We need to celebrate and worship the Lord. 

B. We need to position ourselves so we can receive truth from God’s word.

C. Position myself on my knees. In prayer.

 

These sound simple. But if you’re in despair now… How many times when you’re feeling despair do you neglect positioning yourself like this? Isolating yourself from social activities. Not being on your knees. Not positioning yourself when you’re quiet before the Lord. He brings peace and calmness to your soul.

 

Allow the Father to bring hope, peace, and care to our soul.

 

The second thing we must do:

 

 8 For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling;

 

As he proclaims these things, we must never forget that the God great enough to deliver us to eternal salvation is able to deliver us from our sorrow and protect us from straying.

 

It’s strange that we have no problem believing God can give us eternal life, but we have trouble believing God can deliver us from times of sorrow or despair. And many times because we don’t see God as great enough, we choose to camp out in sorrow.

 

What happens is we try everything in our own strength and can’t remove ourselves from this sorrow. And when nothing seems to work, it deepens our hole of despair.

 

We MUST truly believe that, “God, if you’re great enough to bring me eternal life, you’re great enough to bring me out of this sorrow.”

 

Here’s what happens: we focus on the circumstances, the struggle, the pain we’re in, the emotional hurt. Everything is about US and the situation, and nothing’s about God. So we slip into this place of stumbling. We no longer trust in God or hope in God. Our hearts stray and we walk in sin.

 

We engage in sinful habits that try to anesthetize us from despair. Those sinful habits don’t bring lasting relief. They only bring destruction.

 

The Psalmist says, “I know you’re great enough to relieve me.” I know you’re great enough to keep me from straying.

 

God cares about your, your heart, your straying. God’ll deliver you from stumbling.

 

Church, your destiny isn’t to live in sorrow or despair. Though some of us have surrendered, “I guess this is my destiny.” As you read the Word of God, I promise you your destiny isn’t the camp of despair.

 

v9 -  9 I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.

 

He says, “I WILL”. This is a choice we get to make. WILL yourself to say, “I WILL”. I will not be deceived by sorrow or despair. Bless the Lord. I will demand my soul to walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

 

We have the ability and duty to walk as one who has eternal life. It’s your DUTY and ABILITY. Walk as one who has eternal life. If you have e-life, you have hope, peace, joy, purpose, deliverance. You have a God who’s greater than all, who cares about your soul and your dilemma. He’s able to bring deliverance from despair.

 

SECOND, belief in God and His Word. 

 

v10 -  10 ¶ I believed, even when I spoke, ‘‘I am greatly afflicted’’; 11 I said in my alarm, ‘‘All mankind are liars.’’

 

He said I believed even when I’d lost all trust in all people. Some of you here today have had terrible relationships with your father. Abused, neglected. So it’s hard to think of God as a loving heavenly Father.

 

Some of you ladies have been abused by your father or other men, so it’s hard to think of God as the mighty fortress who would care for you.

 

Some of you men are resistant to be emotionally intimate with a woman. You’ve had things done to you that threaten your identity as a man. You’ve brought up a wall to protect you from openness with others.

 

“I cannot believe and trust in the church. I will keep my distance.”

 

 But Hezekiah says that even though he was hurt, and found that man will always let him down, he says, “I believe”. Hebrew: Aman. Established, Firmly established. It’s a covenant word. When God told Abraham to count the stars, even though Abe was childless, God was going to make him the father of many nations. More offspring than the stars you can count.

 

Abe believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. Because he believed God’s promise that he would do what he says.

 

In Gen 17, we see that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham. From “high father” to “father of multitudes”. And Sarai = “little princess” to Sarah, “Mother of nations”.

 

For 80 yrs or so, Abram couldn’t have children. Now 100, God renewed his promise. Can you imagine, 100 years old? Wife 90? “I’m going to be a daddy.” I’m going to have more children than you can see in this room.”

 

We today are offspring of Abraham. We can stand in that truth. We can be firmly persuaded that what God says is true.

 

"Believe" is a covenant word. we must believe even when circumstances let us down.

 

We can believe for healing. We can believe for forgiveness. 

 

For those feelings that easily overcome us, there are situations that seem to overwhelm. Here’s a secret. As God releases you from those things, sometimes the circumstance won’t change, but the power the circumstance has on you, the power of the enemy to speak lies into your life, God will release you from that. You will be an overcomer. You’ll be able to walk victorious. In authority.

 

Heather and I aren’t that old. I’m 50. And a few months ago we adopted a 4 year old. A tree fell on our house. I had back surgery. We can be overwhelmed. Swallowed up by waves of circumstances.

 

As we believe God, I can be in that hotel. And have back surgery. And realizing that NOT being an empty-nester for a long time, we can still be overcomers instead of being overcome by situations.

 

[qv John 16:33

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”]

 

God can release us from feelings of being overcome. We can come to a place of trusting. Even if you’ve been hurt by someone, God can restore your trust in someone. It means hoping. Even though everything seems cloudy and dark, the light of life is here. You’re a child of light, even in the midst of darkness there’s light. And there’s hope.

 

You say, God, I’m tired of fighting. I need to rest. I’m tired of these waves.

 

The Word of God says He will give us rest and peace. We can believe in his word and receive his promises.

 

In vv12-14 -  12 What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?

 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD,

 14 I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.

 

Again, because God has delivered, I won’t stay in this camp of despair. Because I’ve receives your healing, because I believe what you say i true, I’ll stand and proclaim. I’ll recognize the Lord in every situation. I will recognize and constantly call on the name of the Lord in every situation. He cares about every circumstance. I’ll call out to him because I’m professing my sole trust in him alone.

 

Just like Abe, we must uphold and walk out our proclamation in the midst of fellow believers. God told Abe that he was going to be father of many. He had to walk that out.

 

A quote my wife shared “Don’t focus on what you don’t know. Focus on what you DO know.” As God speaks that promise to you, stand in it.

 

It happens. In your time of prayer. You’re reading the Word of God. And something resonates in your soul. And he’s turning your heart and mind. You know He’s speaking to you. And if you trust and believe, it’s going to stretch you beyond your comfort zone.

 

Then we get all spiritual. “I'm going to be like Mary and treasure this in my heart.” But a lot of times we say, “I don’t know if I’m going to walk in what you’ve spoken to me.”

 

But Hezekiah says he would. Walk in it. Trust. Believe. Proclaim. Constantly state his trust is in God and God alone.

 

This is an accountability action. It makes you accountable to others to testify to them.

 

Finally, and I know we’re over here, but this is extremely important. We must understand this:

 

 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

 

If you’ve called on the name of the Lord, the Bible teaches that you’re a saint. God purposes life for you. He has great concern for your untimely or premature death.

 

No matter how great the despair, suicde isn’t the option. God has a better purpose and plan for your life. Your life is precious. He’s numbered the days of your life. He values the life and death of the saints.

 

He doesn’t treat the death of a saint casually. It’s of great concern when a saint dies.

 

Said Paul: to live is Christ, to die is gain. To live is to serve Christ and be his vessel. My life has value. To be a blessing to others. The void my life would leave if I die will affect others because I’m God's vessel, his tool. My life has value.

 

The Lord has numbered your days for a purpose.

 

Hear these 4 keys for coming out of the camp of despair.

 

The enemy will bring deception so you’ll stay in the camp of despair. It’s time for us to stand and walk out of the camp of despair.

 

11:34

 

As we sing this last song, I want to encourage us. Respond to what God is calling you to do.