In our life, reliance on God's guiding hand is paired with doing good--even when doing evil may be easier..
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, dear radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook. I’m glad to be back with you. We’re looking at Psalm 37. We’ve come to verse 25: “I have been young and now I am old.” That’s what we were talking about when we got together the last time, and the point that I wanted to emphasize for all of us (because I’m no teenager anymore myself) was that God can refresh and renew you even though the hair and teeth and hearing aid and all the rest of it has overtaken you. There can be that youth of spirit; you can be refreshed and renewed by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God as you feed on God’s Word.
Well, he says, “I have been young and now I am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Now, you have two things there: One is to be forsaken, not a friend in the world, and the other is to have no resource whatsoever. I don’t know whether you can make this statement walk on all fours, as we say, and go clear around the world and say that no Christian is ever going to be hungry. You and I know that there are believers in other parts of the world right this minute who have the look of starvation on their faces and the distended belly and the emaciated form that says that they have not had enough to eat. What did he mean?
Well, I know from what little experience I’ve had now in 76-plus years, that God does answer prayer. And I know from having visited on the mission fields of the world that again and again, those who were in need found that God supplied the need. And I know from reading the biographies of great Christians throughout the years that God does supply needs in answer to prayer. And so, I’m not going to question this statement. I’m going to say that this statement simply is another way of saying that when you don’t have anybody else to lean on, there’s God. And when you don’t have any other resource, God answers prayer. I believe that with all my heart because I’ve lived through it, and I’ve seen it in many other parts of the world. God’s dear people do cry out to Him and He does answer them. Would you apply that truth to your life today?
This word forsaken is a tragic word, isn’t it? “I have never seen,” said he, “the righteous forsaken.” That means “desolate,” without anybody that cares. And I suppose that there are some this very minute who are listening to the broadcast and saying “Yeah, Brother Cook, I’m that way. Nobody cares about me. Nobody comes to see me. Nobody cares whether I’m sick or not. I could die and they wouldn’t find out for awhile. I’m all alone. Nobody cares.”
Well, humanly, that may very well be true. I’m not prepared to dispute it, because you’re living through it. But I have to tell you, beloved, that this matter of being desolate and forsaken is related to your relationship to your blessed Lord. Jesus said, “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you.” And the presence of your blessed Lord can be real in every dark hour of loneliness when human beings may have forgotten or neglected you. And your blessed Lord can be so preciously real that it will just bring tears to your eyes, tears of appreciation and love and joy.
Now, I’ve been singularly fortunate throughout all my life in that I’ve had a loving family and lots of friends and acquaintances. So there have been few times when I’ve felt desolate. Maybe a few; we all go through them. You may be a person whose very family members, in some cases, have turned against you. How that hurts. Oh, how that hurts. But I want you to know that when your heart is heavy, and when human beings forget or neglect, when those things happen, turn to your blessed Lord. He’s there. He is the God who is there, as Francis Schaeffer said. And He won’t leave you. He said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, so that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’” He said underneath are the everlasting arms; the eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. God won’t let you down. He won’t drop you. I often say, “God hasn’t brought you this far to dump you now.”
You may have come to a place where no human being cares or is able to help, and at that moment, you need to turn to your blessed Lord and let Him prove that He is there, that He cares. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” Don’t give up. Somebody’s tempted to give up on yourself and to give up on life. Don’t do it. Instead, turn to your blessed Lord and let Him prove that He is available, that He is real, and that He can fill your little life with His wonderful presence right now. He’ll take away the sting of neglect and He’ll take away the hurt of some people, maybe even in your family, who are in an adversary position. He’ll take away the hurt of it and He’ll put on it instead the balm of Gilead to heal it up. Yes He will. Jesus never fails; He cares.
So he said, “Never forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” I got at that a moment ago. I’ve been all over the world, and I do know that people who have been in physical need have found that God answers prayer. George Mueller ran his orphan-houses, housing hundreds and thousands of orphans, and there were times when there was no bread on the table. There was one famous story, as you recall, from his biography. When there was nothing there to feed, to these hundreds of hungry children he said, “Set the table,” and so they set the table. He said, “Bring the people together and we’ll say grace,” and they said grace. And just as they were saying grace, there was a knock at the front door of the building and here there was a bakery cart. One of the wheels had come off and the whole cart then had sagged and broken down. And the man said, “I’ve got this whole cartload of fresh bread. Can you use it?” Ha! Could they use it? Indeed they could, and as they were thanking God for the supply of the non-existent food, God had it for them, special delivery, at the front door. Hallelujah!
Listen, you can trust your God today. He won’t do your homework for you. He won’t do the work that you ought to do. But when you’re at the end of your resources, there’s God. When you’re down to nothing at all (I still read it in the little card that I carry in my wallet) then for the first time you may be aware that God is enough.
Now he says about the righteous person, God is ever merciful and lendeth at his seed (that’s his family, his progeny, sons and daughters) is blessed. He is ever merciful and lendeth, and his family is blessed. That’s a strange combination, isn’t it? Have you thought about that? The index of a blessed family is forgiveness and generosity. Did you know that? The index of a blessed family is forgiveness, (He is ever merciful) and generosity. How do we measure up on that? Have you got any bitter, unforgiving spots in your heart? Why don’t you bring them to Jesus. Why should you? Because your attitude affects your whole family. Yes it does. So bring that to Jesus. You say, “I can’t forgive him or her or them.” Well, maybe you can’t. But as someone pointed out to me years ago, if you can’t do it, who dwells within you? Jesus. Can He do it? Yes He can. So let Jesus do it for you.
Forgiveness and generosity, and it says, “and his family is blessed.” Your kids need to see that you have an open, warm, and forgiving heart. Your kids need to see that you’re generous and willing to share. Selfishness and bitterness are what ruin a family life. Forgiveness and generosity and a loving heart for Jesus are what make a family effective and cohesive. Pretty good thought there, right?
Now he says, “Depart from evil and do good, and do well forevermore.” Here you have the formula for permanence. The preceding verse was the formula for a blessed family. Here you have the formula for permanence. “Depart from evil and do good.” That seems so simplistic, doesn’t it? And yet it comes right where we live. The things that I know are wrong, I need to forsake them. I need to turn around and go away from them. That’s what God is telling me. And then he says, “Do good.” I need to find out what the will of God is and do it! And he says that will contribute to permanence. You will dwell forevermore.
You see, what makes for insecurity is disobedience and the obverse side of disobedience which is not to do what God says is good. Insecurity for the believer comes from allowing that which is evil in his life. “Depart from evil,” said he, and “Do good.” The negative and the positive. Now, if you’re insecure, what doest that mean? You’re still allowing those things that fight the will of God in your life, and you are neglecting to do what God has asked you to do.
I recall the dear man who got up in testimony years ago when I was a college boy and had a pastorate in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. This dear man had recently become a Christian, and was growing so fast in the Lord that it was a joy to see. He got up one night to give a testimony and he said, “I have to tell you something. The Lord has dealt with me this week.” Here was the story. Years before, he had been engaged in delivering ice from home to home. These were the days before the electric refrigerator, you understand. But there he was. He was the ice man, and it was the custom of the housewives to leave a dollar on the icebox, and he would give them 100 pounds of ice. He wouldn’t have to bother anybody; he’d come in the side door of the house and put the ice in the icebox, take the dollar bill, and go on his way.
One day, the lady had thought she’d put a dollar down, but actually it was a new dollar bill that had stuck to another new dollar bill, and so there were two dollars there and he thought, “Aha! I’m in luck,” and he pocketed the extra buck and went on. Now, he got saved, and he said “every time I prayed, that pesky dollar bill came up before me and bothered me.” So he went to look up the place, found that the people had moved, had to go to another suburb some miles to the north and found the people. The man came to the door and said, “What do you want with my wife?” He said, “I have to tell her something.” And so she came and he told the story. She said, “Oh, keep the dollar.” “No, he said, I have to give it back,” and so she finally took it. And now, with face shining, he said, “Now when I pray, the old dollar bill doesn’t get in the way.” Well, thank God.
Depart from evil, do good, and you’ll be permanent. God said so.
Dear Father today, help us to depart from those things that wound and grieve Thy heart, and to do that which we know to be Thy blessed will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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