He Can Work It Out
Often times, we approach God with our prayers--and we expect those prayers to be answered in the ways we want. The importance of giving up control.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Well, I trust everything’s alright at your house, bless your heart. Well, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your good friend Bob Cook, and you and I are together again. Hallelujah for that. I am so glad I can get together with you around the word of God day by day. What a privilege it is. It’s like a vacation with pay. I relax when I sit down with the Word of God and my dear friend. You, that is. Bless you.
Say, we’re in the 37th Psalm, and the Psalmist has given us a prescription, you may say, for peace in a world of stress: fret not, don’t get burned up. Trust in the Lord; turn things over to Him. Delight thyself in the Lord. Get acquainted well enough with God that you’re excited about Him. If you get excited about God and doing His will, you’ll be praying in line with His will and you’ll get the answers to your prayers; that’s what he says. Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. If you get excited about God and His will and do it and you will find your prayers being answered. See, that’s the obverse side of the statement that we have in God’s Word. If I regard iniquity in my heart, then the Lord will not hear me. If you’re fighting the will of God and are unhappy with God, your praying is not effective. “Can two walk together except that they be agreed?” the Prophet says. If you’re going the wrong way and fighting God, if you’re unhappy with Him, then your praying isn’t going to amount to much. It isn’t going to get anywhere. But if you get excited about God and His will, if you’re delighted with your blessed Lord, you allow Him (this wonderful person, who through the indwelling Holy Spirit reveals Himself to you through Jesus our Lord); if you allow Him to be the source of actual joy and delight and enjoyment, then your praying is going to be effective because you’ll be praying in line with His will. John said, this is the confidence we have in Him that if we ask anything according to His will that He heareth us, and if we know that He hear us, we know that we have the petitions we desire with Him.
Commit is the next phrase in that prescription for peace. Delight thyself in the Lord; Commit thy way unto the Lord: the commitment of what I am and where I’m going. You see it’s one thing to sing “I Surrender All” as you lift your hand and raise your face toward Heaven in some service of dedication. It is an entirely different thing, it would seem, to turn the control of your life, the direction of your life and what you’re doing and where you’re going moment by moment over to the Lord. This latter procedure is the one that is effective. It says God will bring it (that is, your way, your life, your direction, your purpose) to pass.
There’s another verse that I often use in counseling people who are unhappy about their jobs. “Commit thy work unto the Lord and thy thoughts shall be established.” Commitment means turning over to God the control of the direction of your life and what you’re doing moment by moment: “thy way.” What is the way of a person? It’s who he is, where he’s going, and what he wants to accomplish. So our Lord says, turn that all over to me, and I’ll make it work.
Have you ever had a period in your life, maybe a day or a month or a long time as the case may be, where nothing seemed to go right? I guess we’ve all had such times. Interestingly enough, for the believer, the question of things working out right is directly connected to the question of “Is my life really yielded to God?” He said, “You turn the control over to Me: the control of who you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there.” Thy way, in other words. He says, “I’ll bring it to pass; I’ll make it work.”
Oh, I have to tell you, there have been so many times in my life when as I turn things over to the Lord, matters that constituted great problems and some degree of impossibility; just sheer frustration, I turned things over to the Lord and saw Him work things out. Try that for yourself. Then, He says, rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
The way to rest in God is to be willing to wait for His timing. God is always on time; He’s never late. His timetable is different from ours, but it’s always right. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. If you want rest of soul, make up your mind that you’re willing to wait for God’s timing in your life. Then you can be at rest, because you’re not fidgeting.
There was this little boy that was fidgeting so and he wouldn’t be quiet. They asked him, “What in the world is the matter with you?” He said, “I’m in a hurry all over and I can’t get started.” Well, of course we tell children to be still and God tells them to wiggle and you know they’re going to obey God, right? Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
We think in terms of conditions and circumstances. God tells us, “I want you to be thinking in terms of a person and what He is going to do. Wait for Him. Now that was all review and it took seven and a half minutes or something like that, but I thought we’d just tick off some of those thoughts for someone who may not have tuned in before and for whom this passage was new.
Now we come to verse 8 where He says, “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.” Why? Because they (anger and wrath) don’t do any good. Think about the times in which you’ve blown up and lost your temper. Let me ask you the question: what good did it do? Oh, there may have been a momentary release of the pent-up tension and anger that was within you as you just exploded and told the other person off. But did it do you any good, in the long run? No. It left you just as sore as you were before. Did it do the other person any good? No. It left scar tissue that probably will never be removed. Time will make the pain lessen or go away, but the scar tissue is there.
So he says, “Cease from anger and forsake wrath.” Why? Because it burns you up. Fret not thyself. My good old deacon, John Houghtcamp used to say, “Preacher, when you fret, according to these verses, who gets fretted? It says fret not thyself; don’t do it.” Why? Now here’s the logic of this command. You see, you have two areas of logic here. The first is in verse 2: He says “fret not thyself because of evildoers, because they shall soon be cut down like the green herb and wither like the grass.” Troubles don’t last; God does. Fret not thyself; neither be envious against the workers of iniquity for they shall soon be cut down, but trust in the Lord and do good.
Troubles and evildoers don’t last, but God does. That’s the first part of the logic of the peaceful heart. Now the second, he says, “Cease from anger and forsake wrath,” it doesn’t do you any good, it just burns you up and leaves scar tissue. Now why? “For evildoers shall be cut off. In verse 2, it says “cut down,” in verse 9, “cut off.” Cut down means they’ll get out of your way, Cut off means you won’t find them after awhile. But those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the Earth.
Now the skeptics of our day quote the scripture from the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” And people scorn the truth of God and they say, “Oh yes, you can be meek, you can be humble, you can wait on your God, but the other person is going to get the advantage, and go off with the prize. The other person’s going to make the money and you’ll be broke, with all this business of waiting on God.”
Now that is simply a human nature reaction. It’s the children of Israel in the wilderness saying, “We don’t want to wait for God to feed us, we remember the leeks and the onions and the garlic and the melons that we had back in Egypt.” They forgot the bricks and the straw and the taskmasters and the beatings, but they remembered these other things and they said we’re tired of this, our soul loathes this light bread. They got impatient with God’s way of doing things. God said, “Alright, if you want meat, I’ll give you meat,” and He sent a wave of birds that came and plopped down right in the midst of them; so many that you had to walk through the piles of them. They had enough meat to make them sick. He said, “If you want it, I’ll give it to you.” But it’s the human nature reaction. They that wait upon the Lord shall inherit the earth. You wait for God, work with God; He’ll bring you through. This is the truth of the matter, that old human nature says, “I don’t want to do it that way. I’m in a hurry. Hurry up, God. Give me my way.”
I think so often of the story that Dr. Clyde Narramore told years ago in my hearing. He was mentioning his daughter who has now grown up into a beautiful young lady, highly gifted and successful. But in those days when she was, let’s say, three years old or maybe four, whatever it was, she was bent on doing something that would be naughty and he was trying to talk her out of it. And psychologist that he was, he said, “Come sit on my knee and let’s talk about this.” So she climbed up on his lap, all right, and put her little arms around his neck and said, “Let’s don’t talk about it, let’s let me have my way.”
That’s what we say to God. “Don’t make me wait, just let me have my way.” Well, that isn’t God’s way of doing things. He said, those that wait upon the Lord, they’ll inherit. God will give you the whole kit-and-kaboodle if you just let Him do it His way. Yield to your Lord today by faith, and find the delight of His provision.
Dear Father, today help us to do things your way, so that You can work it out. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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