Every time you say, “I want it my way and not your way God” you’re asking for trouble.
Alright, thank you very much and hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing alright? I’m glad to be back with you. What a joy it is to share with you, bless your heart. We want to look again in to Psalm 107, how and why and when people pray and what happens. The last time we got together we remarked that there was a predictable profile of heartache associated with trying to live your life without God, wandering, loneliness, lack of belonging, unsatisfaction for the hungers of your soul, and finally giving up.
Finally, it says, “Then they cried unto the Lord”, finally you have the good sense to cry out to God for help. You tell Him the truth it says, “their trouble”. You tell Him the truth about what’s going on. You tell Him how you feel, is says, “their distresses” God deals with your feelings as well as with the circumstances and then he changes the direction of your life, “He led them forth by the right way”. What a joy to see God turn things around and answer a prayer and finally He gives you the fellowship and the belonging that comes to those who are walking with the Lord that they might go to a city of habitation.
Last we got together we also mentioned the value of praise, “Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of man.” Now we come to the next section, it says, “He satisfieth the longing soul and filleth the hungry soul with goodness, such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron; Because they rebelled against the words of God, and condemn the council of the most High: Therefore he brought them down their heart with labor; they fell down, there was none to help. Then they cried on to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death, and broke their bonds in sunder. Oh, that men would praise the Lord!”
Now what about this? Here is a combination of statements about the tendency of the human heart to want its own way. The key to it of course is found in verse 11, “Because they rebelled against the words of God and condemn the council of the Most High”. There is a tendency in every human heart to want its own way the stubborn, self-will, and pride of fallen human nature is a fact, inescapable fact, every person has that tendency in him or her. Shows up early doesn’t it in training a child. We say, “Junior do this” and he looks at you as if to say, “Make me do it”.
When I was, I suppose 4 or 5, little motherless boy living with my father and my sister in Cleveland, Ohio. I can remember my father saying to me, “Boy, do so and so” whatever it was some childish task that I was to do, sometimes he would take me around with him on his round as janitor of the Spencerian Commercial School and he would said, “Boy, pick up that paper” that would be some waste paper on the floor of a classroom and I would either ask, “which one” which really exasperated him no end or else I would say, “why”. You know just challenging his right to tell me what to do.
Well, most of the time he would look at me sternly and say, “Because I said so, boy” and that was the end of that. And if I continued with my pesky refusal to cooperate I would probably get the application of the board of education to the seat of knowledge, and he had hard hand callused from manual labor, and if that didn’t work he had an 18 inch walnut ruler that he kept in a certain place. I’ll tell you that’s smarts, when that thing hits your southern exposure butt, and I remembered across the years, but I can recall and I’m embarrassed now the fact that so often as a little boy I would challenge the right of that good man to tell me what to do.
Well, then I realize of course that’s human nature. Don’t tell me what to do. Let me do my own thing. Have you ever heard that expression recently? Yes, you have. I have to be me, you know, don’t fence me in. The music and the art and the culture of any given age reflect the spirit of it and that’s the spirit of the age in which we live and all that’s doing is reflecting human nature. Unsaved human nature says, as did the maniac of Gadara “leave us alone. Don’t tell us what to do, don’t change us”.
Now my friend first of all we have to identify that and confess it to God, it’s there. If we don’t, then we get the results that you find delineated here. First, there’s the inner experience the longing souls, the hungry soul, those that sit in darkness, those that are in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron that’s your inner experience. Then the outer circumstances he brought down their heart with labor, he fell down and there was none to help then they cried. What happens when I insist and going my own way and don’t obey God’s Word, it happens. Well, this is what happens beloved, longing soul, hungry soul.
There’s no satisfaction in the completion of your own desires, have you notice that? There’s no satisfaction, no heart satisfaction in the fulfilling of your own desires, you’ll say “Well I’ll do this then I’ll be happy”. No it doesn’t work that way, you can follow it out in any part of life, the poor miserable person who is a slave either of a drug or of alcohol or whatever, just one more fix, they’ll be alright. Just one more drink then I’ll be okay, well it never it is. The person who is chasing money, says, “If I just get one more million then I’ll be happy” no it doesn’t work that way. The person who has tried as many in the world of show business seemed to be doing multiple marriages, says, “Well this marriage this time it’s going to be alright, I’ll be happy” life is not – it’s doesn’t work.
Why? It’s not because there’s anything essentially, there’s not – it’s not because there’s anything essentially satisfying in the things that are done. I told you a day or so ago the story of the refugees that in order to try to live would scrape the bark off of the trees in a lumber mill next door to their refugee camp and boil up that bitter brew of wood cells, the soft wood cells that are just under the outer bark of a tree. The cambium layer of cells and they’d make a bitter soup out of that and feed it to themselves and their children just to fill their empty stomachs. And that they would die eventually of starvation with full stomachs because the human body cannot digest cellulous and they were filling their stomach that their bodies could take advantage of.
Hungry soul, longing soul, there isn’t anything that you can do, no matter what you’re chasing whether it’s pleasure, or physical satisfaction through ingesting drugs, or something or whether it’s money, or whether it’s a promotion in business, or whether it’s fame and fortune I can’t tell you anything that you can do that will really satisfy your heart because when you’re through accomplishing it, and let us suppose that you attain your goal, when you’re through accomplishing it, beloved, the ache was still be there. And so it says, “Such a sit in darkness and the shadow of death.”
Life has a way of closing in on you without God, hasn’t it? Have you been through that? Oh yes, many have you have, I know it. The heart, that sheer heartbreak of some of you dear ones who have gotten in a situations where life has just closed in on you and this is literally true in your experience, you’re sitting in darkness and the shadow of death but it doesn’t seem to be any place to turn and life is closing in on you. Beloved the only answer, the only, only answer is to cry out to God this minute and ask Him to take charge of your life, oh He will. “Call unto and I will answer thee”, He says, “and show the great and mighty things which thou knowest not”.
And if I’m speaking this moment to someone concerning whom life has just closed in on you and you’re sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, you’re so blue and so down, and there doesn’t seemed to be any help and nobody understands. At that point, oh my friend call to God, ask the Lord Jesus to take charge of your life, ask the blessed Holy Spirit to begin to guide you. Things will be different, I promise you.
And then there’s one more step here, it says, “Being bound in affliction and iron” and that means you find yourself unable to move, unable to change. I’ve talked with people who said with tears, “I can’t do any different. I can’t change” oh yeah this is the ultimate slavery of the rebellious heart. Starting out to say I want what I want and I’m going to get it. One ends up saying I can’t do anything about it. Oh the tragedy of sin, it breaks your heart to think about it, doesn’t it? The only answer is to flee to Jesus this minute, call on Him for His mercy, receive His saving love, let the Holy Spirit of God fill your life, and let the power of God break the chains, oh He does. When I was a little boy we used to sing, “Jesus breaks every fetter. Jesus breaks every fetter and He sets me free”, well thank God it’s still true isn’t it? Yes, it is.
Now what’s the reason for all of this, says, “They had rebelled against the words of God” they refuse the council of the Most High”. Every time you say, “I want it my way and not your way God” you’re asking for trouble and so what He does is He brings your heart down with labor. The pressure you feel right now beloved, the pressure you feel, the experience of being closed in. The fact that you’re working as we say your fingers to the bone and getting nowhere, labor is the word there. The pressures that you feel are simply God’s gentle way of nudging you a little closer to Himself. Don’t fight it but run to Jesus instead.
And then it says, “They fell down and there was none to help.” You get to that point where you think nobody understands and nobody cares and generally you’re right at that point. It’s time to look to Heaven and say, “Jesus help me now”. “Then they cried unto the Lord”.
Dear Father today, give us the good sense to pray about the things where we’ve been out of touch with Thee 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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