Our Weight Lifting God (6/28/15)

Posted by on Jul 3, 2015 in Sermons | 0 comments

Pastor Jim’s sermon on June 28 was based on Psalm 40; God lifts us out of the slimy pit and places us on solid ground.  Click the following “Play” button to start the recording, then scroll down and follow along…



The scripture was Psalm 40…

Psalm 40

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry.

2 He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.

3 He has put a new song in my mouth — Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the Lord.

4 Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

5 Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.

6 Sacrifice and offering You did not desire; My ears You have opened. Burnt offering and sin offering You did not require.

7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.

8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”

9 I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know.

10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your loving kindness and Your truth From the great assembly.

11 Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.

12 For innumerable evils have surrounded me; My iniquities have overtaken me, so that I am not able to look up; They are more than the hairs of my head; Therefore my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me; O Lord, make haste to help me!

14 Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion Who seek to destroy my life; Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor Who wish me evil.

15 Let them be confounded because of their shame, Who say to me, “Aha, aha!”

16 Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually,” The Lord be magnified!”

17 But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God.



In late 1983, the Irish rock band U2 were in the Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin putting the finishing touches on their third album,  “War.”  It was an album filled with the outrage, heartache, and lament over the violence then tearing apart Northern Ireland.

It had been a rough session.  Their producer had pushed the young band to the limit, forcing the lead singer, Bono, to sing until his throat bled.  They had nine tracks recorded.  Then needed one more for an album.  At 6:00 in the morning, they only had one hour left in the session.

The band members began to improvise around some favorite chords and a melody took shape.  For lyrics, Bono turned to a familiar source of inspiration… He opened up his Bible to the Psalms.  His eyes fell on Psalm 40.  With the words of the psalmist in his head, that last track,  known as “40” was created in 40 minutes (Click Here for video)….

I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined and  heard my cry.

He brought me up out of the pit, Out of the miry clay.

I will sing,  sing a new song… How long to sing this song?

You set my feet upon a rock, You made my foot steps firm.

Many will see, Many will see and hear.

I will sing, sing a new song… How long to sing this song?


The sermon focused on verses one and two of Psalm 40…

One:  I Wait Patiently…

The U2 song, and Psalm 40,  balances the idea of patience with urgency.  It begins with patience:

“I waited patiently for the Lord.”

This phrase is hotly debated in academic circles, and many different translations have been offered to more accurately reflect what the Hebrew actually says here.  After all, the writer is mired in a bog, stuck in a desolate pit- the serene English translation- “I waited patiently” – doesn’t seem to quite fit.  Here are some other translations…

  • “I waited impatiently for the Lord…”
  • “Urgently, I waited…”
  • “I waited, and waited, and waited…”
It’s as if David is saying:

“God, I’ve done my part.  Don’t hold out om me!  You’ve given me a new song, but how long?  How long must I wait before I can really sing this new song?  With everything that’s going on around me, how long must I wait for Your deliverance?”

Patience gives way to urgency… and urgency gives way to faith.

The verb means “am waiting”, “have been waiting,” “will keep on waiting.”  And yet, the same ongoing tense applies to God’s response.  Just like in Matthew 7, Jesus “is knocking” at the door.  He “has been knocking,” and He will “continue to knock.”  He keeps seeking.  He keeps lifting us up.

Waiting patiently isn’t a one and done deal.  Every moment of our life is to be spent in trusting in God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that God only gives us grace for the moment.  When we’re not constantly waiting upon the Lord, we start to stink inside.  Keep knocking, Keep asking, Keep loving.


One:  He Inclines to Me…

God bent down to listen to David.  In fact, He keeps bending down to hear us. God is more ready to rescue-631484__180listen than we are to pray; He comes down to where we are.

God waits patiently for us!  He continues to be patient with us.  As we continue to cry out to the Lord, He will hear our cry.  God cares enough to listen to whatever is bothering me,  whatever is hurting, whatever is making me afraid.

Notice that there’s nothing specific in this passage telling us what David’s “miry pit” was.  We can plug into this story.  Whatever we are faced with- however big or small- God is willing to listen, come down, and help.


Two:  Horrible Pit…

When Joseph’s brothers wanted to get rid of him,they dug a hole and threw him in.  Same with Jeremiah.  He was stuck in a pit and sinking deeper. But God says, “I’m there.  I’m listening. I’m willing to pull you out.”


Two:  Sets My Feet on a Rock…

The Rock is a metaphor used throughout scripture.  When our feet are placed upon The Rock we’re put in a place of God’s protection and security.

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.
I will stand there before you by the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel.
They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.
He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Whatever the culture may say, we stand on the word of God.  We build our lives on the reality of Christ.  That is the foundation of our lives.  If we’re built on the foundation of Christ, we’ll get through any storm.  It may not be easy, we’ll get through it.


Two:  Establishes My Goings…

God does not cause storms to happen.  He does not cause anyone to get sick.  He does not cause misfortune.  He doesn’t cause cancer.  But everything comes through the filtered hand of God so that when it reaches us it’s nowhere as bad as it could be.

And beyond the immediate storm, God remains in the mix to help us get out of it.  He hears my cry and gets right down into the muck with me.

We don’t have a “Woe is Me” theology.

When Joseph reflected back on the Pit that his brothers had dumped him into, he said (Genesis 50:20)…

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

God turns bad into good, but He doesn’t send bad.


Is there anything worse than a grumpy Christian?  God is asking us to continually waiting for Him, sunflower-402249__180because He is constantly listening to us, putting us on the Rock.

Romans 8:38-29 tells us that NOTHING can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ our Lord… even a slimy pit of trouble.

Whatever we’re facing in life, our God is right there with us…



The First Night of the New Reality…

Similar to what happened at PUMC this weekend, a young boy lost his Mom and a father lost his Wife.  After the funeral, the dad tucked the boy into bed and went down the hall into his own bedroom; to the now half empty bed he had shared with his wife.

The boy was restless, tossed and turned.  After a few minutes, he ran down the hall and knocked on Daddy’s door.  “Daddy, can I come into bed with you?”  The boy crawls into bed, and the dad rolls over.

A few seconds later, the boy says, “Daddy, can you please roll back over and face me? I’m scared.  But I know if your face is looking at me I know it will be ok.”


As we wait patiently for the Lord, He will hear our cry and crawl right down into that pit with us.  And we will sing that new song as He is looking lovingly right back at us.


 Quiz Time!

As you reflect on what you’ve just heard/read, give this quiz a try.  If you don’t understand an answer (or if you disagree with the “correct” answer, post a comment)…


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