Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Way Out

Psalm 17
Dr. Edwin P. Elliott

I. Ask God for Help

A. Believers turn to God because He knows and understands everything; when God determines matters, the solution is never merely superficial. “A Prayer of David. Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips. Let my sentence come forth from thy presence; let thine eyes behold the things that are equal.” (Psalm 17:1-2) “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.” (1 John 3:21)

B. God knows the dark moments in a believer’s soul and He also knows when a believer genuinely wants to avoid contributing to the problem; the power is in the Word of God. “Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.” (Psalm 17:3-4)

C. Appeal to God for help avoiding mistakes which compound life’s trials; no person has the strength to prevail alone. “Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps slip not.” (Psalm 17:5) “He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.” (1 Samuel 2:9)

D. Constantly remember that God listens; He has a personal interest in the lives of the people identified with Him. “I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech.” (Psalm 17:6) “Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.” (Daniel 9:17-19)

II. Ask for Mercy

A. God protects His own people. “Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.” (Psalm 17:7)

B. Be specific; ask God for what the situation demands. “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about.” (Psalm 17:8-9)

C. Do not ignore enemies; see them for what they are and describe them to God. “They are enclosed in their own fat: with their mouth they speak proudly. They have now compassed us in our steps: they have set their eyes bowing down to the earth; Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.” (Psalm 17:10-12)

III. Remember that God Is the Great Deliverer

A. Ask for what the situation demands; there is no point in asking for less when the full solution is available. “Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword:” (Psalm 17:13)

B. People who only prosper in this world are still agents of God and subject to His direction; take the long perspective. “From men which are thy hand, O LORD, from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes.” (Psalm 17:14)

C. When a person understands how Providence works, all kinds of problems shrink in importance. “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” (Psalm 17:15)

1. Joshua based his life on the promises of God rather than the apparent advantages of the damned. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)

2. Relax; everything will sort itself out for the best in the end. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)

D. Remember the instruction of James. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” (James 5:16)

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