Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 4 months ago

A Faithful Lament

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Christian McArthur

Now, as we open your word together,that you might continue to sanctify US remind us of what is true about US remind us. What is true about your son May, the words of my mouth and themeditations of all of our hearts together be pleasing and acceptable inyour sight, our rock and our redeemer. It is in your son's name that we pray amen. If you have a copy of the scriptureswith you, you may remain standing and open to psalm thirteen, which will be our sermon text for thismorning. Some thirteen. This is the word of the Lord. Let'sgive our attention to it. How Long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face for me? How long must I take counsel in my souland have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted overme? Consider and answer me o Lord, my God light up my eyes. Lest I sleep thesleep of death, lest my enemy say, I have prevailed over him lest my foes rejoice because I amshaken, but I have trusted in your stedfastlove. My Heart shall rejoice and yoursalvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully withme. You may be seated in the summer of to nineteen and sixtyfive the Beatles released. What would becomeone of their most famous songs, a song that charted number one in the UK wouldgo on a few months later to chart number one in the US. Since then, it has gone on to be one ofthe most recorded songs of all time, recorded over twenty two hundred times by various artists. Artists, like Marvin Gay Ray Charles Bob, dillon, Elvis Presleyboys to men and the Ohio state marching band BBC called this song. The Greatest Song of the TwentiethCentury Rolling Stones said is the greatest pop song of all time.

Now I don't know if you are Beatlesfans, perhaps you are not, but I'm sure, there's some songs that come to mindthat might fit the bill. You know I tend to think of some oftheir more poppy love songs, something in my life. I want to hold your handhere. Comes The Sun, great uplifting pop songs, certainlygreat songs that have that have remained in our memory,sometimes getting stuck in our head. Sorry, if they are for the rest of theweek, but this particular song that hasseemed to resonate with so many was written by Paul McCartney in a reallydark time in his life. The time when he was feelingparticularly lonely troubled sorrowful yesterday, all my trouble seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here tostay. Oh, I believe, and yesterday these are the lyrics of this song thathas been recorded more than any other song. It seems in pop history, a song that has seemed to resonate withso many and it's not here comes the sun. Is it it's a song of sadness? It's a song oflament a lyrics, a lyricist and anguish, holding out a glimmer of hope thatmaybe tomorrow will look better than today. Maybe the glory of Yester Year MightOne day return. Well, I think the popularity of thissong yesterday gives away something about the human experience. Doesn't it that everyone everywhere at some timeor another experiences, sorrow experiences, trouble suffering,loneliness betrayal? It would seem that we are left on our own to figure outwhat to do with those feelings. Well, interestingly, enough proper lament, itwould seem, is something that our culture is uncomfortable with, even though this song has been recordedso many times, it's not something we like to discuss a lot. In fact, I wouldsay that often times within the church, this problem is even worse. We don't like to talk about Lamint, we're a lot better about singing songsof thanksgiving. You know, at least as far as the number of songs we sing andwe should sing psalms of thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for, but itis of interest that a third of our salter, the thirdof the Psalms, are made up of songs of lament...

...over fifty of them, which should again give us perhaps somepermission at least some confidence that everyone experiences sad times well. This morning we will be lookingat one of those psalms of lament and psalm thirteen. Some commentators havesaid that this is the model limit, though it is short, it contains all ofthe necessary elements for what comprises most biblical laments and asthose elements that we will be looking at this morning and we'll look at themunder three headaches: One: The complaint to the call and three the consolation, the complaint, the call and theconsolation well right off the bat it was as wejump into psalm thirteen. There is one element that is clearly missing. We don't get any information about whyDavid is so upset, at least not specifically we're notgiven the situation as we are in so many other psalms. At least a lot ofsons have a heading where it tells us exactly what's going on or we can studythe situation and kind of understand. As we look at parallels and the Old Testament,we can figure out what's going on with David, but this one is a lot more general. Perhapsthat's a gift for us this morning and we'll see we'll see why. But one thing seems very clear, though: This psalm shows the struggle to have componentsthat are relational components that are psychological. Itwould seem that David's problem is primarily spiritual. It's primarilytheological that to say his problem involves hisrelationship with God, and we see this right from thebeginning. Don't we how long o Lord will you forget me for ever right off the Bat David Calls on theLord and it's an interest that David doesn'tcall just on God generally, but he uses the Covenant Name Yawa or, as in ourEnglish translations, is printed lord and all caps. This is the same name that God hasgiven to his chosen people that they might call upon him that they mightworship him and, in addition to using the CovenantName, Yawa David Calls, God out on his covenant, Promises. What do I mean bythis? Oh? Firstly, he calls on God not toforget...

...his people, specifically not to forgetDavid, and we find this promise of Yawathroughout the Scriptures, specifically in books like Isaiah and Jeremiah talka lot about God, not forgetting his people, but but I would say that thisidea of not forgetting really encapsulates the entire entire redenti history. Doesn't it thispromise that God will be with us a promise of presence? We find this promise very early on,certainly explicitly to Abraham it that God will be a God to him and to hischildren N. We find this same promise repeatedon the last pages of the Bible and revelation that. Finally, thisfulfilment comes to pass, that God will be an eternal God to us and to ouroffspring, so David here ise calling on God toremember his covenant promises in a way here, David is acting like a prophet. What do I mean by that? What do we often think of when we thinkabout profits? I think we often think about people whotell the future right when the Old Testament, one of theprimary roles we see of profits, is to bring covenant lawsuits against God'speople. What is a covenant? Lawsuit? Well, how God related to his people inthe Old Testament? How we relate to us is through covenant and God would send profits to thenation of Israel to remind them of the Covenant that they had made with theLord and after they would remind them, theywould show them where they had not kept up their side of the bargain. Theywould show the people where they had been unfaithful to the Covenant andOften Times the Prophets would do this by saying you have forgotten the LordIsaiah says it like this. You have forgotten y'aw, your God, the God ofYour Salvation Hosea, says it like this. Israel hasforgotten his maker Zekiel says you make gain of yourneighbors by extortion. But me, you have forgotten, declares the Lord God, but here David is not acting as aprofit and so much as he's bringing a covenant law suit. Against God's people he's bringing a covenant, LawsuitAgainst God himself, how long o Lord will you forget me and the intensity of his accusationseems to increase each time. He cries...

...how long we see this in this firststands it as, if he's walking up the steps of the Throne Room of God,yelling at the king, pointing a finger in his face first saying that he is passivelyforgotten, but then he moves on to an accusation of active hiding. How Long OLord? Will you hide your face? For me, he blames God for this perpetual sorrow on account of the Lord's neglect and finally accuses God of going backon his promises to protect David from his enemies. This would seem like covenant, language.Doesn't it it would seem like a prophetic accusation. David brings a host of charges againstthe Creator, saying you have neglected, who you have promised to be. You havenot only abandoned me, but you have turned me over to my enemies. David is bringing charges in neglect abandonment against the god of allcreation. So how does that sit with you? Does it make you a little bituncomfortable makes me a little bit. Uncomfortablemakes me not really want to pray this prayer, and yet it's in a scripture and it'swhat David seems to be doing well, if it's made you uncomfortable upand this up until this point. The second stands: it gets a little bitworse. He has gone from from this complaint tonow, calling on God barking orders imperatives demanding it would seem so we first had the complaint. Now wehave the call, and these calls these orders. You could say directly parallel the accusations fromthe complaint. Don't they instead of questioning God's covenant, promisesand his Loyalty David calls out with three verydistinct orders, consider answer and enlighten, and these actions mirror the content ofthe complaints. Let's take a look. First David Accuses, God of forgettinghim, and now he calls on the Lord to consider him to remember him to lookupon him. Second, an opposition to God hiding hisface David Calls, God to answer. If you'll allow the language Davidis calling on God to repent...

...he's calling on God to turn towards himto turn from his neglect his forgetfulness and to again look uponhis servant, there's something else striking herethat David again uses this covenant name Yawa this time he uses it in its full form.Let's, let's take a look well throughout scripture, you'llnotice that God often identifies himself as theLord God as Yawa God, Jawe Elohim, or even more directly, the Lord, yourGod. A famous example of this is an exodus right before the giving of thelaw. God has delivered the people from the bondage of Egypt and he comes tothem right before giving a tin, O Anden's, and he says what I am the Lord,your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the hand ofslavery, and this is constantly how Godidentifies himself as the Lord God. What's what David Uses to identify Godright here, he says, consider and answer me o Lord, my God, David is not barking orders to someunknown, arbitrary God, but the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac. The God of Jacob, the God who took Israel by the hand andled them out of bondage out of the yoke of slavery, the God who put hiscovenant name upon his people, the God of David and the God of hisfathers, and this is so important to notice here,because in David's anger and frustration and sorrow, we don't find him calling out andcrying in disbelief. Do We we find a cry of faith, the God might be faithful to hispromises. He says, consider and answer me who o Lord, my God. I want toconsider this for a moment, as we perhaps consider how this applies to us one. I think I find it somewhatcomforting at least that our covenant- God, is not scared of UScalling out to him in frustration. He is not intimidated by our demands for him to be faithfulto what he has promised us,...

...and I would go so far to say that he isnot angered by cause of faith when we identify him not according toour own imaginations, but what he has revealed of himself and what he haspromised to be to us and that's exactly what David is doinghere with boldness. Crying out answer me, my God, David Calls on God to turn him fromsorrow and introspection and enlighten his eyes or or revive him that he might not taste death. And again we see a parallel here fromthe first stanza. Don't we in the first Stanza David speaks of his enemiesexulting over him, and now David repeats this in his position. He says, God, if you don't consider me,if you don't answer me, if you don't enlighten me, My enemies will overcomeme. They will rejoice. When I am shaken, as we've said, David sorrow has trouble,certainly has a social component, a situational component, his enemiesrejoicing over his failures, his adversaries exulting over him. His trouble certainly has apsychological component. Doesn't it he has sorrow in his heart? He is turnedinward upon himself, but David sees his issue is notprimarily social, not primarily situational, not primarily psychological. He sees his problem as theological. David has a problem with God and because David's premary problem iswith God, God is the only source of consolation.I think, perhaps for us and our times of sorrow and our times of lament, weassume that everything is based on our situation and don't get me wrong. We findourselves in very difficult situations, sickness, ourselves or loved one'sdeath times of morning financial difficulties,relational difficulties, difficulties, parenting, difficulties,being parented trouble at school trouble at work, realissues that plague us, but even in those difficult situations.I think it is so important to remember that God remains our only source ofconsolation,...

...seasons of want and seasons of plentywill come and go, but God is the strength of our heart.He is our portion, and David sees this, and- and so we must see this if we areto properly lament he directs his complaint. He directshis call directly to God and he does so very directly. Doesn'the he points the finger at God? He describes the ways in which God seemsto be unfaithful. We see this in the complaint than wesee. This call that the David Calls, God to regent, fromhis neglect to repent to turn towards David. But finally, we see David's consolation, s be our final section for this morning. Let's look at verse, five together, but I have trusted in your loving kindness and your steadfastlove. My Heart shall rejoice in yoursalvation. I will sing to the Lord because he has dealt bountifully withme. It's interesting here, just in onevoice or in one verse with one word, but everything changes life seems to go back to normal. I guess all that yelling and demand itdemanding worked for David. I think perhaps one of the things thatis most troubling about this home is not David's. Anger is not the fact thathe's demanding is not the fact that he's complaining, but the fact that everything just seemsto be okay, everything seems to improve. In aninstant I mean, there's a sense in which we like that right. It's like agood Sitcom, no matter how difficult things are for the main character. Weknow that it'll all be okay within thirty minutes, but one of the reasons why sitcoms areso far from reality is that things just don't improve that quickly. Do they one minute David is dying and sorrowyelling at God, and the next he's ready to join a chorus line ready to sing, but is that what life is like hurt? Lingers pain goes on and on Shakespeare once wrote, one pain islessened only by another's anguish...

...that to say it would seem in life thatthe only remedy for pain is for a greater pain to come, and doesn't life sometimes feel thatway. Yesterday, all my trouble seemed so far away, but now it looks as though they're hereto stay as one poet once wrote, but not for David Right. Not here, allof a sudden everything goes back to normal life is sweet and the words ofMony Python. There was much rejoicing, but is there any evidence here thatDavid's situation actually changes? Is there any indication that the troubleshave ended and if they have the SAM doesn'tmention it does it? What we know in this short lament isthat it is David who does the changing? Let's take a look again at verse, fiveand six, but I have trusted in your steadfast love. This word steadfastlove. Perhaps your translation says loving, kindness or faithfulness. It'sa word that throughout the Old Testament is one that speaks of theLord's covenant. Loyalty of his faithfulness to his promises.One commentator suggests that the best wayto render this is covenant loyalty. I have trusted and the loyalty to yourcovenant. You could say I have trusted, or I feel confident and what youpromise, that it will be true. My Heart David says, shall rejoice andwhat your salvation, I would argue against some, and we canargue if you want to that David's situation hasn't changed.I would argue perhaps that that is even more troubling for us main. Isn't that what we want for all of a sudden everything on theoutside of us that is causing US grief to be remedied? I mean whether these situations are ofour own doing or not. We want the situation to be rectified, but God comes to David. The Lord comesto David with a true solution. Doesn't he again we have seen that his issue isnot situational, but theological. David...

...here has an issue with God. Well, God hears David God inclines himself to his son. God Has Mercy on him and in David'scall for God to repent and turn it is God who repents David God turns David from his situation to his salvation, and we see here that this Salmis byGod's mercy is by God's grace able to look to a grace somewhere at some timethat he has encountered and the magnitude of that grace. Thatsalvation is a reality that no other experience can diminish. In a word byanother poet, the things of this earth grows strangely dim, in the light ofGod God's glory and grace, though, in that moment the silence ofGod may seem deafening. David looks to a reality that breaksthrough the silence, with a song of salvation one of the big days that we celebrate,that we have throughout church. History is Easter, Sunday, rightly so, the TheSunday where we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Fact Throughout Church history. TheChurch has celebrated the entire week of Holy Week and different ways. I knowback home, we had a Good Friday service. I remember growing up. We had MondayThursday, well one of the days of Holy Week. Thatdoes not get a lot of attention, at least in our reform tradition is holy Saturday a day that the church has gottentogether to hold an Easter vigil to commemorate something a bit strange.The silence of God holy Saturday is the day that Jesusspent in the tomb now for think about holy Saturday forJesus contemporaries right. The disciples. Perhaps this truly was a dayof silence a day of morning, a day where they had to reckon with the factthat the revolution was over. That Jesus at least would appear to notbe who he claimed to be the day that death had defeated God,that the light of the world had been snuffed out by the grave truly a daye of silence. Why would wecelebrate such a day?...

Well for us on this side of the resurrection we can celebrate holy Saturday with itspain in its sorrow, because we know that Easter Sunday is about to dawn. We know that the celebration of theresurrection is approaching. We can rejoice in the necessary deathand temporary silence of Christ, because we know that death does nothave the last word about him on the same way. For us on this side of God's salvation, we can lament, we can call out to God and faith,bringing our complaints, our sorrow or pain or struggles, because we know that our pain does nothave the last word about us. We know that the last word about who weare is found in Christ, Jesus himself inour lives. Hidden in him. We, like David, can look beyond oursituation. Our struggle, our pain to a grace, to a salvation to God's covenant, Loyalty that he hasshown to us in the giving of his only son that we might have forgiveness and life, and, as we reflect on this reality, wecan be reminded that it is Jesus who truly sang this Solm. Isn't it that he was the one truly forsaken bythe father handed over to the ultimate enemy death itself, that we might not taste deaf, that we might never experience theturned away face of God. Now I know that there are those of youhere. Those of us here who feel like they're, weak or their monthor their year or their entire life has been a perpetual holy Saturday of just sorrow after sorrow anddifficulty after difficulty would seem that Solme is your themesong in a lot of ways. Life is difficult. Pain is real, but if you resonate with that thismorning, hear this that your pain does not have the last word that Sunday is coming and with it resurrection though weeping may last for the night,a shout of joy comes in the morning and...

...after we have suffered a little while the god of all grace who has called usto his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthenand establish us and as he promises, he will wipe awayevery tear that we with the PSALMIST may sing. I will sing to the Lord because he is dealt bountifully with me. May the word of the Lord Strengthen andpreserve us all to life. Everlasting. What's pray, the Lord, our God, we do! Thank youthat you are not distant from us. We thank you that you hear us onaccount of your son and that, because he has experiencedthe forsakenness that we deserve, we might experience your fatherlyaffections, grant that we might grow in faith andgrateful obedience. As we consider the magnitude of your gift of Salvation Lord, I do pray for those among us thatare experiencing mourning and lament and sadness anger. Oh Lord, I do pray that you mightrepent them when we lack the power to turn ourselves. Lord, wepray that you would turn us that we would be able to focus not on the difficultyof these situations, no matter how difficult they may be, but that we might be focused on asalvation so great that everything else seems to grow dim.Oh Lord, we do pray for those who are sick, that you would bring healing forthose who are financial difficulty. Lord, that you would bring resolutionthat you bring wisdom. Lord, we do pray for the difficult,difficult situations among us, Lord, we do pray that you would come and that you would care foryour children that you would hear us according to your son, but most of all we do pray that youwould turn our attention away from our situations to where our true lives arehidden on high with your son, who is seated at the right hand of Majesty.Even now. Interceding for us, when we do not have the ability to intercedefor ourselves. Lord, we thank you for your faithfulness for your covenant,Loyalty Toward Us. We, we do pray that you would be ourever present help in our time of need,...

...according to your promises, accordingto who you are and who you have revealed to us that you are throughyour son. Oh Lord, we do thank you grant us these things, for we ask themin your son's name who lives and reigns with you in the Holy Spirit, one Godfor ever and ever Amen.

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