Saturday, January 28, 2012

Pour Out Your Heart - Psalm 62 - January 29, 2012



What music would you choose to be the sound track of your life?  Would it include people like Bennie Goodman or the Andrew Sisters, maybe Perry Como or the Lettermen, or perhaps the Rolling Stones and Billy Joel.  My kids will tell you that James Taylor sang out in our household in Thailand, Malaysia, Texas, and even in Oklahoma.  

Because we see the Psalms as a book in the Bible we can forget that they were written in musical form. When we hear the Psalms we are listening in on the music that shaped and defined life for many of God’s people through passage of time.  They are the soundtrack of worship.  They sing of real life emotions, personal struggles, and of moments of grand celebration. We heard all of these emotions in Psalm 62, sung by our Sanctuary Choir only moments ago.  With each note and movement the choir helped capture the flavor of this song sung to God that emerged fresh from the life of His people. It speaks with majesty, beauty and power. It calls us closer to God. It pleads with us to trust God.  It offers us rest and invites us to pour our heart out to God.  Take a closer look at this song of faith with me.

The Psalm begins; Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon preached a great sermon of encouragement just on these two verses.  He focused on the promise that God is our rock, our salvation, and our fortress. These are words to hear and cheer.  But I do not want to miss that initial word that our soul can find rest in God.  Our lives can be so busy, so hectic, and we can have so many different people and obligations tugging at us, we can find ourselves weary – weary to the depths of our soul. 

Our temptation is to decide to try to fix it ourselves.  If we only make a minor change in our schedules, or get someone to cover one of our tasks, and it we believe everything will be better.  We tell ourselves when we are down that we will find a way to cheer ourselves up then everything will be OK.  There are times when what we need is not to reset our schedules or cheer ourselves up.  What we need is to claim rest for our soul in God’s presence.  We are invited to claim an unhurried time of rest with God, who is the way of our salvation; who is our rock, on whom we can stand in the midst of the storm; and who is our fortress, in whom we can find safety and security in times of difficulty or distress. The Psalmist wants it clear that a deep relationship with God is a safe place for us to be.

The Psalm sings out; 3 How long will you assault me? Would all of you throw me down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? 4 Surely they intend to topple me from my lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. The Psalmist looks around and sees people who have brought pain into his life. You can fell the hurt in his words. Sometime people let us down.  Sometime people who are suppose to love and care for us can hurt us. These are hard but irrefutable truth.  When we feel wounded by others it is easy to feel isolated.  Hear that you are not alone. The psalm reminds us that this is an age old issue that transcends place and time.  When you come find yourself wounded by those around you, cry out to God.  God cares and God hears. 

The Psalmist knows this.  We hear the psalm echoes his first themes of assurance and goes a step further. The psalm sings out; 5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 8 Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. I love how Eugene Peterson sees verses 7 and 8.  He interprets them this way…”My help and glory are in God —granite-strength and safe-harbor-God— So trust him absolutely, people; lay your lives on the line for him. God is a safe place to be.” I think Peterson captures the picture of God as place of strength of refuge.  But, I think he missed the invitation to pour out our heats to God.  I chose to the title of the sermon on verse 8’s call to Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge because I believe that the invitation to pour our heart out to God is at the heart of discovering a deeper relationship with God.  The psalmist has over and over again used language to help us understand the safety and security we find in God.  The psalmist has over and over again used language to help us understand the strength we find in the arms of God.  I believe that all of this language is designed to help us understand that trust God enough to pour out our hearts to God.

I think a lot of us can imagine pour out our hearts to a close friend.  We believe that the love and care for us enough to hears the cry of the depths of our heart.  But, I am not sure we fully understand and embrace what it can mean to pour our heart out to God.  Some many of us have been taught structured prayers with a religious sounding vocabulary. We are tempted to hurry into prayer and back out of it because the language we have learned somehow feels unnatural to us. The Psalmist imagines conversations with God that are so deep and so pure that the words we claim emerges from the core of who we are.  This kind of conversation with God is more focused on its honesty and sincerity than it is its vocabulary.  If we believe that our closest friend would care about the cry of our heart, how much more would God, made us in His image, who breathed the very breadth of life into our soul, who is our salvation, our mighty rock, the one in whom our honor depends, invite us to pour out our heart to Him? 

I acknowledge that there is vulnerability in pouring our heart to God.  It seems that there are parts of our lives that we are proud of and are glad to share with God.  But, for many there are darker parts of our lives that we have a hard time imagining lying at God’s feet. The hard news is that God already knows all that we have thought or done. The good news is that relationship with God is a safe place to be wholly who we are. God is big enough, strong enough, and loves us to hear our secret shames and our deepest pains.  Only when we pour out the whole of who we are to God can we begin to discover the depths of God’s love and the breadth of God’s grace.   Our brokenness is a part of our story and should be a part of our story with God.  Our brokenness is where God steps in.  In pouring our heart out to God we invite God to change us and renew us – to truly redeem us in the midst of our pain and brokenness.  God is ready for us to pour out the depths of our hearts to Him.  Through our faith relationship in God through Jesus Christ we come to God feet and there we can discover His healing and restoration not only for eternity but for our daily hurts and real life pain. 

The Psalmist has already sung out in despair that others have hurt and betrayed them. Next the Psalmist reminds out that when the weigh the value of other and anything you can hold in your hand against God it is like they are nothing at all.  He tell them this as the Psalmist sings; 9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie. If weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. 10 Do not trust in extortion or put vain hope in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.  The answer is clear. There is no one like God.  We can trust God enough to pour out our whole heart to God. We can lay ourselves spiritually bare before God.  God is not far away or is on his throne in heaven waiting to zap you for every misstep. No, God is near, ready to love us, ready to hear us, ready for us to pour out our hearts and to meet our greatest needs. The Psalmist ends in song with the incredible assurance that “Power belongs to you, God, 12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love.”  

This morning I invite to pour your heart out to God.  Share the depths of who you are with God and invite God to sweep into your life with healing and redemption.  God has the power to redeem and renew you.  God has the unfailing love whose desire for you is a life of abundance joy – of life like it was meant to lived.  I just keep thinking about the description of Moses relationship with God reported in Exodus 33 when we hear, The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.  May we chose to pour out our heart for God and discover a relationship with God where the Lord will speak to us face to face, like one speaks to a friend. Let’s not settle for less. God awaits us. How will we respond? 

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