“Deep Calls to Deep” Psalm 42-43

The link below is the sermon I preached at the Randolph Church of Christ this past Sunday, March 20, 2011.  The sermon is titled “Deep Calls to Deep” from Psalm 42-43.  In the sermon I am trying to show how the permission God gives us to lament (complain) when suffering occurs is done so as an act of faith that seeks renewal of hope.  To be quite honest, I don’t feel this sermon was my best delivery but it’s real.  Besides the tragedy that has taken place in Japan (which is what prompted this sermon) and the disappoint violence taking place in Libya, the past week has been a challenging week in ministry.  So besides being exhausted, my heart has been hurting for other people I know who are bearing difficult burdens.

Psalm 42-43 – _Deep Calls to Deep_

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3 responses to ““Deep Calls to Deep” Psalm 42-43

  1. Hi Rex, Personally, I honestly have never felt the urge, or any tendency, to complain to God. Know here, that I am not attempting, in any way, to boast or to lift myself up, or to say it is wrong to share one’s frustrations with God, or in any way argue with your good Sermon. It is both good and comforting to know –and believe– that “ALL THINGS come together for good to those who love God, and are called according to His purpose.”

    Tribulations have always brought me closer to God. As I study God’s Word; and just let it talk to me, through all these years, –I experience being LIFTED UP from the ways and thinking and logic of this world. God’s ways are not man’s ways; and I think maybe a part of the problem is that we sometimes are not understanding how God works, and His nature, is that we tend to think, at least somewhat, as the world sees and teaches us how to see and interpret things. And, in so doing, we might be inclined to unconsciously in our own fleshly thoughts and reasoning to bring God down to our own level. I suppose we come to God with a lot of worldly baggage on our shoulders. And from here I could go into a long discourse about the beauty of being literally baptized into Jesus Christ, into the likeness of His death, BURIAL and RESURRECTION, –a new life! And remember, “Jesus wept.” Do we understand, in our studies, WHY Jesus wept? Yes; Jesus weeps with us, for us, in our sorrows. Jesus weeps in our suffering. God does not enjoy watching us suffer, even though sometimes we must. Did God enjoy the suffering of His son on the cross, as Jesus was calling out. “Father, why have you foresaken me?” Did God enjoy watching the turmoils and testing that Job had to go through?

    Sometimes, maybe we need to ask ourselves; what do we REALLY believe? If we believe that God loves the little children and babies and that they are His and SAVED for eternity, then why do we find ourselves complaining to God, when He takes one up? We say that God is our FIRST love, –but is He really? Do we love our offspring even more than we love God? Jesus said, ‘Bring the little children to me,’…and to ‘be like the little children’. Why did He say that? Does God hate babies, or does God love babies? And from here, we can go into the book of Job, for divine understanding. God has given us everything we need to know for life and Godliness, –and the book of Job is a good part of that. Listen to the wisdom of God, not to the wisdom of men. That is the lesson of Job, that comes to my mind here. And remember the faith of Abraham, a living faith. What does that teach us? And think about how God gave up His one and only son, to suffer as He did on the cross, so that we might be saved. Does God have no compassion? Or do we believe that God loves us so much, that He gave His only son, to be tortured and crucified? And why did Jesus obey? One who has lost a child, ‘undeservingly’, ‘unfairly,’ might well tune in to the partaking of the Lord’s Supper on the ‘Lord’s Day’ because that Christian can well identify in Spirit what it is like to lose or give up his son. All one needs to do is to look at what happened to the Apostles of Jesus. Did they go to their unwarrented tortures and executions being mad at God? I think not. And WHY not? No; Christians are lifted up from this world, by the Word of God. And the Word incarnate is Jesus.

    Being close to God, we know things by faith (becomes in us) that the world does not understand. This world is not our home. Many read Scripture but are dumbfounded and only see foolishness, and cannot understand it, because their hearts are not right. That is the way God planned it, so that only the rightous will be saved. If that were not so, than God’s Word, truth, could be cunningly used, simply by ‘works,’ by those not chosen of God for heaven at all. When God makes a promise, it is forever. For example, the Bible New Testament is SEALED forever by the blood of Jesus on the cross. God’s Word is today, yesterday, and forever; God’s Word is the “I AM.” Christians live and stand on the Word of God. At least, that is the road we select and strive for towards maturity; the Lord is not through with us yet; but the ride is great! 8<) –dc

    • Don,

      I’m sorry but I think you are way wrong on this one. You say, “If we believe that God loves the little children and babies and that they are His and SAVED for eternity, then why do we find ourselves complaining to God, when He takes one up?” Frankly, this is a naive question. Those, including Christians, who have buried their children understand perfectly why we complain.

      As far as the place of lament in the Christian faith is concerned… The Psalms, including the Psalms of Lament, are part of our scriptures and they give us not only the voice but also the right to complain to God in faith. Not only does scripture speak of God lamenting (e.g., Amos 5.1) but it was Jesus who complained in death “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15.34, a quote from Psalm 22.1). Lament, grieving, mourning has nothing to do with the lack of faith or thinking from a worldly perspective rather than a gospel perspective. It is something we do with inward groans that wait in hope for our adoption (Rom 8.23) because we know that things ought to be different.

      Grace and Peace,

      Rex

  2. Okay Rex, Let me try this on you: About: “Those, including Christians, who have buried their children understand perfectly why we complain.”

    Note that I never said that it was sinful to complain to God, or that if you do, you have no faith. Also note that I had no argument with your Sermon. I was only witnessing for myself. I don’t know how anyone can get through the tribulations of this world without God. Job complained to God; and God answered him. Do you remember how God answered Job? Does not the same also apply to Rex? After God answered Job, did Job keep on lamenting? I think not. Did the apostles who walked with Jesus go about lamenting? Why not? They certainly had plenty to lament about. What did the Apostle Paul write to the brothers from his prison cell?

    About: “As far as the place of lament in the Christian faith is concerned… The Psalms, including the Psalms of Lament, are part of our scriptures and they give us not only the voice but also the right to complain to God in faith.”

    I don’t read these “Psalms of Lament” you speak of as complaints to God, but as the author taking a deep look at his own laments, and note that in the process he even expresses his own answers, clearly derived from his strong faith in God who loves him. He begins: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you. O God.” Does this sound like someone complaining to God? And at the end, of Psalm 43, the author writes: “Why are you so downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Maybe Rex might also say the same, “Why are you so downcast, O my soul?…” The author clearly is not blaming God, but looking inward: “Put your hope in God, for I will praise him, my Savior and my God.”

    About “Not only does scripture speak of God lamenting (e.g., Amos 5.1)…”

    “Amos 5:1 speaks of God lamenting”? Read this again. It is Amos who is doing the lamenting here, not God.

    About: “But it was Jesus who complained in death “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mk 15.34, a quote from Psalm 22.1).”

    Yes; I quoted this also in my reply. But, was Jesus really “complaining”? I don’t think so. Jesus was asking a question why, because at this moment of separation he could not understand the seperation. Yes, Jesus was frustrated and in agony, but I don’t believe the Scripture says that Jesus was complaining. I can’t imagine it. At the Lord’s table, was Jesus complaining about what was to come? Did Jesus complain about what he knew he had to do, in obeying the will of the Father?

    About: ” … It is something we do with inward groans that wait in hope for our adoption (Rom 8.23) because we know that things ought to be different.”

    I don’t read this as saying “things ought to be different,” –but, that things WILL be different. There is a big difference. Your words “AUGHT to be different” connotes complaining and disatisfaction. Whereas, “WILL be different” connotes hope and thanksgiving, trusting and loving God and all He has made and does, and what is to come.

    Grace and Peace, 8<) –dc

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