IN GOD WE TRUST
By Mark E. Hardgrove, D.Min.
Text: Ps 37:1-9
1 Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb.
3 Trust in the LORD, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
6 He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret - it only causes harm.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the LORD,
They shall inherit the earth.
I have here a twenty dollar bill and it says, "In God we trust." I have a penny and it says, "In God we truth." This quarter says, "In God we trust." So every time we make or spend money, the money reminds us that our trust, as a nation, is not in the money, or the army, or the politicians. Our trust is in God. But is it really? Do we really trust God, or has our trust in God been shaken by the economic crisis that our nation is in? Do we trust in God or are we looking to someone or something else to deliver us?
When our trust is in God we can be strong and courageous, but when our trust in the government, or in our military, or in our money, then our courage rises and falls. We become like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. Trust in God gives us boldness and enables us to be steadfast in the Lord.
Illustration: God once asked me, "Don't you think I can take care of you?" If you answer that question correctly, then there is nothing left but to trust God and be anxious for nothing.
I) DON'T GET DISTRACTED
David reminds us in our text that it is easy to get our eyes off of God and become distracted. We might look at the evildoers or the workers of iniquity who have cheated and stolen their way to the top and wonder where God is and why He hasn't done something to stop these people.
It is tempting to fret over the evil people in the world who seem to beat the system, who seem to be able to get ahead by breaking the rules. And if we're not careful we'll get distracted from trusting God and become envious of those who seem to have it all, while we have worked hard, have obeyed the rules, and have been faithful to God and yet we feel like we are struggling and scraping just to get by.
David said, "Don't fret . . . nor be envious" of them. They may seem to be getting by with it, and it may appear that they have beaten the system, but the Bible says, "Behold your sins will find you out." David said, "They shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb."
Recently a man named Bernie Madoff swindled billions of dollars out of investors. Bernie was living the high life will tens of billions of dollars in his bank accounts, but just as David said would happen, he was cut down like grass and is going to wither in prison as the green herb. Once he had it all, but now Bernie will eventually die in behind iron bars. The justice department is also looking at Madoff's wife, his brother, his children and his nephews. Those who participated in Madoff's sins are going to feel the sting of judgment.
II) DON'T STOP TRUSTING
David reminds us that regardless of what anyone else is doing, and regardless of how it might appear that the wicked prosper, we must keep our trust in God.
Not only must we keep trusting in the Lord, we must continue to what is right no matter how much the wicked seem to prosper. We cannot compromise or quit. We must continue to do what is right and trust the Lord to work it out. David said, "Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness." Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). If we trust God and keep doing good, keeping doing the right and moral things, the promise is that God will be faithful and He will supply our need.
Analogous to trusting in the Lord is delighting ours self in the Lord. The Hebrew word delight literally means "soft," and it implies that which is comfortable, luxurious or delightful. When we make being with God the place we want to be, and when that relationship is the most comfortable and satisfying place to be, our heart will always be satisfied in Him.
This verse isn't saying that if we delight in the Lord, then we can ask for anything and God will give us anything our heart desires. What this verse is saying, is that when God is our delight, or our comfort, then He becomes everything our heart could ever want or need. It isn't about delighting in Him so that we can get what we want. It is about Him being our delight and as such He is everything we want and need.
Illustration: From that first moment in May when I first laid eyes on my wife in the Air Force dormitories at Loring Air Force Base in Maine at the age of 23, she was all I could think about. I delighted in her. From the first day I met her I didn't want to leave her side. I may have freaked her out a little bit, but I almost ran from my duty station to the chow hall to eat lunch with her. I looked forward to seeing her after work. I thought about her when we were apart and I hated to be away from her. I delighted in Sun Hyoung Chi. Then finally, standing in the cold May rain, only a few weeks after we met, I convinced her to marry me and, can you believe it, she said "Yes." When she said yes, she was giving me the desires of my heart. The desire of my heart wasn't to get her money, or to get her to give me stuff, or to anything else. She gave me the desires of my heart, when she gave herself to me in marriage.
When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He gives us the desires of our heart, because He gives us Himself. "For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). What more could we want? What more could we ask? In His love He supplies our needs, but if the desires of our heart long for anything more than Him, those things have become our God.
The song says:
Lord, You are more precious than silver.
Lord, You are more costly than gold.
Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds,
And nothing I desire compares to You. ~by Lynn Deshazo
Too many people live their lives looking for things to bring satisfaction, looking for the next promotion, or the bigger house, or the new car to somehow bring them satisfaction. But people like that live their lives in a constant state of dissatisfaction because there is never enough, it is never new enough, big enough, or good enough. When we seek to find our satisfaction in things, we are never satisfied, but when we can say like the songwriter, "Take the whole world, but give me Jesus," then we find joy unspeakable and full of glory, and then we find a peace that passes understanding.
There is something liberating about trusting in the Lord. It sets us free to be what He's called us to be, to do what He's called us to do, and to live our lives unshackled from the things and problems of this world. Faith in God is all about trust and obedience. If we have put our faith in God, then we are saying "I trust you God, and I am going to obey you. I'm going to do whatever you call me to do."
III) DON'T EVER LOOSE YOUR COMMITMENT
When we trust in the Lord, and when Lord has become our delight, it isn't difficult to commit our ways to the Lord. The enemy is always trying to tempt us to compromise our commitment to the Lord. After all, everybody's doing it. Why not just go with the flow? You don't want to stand out. You don't want to be a stick in the mud. Just go along, even if your heart's really not in it.
There are a thousand excuses we can give for compromise, but I'll give a good reason to stay committed to the Lord, if we will commit our way to the Lord and trust in Him, He will bless our life with His goodness and He will provide for us in the land. Furthermore, He will bring forth our righteousness as the light and our justice as the noonday, which simply means that everyone will see that we have been faithful to God and God has been faithful to us. God will vindicate us before our enemies and will cut off the evildoers. They will be shown for who they are and you will be a testimony to God's goodness and righteousness.
IV) DON'T BECOME IMPATIENT
Here's the key in verse 7, you have to be patient. David says, "Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." We want God to do it now. We want God to rain down lightning and thunder on the wicked, on those who steal and cheat their way to the top. We want them exposed for who and what they are.
God says, "Don't fret, don't get all worked up over their wickedness, but instead, you keep doing what is right, you rest in the Lord and be patient, because judgment delayed is not justice denied.
Don't fret over them who prosper through unrighteous means. Don't get angry and irritable. Don't let wrath rule your thoughts and emotions because of these folks. David says you are only doing yourself harm when you do that. When you are angry and filled with wrath over those people who do wrong but who seem to prosper in their sins, it doesn't bother them. Instead, you get the ulcers and the high blood pressure. You get the headaches and restless nights.
I once heard a rabbi say that when you hate someone, it is like poisoning your own well and hoping they will die. The only person it hurts is you. But when you trust in the Lord and decide to pray for the salvation of those who do wrong, it liberates you from anger, ulcer, hatred, and frustration. When you trust in the Lord You can find joy in what God has done and is doing in your life, regardless of what is going in anyone else's life. When you trust God you can appreciate all of His blessings in your life, without fretting over what is going on in anyone else's life. You won't be worrying about keeping up with the Jones's because your delight is in the Lord.
David was a man chosen and anointed by God to take Saul's place as king of Israel. David didn't seek out the position, but God chose David. David hadn't done anything wrong, it was Saul who disobeyed the clear and direct commands of the Lord on two occasions and instead of repenting Saul made excuses. God finally had enough and God removed His Spirit from Saul to be king of Israel, and instead God anointed David. As a result, Saul chased David like a criminal and tried to kill him, but David would not let anger and hatred rule his life.
One two separate occasions David could have killed Saul, but David refused to touch God's anointed. David trusted the Lord and the Lord preserved David, and in God's time God elevated David to be king of Israel. David waited on the Lord, and they who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
Patience is not weakness, it is strength born out of trust. When we truly trust God, when we rest in His faithfulness, we can be sure that justice will prevail.
Trust is fragile thing. Trust is build upon past experience, but once trust is betrayed, it is difficult to rebuild. From that day when God asked me if I thought He could take care of me, and I said, "Yes, Lord I do believe," He has never let me down. God has been faithful, and I know today more than I ever have, that I can trust in the Lord.
I've counseled couples where one of the partners has broken a sacred trust and it takes time to rebuild that trust. But God has never betrayed that trust. I can testify that He has never failed me, He's never let me down, all I can say is I am blessed.
Some of you are sitting here today and your mind is in turmoil. You have no rest. You are wringing your hands and worrying about what tomorrow holds. Well, stop worrying, instead trust the one who holds tomorrow. Rest in the Lord, be patient, wait on the Lord and in His time, on time, God is going to cause your righteousness to break forth like the light, and His justice in your life will shine as the noonday sun.
Others may have broken that trust. Others may have disappointed you and let you down, but God has you in the palm of His hand and if there is one thing I know, it is that Jesus never fails. He'll come through for you. Money fails, people fail, governments fail, and sometimes even preachers fail, but Jesus never fails. You can trust in Him. The writer of Proverbs 3:5-6 says:
5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
I know without a doubt that this is Word of the Lord for this church today, and for someone here it felt like I was reading your mail. It is a trust issue, and today I encourage you to trust the Lord. Stop trying to work it all out in your own mind. Stop trying to figure it all out and just trust Him. He will direct your paths, He will lead you in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. He will put His name on the line for you, if you will trust and follow Him.