Beth Moore - Road Trip Psalms - Part 4
So, we get to end our thoughts together in our passages on joy. We looked first of all at an overview of the section of the Psalm that we're studying, so that we looked, first turn to Psalm 126. We read it together, then we pulled out the lens so that we could understand it, in its context. We found out it was in what book of the Psalms? Book 5. And we found out that it was in this collection of Psalms that is called Psalms of Ascent. And then we learned that there were how many of them? And we learned that they started at Psalm what? And they ended at? And you, Lord, have sealed something in our hearts that I pray we will not forget, that every single time, brothers and sisters, we turn to these passages we remember, and we read them in context of those who are on a journey, those who are on their way to Mount Zion, which we surely and most certainly are.
I want you to see these words with me in Psalm 126 together again for our final time. I'm reading it out of the CSV. "When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. And they said among the nations, 'The LORD has done great things for them.' The LORD has done great things for us; and we were joyful. Restore our fortunes, LORD, like watercourses in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy. Though one goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed, he will surely come back with shouts of joy, carrying his sheaves".
One of the most outstanding things to me about Psalm, and I'm not sure I can get it across the way it feels. I hope so, or the way I feel it, rather, is where it says in 2 and 3, "They said among the nations", I'm gonna say it closer to the NIV. "The Lord has done great things for them," and then it says, "That they say of themselves, 'The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.' And we are filled with gladness," depending upon your translation. "And we are so glad". And I want to camp on that, because we end with joy today. Would all of us agree that the Lord has done great things for us? Could I see your hands if we could agree with that? The Lord has done great things. Have you ever, ever had an occasion, and this sort of takes the community of faith. This is one of the big losses if you don't have the community of faith. Does anyone know to say this to you? Have you ever had someone say, "Man, the Lord has been so good to you". Anybody, anybody?
It's a wonderful thing when somebody else notices it. But I want to ask you a question. Are you glad about it? Are you glad about it? Because so often what happens is that in the despair and darkness of this world, we let it invade us, and God's done all sorts of good things for us. But we're not even glad. I mean, well, you know, I appreciate it. No, you see, we've got to have our gladness. We've got to reawaken ourselves by the power of the Spirit of Jesus, to respond to his goodness. Now, I'm gonna tell you, for instance, where it says, "Our mouths were filled with laughter". There is so much darkness in this world, so much devastation that if you want to let it, you cannot smile again for the rest of your life. But you will not make it if you do that. And I don't mean you may not live. You may not. It could cut your life short to just take on the burdens of the world, as if you can fix it, because you cannot.
But what I want to tell you is these moments come to us as a respite, and it's a tremendous mistake not to respond to them with laughter and joy. In other words, if something funny happens, and it's not at someone else's expense, and it's wholesome, for heaven's sake don't just send someone "LOL". I've got a concern, a concern about our emoji living. And I'm gonna tell you what it is. I say this half tongue in cheek and half of my tongue is not in my cheek, because what we're doing, we're not giving our time, ourselves time to respond to anything emotionally. We're living so fast. Somebody'll say something funny. "LOL". We're done, we're done. And we didn't laugh, and it wasn't out loud. We should've written that GAL, grinned a little. That's it. Grinned a little. Somebody know what I'm talking about? And we'll do a cry emoji. Are we actually crying? No, but we thought it had the appearance of crying.
So, we thought we did. This may seem silly, but I'm gonna tell you we're not processing anything. And I don't know about you, but I'm old school, so I was not raised up in this. This social media stuff is madness, and I love social media. I'm on it every single day, but I'm just gonna tell you that have been raised up in this, one of the things that I have to do is I am positive it's a very important factor in my journey with God, I have to have time to reflect. If I don't, I will get depressed. In other words, I'll have to go home, and I will have to take a little while on a long walk perhaps, and I'll have to reflect on this week. I can't just jump into the next thing. If I jump from one thing to the next, I start realizing that I feel anxiety, and I feel I start getting depressed, because I've not absorbed the goodness of the Lord.
I just keep on living as fast as I can, and I can't operate like that. I've got some friends that go 100 miles an hour, and I mean it is on every single day they're at the next place. I can't. I said, "You know what? He knows how each of us operate. I can't operate like that. I have to have some time to reflect on where my heart is before God". What's going on in there? I remember some years ago, when something really dumb happened. I can't remember what it was. It had zero significance whatsoever, zero significance. And I hold off and kicked the bathroom counter just as hard as I could. I had my shoes on. I didn't hurt anything. I just kicked it as hard as I could. And I felt like the Lord whispered in my heart, "What you so angry about"? And it couldn't have been the thing. It was dumb. It was like, "Come to me. Something seated in you, and we need to deal with it".
And he knew exactly what it was, where I'd just been stuffing down, stuffing down, stuffing down, an offense I had gotten in my spirit, just stuffing it down, stuffing it down, just go on, go on, don't worry about it, don't worry about it. Just go on. Just overlook it, overlook it, overlook it. Only I wasn't, obviously, overlooking it. I just hauled off and kicked it. Because we have to take some time. Our hearts need tending to. Life wounds us, and we need sewing up. We need sewing up. I was telling somebody the other day that the word that translates, that Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our healer, if you look just in the basics, the most basic Hebrew dictionary, which would be Strong's, if it's still true, and I'm assuming that it has not changed, the very first definition that is given for healing, for heal, is to mend by stitching.
And it's always meant so much to me, because yes, there are many times we see in the Scriptures that there were instantaneous healings over and over and over again in the gospel accounts. But I'm gonna tell you, when it comes to the soul, I love that picture of him just like sewing it up, because you cannot keep from touching someone you're sewing up. I don't know if you've ever gotten stitches in the emergency room, but somebody had to touch you to give you stitches, in and out with the needle and the thread, to be sewn up. Life will tear you up. Take time to get sewn up. And not only will you pay for it. Those around you will, because you've not let the Lord tend to you, your healer and your restorer. Let everybody go past you 95 miles an hour. You bring it back here and walk with God. Walk with him.
One of the things that God has taught me to do is that if I'm lacking joy, rejoice my way back to it. Rejoice is I'm going to, I'm going to actually practice it until I have it. Is that resonating with anyone? So, it's the verb that's gonna get me to the noun. So, I'm going to rejoice my way back to joy. And I like to think of it like this. We know that we have everlasting joy coming. Jesus said, "And my joy will be in you". We know he's joyful. "My joy will be in you, and your joy will be complete". So, we know how joyful he is. We're told one of the biggest characteristics of life after this one, in Christ and in the presence of God and in the kingdom to come, one of the defining characteristics of it, enter into your master's happiness.
I love the NIV on Matthew chapter 25. We are going to live happily ever after. We are indeed. But what we can do till then, there's so much joy waiting for us that we can go ahead and make a little withdrawal on it, knowing it's coming, that my now joy, that when I'm joyless, you know what? I have so much joy coming, that anticipating it, I'm gonna have joy. I want to turn you to Luke chapter 10. This is when Jesus sent out the 72, and he tells them, "Go pray for the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest. Now go. I'm sending you out as lambs among wolves". And he tells them all their instructions. "Whatever house you enter, you say, 'Peace to this household.'" And then he tells them, and this is also, comparative text to it is in Matthew chapter 10, where he says, "If you didn't get well received there, you just shake it off when you leave, and just walk on".
So, it's such a beautiful, beautiful preparation to send them out. And it says, "Man, I'm gonna bless you. I will give you words to speak, but it's gonna be heck out there at times". And he's telling us events, this is why I don't understand how we have come up with this whole idea that somehow, when difficult things happen to a believer, that something's gone awry. He said from the beginning, "I'm going to send you out as sheep among wolves," not as wolves among sheep. That's how this was supposed to go. And so it says then that they come back to him, and he tells them, he said, "You're going to be able to do this". It's says in verse 9, "Heal the sick. You tell them the kingdom of God has come near them. You will have power to do all of this". And then it says that they come back to him. Go to 17. "The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.'" And he says, 'I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning. "Look, I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy: nothing at all will harm you. However, don't rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.'"
So, let me act this out for you a little bit. He sends them out, and they come back. And so what they say, essentially, when they come back is, "You're not gonna believe it, but it happened just like you said. We were able to do what you said". And so he says, "I saw Satan fall like lightning". Why, why? Because what Satan would have wanted, he is the accuser, constantly going before the throne, Revelation chapter 12, constantly accusing us. And so when Jesus sees that we have overcome in his name, the accusation of the enemy, everything that tells us, "You have no right to serve; you are unqualified to serve," that when we have guts enough, we fishermen, in comparison to the impressive people in the world, smelling like fish, like the fishermen, Peter, James, and John would have, when we have guts enough to take him at his Word, and we get out there and do what he has called us to, he's like, "I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning". But he's gotta make sure that they have the right attitude.
So, he turns back around and says, "But listen, I don't want you to rejoice over what you can do, 'cause it can't be dependent upon that, because there'll be too many times when you won't be able to see that". I'm paraphrasing what I think is going on here. And he said, You just rejoice, because your name, you rejoice in something that cannot change: your name is written in the book of life. You just rejoice that your name is written in heaven. That's it. That's what you want. You want to be able to rejoice in that. But then he turns around to God. And I want you to watch his reaction. "At that time he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, 'I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and you have revealed them to infants.'"
And it says that he rejoiced. He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit. That word is agalliao in the Greek, agalliao, and it means when joy gets demonstrative. When was the last time you had so much joy that you couldn't have just kept your body in its posture, like, you know what I'm saying? When did you have to clap? I mean, you just had to. When did you have to react? When was the last time you jumped up and down because something had happened that was that good? It's a word that can mean leaping and dancing and spinning, all the wonderful things. And, you know, I have people tell me all the time, and I understand our personalities are all really different, and I do believe that there are people that just flat out are not demonstrative. But the one thing I will ask them over and over again, "How do you act when your football team is winning"? Because don't tell me you're not demonstrative.
Tell me you're not demonstrative about God, but don't tell me you're not demonstrative. If you could scream your head off at a basketball game, I'm asking you when was the last time you let yourself really respond to the goodness of the Lord? Just throw your hand up and go, "Way to go, God. Way to go, God". Christ painted such a similar picture for us in the New Testament. Turn back with me to Psalm 126. As the psalmist does in 126, with the tears that turn into joy, because he said this. "You will have sorrow now," he told his disciples in John 16:22, "but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and nobody will be able to take away your joy". The promise of Philippians 1:6, "I'm confident of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it".
2 Corinthians 4:17, "For our light and momentary trouble are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all". Isaiah 55:12-13, "For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into the singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle: and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off". I don't want you to forget wonder and the mystery of God, that we have this God that is going to see to it that mountains and hills sing, and that trees clap.
You may say to me, today, "Beth, that's just really a word picture". It is for now. We have no idea what's coming. If we don't think that a mountain would be able to sing in the world to come, we do not have a clue about the creativity of God. If we don't think trees could honestly take their leaves and just like "Whoa, yes, yes"! we don't have a much, enough imagination to begin to comprehend the goodness of God. Psalm 133, remember that this is right before the last one. Remember that the last one was, "Bless the servants of the Lord in the Lord's house. Lift up your hands in the holy place and bless the Lord. May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, bless you from Zion".
So, this is one right before it, Psalm 133, "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! It is like fine oil on the head, running down on the beard, running down Aaron's beard onto his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon falling on the mountains of Zion. For there, the LORD has appointed the blessing, life forevermore". That is his desire for us, that we, because we are one, would act like one and that we would prioritize unity. Said, "Love one another". Love one another. Love one another. But it could be that there will be struggles with division until his kingdom comes. We just don't know how this is gonna go. We know that each of us who's willing can be part of unity and to respect one another in the faith, even if we disagree on many secondary issues, that we can come together in the belief that it is through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone that we are saved.
There is no other name under heaven by which people can be saved, that he came in the flesh and for whatever reason, we could go into a theology of that for the next 30 minutes, but John said in his letter that anyone who does not confess that he came in the flesh has an antichrist spirit and a deceiving spirit. So, we know that that's important that Jesus came in the flesh, that he was a very God and very man, and that he gave his life on the cross for us, that he was resurrected from the dead. These are first things, 1 Corinthians chapter 15. So, this is the spine of our faith. Everything, all the rest of it is the rib cage, but the spine, these are the things that have to be agreed among us, and the other one is that he is coming back a second time, that he will come back and restore. These are the things of our faith. These are the first things.
Everything else is important. But secondary, can we not break the back of the body of Christ? But here's what I'm gonna say. Should for our lifetimes the body of Christ be as fractured as it is right now, I want to give you a traveling word, and that is find some people with whom you have peace and joy, and make sure that you encounter them often, even if it's by text, by phone, by Skype, by FaceTime. There's so much harm and bruising out there, and we see a lot of things differently. A lot of those secondary issues we feel differently on, but there's some people out there that feel very similar to you. Find them, so you have a little respite, just a few people likeminded, so you can get by here, so we can connect and know we're not completely crazy. Or if we are crazy, we're crazy with our small group. They're crazy, too. And we could all be crazy together.