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David Jeremiah - Debt: The Fear of Financial Collapse

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Well, for many of us, just thinking about finances is enough to raise our pulse and make our palms sweat. It can happen when we put our trust in money instead of God. Maybe that's why our currency proclaims "In God We Trust". We need that reminder. Does our fragile economy leave you insecure? Well, you're not alone. David also dealt with insecurity in the Bible, but God spoke to his heart and he speaks to ours with seven principles for letting go of things that promise earthly security and embracing things of eternal value. So, join me in exploring those principles and dealing with Debt: The Fear of Financial Collapse, the latest in our ten-part teaching series, What Are You Afraid Of? Facing Down Your Fears With Faith. You'll find that when you depend on God's faithfulness, you will never be disappointed.

When we've lost our home, our possession, our bank account, and our investments, and the very concept of financial security has been swept away and we have nothing left, or if we find ourselves fearing that that could happen to us, where do we turn? Does God have anything to say that will give us comfort? And of course, you know that he does. And the Bible itself is a book of comfort. The Psalms in our Bible is the go-to book for comfort and one of my favorite psalms we're going to look at today for a few moments and that's Psalm 37. This psalm speaks to our hearts when the fear of financial calamity is stalking us. How should we respond?

When we've lost our home, our possession, our bank account, and our investments, and the very concept of financial security has been swept away and we have nothing left, or if we find ourselves fearing that that could happen to us, where do we turn? Does God have anything to say that will give us comfort? And of course, you know that he does. And the Bible itself is a book of comfort. The Psalms in our Bible is the go-to book for comfort and one of my favorite psalms we're going to look at today for a few moments and that's Psalm 37. This psalm speaks to our hearts when the fear of financial calamity is stalking us. How should we respond?

When we look out at a world and we're doing all the right things, we're obeying God, we're coming to church, we're raising our families in a godly way, we're tithing, we're doing all the things we know we should do, and we're failing, and the people we know who don't do any of those things, in fact, do a lot of evil things, they seem to be succeeding. How can that be right, and why is that fair, and why does it happen? I would like to suggest to you that there are two major Scriptures in the Bible that deal with that and it's kind of easy to remember them. One of them is Psalm 37 and the other is Psalm 73. I would like to suggest to you that Psalm 37 is an incredible portion of Scripture for our discussion today because it is a simple statement of some things Almighty God wants us to do when we're feeling insecure, not just about life, but about everything.

Sometimes when you read the Psalms, you have to read and then you develop principles having read it. Here the principles are just stuck right in the Psalm. There are seven of them here in the first few verses, just places where God, through the Psalms, says to us, "Here's what you should do". I kind of like that because it's always helpful when you know what you're supposed to do. And it begins here in the third verse where we're told, "Decide to trust in the Lord". Chapter 37, verse 3 says, "Trust in the Lord". I've underlined that in my Bible, "Trust in the Lord". This is one of the themes of the Psalms to trust in the Lord. And, you know, that's very important in this discussion because this whole issue of financial stability is an issue of trust. We even put things in what we call trusts, and we put our trust in people to care for those things.

And here the Bible says, if you want to survive the uncertainty of life as a follower of God, you need to learn to put your trust in God. And that's a decision that you make, you decide to trust in the Lord. This is mentioned three times in Psalm 37. Now, everybody has to trust in something. If you put all your trust in your resources, you're probably gonna find disappointment along the way. If you put all of your trust in what you've been able to amass out of your work on this earth, you're never gonna feel a sense of great security because if you put it in the bank, what if the bank fails? If you invest it in the stock market, what if it goes upside down? If you get it converted to gold and silver and put it in your safe at home, what if somebody breaks in and steals it? Where can you find something to put your trust in that will not fail you?

The psalmist says, trust in God. And let me just suggest to you that this is not emotional. This is not some feeling that you have. When you trust in God, you make a decision to do that. I've been very convinced of that more and more of late, even when it comes to the matter salvation. How does a person become a Christian? That person decides to put their trust in God? Does that mean they have all of the answers to all the questions they might ever have about being a Christian? Absolutely not, but there comes a time when they have enough answers that they say, "I am gonna put my trust in God," and they make the decision to do it. It's a choice.

And when, as Christians, we're dealing with the uncertainties of life, we have to make that same choice, don't we? What about what's going on in this country? Where are we going financially? Are the government officials getting us in so much debt that it's all gonna come down on us like a house of cards? Is inflation gonna go crazy? I don't know. I don't put my trust in any of those things. I put my trust in God, and I know that God will not fail me. Beginning at the very beginning of this is a choice that a person makes to put their trust in God. If you look down in your Bibles at verse 25, here's an affirming verse, "I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread". Paul said in the New Testament, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus".

I'm here to tell you today, God is trustworthy. You can put your trust in him. He will help you in every situation. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says, "God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, will have an abundance for every good work". Go through the Bible and you will find promise after promise that just simply underscores this truth that when you put your trust in God, you have found the one place where you will not be discouraged or disappointed. And then the next part of the verse gives us our next instruction, "Trust in the Lord and do good. Trust in the Lord and do good". That's kind of interesting, isn't it? Put your trust in the Lord and then do good.

And if you want to know what that means, there's a commentary on that in 1 Timothy chapter 6, verses 17 through 19. Let me read this passage. "Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, or to trust in uncertain riches but to trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. And let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come". It's almost as if the psalmist says when you're in a situation where you don't know what to do, first put your trust in God and then instead of sitting around and wondering how things are gonna be for you, look around for somebody to help and do some good things with what you have. What an incredible way to deal with life as we face it today. Trust and do good.

All of us are into the trusting part, but what about the do good part? What about taking what God has given us? How many of you know that no matter how bad things are for you, somebody you know is doing worse than you are? That's the second instruction. Here's the third one, dwell on the faithfulness of the Lord. Notice the last phrase in verse 3, three principles in one little verse, "And feed on his faithfulness". The Bible says when you're trusting in the Lord, you fill up your mind and your heart with the realization that he is a faithful God, and he is worthy of your trust. Feed on that, he is faithful. The early verses of Psalm 37 draw our attention to the faithfulness of the Lord. But I'm gonna do what you should never do when you're reading a novel. I'm gonna take you clear to the end of the chapter and notice what it says in verse 40 where the word "trust" appears again. "And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him".

When you trust in God and you do good, and then you fill your life and your mind up with truth of his faithfulness, which is like memorizing verses and putting truth into your spiritual computer, you develop a kind of Teflon spiritual personality that bad things just roll off of you. You say, "Well, my 401 has become a 101, but God is still on his throne and he's always been faithful to me, and I know he's worthy of my trust". How do you know that? Well, let me just share with you what I've learned from the Bible. The Bible says that when I am faithless, he's still faithful. His faithfulness is not troubled by what I do, or what happens in the world. He is worthy of our trust.

And how many of you know, you cannot really know that until you go through some difficult things in your life? Because when things are good, you probably think it's you. When things are going well, you probably think how smart you are, but soon as some of that is threatened, you become aware of your vulnerability. The Bible says to decide to trust in the Lord when you're going through uncertain times, to do the things that honor the Lord with your life, even though things are kind of upside down, to dwell on the faithfulness of the Lord. And here's one of my favorite ones in the text, "Delight yourself in the Lord". Verse 4, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart". Even when our circumstances hold nothing that seems delightful to us, we can always find our delight in the Lord. We could be facing loss and oppression, but these things do not define us. We should never let the challenges we face in our life define who we are. We are not the difficulties we face. We are who we are because of our relationship with Almighty God.

Now, the interesting thing about this verse is that there's a promise attached to it ad often it's misunderstood, and I want to try to explain it the best I can today. The Bible says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He will give you the desires of your heart". Years ago, I was reading a book on the will of God and the writer of the book said the simplest way he knew to explain how to get the will of God in your life was to fall in love with God, and then do whatever you wanted to do. I thought that was pretty simplistic, but maybe he's not too far from the truth. This passage of Scripture doesn't say that when you delight in the Lord, you can ask him for anything you want, he'll just give it to you, no matter how frivolous it may seem. "Lord, I'm delighting in you today. I'd sure like to have a new Corvette". No, that's not what it means. Some teachers teach that, but that's not what it means.

Here, listen to this, the Bible says if you delight in the Lord, if you delight in him, if you truly have all of your delight in him, you will never ask anything from him that does not coincide with who he is. In your delighting in the Lord, you define the things that you need and that you want. It becomes the context in which you ask so that if you're truly delighting in the Lord, you can ask him for what you want and he will give you the desires of your heart. And so, the Bible tells us that there's some things we can do during times that are uncertain. We can trust in the Lord. We can do the things that honor the Lord. We can dwell on the faithfulness of the Lord. We can delight ourselves in the Lord.

And then it says, "Dedicate your life to the Lord". It says here in verse 5, "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass". That means you come to the place where you say, "Lord, here is my life. I have no idea what's ahead. I don't know what you have in store for me where this is all going, but I'm dedicating this to you. I'm signing the paper at the bottom of the page, and you just fill in whatever you want. And that's who I am. That's where I'm going. My life is yours. Lord God, we're in this together. I dedicate my life to you".

As we look back over our lives, sometimes we have to admit that the things we thought were negative were just ways that God was getting ready to do something really positive, and we see him at work. So, we decided to trust in the Lord. We do things that honor the Lord. We dwell in the faithfulness of the Lord. We're not even out of the third verse yet. We delight ourselves in the Lord, verse 4. We dedicate our life to the Lord, verse five. And here's what I love, "Download your worry to the Lord". Just do it, download it. Verse 7, "Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass". The Bible says, "Don't get yourself caught up in worrying about what's going on with other people".

I mentioned earlier that one of the things we do sometimes as Christians is we kind of look around and say, "Lord God, I'm serving you. I'm honoring you with my life. I'm doing everything I know to do to be an obedient Christian, why am I having a hard time and all these people that don't even know how to say your name without cursing, they seem to be doing well"? And the Bible says, "Fret not, fret not". The word fret's a very interesting word. It has two different meanings. One meaning is the word "fret" means to gnaw at, like a rat gnawing at a rope or something. And the other meaning is to have a kind of like an explosive burst of flame. And that's what worry is like, it's like something gnawing at you on the inside. It's like something burning on the inside.

So, the Lord Jesus says, when you look out at how life seems to be laying out in front of you, don't fret, kill the rat, put out the fire. Get on with your life, amen? Because if you worry about it, it's not gonna change one thing, not gonna change one thing except you. It's gonna ruin you. Here's the last one of the seven and we're finished. Let me give them to you again. Decide to trust in the Lord. Do the things that are unto the Lord. Dwell on the faithfulness of the Lord. Delight yourself in the Lord. Dedicate your life to the Lord. Download your worry to the Lord. And finally, discipline yourself to wait on the Lord. And I wish that weren't in the Bible. I don't like waiting. I'm built more for speed than for comfort, and waiting is not my favorite thing. Wait on the Lord, what does that mean? It means God is at work, but he works on his timetable, and feels no obligation to coincide his timetable with yours or mine.

We may say, "God, would you please resolve this"? And he says, "Yes". "Would you please resolve this now"? And he says, "Wait," and we don't like to wait. In the waiting, we learn. In the waiting, we grow. Waiting is what happens between the promise and the fulfillment. Waiting builds our faith. Waiting reminds us that God does not live on our schedule, we live on his. And if we will learn to wait, we will see God do some great things. One of the joys of being a bit older is to look back over your shoulder and see how God resolved things that I wondered how they would ever get resolved. God was at work the entire time, I just didn't see it, and I was left to wait.

So, if you are facing uncertainty, or if you know people that are, I commend to you the 37th Psalm. And you don't have to go past the seventh first if you don't want to because in this Psalm are these crisp instructions. I've underlined all of the instructions in my Bible. The Word of God tells us to trust in the Lord, to do good, to feed on his faithfulness, to delight in the Lord, to commit our way to the Lord, to wait on the Lord and when we do that, we discover the Lord's in charge, and we can trust him. And we will be strong in the midst of it all. And that's a resource you only have if you know God through Jesus Christ.

In fact, let me just suggest to you as we close this message today, that if you haven't ever put your trust in God, here's what you should do, you should decide to do it today, just decide to do it. You don't have to make anything mystical out of it. What I've told you about God is true. Do you want him in your life? Here's how it happens, you accept what the Word of God says about you as a person. I had to accept it about me. It's true of all of us. You know what it is? We're all sinners. Guess what. We're all sinners and the Bible says that when we acknowledge that we're sinners, we come to God and we say, "Almighty God, will you forgive me of my sin"? And God says, "Yes, I will do that through what my Son Jesus did for you on the cross. He died on the cross and paid the penalty for your sin. If you will trust him, and put your faith in him and what he did for you on the cross, you can become a member of my forever family". And you say, "Well, I've never done that".

Well, why don't you do it? Why don't you decide to do it? Why don't you decide today, "I've had enough of this life depending on myself and everybody else. I want to get in on the God thing. I have decided to put my trust in him". We used to sing a song when I was growing up that goes like this, "I have decided to follow Jesus". I want you to decide that today, Make that decision, and just tell God, "I have decided to put my trust in you and in Jesus Christ," and he will hear you, and acknowledge you, and you will become a Christian. "And then all these things that I've promised from Psalm 37 will come into play in your life". Why would you not want to do that? You're just one decision away from being involved in the blessing of God?
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