Michael Youssef - He Is Our Rock and Role
History had shown us that often successful leaders not automatically make successful fathers. I'm gonna say more about this next week. There are some very successful business leaders, there are some who are very successful politicians, there are some who are very successful professionals, and yes, there are some who are successful pastors, who sadly not successful fathers. This message is not to make anyone feel guilty, but to walk with you in order to strengthen your faith that you will never, ever, ever give up praying.
King David is one of those. King David was a great warrior. King David was a great king. King David was a great leader. King David was a songwriter. King David was, I dare say, a spiritual leader as well. Yet, he failed as a father. He was so busy doing a great job for the kingdom of Israel that he failed in his most important responsibility. One son raped his step-sister. Another son killed the rapist step-brother. And to top it all, his son Absalom conducted a coup d'etat in order to topple his father from his throne, so much so that for a period of time, Absalom actually took the reigns of power in Jerusalem.
And to make things worse, King David had to flee, and run, and escape from his palace just to save his own life from his own son. Powerful, successful King David was on the run. He was on the run. And while he was on the run, away from his home, away from his family, and away from his subjects, David sits down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and he pens those words in Psalm 28. It's a prayer, and only those, listen to me, only those who have been through the pains of the circumstances of life, only those who found themselves to be totally desperate will be able not only understand this psalm, but relate to David. David found himself with a broken heart, tortured emotions, and torn kingdom. And David found himself in his pathetic plight.
Now, remember, he had seen some tough days. He had experienced some heartaches in the past, but none like this one. This is the most painful of all. So, he sits down and pens those words of Psalm 28. I hope you already turned to it. This prayer is really a song. If you look at it in the Hebrew language and how it's designed, it is really a song and has three stanzas in it. The first stanza is verses 1 to 2. David is placing a confident request. The second stanza is found in verses 3 to 5, and there he presents to the Lord a reasoned request. And thirdly, you find here that David, in the third stanza, verses 6 to 9, a cause for rejoicing. You ready? Let's go through them.
The first stanza in which he presents a confident request. Now, don't miss this important part about his confidence. He comes confident to God. Where does his confidence come from? The rightness of his cause? No, and may be, it's very right. Nobody can argue with that. Is he saying, "God, look what I've done for you, and you owe me something"? That is self-righteousness. No, that's not what he does. But his confidence comes from knowing who God is. He says, "To you, I call O Lord; my," what? "Rock". That's who he is.
So, let me ask you, do you know why the Bible refers to God and later on the Lord Jesus as the Rock? It's because a rock is a symbol of changelessness. A rock is a symbol of the immutability of God. A rock is a symbol of the permanence of God. A rock is a symbol of the invincibility of God. A rock is a symbol of the immovability of God. No one can call themselves the rock except the Lord Jesus, amen? But there's something else here that I don't want you to miss.
This is the amazing contrast that you find in this psalm. I wanna explain that to you. David and his world are falling apart, but God is what? David's world is crumbling, but the Lord is what? David's world was sliding, his throne sliding from under him, but God is the what? David's power that at once seemed to be invincible and was victorious over all of his enemies, all of them, but now he's on the run, but God is what? David's security is melting before his eyes, but God is what? David's subjects, they turned on him, even some of his friends, but God is what?
Let me ask you this, have you been there? Have you been there? Well, some of you may be there now, going through it now. When everything seems to be going great and everything in life seem to be humming just as it should be, all of a sudden, everything begin to fall apart. All of a sudden. The company that you were counting on, it goes belly up. The business deal that you have been working for falls apart. The marriage that looked solid, the health that you were proud of, all of a sudden your world begin to fall apart. Do what David did, go to the only one who's unchangeable. Go to the only one whose love for you does not ebb and flow. Go to the only one whose stability toward you is unquestionable.
Let me ask you another question. When you are betrayed by someone that you thought was near and dear to you, to whom do you go? Do you become angry with God for that betrayal, which he has nothing to do with it? When you find yourself in trouble because some of your own choices, some of your own wrong choices, do you cry to the Rock of Ages, or do you falsely accuse him of not protecting you from the consequences even of your own choices? David's confident request stems from knowing who God is. Never once do you see, here or anywhere else, that David feels that God owed him something. In our culture today, everyone seems to feel that they're entitled. Are you with me?
There's an entitlement culture today. They feel that God owes them something. They feel that the government owes them something. They feel that their parents owe them something. They feel that the church owes them something. When it comes to God, he owes us nothing, and we owe him everything. People with that entitlement mentality never accomplish anything great, never accomplish anything worthwhile. And David said, "Hear my cry, O Lord," for what? For what you owe me? For what I've done for you? No, no, no, no, no, "Hear my cry for your mercy". See, David figured that if God is not hearing him and does not have mercy on him, he's as good as dead.
Now, beloved, I fully identify with that because I wrestle with God. I often have to say to the Lord, "Without your mercy and without your grace, I'm a dead man walking". There are times when I have completely blown it in my life, and I go to God and literally I go on all fours. I say, "O Lord, I don't have the right to ask for anything except your promised mercy. Lord, the only confidence I have is in your mercy. Lord, the only assurance that I have is your mercy". When David penned those great words inspired by the Holy Spirit, obviously he was sensing that God has been silent.
Have you ever experienced the silence of God? You may be experiencing the silence of God right now, but he has a purpose for that. And David is appealing to the Lord to break his silence and answer his prayer. And David is saying to the Lord, "Lord, I am as good as dead if your mercy does not break your silence". And so, David says he holds his hands toward the holy place. That is a symbol of the presence of God. He's lifting up his hands to the Lord. This is a sign or a symbol of passionate expression to implore God. When Moses did this on the mountain, Joshua won the battles. When Jacob wrestled with God, God heard his cry. When Jesus sweated blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, the resurrection took place on the third day.
Confident request. Secondly, he calmly reasoned with God. Look at verses 3, 4, and 5. You see, if we don't know how to judge sin in our lives then we have no right to judge anybody else. Hear me right, please, because the beauty about David's calm reasoning with the Lord is that he does not reason based on his self-righteousness, I already told you this, but rather based on the character of God. David already approached God by confessing his own sinfulness, but he does more than that. Look at it with me. He does not begin his prayer or his psalm by asking God to judge the wicked. No, he doesn't begin there. He begins by asking God to keep him from being dragged into the wicked's evil schemes.
John Wesley said something that I often quote, "But for the grace of God, there go I". But for the grace of God, there go I. David is aware of his own propensity to sin. David is aware of his own propensity to behave like the wicked people do, and that is why he begins by confession that, apart from the life-giving, sustaining power of God's Word, apart from the life-giving, sustaining power of the Spirit of God, apart from the life-giving, sustaining mercy of God, he could've been swept away with the wicked and he would've been among the ranks.
Don't miss what I'm gonna tell you. When David was praying for justice, he was not praying just as an individual. There's a difference between you and I pray as individuals and the leader of a country praying. He's praying here as the king of Israel. He's praying here as the governor. You see, it's one thing even for the head of a state or the head of a country to pray if he's a believer, and he would pray and even forgive the sinners, and it's a whole different ball game for him who placed in authority to exercise justice and to punish the wicked, as Romans 13 says. Evil must never, never, never prosper, regardless of how you feel toward those who commit that evil. Are you with me?
And we must pray for their evil plans to be frustrated by God and to be destroyed by God. Sadly today, many under the guise of compassion, they can have more compassion toward the criminal than the victims. They wanna protect the civil rights of the wicked more than those who suffered from their wickedness. They want to protect the rapist than the rape victims. They care more about the rights of a child abuser than the children. Now, beloved, this is wrong. This is evil and we must never acquiesce to it. We need to pray that God will keep raising up leaders with a sense of justice and indignation against evil, for that's what God calls them to do.
Confident requesting, calmly reasoning, cause for rejoicing. All of us, whenever we get into trouble, whenever we get into a fix, we pray. We cry to the Lord, right? We ask others to cry to the Lord and pray on our behalf. Great, keep doing it. Don't stop, but here's the thing that I have seen through the years. When God answers that prayer, most often, a person becomes exuberant. He becomes thrilled and delighted, and they're really full of thanksgiving to God. That's always the case in the beginning. That exuberance in thanksgiving and gratitude to God, with time, it begins to fade away.
In Luke chapter 17, we read about ten lepers. Ten, all healed, all ten of them. Only one, a foreign, a Samaritan, he was foreign to the covenant, that is, not part of the covenant of Israel, only one comes back and says, "Thank you, Lord," and then the Lord saves him. So, he's not healed his body but saved his soul eternally, which is a blessing of gratitude. That's a subject of another sermon, but literally, you can feel the emotions on the part of the Lord Jesus when he said, "Where are the other nine? Were there not ten? Why is only this Samaritan comes back and says thank you"? Probably they felt that the world owed them something, but not David. Not David. David actually began to praise God and thank God before he could see any evidence of answers to his prayer, and he began to praise God. He began to thank God.
Look at verse 7. David said, "My heart trusted". That's the past tense. "I am helped". That's present tense. "I will praise". That's the future tense. Based on his experience and knowledge of God, what he saw, how God protected him from the lions and the bear, how God gave him power over Goliath, based on his history and testimony experience with God, based on that knowledge of the character of God, David's supplication turned into seeing God acting, which turned into a song and singing to the Lord.
Beloved, I know most of you know this, but we don't live our Christian life in a vacuum. We really don't. We are here today as a result of where we were yesterday. We will be where we be tomorrow based on where we are today. Not only did David begin to praise God before seeing evidence of answered prayer, but David was interceding for others. This is very important. People who only pray for themselves when they are in a fix or they're in trouble and they need God to help them, only pray for themselves, or even just close family members, only their needs, only their focus, and they never pray for other people, they miss out on an incredible blessing. It is a blessing that before God I cannot verbally put it in words. You have to experience it. Here I speak of what I know, what I experienced.
Now, this is not to undermine the authority of the Scripture. This is to testify to the truthfulness of the Word of God. Praying for others, interceding on behalf of others, upholding the needs of others before the Lord, this has a special blessing that you cannot put in words. Praying for God's work, praying for God's people, praying for the things that are dear and near to the heart of God, this blessing is something you cannot truly tell another person about, because you experience it. You have to personally experience it. And so, David concludes this prayer, this song, by interceding for others. "Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever".