Michael Youssef - Benefit by Hindsight
I know we talk about hindsight as being always 20/20, right? Hindsight is the ability of seeing things after the event has taken place. It is the opposite of foresight. Foresight is the ability to see things and anticipate things before they happen. If you anything like me, we are all good at hindsight. We really are. Someone was describing his friend and he said, "You know, he can only predict things after they happen". I'm not big on regrets, that is, staying in regrets. I have learned through the years, through the Word of God and many of those who have poured into my life, that when I fail miserably, I turn back to the Lord immediately, and confess, and repent, and place my sin under the blood of Jesus.
In my own life, when I do not take time and pray, praying includes listening to the Lord, and then once I hear, obey the voice of the Lord. If I don't take time to do that, every time, not just some of the times, every time I fail big time. I blow it every time. Well, as I said, there are two ways of dealing with failures. You can beat yourself up and keep at it, or there is another way. I believe there is a better way of dealing with past failure, and I believe with all my heart it is not only a better way, it is the biblical way. It is the godly way. It is the positive way. It is the healthy way, and it's found in the second half of Psalm 37. Turn to it with me please.
In the last message, we dealt with the first half of Psalm 37 and then I said I will complete it in the following, which is today. Here in Psalm 37, we are seeing the old, wise King David giving us some very wise advice, and we'd do extremely well to listen and adhere to how the Holy Spirit inspired this man who has lived through a whole lot of stuff in his life and came through the other end to tell us about it. And I began by telling you last message, the first half, do not fret.
The second half here in Psalm 37, the same wise man, David, is continuing. He is saying, "Learn from me and from my experience. Learn from the benefits of hindsight. Learn from my past failures and pain. Learn from my past sin and the suffering that came as a consequence of that sin. Learn the consequences of those painful experiences that I have been through and don't repeat them. In fact, learn from me regarding the futility of worry, and anxiety, and wanting to jump the gun and do things that are not consistent with the will of God for your life".
Now, here's actually David saying more than that. He is saying to us, "Learn from this benefit of a long and painful life, of a life that's seen the ups and has seen the downs, a life that have experienced the glory of God, and the same time, other times, experiencing the dumps". First, in hindsight, I know now that God never, never, never, never forsakes his faithful ones. That's in verses 23 to 26. Secondly, he said, "In hindsight, I know that God ultimately blesses his faithful ones," verses 27 to 34. Finally, thirdly, in hindsight, God truly is honored when you and I trust him fully and completely, and you find that from 35 to 40. Let's look at these very quickly.
And if you're taking notes, I'm gonna repeat them so you'll still be able to write them down. In hindsight, I now know, now that I've got a long life behind me, now I look back at my life, I now know in hindsight that God never, never, never forsake his faithful ones. David reflects on the faithfulness of God through the years. And he reflects on that faithfulness of God and he sees the Heavenly Father is much more and much greater than an earthly father. But even more than this, more than this, look at verse 23. The steps of the faithful child of God are ordered by the Lord. Though along the way, as he takes steps he may fall, but when he fall and splatter all over the place, God never says, "Well, on your own, buddy". But God says he'll never be forsaken, why? Because he said, "The Lord upholds him with his own hand". That is the promise of God.
You see, saying that the Heavenly Father never throws out his son or his daughter out of the house and never throw his son or daughter out of his abode, why? Because the Lord is carrying you, whether you know it or not and whether you feel it or not. Question, how does this work in the life of believers today? How does it work in your life, and in your life, and in my life? I'll tell you the obvious, then I'll come to answer the question. Do you remember when you became a new believe in Jesus, when you came to Christ, and experienced his salvation, and you experienced his forgiveness? All of a sudden, your spiritual eyes are seeing this incredible love of God who died on that cross for you and shed his blood for you.
Remember how excited you were and how on cloud nine you were? Remember how so much in love with the Lord you were? You wanna do anything for the Lord. You don't wanna do anything that will offend him. And how you cannot wait to wake up in the morning to tell everyone about the forgiveness of your sins and the joy of receiving that forgiveness. You remember how you were studying the Word of God, you're devouring the Word of God, and you're learning from the Word of God every day? How you are seeking God's will in your life in every step, and how you prayed before you make any decision, and you sought God and God guided you.
Well, the spiritual growth in all of our lives mirrors the physical growth. So, when you become a believer in Jesus, you basically have become a spiritual toddler. Can you say, "Spiritual toddler". Now, there may be spiritual toddlers here and that's fine. We all go through the stages. And you remember, if you watched little toddlers, how they excited and how they're delighted in pleasing of their parents. "Look at me, Daddy. Look at me, Mommy". And they kind of really get a joy and a delight out of the parents' love and the parents' approval. It's just a special relationship with the little toddler, and it's the same thing in the spiritual realm. And God seems to respond to the toddler in a different way than he does to the mature Christian. Oh Lord, then followed by the adolescent years.
What do you do in adolescent years? You think that you know everything. You think you know everything about the Christian faith. And you're about to make a decision, and make a very important crucial decision, and you give God 24 hours to respond. He doesn't respond. In the same way when you're a brand new Christian. Now, I don't know why, and I thought about this long and hard. Just like David, I've looked back in my life. And why does God not respond in the same way to a mature Christian as he does to a baby Christian? And I could think of various reasons. Maybe because he wanna teach us to wait on him. He maybe wants us to learn patience. Maybe because he wants us to learn to trust him. I don't know, I just trust the Lord that there's a reason for it.
You may become discouraged and despondent, and at that point, there's a huge temptation comes from the devil, comes from the enemy of your soul, huge temptation. And the enemy begins to say to you, "Look, since you're down, stay down. It's a lot easier to be down. It's more comfortable down here. Now, see how you blew it? You'll never be able to have the same relationship with the Lord again like you once had". And his miserable voice keeps coming in and said, "No amount of repentance now is gonna restore that relationship or be used in the work of God. You will never be an example and a role model now that you have failed".
Meanwhile, whether you are actually hearing him or not, the Lord is saying to you, "I've got you in my hands. I've got you in my arms. I'm upholding you with my own arms. I'll never leave you nor forsake you. I want to strengthen you. I wanna teach you some very important lessons, some life lessons. You are mine and nothing and no one can change that. I could never disown you. Repent, seek my forgiveness, and I'll give it to you". This wise old man, David, is saying, "The steps of the godly woman or the godly man are ordered by the Lord. Though he fall, though she falls, he will never cast you out". God is not only faithful to his own faithful ones, but he is faithful to their descendents. To their descendents.
You remember the widow of the faithful man of God who went to the Prophet Elisha, 2 Kings chapter 4. Go home and read it. Here's what a lot of people miss. They think of the miracle, and they think of all the encounter, and Elisha, and all of this, and it's all wonderful, but there was one sentence there. When this widow comes to the Prophet Elisha, she starts by saying, "You know that my late husband was faithful man of God". See, that's the key here. "You know, Elisha, that my husband was a faithful man. But now I'm a widow. I'm up to my eyeballs in debt and the debt collectors beating on my door. They are threatening to take my boys into debtors prison. They gonna take them into slavery".
And you know what the Lord did for her. Elisha asked her, "What do you have in your house"? He always starts with what you have in your house. What do you have in your life? What do you have? Bottom line is God gave her an oil factory, an oil factory out of a drop of oil. And she paid all her debts and she lived for the rest of her life and her sons. God is always not only faithful to his faithful ones, but to their descendents. Beloved, if you have never risked anything in faith, in absolute trust in the promise of God before you see the evidence, you're missing out on incredible blessings in life, blessings I can't explain in words. Oh dear God, when I read how less than 3% of believers tithe to the Lord, I wanna cry. What kind of faith is this?
And we pray for revival, we pray for God to bless America, and we pray for this, and we'll pray for that, and his people are not faithful to him. Just in case you feel bad, I was ordained to the ministry and was not faithful with my tithe, and the Lord had to teach me that very, very important lesson. Long story, but I remember back in 1979, we're living in Atlanta, and my income at that time was just about, maybe slightly above poverty level. But this came after God taught me the lesson of faithfulness with his money. It's not mine anyway. We were tithing and I remember this sweet lady who I was introduced to to help us with our taxes, and she looked at me and she said, "How can you tithe when you got three children, and they got their future, and future education, and everything else that's coming up"?
I remember looking her in the eye and I said, "That's because you have never experienced the Lord stretches a dollar all around the house". Someone here might be sitting here or even watching around the world and says, "Well, Michael, to be truthful, I just don't feel blessed right now". I understand, I really do. The times when I don't feel blessed are the times I look back and realize that they were the times of my greatest blessing. David knew it is so easy to fall in the temptation of misinterpreting and misjudging the blessings of God. David knew that all of us without exception, including your pastor, are prone to fall in the temptation of thinking that we know what is good for us. David knows that all of us are vulnerable, including your pastor, to the thought that we know better than God of what we really need and we should have.
Look at verse 27, "Depart from evil, and do good". What is that evil he's talking about? It's the evil of falsely accusing God of not loving you. It's the evil of falsely accusing God, when he doesn't give you what you want or you think you want, that he doesn't care. The evil of hardening your heart toward the Lord because you didn't get what you want. It's the evil of anger toward God. It's the evil of coldness toward God. I remember one time many, many years ago, a lady came and she said, "Will you pray for me? I have this cold love toward God".
I never heard that term before, but since then I understand it. Depart from it. Depart from it now. Depart from it today, this moment, as you're hearing the Word of God preached, why? Verse 28. God does not forsake his godly ones, because God promised his own favor on his godly ones, because God promised that he is faithful to his faithful ones and they will inherit the earth. NIV says land, but it really is the earth, and in the New Testament, I can tell you it's the new earth and new heaven. In hindsight, David is saying God never forsake his faithful ones. In hindsight, God always blesses his faithful ones. Thirdly, in hindsight, I know that God is honored by our trust of him.
You know, I hear people all the time say, "We want to honor the Lord. We want to honor the Lord". Listen to me, the greatest honor that you can bestow upon the Lord is you fully trusting him, trusting his timing, trusting his timing. Can you say that with me? Trusting... That's always a hard one. Even when he allows inexplicable things that happen in your life, be patient and trust that God has your best interests at heart. Even when you see the wicked prospering, even when you see evil succeeding, even when you see falsehood is rampant, even when you see immorality is praised and public, even when you see deceitful people becoming famous, even when you see the wicked grabbing the headline and the headline news, even when you see the corrupt and the greedy seem to be getting away with it, even so, you trust him. You trust him.
Don't be tempted because that is not the last word. That's not God's last word. His last word is coming. Look at verses 37 and 38. The faithful is at peace, regardless of the circumstances. Verse 38, "The transgressors shall be destroyed," just like those pretty flowers. They might look great on the outside, but don't judge by appearance. Verse 39, "The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord". That means, my beloved friends, it is permanent. It is permanent. Don't ever forget, God is not writing your name in the Book of Life in a pencil. And every time you blow it, he turns it over and erases it. And then you repent, he writes it back. No, no, he said your name is written in the Book of Life by the blood of Jesus Christ and nobody can erase it.
God does not save you one day and then disown you another, dump you another day. The Lord is their strength in times of trouble. Look at verse 40, "And the Lord will deliver them from the wicked, and save them," why? "Because they trusted in him". The Bible said that many are the woes of the righteous but the Lord deliver him from them all. How many? Beloved, unfailing trust in the Lord will ultimately bring you vindication. It may take a little longer than you think, but it will bring you vindication. Your unfailing trust in the Lord will honor him in the long run. God said that he'll honor those who honor him.