A sermon by Rev Russell Smidt on Psalm 69 at Richard’s Induction on 3 March 2018
- River stories
Mighty rivers tell the stories of river towns:
- Years of good flow and farming prosperity
- Years of drought and water restrictions
- Times of flood – band together
- Cross-river rivalry in sport or business
- Landmark moments of Federation
- Sad and tragic moments of lives taken too soon by the swirling waters
- Saturdays/holidays enjoying the refreshing water – picnic, fish, ski, swim
- ‘The waters have come up to my neck’ (v1-12, 19-21)
In Psalms… water tells King David’s story.
- His thirsty longing for God (Psa 42)
- The refreshing calm of still water in God’s presence (Psa 23)
- The swirling danger he faces in a chaotic world (Psa 69)
Psalm 69 is a desperate cry in danger – a PRAYER to God for RESCUE. [v1-2]
He’s out of his depth … desperately scrambling to get foot on solid ground.
More than a moment of trouble and panic (v3): ‘worn out from calling for help’!
But the REAL trouble is NOT swirling water…
He’s surrounded by enemies who hate and seek to destroy (v4).
Being hated by one person hurts, but this is intense.
Because he belongs to God and God’s people…
shamed (v7), alien to his family (v8), insulted (v9), scorned (v10), made fun of (v11), mocked… (v12) even drunks make up songs about him.
Now, as we read the Psalms, we see bits & pieces of OUR STORY… my story, yours, Richard’s
something we all can relate to.
The story we see exactly… is JESUS’ STORY.
Ultimately, the Psalms are about God’s King – the Christ.
- Jesus quotes this Psalm: [Jn 15]: ‘they have seen [my works], and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
- Again when he clears temple (Jn 2) capturing his burning zeal for God’s honour.
- Paul quotes this Psalm (Rom 15:3): Christ’s mode of operation was NOT to please himself.
- In Garden, Jesus longs for his closest disciples to stay awake with him, but they give in to sleep, he’s arrested, falsely accused and flogged, Peter abandons him and denies knowing him, he’s mocked… even by those crucified with him… AND in the loneliness of his death he cries, ‘My God, why have you forsaken me?!’ This is Jesus’ story!
As we see Jesus’ story in the Psalms… see how we might respond in bits and pieces that line up with OUR STORY. 1) Entrust ourselves to God 2) Long for God’s justice 3) Praise God
- ‘But I pray to you, O LORD’ (v13-18)
In midst of any AND EVERY danger or trouble… big or small…
personally, as a church/community/nation – our first response is (v13-18):
Cry out to God … Loud and long… with tears and desperation.
This is not a LACK of faith – this IS faith.
Bookmark, highlight… memorise v13-18.
We need this prayer every time faced with danger, anxiety, fear, temptation. [v13-18]
Jesus always entrusted himself to good Father. And in darkest trouble cried out to him.
- ‘Pour out your wrath on them’ (v22-29)… wait, WHAT?!
Second response is to long for God’s justice.
Verses 22-28 are pretty shocking to our ears! [v22-28]
This is NOT about personal vengeance – David brings it to God.
NOT about trivial matters – rightly upset about horror done to him, God’s people and ult God.
David appeals to God’s perfect justice and judgment… for God to do what is right.
Again Jesus’ story [1 Pt 2:23-24]: ‘When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.’
Think about the things we get angry about, times we seek justice…
Is my passion for justice aligned with God’s passion for what is right?
- ‘I will praise God’s name’ (v30-36)
Third (and resounding) response in this Psalm is praise of God.
Genuine gutsy grateful praise of God [v30].
David does this… NOT because he’s eternal optimist
BUT because he knows God – what he HAS done and IS doing for him.
Because of JESUS’ STORY… because of what God has done for us in Jesus…
We have EVERY reason – in EVERY season of life for genuine gutsy grateful praise of God.
Brothers and sisters at Corowa… over time you’ll get to know RICHARD’S story.
He’ll be example to you of one who entrusts himself to God; what it looks like to long for God’s justice more than his own and praise God…
more than that he’ll point you to Jesus’ story and tell you again and again HIS story.
As you get along in gospel partnership… do this for one another; for community…point everyone to story of One who died and is risen for you.
Richard, never tire in this – know HIS story and love HIS story, share it with family, show way for Jesus’ church entrusted to you, encourage peers in the Presbytery.
Continue to do it for me.