As many of you, I spent my T-giving holiday around family and children… One of the things about children is that they need to leave a light on when they go to bed, children are afraid of the dark. As we grow we become almost desensitized to the dark and oddly enough we become afraid of the light. That is the real tragedy of life – that we stop being like children and needing light.
I hope this series has encouraged you to trust God in the darkest of times. God’s light and power are able to overcome any situation. However, in this series we have been reminded that God allows us to experience darkness:
– Because sin leads to darkness and we must turn
– Because spiritual enemies give darkness we must fight
– Because spiritual growth occurs out of darkness
- Our character is not made in darkness but revealed in darkness. In other words, we must live for the treasures of eternity and not fools gold in this world. Every day is refinement and pruning to become more like Christ.
Most of all, because darkness is such a reality in this world, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to endure sin and suffering of darkness so that light is possible.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, les his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out by God.” John 3:16-21
One central theme in this series is that during times of darkness we struggle to relate to God and become spiritually dry or reject God.
James 4:8 “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”
EXAMINE PSALM 63
The setting for this psalm is David during a dry time in his life. He felt alone being driven from the throne and Jerusalem by Absalom and chased away by his enemies. During a time of physical wandering and dryness he knew where to find spiritual refreshment – in God.
In Psalm 63 you can note 4 realities to defeating dry times.
There is a God to worship (63:1).
David starts the psalm addressing it to God. He has a personal relationship with God addressing him as “my God”. He seeks him with earnest as if he were drinking from a fountain after being parched. His thirst could only be quenched with God.
David says “Elohim, Eli” which is a mysterious yet profound way in describing God as both a plural and a unity. Even in the Old Testament are hints of the Trinity, an important doctrine not to be taken lightly.
The reality is every person is made to worship. At your very core you are a worshiper. Many people seek to fulfill their worship appetite with various pleasures. C.S. Lewis put it well when he said, ”…it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, like an ignorant child who wants to go making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the beach. We are far too easily pleased.”
Or Augustine “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
There is only one true God who will satisfy our soul cravings to worship.
– What if
- o God were to deposit $10,000 in your bank account
each month but in eternity abandon you?
- o God were to prolong your life to 1000 years without wrinkles, sickness or pain but in eternity abandon you?
***God created you for Himself, He is the greatest gift!
– Are you far too easily pleased with God-substitutes? What do you do with earnest in your life? Will you treasure and worship God?
There is a place to worship (63:2-3).
David says he sees God in the sanctuary. David is recalling God’s work and promise to be with his people in Jerusalem. That vision inspires him to reflect where he can worship God. For David, his reality is that he is no longer in Jerusalem yet he can still worship God because His power and glory can be seen throughout all creation.
You share David’s reality understanding there is no one place for you to worship God. Your “sanctuary” is the place God dwells which is in your life. You are God’s temple as are God’s people. Therefore, wherever God’s people are He can be worshiped.
ð Have you come to a place in your life where you can worship in any circumstance – darkness or delight?
ð When you come to church building do you come expecting to meet God?
ð God-sightings: look for places where God is at work
There is a time to worship (63:4-6).
David often reflected and worshiped God at the end of the day and throughout the night. Such is the life of a person filled with busyness and activity. Many stay awake at night thinking of their ‘to do’ lists and how the days are going. David did this through the watches of the night. This led him to sing to God understanding that God is in control. His singing was to be full-throated singing of joy.
The time to worship God is anytime! We are called to constantly recognize God’s sovereignty and power throughout our life.
ð When do you least realize God’s sovereignty and least likely to worship God? It is probably during a dry time. This is the time to worship all the more.
There is a reward to worship (63:7-11)
David found great blessing in his God. His personal relationship with God gave his tremendous satisfaction and comfort. He rejoiced in the shadow of God’s wings, symbolizing protection from enemies and sin and having help in God’s comforting presence and caring provision. His soul clung [cleaves – firmly united with strong affection (Gen 2:24)] to God
God’s right hand holds on to you which implies his grip will keep firm regardless of your grip (isa 41:10).
God will never abandon his own. Dry times are not a result of God’s neglect but our own.
SO, here are a few suggestions that are helpful in dry times.
1) Find forgiveness. As I said, dry times are often a result of our spiritual laziness and arrogance. In other words, it is our sin that blocks our fellowship with God. We need to confess this sin and be specific with whatever has become our god-substitute. Do not allow pride keep you from fellowship with God and others (1 John 1:5-10). Understanding that ALL sin is against God, your dry time may not be something that has been directly against God but perhaps it is because of a disruption of fellowship between you and another. Remember, before we can worship and commune with God we must reconcile with our brother and sisters (Matthew 5:23-24).
2) Ground in the gospel. Regardless of how we may feel during these dry times the gospel says we are not loved or accepted based on our actions, thoughts or feelings. God loves me based on His perfect sacrifice on the cross and his unchanging, unconditional grace. He is unwavering in His love for me and you and our identity must stay focused on Him not ourselves. So go ahead, soak in the facts of the gospel that you are accepted, loved and called to a living relationship with your Maker!
3) Peruse the Psalms. The psalms are filled with honesty about personal feelings and how we view God in the midst of trying times. Be encouraged that you are not the only person in history to have these thoughts and attitudes. And these writings come from a person God called “a man after God’s heart.” The psalms call us to see life with the grand view of how big God is. There is nothing that God cannot handle and we can trust in Him. “The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth” (Psalm 97:5).
4) Relentlessly remain. When going through dry times we are not hearing from God or feeling as we should. Our calling is to abide (John 15:5). It is to stay connected to Jesus as a branch is to a vine. This means we are to obey in all the little things as well as the large areas of our life. As we press on and endure the difficult times God will speak to us and remind us that He is there to guide and instruct us further. As one pastor noted, valleys are meant to be walked through, it’s a passageway not a permanent mailing address. Every valley is between mountains and God will move you through the valley raising you up to the higher place. Each day and circumstance is preparation for eternity.
 Augustine, Confessions