Trust in God

Reading: Psalm 16.5-11

Some people will believe anything.

On 1st April there is a bit of fun as people are shown up to be "big April fools". But it is all very short-lived. A big laugh and it's over. It works because people are expecting truth, not a trick. And April Fools' Day has to finish at twelve o'clock because every day, including 1st April, has some real things to be done and real life depends very much on truth and trust. Any society in which truth and trust have broken down begins to become unworkable.

But, as I said, some people will believe anything. This week's Sunshine Coast Weekly had an article about Ralph Wicks' book on p.24 under the caption "Retired Coast bishop's story dispels myth". The myth - "that parsons only work one day in the week." Some people will continue to believe that myth! Underneath the article are four paragraphs headed, "UFO research branch plans meeting." This week's meeting was about "extraterrestrial influence on early human development and civilisation." There was also to be some positive light on "abductions/temporary detainments." Well-meaning people can get drawn in by some group that offers to explain an unusual experience they have had.

Some people will believe anything, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary. There is, for example, a Flat Earth Society. One wonders whether these people have ever flown in an aircraft and how they explain the view up there.

People will believe anything, and, if they don't come to believe in God and his truth, they still end up believing in something! They check out the stars, carry around their little crystal, have a tarot card reading...

Contrary to what some people have said, this is definitely an age of belief - belief in anything! And it is sometimes assumed that Christian belief is no different from all this other believing - if it helps you, well and good, and that's all there is to it! Somehow all kinds of belief get lumped together. They can all be relatively true - true for you - but none of it absolutely and universally true. It all becomes a sort of sophisticated nonsense.

A number of years ago L'Abri, the movement commenced by Francis and Edith Schaeffer, held a conference at the University of Queensland. The meetings were in the Abel Smith Lecture Theatre. A lot of people were confused about the location and got lost trying to find it. One of the speakers put it, "When you were coming here this morning, you believed you knew where the Lecture Theatre was. But the important question was whether your belief corresponded to reality!" We need to know the God who is really there and we can know him, because he has chosen to reveal himself to us.

David's Trust in God

David put trust in the God who has revealed himself. Listen to what he says in Psalm 16 -

"Protect me, O God; I trust you for safety.
I say to the Lord, 'You are my Lord;
All the good things I have come from you'...
Those who rush to other gods
bring many troubles on themselves.
I will not take part in their sacrifices;
I will not worship their gods.
You, Lord, are all I have,
and you give me all I need;
my future is in your hands..."

He has nothing to do with false gods. He knows that the most important thing he can do is to trust the Lord. The Lord is his help in the present - "you give me all I need" - and his hope for the future - "my future is in your hands."

The Lord's help in the present is not simply a rich provision of all he needs. It is the positive guidance to help David do what he should and the conscience to warn him against doing what he shouldn't do.

"I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
and in the night my conscience warns me."

And it is not just "remote control" help and guidance. David knows the Lord's presence and is strengthened by the knowledge of that reality.

"I am always aware of the Lord's presence;
he is near and nothing can shake me."

David's Hope

David's trust in the Lord leads to his hope in the Lord. By "hope" I don't mean the plaintive wish that we call by that name. Rather we are talking about his very solid hope for the future. We have already noticed that David said, "my future is in your hands." That, of course, expresses strong conviction that the Lord is in control of his destiny here and now. But it goes beyond that and David goes on to make a insistent affirmation about the life beyond this one.

"And so I am thankful and glad,
and I feel completely secure,
because you protect me from the power of death.
I have served you faithfully,
and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead."

Those words are certainly expressing trust in the Lord's protection of David in the course of this present life. But what then? This present physical life is not the life of eternity. It cannot go on forever. By one means or another it will come to an end. But David has a confident expectation that the end of physical life will not be the final end - "you will not abandon me to the world of the dead."

Peter's Affirmation

In Peter's Pentecost message in Acts 2, he picks up these confident words of David and goes on to say - "My brothers, I must speak to you plainly about our famous ancestor King David. He died and was buried, and his grave is here with us to this very day. He was a prophet, and he knew what God had promised him: God made a vow that he would make one of David's descendants a king, just as David was. David saw what God was going to do in the future, and so he spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah... God has raised ... Jesus from death, and we are all witnesses to this fact... All the people of Israel, then, are to know for sure that this Jesus, whom you crucified, is the one that God has made Lord and Messiah!"

So the promise to David was true. But it had to be fulfilled for Jesus first. Jesus the Messiah had to be the first to be raised from the dead, never to die again. Because Jesus died and rose again, heaven itself has been opened to all who will put their trust in him - not just a forgiven and fuller life that we experience here and now, but a life that reaches beyond the grave into heaven itself! Because the son of David was raised to life on the third day, heaven is opened to David himself who lived long before the time of Jesus but trusted in the promises of God. And heaven is open to eleven-year-old Bree who trusted in Jesus and has now been received by Jesus into heaven.

Heaven is open...

So we come back to those words of David -

"You, Lord, are all I have,
and you give me all I need;
my future is in your hands..."
"I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord's presence;
he is near and nothing can shake me."

Now is the time to trust the Lord. Place your now in his hands. Allow him to guide you, to warn you. Be strong in the Lord, confident because he is with you.

When we place our now in his hands, our future is in his hands too! Heaven itself is open to us!

(c) Peter J. Blackburn, Buderim Uniting Church, 18 April 1993
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the Good News Bible, (c) American Bible Society, 1992.

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