“GOD, HELP ME!”
CWBC – 5/27/18
INTRO – Good morning, everyone! I’m so glad we are together to worship the Lord Jesus today!
We live in a great nation. In spite of all of our difficulties & struggles, I still believe that the United States is the greatest nation in the world. We owe such a debt of gratitude to all of those who have served our nation in every branch of the armed forces. And on Memorial Day, we remember those who gave the greatest sacrifice for our nation, the sacrifice of their very own life in the name of freedom. An unknown author said, “Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies w/ the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it.” We thank God for our nation’s service personnel, & on this weekend, we thank God for those who gave their lives for our freedom. As it has been said many times before, “Freedom isn’t free!”
But America is sick. America is wandering away from God. America is in desperate need of God’s help. The Church in America is in desperate need of God’s help; which means that you & I are in desperate need of God’s help.
The good news for us as God’s children today is that we have all the help we need, & that help comes from our God. Last Sunday, Russ preached his first sermon at Easthaven. Preached from Ps. 62. Shared that sermon w/ us this past Wed night in REFRESH. Encouraged us to wait patiently for the Lord to work. Ps. 62:2 – “[God] alone is my rock & my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” Fortress – a strong, fortified place of protection from the enemy, like a castle w/ cannons stationed on the walls.
One of the greatest, most well-known hymns of our faith is Martin Luther’s great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” It was written in the early 1500’s & was based on the Psalm we are looking at today, Psalm 46. Most historians believe that Luther wrote this hymn as the black plague was approaching, killing hundreds of people in its wake. If there was ever a time when someone needed the help of God, it was Martin Luther at this time.
There is a great plague sweeping across our land & our lives today, too. It’s the black plague of sin. We are all affected by it & infected with it. Its symptoms show up in our lives & in our society in a multitude of different ways.
- It shows up in every form of media you can think of
- …in every family in some form
- …in the decimation of marriages
- …in churches & denominations
- …in governments & the corporate world
- …in the lives of women & in the lives of men
- …in our schools & on our college campuses
- …in the inner city & in the suburbs
- …in urban areas & in the country
This black plague of sin brings trouble into all of our lives. And there’s only one place we can look for the help we need.
Open your Bibles or your Bible app to Psalm 46.
Psalm 46 (ESV)
God Is Our Fortress
To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth.[a] A Song.
46 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
10 “Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
EXPLANATION – Scholars are not unanimous, but many relate this psalm to the time when King Hezekiah of Judah was surrounded by the army of Sennacherib, King of Assyria. Forty‑six towns and villages in Judah had been sacked. Over 200,000 residents had been taken captive, along with much spoil. And now, Sennacherib & the Assyrian armies have shown up & surrounded Jerusalem. At least 185,000 troops surrounded Jerusalem, and it looked like only a matter of time before the city fell. Sennacherib had mocked Hezekiah, who was a godly king w/ a deep faith in God.
So, proud Sennacherib showed up, ready to defeat Hezekiah & overrun Jerusalem. But he didn’t think about the fact that Hezekiah’s God is the living God who will not be mocked. Hezekiah prayed, God spoke, and in one night the angel of the Lord defeated Sennacherib by killing 185,000 of his soldiers (2 Kings 18‑19; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36‑37).
I love what Pastor Steve Cole says about this Psalm:
“Whether out of that situation or some other, Psalm 46 was written out of the crucible of extreme adversity from which God had provided deliverance. It relates to anyone who is in a time of trouble, or to anyone who will face trouble, no matter how extreme, in the future. It tells us that
When trouble strikes, God is sufficient to get you through.
No problem, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual, is too big for our God. If we will learn to take refuge in Him and lean on Him alone for strength, then with the psalmist we can face the most extreme crises with quiet confidence, because God is with us and He is sufficient. But we would be in error if we thought that God insulates us from problems.” (https://bible.org/seriespage/psalm-46-our-sufficient-god)
APPLICATION – Here’s what we need to remember today:
When trouble strikes, God will ALWAYS help us get through it.
So, question: When trouble strikes your life, where do you turn? When a crisis comes into our lives, we turn to that person or thing that we trust the most.
- The alcoholic turns to the bottle.
- The drug addict turns to their drug of choice.
- Met a waitress at Cerami’s. Recovering addict. Strong Christian. Involved at Pinelake. She posted a video on FB in response to a friend of hers who had been sober for 8 years. Friend is married & has 2 kids. But got in a difficult place & turned back to crystal meth.
- Worldly person turns to worldly wisdom.
What about you & me? Where will we turn? To whom will we turn? Will you turn to friends & family? Will you turn to your place of addiction – Shopping? Eating? Porn? Gambling? Drinking?
Or will you just shut down? Go into hiding? Will you just be frozen into doing nothing, paralyzed by fear, or guilt, or indifference?
Psalm 46 gives us clear guidance on what to do when trouble strikes in our lives, no matter what form it takes or where it comes from.
- It may come when natural disasters strike – v. 2-3
- It may come when enemies strike & siege – v. 4-6
- It may come when wars strike & ungodly leaders rule – v. 8-10
- Or it may come from a ton of other places.
But, no matter where it comes from or when it comes, we must turn to the Lord FIRST. Our first cry should be, “God, help me!” Why?
ONLY HE IS OUR REFUGE & STRENGTH, OUR VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE – v. 1 – It makes no difference what the trouble is or where it comes from – God is there for you.
- “refuge” – a place of shelter
- “strength” – might
- “help” – assistance that arrives & comes to you when you need it – NIV says, “ever-present help” – I like to say, a “never-absent help in trouble.”
That’s our God! If you belong to Him, that YOUR God! And ONLY He is these things.
- ONLY GOD is your refuge! Not a flimsy lean-to shelter, but God!
- ONLY GOD is your strength! Not the strongest man in the world who can bench press 1102 lbs, but God!
- ONLY GOD is your help! Not assistance from the government or someone else, but God!
ONLY HE IS THE LORD OF HOSTS, THE GOD OF JACOB & OUR FORTRESS – v. 7, 11 – It makes no difference what the trouble is or where it comes from – God is there for you!
- “the Lord of hosts” – “hosts” refers both to all of the created things in the universe, & also to all the angels of heaven (remember the shepherds at Jesus’ birth – Luke 2:13 – “And suddenly where was w/ the angel a multitude of the heavenly host”). “Lord of hosts” means that He is the Ruler over all of the billions of planets, stars, & galaxies, & He is the Supreme Commander & Lord of all the armies of heaven.
- “God of Jacob” – Why Jacob when Jacob was such a conniving, deceiving schemer? B/c this points to the GRACE of our God, & lets you know that you can depend on Him to help you even if you’ve failed Him. That doesn’t give us permission to just go out & intentionally sin & fail. But it lets us know that His help is not dependent on our strength & success, but on His GRACE.
- “fortress” – stronghold, an unassailable place, a place that is not open to attack or assault.
ONLY HE IS GOD – v. 10 – It makes no difference what the trouble is or where it comes from – God is there for you!
- “God” – Elohim – God of strength & power – the infinite, all-powerful God – Creator, Sustainer, Supreme Judge of the world.
- El Shaddai – God Almighty
- El Elyon – God Most High
- El Roi – the God who sees
- Yahweh – the Lord God, the self-existent one
- Yahweh-Maccadeshem – The Lord your sanctifier who forgives all your sins
- Yahweh-Rohi – …your Shepherd who cares for you
- Yahweh-Shammah – …who is always present & never leaves you or forsakes you
- Yahweh-Rapha – …your healer
- Yahweh-Tsidkenu – …our righteousness
- Yahweh-Jireh – …our Provider
- Yahweh-Nissi – …your banner who gives you victory in battle
- Yahweh-Shalom – …your peace
- Abba – Father, “Daddy”
- Alpha & Omega – He is A to Z – complete
CONCLUSION – Do you know what happens when we cry out, “God, help me!” in our time of distress & trouble? Peace is what happens! Peace that ONLY GOD can give. Peace that passes all understanding & comprehension. Not the peace that the world offers, but the peace that ONLY GOD gives. This peace comes only to the children of God! So, we need to:
- Be saved!
- Be still! – Stop what you are doing.
- A well-trained soldier will ‘freeze’ instantly if he hears some sound that he is not expecting. It takes long hours of training to enable him to ‘freeze’ quickly enough to save his life. That’s how it is with the one who would ‘be still’ in the Lord when the unexpected happens…
- Be sure! – Deepen your faith by drawing from Him daily as your resource; by drinking from Him daily; & by declaring His praises regularly w/ His people.