Revive Our Hearts Podcast

His Love Endures Forever

Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says that God's calling on your life might be challenging, but it's never impossible.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Listen, if God tells you to do something, by His grace you can do it. You can't do it . . . but He can do it through you.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of Choosing Gratitude, for Tuesday, May 28, 2019. 

Do you ever take a moment to look back and reflect on everything you’ve been through in the last year . . . or two . . . or five? I’m sure you’ve experienced seasons of peace, along with some times of trouble. And your upcoming summer and fall will be no different.

Today, Nancy will help us prepare for the storms that are sure to come in the series “God’s Faithfulness in Times of Trouble.” She delivered this message at the close of one of the True Woman conferences. Nancy will be in Psalm 107.

Nancy: We've been talking this weekend about freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ. That's a great slogan. It's a great theme to rally around. We hear that and we say, "Yes, I want freedom! Yes, I want fullness. Yes, I want fruitfulness. I know it's in Christ."

But I wonder if any of you have maybe had a thought like this, That's a nice thought, and it's nice for all those speakers who live in a different plane than I live in. It's nice for the women sitting around me, but can I really experience freedom and fullness and fruitfulness in Christ? Can that be more than just words for me? I mean, Nancy, you don't know the challenges I'm facing when I get home. You don't know the baggage I'm carrying. You don't know the areas of struggles, the addictions, the bondages in my life or in the lives of those that I love or live with. Can that be more than a slogan in my life? Can I really experience freedom and fullness and fruitfulness?

I want to just say as we jump into this passage is answer is, if you have Christ, then the answer is absolutely. You can experience freedom; you can experience fullness; you can experience fruitfulness if nothing changes in your circumstances. God can use your circumstances to change you, and we're going to see that as we look at Psalm 107, a praise song of the redeemed people of God.

Now, let me just give you an overview of it, and then we're going to take it apart, unpack it, and I want you to have a Bible in front of you if you can because we're going to just dig into God's Word, okay?

Verses 1–3 are an introduction. It gives us the setting. After decades of exile and distress in Babylon, God has redeemed His people and brought them back to their homeland. We're going to see that in verses 1–3.

Then, verses 4–32, is a long passage. This is the body of the psalm and in this body you'll see four scenes, each of which ends with the same chorus, the same refrain. You'll see that in just a few moments.

And then verses 33 to the end of the chapter, that's the conclusion. So we have these bookends, the introduction, the conclusion, and then in the middle we have these four scenes.

Now, I want to read through the entire psalm. I've asked four of my women friends who've been ministering here this weekend to read these four scenes as they come up in the Scripture. And I'm going to ask you to join us in reading out loud, we'll have it on the screen so you can see the text, the sections that are marked "all." They'll be in red. We're all going to read the sections that say "all."

Then we'll read the other parts up here. You can follow along. Let me ask you to stand if you would as we give honor to the Word of God.

Now, this is a long text, and I may have lost my mind to attempt a forty-three-verse text in the last session at the end of a long weekend. But I want to read it. I want to walk through it because I want you to capture the story that God is telling through this psalm of the redeemed because this is not just an ancient history lesson. It is a history lesson, but we're supposed to learn something from history lessons.

And if you're a child of God, this is your story. God finds you in here, and that's what I want us to see as we walk through this story. So we'll start by reading together the beginning. We'll read together the very end and these refrains we're going to read together when you see the portions in red that are marked "all." Let's begin by reading together in verse 1.

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
  for his steadfast love endures forever!

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
  whom he has redeemed from trouble
  and gathered in from the lands,
  from the east and from the west,
  from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
  finding no way to a city to dwell in;
  hungry and thirsty,
  their soul fainted within them.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
  till they reached a city to dwell in.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
  for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
  and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
  prisoners in affliction and in irons,
  for they had rebelled against the words of God,
  and spurned the counsel of the Most High.
So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor;
  they fell down, with none to help.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
  and burst their bonds apart.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
  for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he shatters the doors of bronze 
  and cuts in two the bars of iron.

Some were fools through their sinful ways,
  and because of their iniquities suffered affliction;
  they loathed any kind of food,
  and they drew near to the gates of death.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress.

He sent out his word and healed them,
  and delivered them from their destruction.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
  for his wondrous works to the children of man!
And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving,
  and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!

Some went down to the sea in ships,
  doing business on the great waters;
  they saw the deeds of the Lord,
  his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
  which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
  their courage melted away in their evil plight;
  they reeled and staggered like drunken men
  and were at their wits' end.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
  and he delivered them from their distress.

He made the storm be still,
  and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
  and he brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
  for his wondrous works to the children of man!
Let them extol him in the congregation of the people,
  and praise him in the assembly of the elders.

He turns rivers into a desert,
  springs of water into thirsty ground,
  a fruitful land into a salty waste,
  because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water,
  a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell,
  and they establish a city to live in;
  they sow fields and plant vineyards
  and get a fruitful yield.
By his blessing they multiply greatly,
  and he does not let their livestock diminish.
When they are diminished and brought low
  through oppression, evil, and sorrow,
  he pours contempt on princes
  and makes them wander in trackless wastes;
  but he raises up the needy out of affliction
  and makes their families like flocks.

The upright see it and are glad,
  and all wickedness shuts its mouth.
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things;
  let them consider the steadfast love of the Lord."

This is the word of the Lord. Amen? Amen. Thank you, ladies.

Okay, I want us to walk through this psalm together. I want to encourage you to follow along. We start in verse 1, verses 1–3, those opening verses, this overview, this intro to the psalm. And the first word I see is "Oh." Now, I'm not going to camp on every word, or we'll be here until the next True Woman conference.

But don't miss that word "Oh." You sense the fervency there? You sense the passion there? "Oh, give thanks to the Lord." This is an earnestness. This is an appeal for us to give Him fervent praise. "Oh, give thanks to the Lord."

Why? Because He is good. "For he is good." So we're going to see a couple of reasons here to give thanks to the Lord. The first is that "He is good." That's His character.

So I want to just ask you to repeat this verse with me. I want you to leave saying this verse today. I want you to be saying this verse next week and next month and as you go through this thirty-day walk over the next month. Say it with me, "Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."

I'm not convinced by what I hear up here that you really believe that. So could you say it and convince me? Together.

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."

Once more and you might have it memorized.

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever." Amen.

God is good. He's always good. He's only good. He is the highest supreme good. And His steadfast love endures forever.

That word, "steadfast love," some of your translations it's translated the loving kindness of the Lord. It's a hard word to translate from the Hebrew into English because there is so much wrapped up in the word.

It's the Hebrew word hesed, the steadfast love of the Lord. That's God's covenant-keeping love. God's faithful love and mercy for His people. It's a love that is always acting on behalf of His people. It's a love that moves God to pursue us relentlessly, persistently, and it's His faithfulness to keep His promises to His people that He loves.

Now, that's something to give thanks for the fact that God is good and that God's steadfast love, His covenant-keeping, faithful love endures forever.

God is good when you don't feel like He's good. God loves you with a steadfast love when you feel like He has abandoned you. Or where is God in this chaos in my home? God is still good. God still has His covenant-keeping, faithful love, and it's always, always, always appropriate to give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.

Now, we give thanks not only because of His character, but because of His redeeming work. Look at verses 2 and 3.

"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south."

Throughout this psalm we see God's people in trouble. That's a word if you are looking in your Bible you want to circle it. It comes back again and again. God's people are in trouble. God's people are in trouble.

You see that throughout this psalm. It's not just pagans out there who hate God and dismiss God. God's people sometimes get into trouble. There's distress. There's affliction. But in the midst of that we see the incredible, redeeming power and work of God.

We see in this psalm that God has rescued His people who were in exile. He has brought them home to be His dwelling place, the community where He lives. God is always a redeeming God. He is always at work to redeem even the losses and the failures caused, the losses occasioned by even your failures or the sins of others. God is always redeeming.

So when you find yourself, maybe by tonight or tomorrow or Monday morning when you're back in that same old difficult job or situation you're in, you find yourself tempted to whine, to complain, to be discouraged, to give up, to doubt God. Counsel your heart with the truth.

"God is good. His steadfast love endures forever." Counsel your heart with what God has done for you. Don't forget it. Keep telling yourself. You have to speak truth to your heart so that your emotions are not driving your mind, but your mind is driving your emotions because your mind is fixed on and being renewed by the truth of God's Word.

Got that? Listen, ladies, that's the key to sanity in this insane world. Keep counseling your heart according to that truth. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good."

Now we come to the main body of the psalm, verses 4–32, and as you heard when we were reading this, there are four stanzas, four scenes. Now in our modern translations, on the first reading, it seems like these are four different groups of people in four different sets of circumstances.

But actually, as I've studied this psalm, I think all four of these scenes are just different ways using different word pictures of describing the trouble and the distress from which God's people have been and are being delivered. Just four different ways of explaining our distress and our trouble.

Now the immediate context here has to do with the Israelites. But these word pictures, these four situations, these four scenes describe the condition of every human being apart from Christ. We're going to see that in a moment. They also describe His redeeming work on our behalf. And these scenes describe the impact and the implications of the gospel on our lives.

Each stanza, each of these four stanzas reiterates a few things because the psalmist wants us to remember this. You teach your children by repetition, by reiteration. That's how the Lord is teaching us here.

It reiterates first that the Lord is good. It reiterates that His steadfast love endures forever. It reiterates that He has redeemed us from trouble. And it reminds us once again that He is to be praised.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever."

Now each of these scenes follows the same pattern. I'm going to give you a pattern. Then I'm going to show you how it's played out in each of these scenes.

First there is trouble. Can you say it with me? Trouble. There's trouble; there's distress; there's affliction; there's severe problems.

So first trouble, then crying. They cry out to the Lord. The people in trouble cry out to the Lord. Why is it that so often we don't cry out to the Lord until we're in trouble? It's just kind of how we're wired. As long as we think we can make it without God, we try. As long as we think we're living in a heaven on earth why would we look up to heaven? We've got it right here, right?

So God takes things out of our hands. He stirs up storms. We'll see that God moves in these circumstances to make us realize we are in trouble so that we will cry out to Him.

So we have trouble, we have crying, and then we have deliverance. God hears the cries of His children; He intervenes; He delivers them. And then what's the result in the people who've been delivered? Giving thanks, praise, thanksgiving.

So four words, and you'll know this psalm: trouble, cry, deliverance, and thanks. Can you say it with me because I don't want you to forget Psalm 107? Trouble, cry, deliverance, and thanks. Once more: trouble, cry, deliverance, and thanks. Now you've got Psalm 107.

Let's look at it in a little more detail. First trouble. We have here four descriptions of dire human need: wandering in the desert, in prison, sick, and storm tossed. Now we're going to see that sometimes these circumstances are the results of our own foolishness and sin. Sometimes it's a mess we've created.

But sometimes these circumstances come just as a result of living in a fallen world and sin coming against us, evil coming against us. We live in a fallen world; we can't escape, but there is evil around us. There's evil in us. There's evil around us. But He's a redeeming God who is making all things new. Anybody want to say, "Praise God"? Thank you.

Okay, let's look at the trouble. First we have those who are lost and wandering in the desert. Verses 4 and 5: "Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them." They were lost. They couldn't find their way home.

I hear this from many women in different ways.

One woman wrote and said, "I'm trying to figure out who I am as a wife of two years and now as a new mommy. I have never felt so lost and unsure in my entire life."

Some of you been there? Feel lost, unsure at times?

Another woman wrote to say, "I am lost; I am hopeless. Where once there was faith and hope, I can't hear God anymore. I know He performs miracles. I've seen Him. But will He for me?" And then she signed it, "a pastor's daughter/pastor's wife who has lost her way." There are women in this room who have lost their way.

The other aspect of this description in verses 4 and 5 is that not only are they lost but they're alone. They're isolated. They're separated from community, from home, from the life God intended for them. And they're hungry and thirsty. They've used up all their resources, all their means of survival. They have no way to go on. They're desperate, and they're weary. They're exhausted in their souls. They are totally spent, trouble with a capital "T".

Look at verses 10–12. We have those who are lost, wandering in the wilderness. Now we have those who are prisoners.

"Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God, and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help."

This passage describes trouble again in the form of imprisonment, bondage. It's darkness.

There's toilsome labor. There's a sense of being burdened down. Now, how do these people get into that condition? Well, the Scripture says in this case it was a mess they made. God brought them into the trouble because He was disciplining them. He was chastening them. They had trusted their own wisdom more than God's.

He is the creator of the universe. He created them. He is the sovereign ruler of the universe but they said, "No, I'll have it my way, thank you." They rebelled against His Word. They chose to walk in their own way rather than His way.

And could I say again, this is true of all of us apart from Christ. We are rebels. "All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way."

"No thank you, God, I'll do it my way. I know Your Word says that, but here is how I feel. Here is what I want. I don't feel like there is any way I could obey that Scripture. I know You tell me that I'm supposed to forgive. I'm not supposed to be bitter. But God, I can't help it."

Listen, if God tells you to do something, by His grace you can do it. You can't do it, but He can do it through you. Christ can forgive in you as you have been forgiven. But we say, "No, I'm going to go my way."

You know, a lot of times we're blind, we're deceived to the fact that we're even going our own way. Because we aren't putting our fist up in heaven most of the time saying, "No, God." We're just not listening. We're just doing our own thing, going our own way.

God sees that and He loves us so much that He doesn't want us to be out of that far country. He doesn't want us to become prodigals. So He brings us back. How does He do that?

Sometimes He puts us in prison. Sometimes He puts us in bondage. We have so many today, and I've heard from some this weekend, slaves to sin, slaves to self; women with addictions, with habitual sin they can't seem to get victory over. This is a prison. God said that He turned them over to their own devices, to their own ways. We hear this all the time here at Revive Our Hearts.

A twenty-four-year-old single woman wrote and said, "I've struggled with sexual sin almost all my life. I want to throw this sin off so I can be more intimate with my Savior."

Another wrote, "I need prayer. I'm struggling with abuse and addiction of alcohol. About two months ago I tried to commit suicide, but praise God my sister found me. I've stopped drinking, but I still struggle with the temptations." She's in bondage. She's a prisoner.

Another woman said, "I'm in a sexual stronghold. I am in such desire of breaking free from it, but I can't seem to just give it to God. I'm married to a man that I never felt understood me. He worked out of town for a year and while he was gone Satan attacked me, and I found love and comfort in a woman. Please pray that I may find freedom in Christ again." It's a woman in prison.

Leslie: Well, we’re going to cut in there. Tomorrow, we’ll hear part two of this message from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. She’ll continue to show you how you can have the kind of freedom this woman needs and that we all need.

Nancy’s been in Psalm 107, describing God’s faithfulness in times of trouble.

We’re all going to face seasons of joy and seasons of trouble in our lives, and I’m so grateful Revive Our Hearts is here to help us walk through all those seasons. We’re able to be here each weekday thanks to listeners who support the ministry.

When you give to help Revive Our Hearts, you’re making it possible for us to invest in women like Jackie Hill Perry. She has a huge influence as a speaker, a poet, and musical artist. But at one point she was a new believer with a lot of questions.

Jackie Hill Perry: The first time I was introduced to biblical womanhood was through Nancy’s ministry when I was twenty. Didn’t even know it was a thing. I just was like, I don’t know what it meant to be a woman. I didn’t know that there were books and messages. I don’t even think the word podcast was out yet. But radio interviews or sessions.

So her book, Lies Women Believe, when I first read it was transformative, as was Seeking Him. The woman who discipled me gave me Seeking Him. She didn't have me read the whole thing. She just wanted me to do the study on pride. It was a chapter where Nancy had a list of traits of pride.

I thought pride was just being arrogant. Like, "I don't have pride. I don't boast about myself. I don't have all this cash."

But she talked about pride in the most subtle, discreet ways that I didn't even know existed. It humbled me! It showed me that there was so much more to me and so much more to my heart that I had ever believed.

So I think that was really good for me early on in the faith to know pride is a hidden thing that needs to be addressed and not run from so it can be repented of and not lived or submitted to.

Nancy: Well I love hearing my friend Jackie’s voice on the program. And I’m so grateful and encouraged to know that the Lord used this program to help her grow because now she’s an amazing Bible teacher. Now think about this. If you’ve ever donated to Revive Our Hearts over the years, you helped us speak into Jackie’s life. And now when she goes and speaks across the country, she’s taking a little bit of the legacy that you've invested in.

Undoubtedly, there are some other "Jackies" listening right now who are growing in their faith. And at some point God may call one or more of them into a public role. The point is, when you give to Revive Our Hearts you can never know this side of eternity all the ways God will use it.

I just want to remind you that we’re looking at a serious need right now as we close out our fiscal year and begin another. So your gift at this time would mean so much! Would you pray with us over these next days that the Lord would meet our need of $775,000—between now and May 31? It’s what we need at the close of this fiscal year to continue our current level of ministry and to launch some new initiatives that the Lord has put on our hearts.

If you want to see the progress we're making on that need, you can go to ReviveOurHearts.com and there's a thermometer that we are updating each day to show you right where we are.

If you appreciate receiving this teaching each weekday, would you do what you can to help us meet this need? And if you’ve never given to the ministry before, you have a special opportunity! A friend of Revive Our Hearts has offered a matching challenge to anyone who has never given before. This friend will double each gift given up to a challenge amount of $75,000.

When you help meet this need with a gift of any size, we’ll say "thank you" by sending a new resource we've developed called the Refresh Kit. I know this would make a meaningful addition to your daily quiet time over the next thirty day. The booklet you'll get in this kit includes devotionals about personal revival on topics such as: humility, the Spirit-filled life, holiness, and obedience. Then it includes a place to answer some diagnostic questions on some prompt cards that are included in this set, and then to journal your responses to those questions and to the Scriptures that you'll be meditating on.

We’d like to send you this Refresh set when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. You can help us meet this important year-end need by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Sometimes God allows us to go through storms so that we can get to know Him better. We're going to talk more about that tomorrow. We'll talk about how to turn to Christ in the middle of the storm and discover new things about Him. That’s tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants to help you through stormy seasons of life. It’s an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.