Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Who Meets Your Deepest Needs?

Leslie Basham: Do you truly believe that God is good? Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Taste and see for yourself that the Lord truly is good. He’s good when you have a job; He’s good when you don’t. He’s good when you have health, and He’s good when you don’t. Remember that as you take your refuge in Him. You will be blessed regardless of what circumstances you may be right smack dab in the middle of.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, November 21.

Nancy: We’ve been walking with David through an acrostic psalm, Psalm 34, that I’ve called, 
"The ABC's of Handling a Meltdown." As we’ve seen earlier in the series—if you didn’t hear the earlier days, you can go back to ReviveOurHearts.com and pick up the audio or the transcripts for that—but we saw how David was in a just very difficult, between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place situation in his life. 

First he took matters into his own hands and made a mess of things. But then, once he comes to his senses, he realizes, “I should have turned to God first. I should always turn to God first.”

So Psalm 34 is the psalm that he writes, perhaps sitting in a cave, still hiding from King Saul. But having reflected on the circumstances he’s just been through, David has said to those around him, who themselves are facing depressing and distressing circumstances, “We need to lift our eyes up and praise the Lord.”

If there’s anything we Christians should be known for, it’s joy. We have the confidence that God is still on His throne; God is in control. He is worthy of our devotion, worthy of our praise, and worthy of our trust—even when our season of life, the circumstances we’re going through, the things we’re wrestling with, the world’s circumstances . . . Though the mountains may fall into the sea, yet we can trust the Lord and fix our hearts on Him.

So all throughout this psalm, David is praising God for His power to deliver, for His promises, for His presence, and for the resources that He gives us in the midst of hard times.

As we come to verse 7, David is sharing his own testimony—"I sought the Lord, and He heard me and delivered me out of all my fears" (v. 4). He tells another part of his experience. He says,

The angel of the LORD encamps 
  around those who fear him, and delivers them.

There’s this theme of deliverance all through this psalm. One of the means that God sometimes sends to deliver His children is through the means of angels.

Now, I’ve never seen an angel that I know of, but I believe in them. You say, “Why do you believe in them?” Because Scripture talks about them being ministering servants, messengers of God, who are sent to bless God’s children. They ministered to Jesus during His earthly life, and Hebrews 1 says they minister to us.

Scripture says here that "the angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him." That word encamp is "to pitch a tent." He sets up His tabernacle. He sets up His tent. He camps around those who fear Him. So there may be fearful circumstances all around, but the angel of the Lord surrounds us in our circumstances.

One of the greatest pictures of that in the Scripture is found, not with David, but with another servant of the Lord, Elisha, in 2 Kings chapter 6. Remember how the King of Syria had sent his whole army with horses and chariots and during the night had set up camp at Elisha’s house in the city of Dothan, intending when day came to kill Elisha, who was foiling the king’s program.

When morning comes, the servant of Elisha sticks his head outside the door, and he sees all these enemy armies, these troops, these powerful horses and chariots, and he’s terrified. Elisha says, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us” . . . Now as far as the servant can see, it’s just him and Elisha. And Elisha says, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). 

What in the world is he talking about? "Then Elisha prayed and said, 'O LORD, please open [my servant’s] eyes so that he may see'" (v. 17). 

He was seeing just the physical reality, but he wasn’t seeing the spiritual reality of what was going on there. "So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha" (v. 17).

So the enemy had set up his camp, but God sent His angels during the night to encamp around Elisha, to pitch a tent, and to protect them from the enemy.

Now we know in the Scripture that the angel of the Lord is Christ Himself. It’s the presence of God. Christ showed up in different times in the Old Testament in the pre-incarnate sense. We call it a Christophany, to make Himself known. But even when we can’t see Him, we know that Christ is with us, encamped around us.

“I will fear no evil for . . . why? . . . You are with me” (see Ps. 23:4). Even though we can’t see Him, Christ is there with us in our difficult circumstances.

So we have God’s provision—God’s provision of angels; God’s provision of the angel of the Lord. They encamp around those who fear the Lord and protect us from having to fear all of our other enemies. The angel of the Lord delivers those who trust in the Lord.

Now, having shared his personal testimony of how David has found God to be that refuge in times of trouble, David now issues to these 400 men who gathered around him in that cave, men who’ve got problems galore of their own, he issues an invitation, an exhortation, and he says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good” (v. 8). 

So having himself found God to be good and trustworthy, he says to these others, “You need your own testimony. I want you to taste and you to step out in faith and you to experience for yourself that God truly is good.”

So you see, David knew that the goodness of God was not just a theological concept. He’s not just good in theory. He is good in reality. When you step out by faith, and you partake of Him, you take Him into yourself by faith, you make Him a part of your life. As you take food into your system and you digest it, it becomes a part of you; taste and see, lay hold of God. Don’t just live out there in the realm of the ethereal or the ideal. Live in the realm of reality.

You say, “My problems are reality.” No. The ultimate reality is the goodness of God. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”

I was visiting some years ago in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. I had the privilege of being there for one of their Tuesday evening prayer gatherings, prayer services, which are the highlight of the week there at the Brooklyn Tab. The previous week, Steve Green, who is a singer and a friend of mine as well, had been at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, and he had taught them a new song. I had not heard it myself until at that point. That night when I was in the service, Pastor Cymbala said, “We’re going to sing this song that Steve taught us last week.”

That particular night I was standing with those singing on the front row. Pastor Cymbala during the midst of that song—they sang it over and over and over again, as they do at the Brooklyn Tab—but at one point he said, “I want to ask any of you in this congregation who are out of work, you want a job, you need a job, you’re looking for a job, but you can’t find a job; I want to ask you to come forward and stand here at this altar.”

I was on the front row there, and I almost got run over by people coming out of that congregation—dozens, maybe more, many of them coming down to the front. As they gathered Pastor Cymbala said, “Now we’re going to sing that song again, and I want you to sing it.”

The congregation sang with these who need work, “He is good; He is good.” And then Pastor Cymbala interrupted, and he looked down at one of the men standing in that unemployed group, and he said, “Don’t look down. Lift your eyes up. I want you to sing and mean it, ‘He is good; He is good; His love endures forever.’”

That’s what David is saying,

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
   Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints (vv. 8–9).

"Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." Before we even move on to that ninth verse, let me just say, ladies, I don’t know what your circumstance is; I don’t know what you’re facing. I see some tears in this room now. I don’t know where you’re tempted to believe that God may not be good, but I want to urge you as David urged those men around him, “Taste and see for yourself that the Lord truly is good.”

  • He’s good when you have a job; He’s good when you don’t.
  • He’s good when you have health, and He’s good when you don’t.
  • He’s good when the sun is shining, and you’ve got money in the bank, and your kids love you, and your husband thinks you’re the greatest.
  • Buts He’s also good when you’re a single mom trying to make ends meet for your little ones, or when you’ve got a twenty-something-year-old prodigal son or daughter, and you’re crying yourself to sleep at night wanting desperately for God to rescue that situation.
  • God is still good all the time.

Tether your heart to the reality of God’s goodness, and remember that as you take your refuge in Him, you will find Him to be good in your life. Remember that as you take your refuge in Him, you will be blessed regardless of what circumstances you may be right smack dab in the middle of.

We’re not going to be able to walk through every verse of this psalm, but let me just quickly move through the rest of it and just make some highlight points here.

Verse 9: “Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints.” The fear of the Lord is a theme in Psalm 34. The thought here is if you fear God, if you reverence Him, if you’re obedient to Him, then you won’t have to fear man. You won’t have to fear your circumstances. You won’t have to fear the future.

Saul was afraid of David, but David feared the Lord, so he did not have to be afraid of what man could do to him. Then he says,

Those who fear him have no lack! 
The young lions suffer want and hunger; 
  but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing (vv. 9–10).

We could do a whole session on what it means to have no lack. And what about: Do Christians not ever go hungry? There are whole big issues there, but what I want to focus on out of this verse today is: Who are you seeking to meet your needs? Where are you looking to get your needs met?

Are you seeking Him to meet your basic needs? Food. That’s a pretty basic need. The good things that you want and need in your life, where are you turning to get those? Are you seeking Him, or are you looking elsewhere?

David had learned the hard way that when I look elsewhere, I’m going to end up acting like a madman. I’m going to be crazy. My emotions will be out of control. I will be a victim of fear and frustration. I will have meltdowns that cannot be helped if I’m looking elsewhere to get my needs met.

Are you looking to your job? Then if you loss your job, you will be one very insecure person.

Are you looking to your husband or friends to be the primary need-meeters in your life. If you are, then if the Lord takes your husband or if your husband leaves or if your friend leaves, then you are going to be one very desperate, hopeless, helpless person.

If you are looking to a counselor or a pastor . . . or if our ministry is looking to donors to meet our needs ultimately instead of to God, the donor with a capital "D," we're going to be insecure in unstable financial times.

Where are you looking? If your supreme objective in life is to seek the Lord, you can never be disappointed. You will not lack any good thing. You will never be denied any really good thing if your hope is in the Lord, and you are seeking Him.

That does not mean you will not have problems. It doesn’t mean you may not have some serious, hard problems. But any really good thing that God knows you need for your true well being and for your eternal joy and happiness, you will have if you seek first God and His kingdom.

So out of this experience with the Lord, out of this confidence in the Lord, David goes into the second half of the psalm. We’re not going to do it justice at all. Spurgeon said that the first ten verses were a hymn and verses 11–22 were a sermon. Maybe some day we’ll do a whole series on verses 11–22, but just a few highlights here.

“Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD,” David says. That says to me that out of your experience, out of your desperate moments, out of your meltdowns, where you didn’t seek God first but you came to find Him to be good, and He restored you and set your feet back on solid ground, out of your experience, God will give you a message for others.

“Come, children, I will teach you the fear of the Lord” (v. 11). 

Listen, by the way, your children, your literal, physical children, your sons and daughters and grandchildren, they need not only to be hearing you say what is true about God, they need to be able to see it demonstrated and illustrated in your personal life testimony, your life message.

 They need to be able to hear you say, "Here's where I went my own way, but here's where God found me. Here's how He delivered me. Here's how God has shown Himself to be good in my life."

Then verse 12: “What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?”

How do you do that? Verse 13: You make godly choices even when you don’t feel like it. “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.”

Now it’s getting real practical. This is where the fear of the Lord, the trust of God, this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where it gets fleshed out in the laboratory of life. If you fear the Lord, and you want to live a good, long happy life, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

What’s he talking about? Well, I think certainly he’s talking about murmuring, complaining, accusations, believing and speaking lies. How often when we’re frustrated, when we’re having a meltdown, do we speak things out of frustration where we sin with our lips? When we verbalize our discontent, we end up speaking evil of God and of others.

You see it in the Children of Israel. Exodus 16: "Then the whole congregation grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness." They sinned with their tongues when they didn't think God was adequately meeting their needs.

Deuteronomy 1:27. I think this is one of the saddest verses in the Bible, but it's even more sad because it is something we do without realizing it. Moses says, reflecting back on their years in the wilderness, "You murmured in your tents and then you said . . ." You spoke it in your private places and then you said it out loud. "'Because the Lord hated us he has brought us out of the land of Eygpt, to give us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us."

These people said of the God who loved them, who delivered them, who sent His angel to go with them, who provided for them, who met their every need, Jehovah their savior their God . . . They said, "God hates us, and God has brought us out here to kill us."

They impugned God's motives. They attacked His character. They spoke evil of the Lord. Ladies, that's really what bitterness is. It's speaking evil against the Lord in our hearts. And ultimately, if we are speaking it in our hearts, we are going to speak it with our lips to others. And then we malign God's character to others.

That’s why David started out this psalm with “I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Now he’s backing up, and he’s saying if His praise isn’t in your mouth, you will make God look bad. You will say things in your weariness, in your weakness, in your meltdowns, in your depression, and in your discouragement that will reflect poorly on God. He says if you want to have a fruitful and good and blessed life, fear the Lord, keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit.

“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (v. 14).

Do what you know is right. Don’t let your emotions run your life.

Do you know why I speak so earnestly about this kind of thing? Because so often, and even in recent weeks, I have found myself with my emotions running my life and giving in to my emotions rather than bringing every thought captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Ladies, you give those emotions an inch, and they’ll take a mile, and ultimately you will be a servant, a slave to your emotions, and you’ll be thinking and saying things to God and to others that you would not believe you would have ever said or thought. Rein those thoughts in, turn away from evil, and do good.

Well, from verse 15 to the end of the chapter, we see the heart of God. He is good. His eyes and ears are toward us when we call. He draws near to us. He saves us. He delivers us.

Verse 15, “The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ear toward their cry" as a mother hears her infant crying says, "I know that voice," and comes to the rescue.

The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit (vv. 16–18).

Brokenhearted. Crushed in spirit. That's not just talking about people who have been devastated by hard life circumstances. That's talking about people whose pride and stubbornness has been humbled. They are brokenhearted. They are crushed in spirit, and God draws near to them.

Then in the last paragraph, we see two kinds of people: the righteous and the wicked. Now we’re all wicked apart from Christ, but through faith in Christ, we are made righteous. Verse 19: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”

That’s a phrase we kind of wish wasn’t in the Bible. "Many are the afflictions of the righteous. In fact, I looked up afflictions in my Bible dictionary, and here are some of the descriptions: bad, evil, injurious, hurtful, unpleasant, giving pain or causing unhappiness, hideous, misfortune, clamity, sadness, inability to come up to good standards.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous? Many—don't be surprised. Don't resent them. Don't resist them. Don't run from them.

Listen, both the righteous and the wicked experience afflictions. You see it in this last paragraph. The righteous don’t get a free pass from pain. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous.”

The difference between the righteous and the wicked is not whether afflictions come their way. It’s in their perspective on those afflictions and the ultimate outcome that those afflictions work in their lives.

[So] many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked [the wicked will be destroyed by their afflictions], and those who hate the righteous will be condemned, but [here we come back to where we started] the LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned (vv. 19–22).

We want immediate relief from our temporal, earthly aches and pains and problems and frustrations, but God wants to use our circumstances, our afflictions to give us ultimate, eternal deliverance, deliverance from Satan, deliverance from sin, deliverance from ourselves.

Oh how I want to be delivered from myself. In the midst of those meltdowns, when I’m having a pity party, and I’m self-focused; I want to be delivered from that. And what does God use to deliver me? Afflictions.

Which is more important: To have the temporal, immediate deliverance? Or to have that ultimate, eternal deliverance?

Sometimes God chooses not to deliver us from our immediate problems so that He can give us a greater deliverance that we need even more greatly. So the psalmist says, “Take refuge." "None of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (v. 22). 

David is still hiding in a cave when he writes this psalm, as far as we know. But in the midst of that cave, running from Saul with those 400 men who were so needy, David takes refuge in God.

Ladies, there is no place on the face of this earth, there is no circumstance that could ever come into your life where you cannot find refuge and safety and protection in Him.

That’s why I love that modern hymn that is sung by my friends Keith and Kristyn Getty:

In Christ alone my hope is found; 
He is my light, my strength, my song; 
This cornerstone, this solid ground, 
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm. 
What heights of love, what depths of peace, 
When fears are stilled, when striving cease! 
My comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

No guilt in life . . . what does the psalmist say? “None of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the pow'r of Christ in me; 
From life’s first cry to final breath, 
Jesus commands my destiny. 
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man, 
Can ever pluck me from His hand; 
Till He returns or calls me home

Here in the pow'r of Christ I’ll stand.1

As we head into the Thanksgiving season and the Christmas season and beyond it, I want to just encourage you to take refuge in God, not to expect that life will be easy or trouble free, pain free. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but . . . until He returns or calls us home, here in the power of Christ we can stand.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has offered real hope for anyone threatened by a crisis. That message is part of the series, "The ABC's for Handling a Meltdown." To hear earlier parts of the series or to get a copy for yourself, just visit ReviveOurHearts.com. If you appreciate this kind of Bible teaching that you can take with you and live out practically, would you consider supporting this ministry with your gift? 

When you donate any amount, we’ll send you the 2014 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. The theme this year is “The Wonder of His Name.” Each month, you’ll flip the page to see a new name of Jesus, illustrated in lovely watercolor and calligraphy by Timothy Botts. 

We’ll send “The Wonder of His Name” wall calendar when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. Make your donation at ReviveOurHearts.com, or call 1–800–569–5959.  

Women everywhere are hurting. They long for older women to get involved in their lives, to listen, to care, and to share advice. Are you willing to get involved? Nancy Leigh DeMoss describes how the Lord can use women to help other women, tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

1 "In Christ Alone." Words and music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townsend. Copyright 2001. Kingsway Thank You Music.

 

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