“How to begin a tough new journey with God”, Psalm 120

Sermon for the Watford church of Christ

Psa. 120:0    A song of ascents. Psa. 120:1    I call on the LORD in my distress, and he answers me.2  Save me, LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.3  What will he do to you, and what more besides, you deceitful tongue?4  He will punish you with a warrior’s sharp arrows, with burning coals of the broom bush.5  Woe to me that I dwell in Meshek, that I live among the tents of Kedar!6  Too long have I lived among those who hate peace.7  I am for peace; but when I speak, they are for war. 

1. Call on God, vv1-2
A. With honesty
“my distress”tsarah – first child; terror of approaching rapacious army
Specific about the need – slander
B. With faith
“He answers me” implies past answersReflect on past answered prayer and God coming through for you
answer may also be one another – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” (Proverbs 17:17 NIV11)
C. With relationship
From “the LORD”, to, “save me” – personal address
From propositional to personal

2. Trust God, vv3-4
A. For wisdom
Satan is the liar:

“If we are to know the abundant provision of God’s unlimited resources, we must also understand how Satan works to rob us of that experience. He does so by deceit. You may have heard the saying that the way to know if certain people are lying is if their lips are moving. This is absolutely true of Satan. Jesus referred to him as “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 NRSV). Indeed, his whole kingdom is based on lies; he works by deceiving. Why? Because he does not have direct power over our will. Therefore, if he is to get us to do his bidding, he has to fool us. He cannot make us do anything we do not want to do. If it is true that a person can be the devil’s puppet, the strings are Satan’s lies.”

Willard, Dallas. Life Without Lack (p. 75). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition. 

Be careful what you believe from the media
Be careful what you believe form your own mind!
B. For strength
tongue – sharp arrows
lies – burning coals
Sin & death – empty grave; risen living Jesus

3. Turn to God, vv5-6
A. Meshek/Kedar – far north, far east – far from God
Wants to move closer to GodHomesickFed up of being around the pagans!
Times like this help us reassess our loyalty (Matt 5) to king JesusOpportunity to grow closerBut must moveRepentance!
B. Peace available 
ShalomPeace, prosperity, well, health, completeness, safety.
In Christ:

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV11)

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV11)

Conclusion, Eph 2.12

“….remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:12–18 NIV11)

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John