My God Is My Rock
MY GOD IS MY ROCK
Sermon Outline By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / July 10, 2016
Our twentieth annual Songs Of Light will be this evening.
Our Summer Youth Retreat (Camp 2:52) begins next Sunday afternoon, July 17th.
This evening will be the 20th consecutive year for our Songs Of Light.
We started this effort two decades ago with one of our chief goals being to
learn some news songs and to learn to sing some old songs better.
But underlying this desire for learning to sing better is a much deeper notion and goal.
Learning to singing melodically is a very fine endeavor, but making a joyful noise is an even finer undertaking.
The word “noise” is defined as: a sound of any kind, especially loud.
The psalmists uses this expression “make a joyful noise” (shout joyfully) in numerous citations:
cf. Psalms 66:1; 81:1; 95:1-2; 98:4 & 6 and 100:1
Some of us will never become superb singers, but all of us can sing with joy.
Ps.118:14 states, The Lord is my strength and SONG, And He has become my salvation.
In preparation for each of our Songs Of Light, I assemble a list of songs and forward them on to Rod.
He looks over my list and places them in an order that he thinks is best … and he seldom ever discards my requests.
Occasionally he will overrule me - - sometimes because he’s not comfortable leading the song …
or perhaps he might gently and kindly suggest that a particular song may be a little too difficult for our venue.
When I gather the songs, I typically think of a theme.
2011 / Songs of God’s Faithfulness … 2012 / Songs Of Our Savior
2013 / Songs Of Joy And Gratitude … 2014 / Songs of God’s Providence
2015 / Songs Of Discipleship … 2016 / Songs of Deliverance
I try to blend older songs with some newer songs - - for example, here are some songs we’ll sing tonight.
Master, The Tempest Is Raging … Remember Me, O Mighty One … Come, Ye Disconsolate … I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord …
Don’t Be Afraid … A Shield About Me … Come To The Table … Wonderful Merciful Savior … Great Are You Lord.
I’m not always certain as to what it is that draws me to a specific theme each year.
I have this hang-up about over-analyzing what prompts a certain thought or a song.
Jeannie will let you know that this tendency sometimes drives her a little crazy.
The other evening we were returning from a walk with the dog at Crown Hill cemetery, I started whistling this song:
If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view, get an ugly girl to marry you. - - #1 Hit by Jimmy Soul in 1963
Jeannie turned the tables on me and asked, “what brought that up?”
I was caught flat-footed. I think I either heard it earlier in the day or I was just happy.
The lesson I learned is simply this: be careful what you whistle!
As to why I have chosen Songs Of Deliverance for this year’s theme, I’m not sure.
Maybe it is related to this year’s camp theme: BRAVE.
I think it is also the product of our recent studies from the book of Jonah … and our study in Genesis about Joseph …
And also our current study in Exodus about Moses and the exodus from Egypt.
But I also think that it has to do with problems all around us.
Many are sick. Many are growing older. Many are hurting.
Our nation is struggling. The nightly news is more often than not quite discouraging.
I often think that our foundation is crumbling right underneath us and so many don’t even see it.
The church as a whole is shrinking. So many people are disillusioned, disappointed and downcast.
I played online scrabble the other night with a woman who “chatted” with me.
I don’t normally like to chat, I would just rather attempt to dismantle my opponent and move on.
It started out as just small talk. She asked if I had an enjoyable 4th of July.
I told her that Jeannie and I took a ride up to Presque Isle. She asked, “where’s that?”
I told her, “Erie, PA.” She asked where I lived. Where I told her Ohio, she said she had just moved to Cleveland.
I asked her where she moved from and she said D.C..
She was happy with the cost of living in Cleveland; she loved her job; … but she was very sad.
She had moved to Cleveland last September to marry and begin a new life, but they separated in May.
She was lonely and missing her family. The game ended, I had to go but I told her I was hoping the best for her.
This fellow-scrabbler was literally scrabbling (the word scrabble means, “to scrape or grope about frenetically”).
This woman is a microcosm of the world in which we live.
Let’s turn our attention now to the Psalms.
I can’t think of a better resource to help us realize that the Lord God is our strength and song (Ps.118:14).
Several years ago a brother in Christ, Jim Mankin (now deceased), wrote a brief book on the psalms titled,
Prescriptions For Troubled Hearts. While I haven’t borrowed from his book for this sermon, he’s right on with the title.
The collection of Psalms provides a well-spring of insight for the problems we face in life.
e.g., Fear/Ps.27 … Depression/Ps.42 … Stress/Ps.46 and on and on we could go.
Someone recently came up with a current top-10 fears. What are you afraid of?
10) Commitment … 9) Fighting … 8) Rejection … 7) Failure … 6) Death …
5) Intimacy … 4) Darkness … 3) Heights … 2) Public Speaking … 1) Flying.
Open your Bibles to the eighteen Psalm
This sermon will not be a verse-by-verse exposition.
My aim is simply to use this text (this psalm) to whet our appetites for what the psalms as a whole have to offer.
David begins this psalm by describing Jehovah God with a variety of words (Ps.18:1-3) - -
I love Thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
David continues by cutting to the chase and telling God (and us) his plight (Ps.18:4-5) - -
The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
The cords of Sheol (hell) surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me.
The word I want to concentrate on briefly this morning is the word, DELIVERER.
So often we think of God as our PROTECTOR or even more, in keeping with the contrast I am about to make - -
we think of God as the great PREVENTER. In fact, it may well be that this is our predominate picture of God.
It might surprise us to realize that God has never promised to put us in a bubble.
To do so, God would essentially have to take us out of this world.
Let me remind you of the words of Job (Job 14:1) - - man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.
Life on earth comes with all manner of trouble (full of turmoil). cf. Jn.16:33/in this world you have tribulation.
Whereas so many long for a God who would prevent heartaches and hurts, that’s not God’s only means of helping us.
We want God to prevent bad things from happening in our life. PREVENT means that these things never happen.
No serious illnesses. No marital break-ups. No untimely deaths. Etc.
It is true that God often shields us. In preventing things, we may not truly realize bad things that may have happened.
We may never fully realize all that God has protected us from, at least not in this life.
Yet, when we read the psalms we frequently encounter the writers speaking of God as DELIVERER.
Implied by this term is the idea that we are in deep trouble and we need help.
Far more than we might realize God is depicted not as our PREVENTOR but as our DELIVERER. e.g.,
Ps.3:7/Arise, L Lord; deliver me … Ps.22:20/Deliver my soul from the sword … Ps.72:12/He will deliver the needy when he cries for help
If you think about the history of God’s dealing with the nation of Israel, it is one deliverance after another.
The apostle Paul understood well God’s role as deliverer. Note 2Cor.1:8-10 - -
For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia,
that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves,
but in God who raises the dead; who DELIVERED us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us…
I want to close with a personal example.
At the close of November last year Mike & Belinda Collier were in a very serious auto accident.
It had nothing to do with any wrong they were doing. In fact, they were quietly and peacefully traversing the backroads of Leavittsburg on their way home when they were hit head on by someone traveling at a high rate of speed.
Mike was banged us pretty badly, but Belinda was really hit hard - - multiple cuts and abrasions plus
a broken sternum, a fractured skull, broken ribs, a broken leg, a broken wrist, a crushed hand and six broken toes.
Belinda spent about two months in St. E’s, Hillside and Lake Vista undergoing multiple surgeries and lots of rehab.
My point here is to illustrate how this terrible event has worked to grow the faith of Mike and Belinda.
God has come to their side as DELIVERER in a very powerful way. I hope and pray that I am never in an accident of this caliber, but if I am, I hope and pray that I can respond in a similar manner. Their love of God has not diminished, but rather increased. They’ve learned first-hand the truth of Paul’s admonition: we should not trust in ourselves but in God.
Bad things often happen to us - - sometimes simply because we are here.
When they do, we must trust that God will be our Rock and our Deliverer.
And one way to find comfort in this truth is to read often from the psalms and to sing the psalms.
If you read the psalms often, you will meet yourself in the psalms - - and they will speak to your heart.
As the psalmist notes (Ps.118:14): the Lord is my strength and my SONG, and He has become my salvation.
We often sing to praise God for deliverance. We also need to sing to remind ourselves that God is our deliverer.
I don’t know if Mike & Belinda have been singing, but I think to do so would help all of us more than we can imagine.