God Is For You
July 24, 2016
Let’s start out with a bit of Bible trivia. What is the center chapter of the Bible is? According to the way most people count, it’s . . . Psalm 118.
The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117. The longest chapter is Psalm 119. There are 594 chapters before Psalm 118 and 594 chapters after Psalm 118.
That means there are 1188 chapters, and some say the middle verse is Psalm 118:8
In a bit I’ll show you Psalm 118:8. It’s a great verse if it is the middle verse.
What isn’t trivia, or trivial, is the message of Psalm 118. And for the next 3 weeks we’re going to look at this Psalm.
Every Easter we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was crucified and died on Friday. He was buried in a borrowed tomb, and on the third day God poured life into His lifeless body and Jesus rose from the grave, victorious over death.
During those three days, Friday to Sunday, the world was being changed spiritually. The death of Christ paid the price for our sins. All the wrong things you’ve ever done, all the wrong things you’ll someday do, things that deserve punishment and retribution, these have all been paid for by the death — by the blood of Christ. Jesus bought your salvation, your freedom. And then on the morning of the resurrection – – when God raised Jesus to life — He proved there is nothing in this world that the power of God’s love cannot conquer.
I want to tell you just one verse to encourage you, but to really encourage you, I need to give you 8 verses! Listen to what Paul said in Romans 8, and hold onto these words ~
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?
33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died — more than that, who was raised — who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:31-39
Can I get an AMEN!! This is great news, because this is what we need. None of us have an easy life; none of us are able to live in victory without God’s help. We all struggle with different situations in our lives. None of us have life licked. On occasion, we may think we do, but we don’t. The bills are piling up or the doctor hasn’t given a good report or your spouse is unhappy or your kids are struggling . . . whatever it is – – – most people seem to be in some type of mess.
When we feel our lives are in a mess, we sense fear, we panic, anger and hurt. And I also know this — in the middle of a mess, we can experience God’s presence and peace.
We’ve heard the phrase “getting centered.” It’s typically used in a new-age, Oprah sort of way, but I’m using it to describe being in the center of God’s presence every day, being in the center of His will, being in the center of His protection. So it only makes sense that the center chapter of the Bible would help us get centered in God.
What I want us to know and trust is – – – God is for you. He is not against you. He’s for you. This simple, yet profound truth has the potential to change your life.
Too often we think God is anything but for us. We think He’s mad, annoyed, disappointed, put out, out to get us — or, at the very least, oblivious to what’s going on in our lives. BUT – – this is not the message of the Bible.
I want you to know God is for you. He may not be for all your ideas, He may not be for everything you’re doing — but He’s for you. He loves you and wants what’s best for you.
There’s a Brazilian worship song which has the words — “Deus gosta de mim.” It means “God likes me.” Now that’s an interesting phrase. I don’t think we ever think about God in that way. We sing and talk about how God loves us, but we don’t consider the fact that God likes us. But I want you to know – – – God likes you — He really, really likes you. That’s a very powerful reality! Hold onto that!
So today, I want to spend some time considering what it means that “God is for you.” It means you can count on God in three areas of your life. First of all . . .
1. You can count on God in times of trouble.
We see this throughout the Psalms. In verse 5 we read —
5 I called on the LORD in distress
On the one hand, we should be calling on the Lord at all times, but especially when we’re in distress, when we feel life is closing in on us. Yet, some people say, “I don’t want to bother God with all my problems.” If you’ve ever felt this way, you’re greatly underestimating the power of God. Trust me, God can handle your problems. You won’t be inconveniencing Him. It’s not too much for God to take. Call upon the Lord; He’s waiting to hear from you. Paul reminds us in Philippians 4
6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN TO GOD.
7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7
That’s a great reminder for us to make our requests known to God, and His peace will come and protect us.
The 2nd half of verse 5 tells us ~
5 . . . The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.
I love that phrase, “a large place.” What does it mean? It means a place of abundance, a place of prosperity, a place of opportunity. When you’re in the middle of a mess, your world seems very small. It feels like your problems are overwhelming you. It feels like everything is closing in on you — like your days are numbered and your options are limited. Have you been there?
God wants to put you in a large place, a place of possibility. If you’re in the middle of a mess, call on Him. Ask for His help – and trust and believe His help is on the way.
When life turns on you, the natural reaction is typically fear. Fear of how you’ll survive, fear of what others will think, fear of how your enemies will laugh, fear of what next. It’s only natural to respond this way, but when you have confidence in God’s goodness, you don’t have to be afraid.
The Psalmist continues —
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
What can man do to you? What’s the worst that can happen? You’ll be criticized, you’ll be laughed at, you’ll be ridiculed? You’ll be without a job, you’ll be broke? The truth is even if the worst that could possibly happen does happen, it’s not enough to separate you from God. Again listen to Paul’s words —
38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39
No matter what kind of mess we find ourselves in, nothing can change the fact that God loves you, He likes you . . . He is for you and He desires to help you.
Everybody goes through messes. Everybody has problems. Everybody deals with heartbreak. Some of the messes we bring into our lives by our own bad choices, some of the messes are caused by others, some are the result of living life — but everyone goes through this; none of us are exempt. But know this – God is here right now, He’s with you, He’s for you, He will help you.
To take this point a little further, here’s the second thing I want you to notice.
2. You can count on God when you can count on no one else.
7 The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Sometimes when we’re in a mess, we’re tempted to say, “God isn’t for me, He’s not going to help me.” And along with that, we may think . . . “And there’s no one on my side.” Both statements are wrong. God is for you, and there are people who are for you, too.
You’re not as alone as you sometimes let yourself think. Now, you may not have the support of everyone, or you may find some people disagree with you, but you do have people in your life who are your on your side, who care about you, and who want to be there for you. God is working with them, and working through Christ to give you the strength you need to get through any mess that you might face.
But I want to make a distinction here. The people in your life are just people — they’re as fallible as you are. They make as many mistakes as you make. They have as many problems as you have. And sometimes some of them will fail to be there when you expect them to be.
There will be times when people let you down. There will be times when you call on friends and they don’t come through for you. There will be times when you ask for help and they just don’t give it. There will be times when they don’t answer your calls and ignore your emails. It’s a fact of life. But God will not let you down.
And in Psalm 118:8 ~
8 It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man.
I want you to understand that just because people leave you hanging doesn’t mean God will. God will be there for you. You can count on Him when you can’t count on anyone else.
We tend to look at those around us as our sources: My boss is my source for money; my spouse is my source for happiness and security; my friends are my source of entertainment; my church is my source for my spiritual needs, and on and on. That’s not true; there will be times when each fails to measure up to the standard. They are not your source. God is your source. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to trust in man.”
The next verse says
9 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
It is good for us to remember, in this election year, we cannot put our hope in a prince, or a princess as the case may be. Yes, we should vote for the best candidate and pray! But our hope is not in our government.
David reminds us ~ 7 “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” – Psalm 20:7 You can count on God when you can’t count on anyone else — and that includes Uncle Sam. Our trust must be in the Lord!
If you want to get centered in God during the middle of a mess in your life, you need call upon the Lord in your distress. Put your trust in your Him. Quit looking to others to meet your needs and solve your problems, and put your faith in Christ alone. Do you know what will happen?
You can count on God because God is for you. He loves you. He likes you. He knows what’s best for you. That’s why you can call on Him in times of trouble. No matter what kind of mess you’re in, He’s ready to move you to a large place, a place of abundance and possibility.
You can count on God even when you can’t count on anyone else, because — as this Psalm says so many times — his love endures forever. And you are His beloved child. He will protect you, He will lead you, guide and direct you.
If you’re in the middle of a mess right now, God will help you out of it — first, get centered in Him, get focused in Him.
Then believe and accept that God is for you, He loves you and He likes you.