The "Psalm 37" Series #4
"COMMIT OR COMPLAIN!?"
TEXT: Psalm 37:5-6, 34-40
INTRO: "Commitment" is a word used today so haphazardly by most people. Our society scoffs at most forms of commitment; at least the forms that God holds sacred:
a. Commitment of marriage – one man with one woman for life.
b. Commitment of work – Ex. 20:9 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work”
c. Commitment of friendships – deep commitment.
d. Commitment to God – The most important relationship!
About the only form of commitment really being upheld today by our society is a deep commitment to one's self ... no wonder this past generation has been labeled the “me” generation and the current one is focused on acceptance of everything.
the scrub woman, was a Christian. One of the gentlemen in the large
building where she worked said to her, "Say, Sophie, I understand that you are a
Christian." "Yes, sir, I am a child
of the King," was her immediate reply. "Oh! So you must be a princess, since God
is your King." "I sure am." "Well, if God is your Father, and you are
a princess and a child of the King, do you not think that it is beneath your
dignity to be found here in
In God's kingdom and in His vocabulary “commitment” is an important feature! It is serious stuff to God, and it is serious stuff to God's people!
PROP. SENT: The Scriptures will teach us that God desires us to commit ourselves and our ways to Him ... our greatest success and joy comes only with a great commitment to Him! It also teaches us that “commitment” as God defines it is different from the way the world defines it!
I. COMMIT YOUR WAY Psalm 37:5
A. Turning To The Lord Psalm 37:5a
1. Before I commit my way I must commit myself!
a. This is what we called being "saved."
b. Saved from what? We are saved from sin and self!
2. Yet, just committing myself is not enough alone, we have to also commit our ways to God too!
a. Salvation is a beginning, not an end!
b. The church needs to recognize this and respond properly! Too often the whole work of the church is just to get people saved … but Jesus said we are to "make disciples!" It is not just about a singular event at an altar and then we put another notch on our belt of getting people “saved.”
c. What were disciples? They were people committed to a master! They followed this master and committed their life AND their ways to Him!
3. It also meant committing to God all my ways, not just the ones I feel like I can't handle!
a. Commitment isn’t about what I get out of it…
b. Commitment is what Christ expects of us to do!
ILLUS: When our Lord said "go," He did not ask us to sit down and evaluate what the chances were that we would return. Two Coast Guardsmen were preparing to engage in a rescue attempt of two fishermen lost in a storm. Someone shouted out to them: "Don't go out there. You may never get back." One of the guardsmen replied, "We don't have to get back, but we have to go." – Source Unknown
4. Committing your ways unto God also doesn't mean inactivity … it doesn't mean that you sit back and wait for God to do it all, what it does mean is to rest from worry and then also be actively involved in “working out our salvation with fear and trembling!” Phil. 2:12
5. Turning over to the Lord my ways means I'm subject to His will, so don't complain when He makes changes to our lives … RIGHT?
a. Negative or positive events … trusting in God means to trust in Him!
b. Everyone likes God’s will when we are being blessed, it is those times when there is little to no blessings, maybe even pain that we find it hard to commit to the Lord our ways!
6. This is a continual aspect of commitment; a daily turning to the Lord and committing my ways!
B. Trusting The Lord Psalm 37:5b
1. The two elements go together: "commitment" and "trust."
a. What you trust you will commit yourself to!
b. What you commit yourself to you will trust!
2. In this, we must not only commit our way to the Lord but also we must trust His very nature ... HE IS GOD!
a. Other things may fail us ... but God never fails!
b. He can be trusted for He is faithful, always!
3. The call here is to "TRUST IN HIM" ... who He is, not just what He does!
a. This is the deepest level of trust; it is in the very nature of God Himself that we must trust! This is what He is!
b. Not just a trust about the things in our lives ... but our very life to His nature!
c. A trust that God really is who He says He is and that He will do all that He says He will do!
d. Trust and commitment go hand in hand!
e. We are to go above dedication … to be absolutely committed.
4. Commitment is different from dedication...
ILLUS: Story of the hen & pig who wanted to give the hard working farmer a special treat ... a ham & eggs breakfast! The chicken was dedicated, she gave her eggs, but the pig was committed, he gave his life! – Source Unknown
a. What God is looking for is not just dedication but real commitment!
b. Only commitment is going to really change the world!
C. Tested Of The Lord Psalm 37:5c-6
1. What will He do? “He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn!”
a. Once we show our committed and trusting in Him, God lets the world see the righteousness of the believer as that commitment and trust is tried!
b. God will not only prove Himself, but He will also prove His people!
c. As others watch our lives, our commitment and trust, they will come to understand the power of almighty God through His servants.
2. In the end God will show the justice of our cause in living for Him, the world may laugh now but we will show the world one day that we were right in living for God!
ILLUS: Chrysostom, the ancient Church Father, was a beautiful example of true Christian courage. When he stood before the Roman Emperor, he was threatened with banishment if he still remained a Christian. Chrysostom replied, "You cannot, for the world is my Father's house; you cannot banish me."
"But I will slay you," said the Emperor.
"No, but you cannot," said the noble champion of the faith again, "for my life is hid with Christ in God."
"I will take away thy treasures." "No, but you cannot," was the retort; "in the first place, I have nothing you know anything about. My treasure is in heaven, and my heart is there."
"But I will drive you away from man, and you shall have no friend left." "No, and that you cannot," once more said the faithful witness, "for I have a Friend in heaven from whom you shall not separate me. I defy you; there is nothing you can do to hurt me." – Source Unknown
a. Don't be seduced by the apparent "success" of this world and its ways, in the end they don't pay or last!
b. One of Satan's biggest lies is to let you think you’re missing out on life when you serve and obey God ... this was the exact lie he used on Eve! "God knows that if you eat you will be like gods knowing good and evil"
c. You're not missing it, you're securing it! (Life)
d. Your commitment will stand the test of time if it is real!
II. CONTROL YOUR WILL Psalm 37:34-40
A. Timely-Not Late! Psalm 37:34
1. "Wait for the Lord"... how? "By keeping His way"
a. Thus in waiting we are active not passive! We are to keep His ways while waiting!
b. To wait doesn't mean sitting still; it means to remain faithful while waiting!
2. God's sense of timing is so different from ours!
a. His sense of timing is from eternity!
b. Ours is from the temporal!
c. God has never been late yet – but clearly from the world’s point of view, and even logical point of view it looks that way many times, but in the end God comes through!
(1. Was He late when Jonah was thrown over the side of the boat to die!? – those who threw him over believed God was too late to rescue him.
(2. Was He late when Lazarus was sick ... He deliberately stayed away until Lazarus had died ... then only did he go, even days after he was dead and buried! But He wasn't late by his timing, only by Martha's schedule! (John 11)
(3. The Jews thought He was late when
Pharaoh's army had them cornered between the
(4. Abraham and Sarah thought God was late in giving them a natural born son … but when she was almost 90 and he was almost 100 it happened!
3. What do you think God has been late in doing for you recently? Do the examples just given give you any hope now?
4. If you have committed your way to the Lord and are trusting in Him ... He won't be late! TRUST HIM! His sense of timing is better than yours!
ILLUS: In the final years of our imprisonment, the North Vietnamese moved us from small cells with one or two prisoners to large rooms with as many as 30-40 men to a room. We preferred this situation for the companionship and strength we could draw from our fellow prisoners. In addition to moving us to new quarters, our captors also let us receive packages and letters from home. Many men received word from their families for the first time in several years. The improved conditions were a result of public pressure put on the North Vietnamese by the American public.
our cell was one Navy officer, Lt. Commander Mike Christian. Over a period of
time Mike had gathered bits and pieces of red and white cloth from various
packages. Using a piece of bamboo he had fashioned into a needle, Mike sewed a
Every night in our cell, Mike would put his shirt on the wall, and we would say the pledge of allegiance. I know that the pledge of allegiance may not be the most important aspect of our day now, but I can tell you that at the time it was the most important aspect of our lives.
This had been going on for some time until on of the guards came in as we were reciting our pledge. They ripped the flag off the wall and dragged Mike out. He was beaten for several hours and then thrown back into the cell.
Later that night, as we were settling down to sleep on the concrete slabs that were our beds, I looked over to the spot where the guards had thrown Mike. There, under the solitary light bulb hanging from the ceiling, I saw Mike. Still bloody and his face swollen beyond recognition, Mike was gathering bits and pieces of cloth together. He was sewing a new American flag. -- John McCain. From the files of Leadership.
5. Gal. 4:4 "In the fullness of time God sent His son..." even though thousands of years of Old Testament history went by, God had a right time for the Messiah to come and He wasn't a moment too late!
B. Thanks to the Lord! Psalm 37:35-40
1. God has a future for us who are committed to Him! Psalm 37:37
2. In times of trouble God will be there! Psalm 37:39
3. Deliverance will come! Psalm 37:40
4. These are promises to those who are committed, but the secret word is "committed!" (Remember the old Groucho Marx show ... say the secret word and win a bundle!)
5. We benefit so completely when we trust in God so completely!
6. We can't lose out when we are sold out!
7. All we have to lose is our selfishness and sin ... what an exchange for a trusting committed life!
8. So what's holding you back from a full commitment to God!?
9. Why not trust Him?
10. The real secret to abundant life is here: “a deep full commitment each day to the Lord!”
CONCLUSION: Those who are really committed to God and trust Him are those whose lives are filled with the greatest joy and fulfillment God can give! We can sit back and complain about life or be committed to God and really live! What are you going to do? Eternity will reveal the wisdom of being committed even when life throws us curve balls now, never underestimate the purposes of God even in times of struggle, or when you see the unrighteous apparent successes now. God gets the final word, always!