“I believed, and so I spoke”

“I believed, and so I spoke” Paul is talking about Faith. He is quoting Psalm 116 and he does not fear that anyone will mistake his message because his message is simple and powerful. He is quoting David who says, “I believed when I spoke, “I am afflicted greatly.” David is in distress, he is most upset. No one can pin a date to this Psalm or rather I should say there isn’t agreement on a date, but most likely he is in exile and being chased by Saul and David is most upset because he believes yet those whom he is surrounded by are less zealous and he speaks these words… I said in my haste, “Everyone is a liar.” [Psalm 116:10-11] meaning all of humankind are liars. They claim their faith but do not embrace it. They call on God but do not repent. They ask for payment but do not give service. Worst of all they ask for personal or material things and not to increase the Glory of the Father. Dr. James Boice quotes Rev. Roy Clements a well-known British evangelical who explains it like this “In my moment of crisis, I discovered I was a believer, a real believer, not just a nominal churchgoer and that faith I discovered enabled me to verbalize my distraught emotions, not just to myself, but to God. I told him exactly how I felt.… In that situation, there was only one thing I could be with God, and that is honest, brutally honest. Maybe that’s why he listened, for listen he did. I tell you that I never realized it was possible to feel so much devotion to God until the day I realized he paid attention to me, deliberately turning his ear to my prayer. I love the Lord for he heard my voice.”[1]

Too often I think we ask and we feel ignored, because we don’t get that job or hit the lottery, but what are we basing our faith on? Materialism or Jesus? Paul hits the nail square on the head, just as Clements did, we feel betrayed when we realize that our faith in God is not the same as others, when we realize that we have bared our souls and bent our knees to serve the Lord and received His grace only to find ourselves coming back to a depressing and dreary world full of misery and pain. Where then is our faith? The answer should be in Jesus. “But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture— “I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will bring us with you into his presence. It is our faith in God that upholds us, like David and Paul, we are sustained by our faith in God and in his promises to us. Throughout history God has fulfilled those promises to those who’s faith is in Him and not themselves. Remember how Joshua defeated the Amorites, who had gathered five armies together, they were attacking his allies who were trapped inside their city and unable to help. Joshua spoke to the Lord; and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the valley of Aijalon.” And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. God stopped time for Joshua. For David he gave the power to stop a giant. 1 Samuel 17:45-46 David told Goliath “You come to me with sword and spear and javelin; but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This very day the Lord will deliver you into my hand Notice David said the Lord will deliver you into my hands, not I will deliver you. In Daniel 3 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are delivered from the furnace by God. But what were their words to Nebuchadnezzar? 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. 17 If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” In all these examples there are four things that are common to all {1.} Their faith is in God. {2.} Their deliverance is through God. {3.} They are asking for Gods help to accomplish God’s will and to Glorify the Father, not for personal gain. {4.} They are all in situations that are beyond their ability to cope with, they are in great personal danger and facing death, but they are not worried about themselves, no they are concerned that God is Glorified. Unfortunately, we live in the 21st century and in a fast food society, we are taught commercialism from day one, right out the gate. Todays, modern Christian is too often concerned with self rather than Gods Glory. Today’s Christian wants to know what’s in it for me? Well, Paul has an answer for this as well, 15 Yes, everything is for your sake, surprised? Well listen to the rest of verse 15, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Because it’s for God’s glory not ours that He has extended that grace to us in the form of Jesus and the Holy spirit. Because He has extended that grace to us “even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. Daily we are being worn down by sin and corruption, by our very nature we are condemned, as Paul so heartbreakingly cries out to God 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. That sin is constantly wearing at us, trying to get a foothold and making us doubt ourselves and worse making us doubt God. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. Now, I always picture the cartoon with little angel and the devil on your shoulder trying to get you to listen to them. You know, it’s kind of a funny picture, but it’s also very true. Think about it for a minute. God is whispering in one ear while the enemy is screaming in your other one. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Through Christ alone will God extend His mercy to us. Amen.

So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin. [Romans 7:19-25] It is this constant assault on our faith that Paul is speaking of and even though the enemy is piling it on with everything he has, Paul tells us it is nothing. Just a brief pain, compare to the Glory that God has prepared for us. Not just for a fleeting moment but for all of eternity. 17 For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, 18 because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. We are being prepared for glory beyond measure, but we need to keep our focus on the big picture, our eyes on the prize so to speak. We need to keep our faith in God, in the eternal, in the things that cannot be measured or bought. Because all else is just a momentary affliction, all else is just our minds making us captive to the law of sin. Captive to our earthly bodies which are nothing, momentary vessels to be discarded “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2 Corinthians 4:13 – 5:1] We are made to glorify the Father, to place our faith in Him no matter what the consequences are. The daily barrage that the enemy throws at us is nothing but a momentary affliction, all our accomplishments in this life are temporary, it is our faith in God that glorifies God. It is our faith that proclaims to the world that there is only one God and it is my faith, your faith, that allow us to say with conviction and authority “I believe this, and so I speak the words of God to you, so that you may believe this as well.” Amen.

[1] Boice, J. M. (2005). Psalms 107–150: An Expositional Commentary (p. 944). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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