God Is On Your Side
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

God Is On Your Side

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

God will take what we and the enemy meant for evil and turn it for good. Our greatest weakness is His opportunity to show His greatest strength. With God, what we think is the end is only the beginning.

Welcome to part one of our series of had it not been, it's a short but very powerful phrase, so maybe you would say it this way. Had it not been for my mother, I would have never made it this far in my life. Had it not been or had it not been for my second grade teacher, I would have never learned how to write in cursive, which is probably true for me. But, as I was thinking, in our today's world, I don't know if second grade teachers teach that anymore. I didn't fact check that. Does anybody know? I mean nobody writes in cursive, or at least learns how to do curse of nowadays. But if it had not been for my second greade teacher, I would have never learned cursive. The writer of Psalm One hundred and twenty four that we're going to look at today in our bibles, he starts off his song with this phrase and he says it this way. What if the Lord had not been on our side? What if the Lord had not been on our side? Had it not been the Lord on our side? And What an interesting question to think about because if you're like me, maybe you thought before, is God really on my side? And and if he is like, what is that? What does that even mean? What does that look like? Because I look around at my world, I look around that the bigger world, and there's a lot like crazy stuff going on. There's a lot of evil, there's a lot of just difficult situations. I've experienced a lot of trouble and if God is really on my side, then doesn't he do something about all of that? It's God really on my side is does God even exist? Because if he existed, then certainly he would do something about all this stuff. And so maybe maybe he doesn't exist, or or maybe let's say he does exist, but then maybe he's just not all powerful enough to do anything about it. Maybe he doesn't have the authority or have the ability to make a difference in the world that we want to see. Or maybe maybe God just he doesn't know. Maybe he needs a wake up call. You know, somebody call the the God hotline and be like Hey, look over there, there's something, something bad, that's something that needs your attention. Maybe God just needs a wakeup call to learn about it. Or maybe maybe we would say, you know, yes, God exists, yes he's all powerful and yes he knows about it, but maybe he just doesn't care. And if you've ever thought those thoughts or ask those questions, if you've ever wondered if God is really for you and on your side, then this series is for you, it's for me. So would you pray with me again as we start our new series. Had it not been God, we just come before you today and we realize that we're talking to somebody we cannot see and we're listening to and having a relationship with somebody that really, I mean, is invisible. But God, help us to see you, help us to know you more through this series, help us to understand your characteristics, in your attributes, and help us to really believe, at the core of our being, like at who we are, at the deepest level, that you truly absolutely are for us and on our side. God, help us to believe and to just know and live in the truth that you see us and that you care, you care so much about us. Help us to do that through this series and Jesus name. Amen. So, Hey, if you have your Bible, I encourage you to turn with me to Psalm one hundred and twenty four. Psalm one hundred and twenty four. If you...

...have a physical Bible, which how many of you actually do? But if you do, you could open it right to the beginning, in the middle, and that's you'll probably land right near there. And if you don't, that's okay. The words will be on the screen behind me and we would love to give you free Bible before you leave today. Just stop in the new here area and we would love to give you a free Bible before you leave. But here is Psalm one hundred and twenty four, and it is a psalm that was said to have been written by David that's what the little inscription below it says. And this is how it starts. Well, you know how it starts. What if the Lord had not been on our side? Let all Israel repeat, what if the Lord had not been on our side when people attacked us, they would have swallowed US alive in their burning anger. The waters would have engulfed us, a torrent would have overwhelmed us. Yes, the raging waters of their fury would have overwhelmed our very lives. But praise the Lord, who did not let their teeth tear US apart. We escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap. The trap is broken and we are free our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. You know, there is power in reading God's word, the scriptures publicly together. It is alive, it is active and it makes a difference in our life and in our world and I encourage you this week to read your Bible, get an App read you know, read something and maybe you've tried to read your Bible before and you're like a start at the beginning and I didn't really make it too far. I encourage you to maybe start in the Book of Psalms, but I think the best place to start reading your Bible is in the book of John. That's the gospel account of somebody at disciple of follower of Jesus, and it just talks all about Jesus us, all about hit what he did, and if you get Jesus and John Right, then it puts the Bible into perspective. So if you want to start somewhere, starting John. But the psalms is also a good place to start, because the psalms they put words to what we feel and what we go through, and sometimes what we feel and what we go through we just don't even know what to say, and the psalms give us the words to say that. You know, the Bible is not a book that you read from cover to cover like you. You don't just start at the first word and at the end like a regular novel. Once you get to the end, you kind of close it and put it on the shelf and forget about it. The Bible is a collection of all different kinds of writings, all different kinds of ancient manuscripts for over thousands of years that we're all collected their historical records and documents. There's a bunch of numbers and genealogies, there's narrative, there's there's poetry, there's all different kinds that are collected into the Scriptures and the psalms are really unique because the Bible is God's word to us. It records a lot of what God says right like God is speaking to people, he's speaking to us a lot of times. But it's been said that the psalms are almost like our words spoken to God, because they just put words to the things and the situations that we experience that we oftentimes cannot even cannot even put words to. There's actually a hundred and fifty psalms in our Bible and the Book of Psalms is divided up into five different sections, five different books, and you might know one of the authors who wrote a lot of psalms. You think of the Psalms and you think of David Yeah, he wrote at least seventy three of the hundred and fifty, which is interesting because that's not even half. There are a lot of other people that included writing the psalms, which is really, really fascinating. There's a lot of psalms that they their praises to God, their thankfulness to God, their songs that are...

...sung by people and individual, songs sang by communities, songs sang on the way to the temple. There's even songs and psalms that called down destruction on people. Those are quite interesting psalms. There's psalms that express sorrow and pain and difficulty and confusion and faith. And maybe for you, you've turned to music during some different times in your life. Maybe there's a song of the summer that was the hit and that was the year that you met that special person in your life and sure enough, as you were dating and getting to know each other, it's like our first dance at our wedding was that Song, our special song that we share with our spouse. Or maybe there's a song that really gripped your heart and soul during a differentult time in your life and you just clung to it. You need you needed it. It gave you the ability to keep pushing on and moving forward. For me, there was a really hard time in my life my freshman year of college, and it up until that time in my life. It was probably the hardest thing I went through, and there was a song that met me. I listened to it every single day. It's called praise you in the storm and it was a reminder that that's what I wanted to do in the middle of my storm, in the middle of my dark storm. I wanted to praise him in the middle of it. And that's what music does. It puts words, it puts feelings and emotions to the things that we're trying to wrap our brains around, and it's what our writer in Psalm One hundred and twenty four does. And he asked the question, the powerful question, what if the Lord had not been on our side? And then he gives us a few answers. He says they would have swallowed US alive and the waters would have engulfed us, which again you ask the question. Well, who is they? WHO's anger? WHO's swallowing US alive? WHOSE WATER IS COMING TO GET US? Who is they? It's one of the interesting things about the psalms like's. What is their historical context? When were they written? If David wrote many of them, like he said, who have written this one? We know a lot about David's life. We could read about it in the Old Testament, a lot of what he went through. And don't you wonder, like what Song would he have written when he got his sling and his stone and he swung it around and he threw it at the giant Goliath and it clocked them in the head and he went down and David ran over and pulled the sword out of his thing. It cut his head off and he's like yeah, try a victory. What Song do you write in that moment? Or what Song Does David right when he's when he's trying to comfort the King Saul, and King Saul is like losing his mind and he's throwing spears at David and David's like dodging them, you know, for the hundred time, like what song do you write when your life is on the line. It's one of the interesting things about the psalms and here the answer that is given for us is when the people attacked us, like the people there was people they were attacking and in his polite, poetical language, he's talk, he's thinking about the destruction, the horrible situations, all the difficulty, in trouble that could have happened if the Lord had not been on his side. All of these things could have happened, but they didn't. So it makes me wonder how often do we really care if God is on our side? Like I think so often we want so many of the things to be on our side. We want somebody that has a lot of authority, a lot...

...of power and a lot of money, I think, a lot of times, to be on our side, because that means that whatever situation we can find ourselves in, we just take our phone out, we send the message, we give the call and say, Hey, I need your help, I know you know people, I know you got the resources, come and fight for me, and like we want somebody like that on our side. Or sometimes it's not a person, sometimes it's things, like sometimes we want the stock market to be on our side, don't we? We put money into that thing and we want to see it go up into the right we want everything to be green, we want it to be for us, we want it to be on our side. And the moment we put money there and it turns red and what's going on, we start to feel overwhelmed, we start to feel engulfed in the in the waters, we start to feel like things are closing in. Or if you're applying for a job, anyone apply for a job recently, don't you want somebody that's inside the company to be on your side? Like if you have an interview with the guy that's making the decision, or at least has it great influence in the decision, and you know him, like you two are you two are are solid. You know you would you and her making the hiring decision. You're together, you're a team, like you have someone on the inside. You want them on your side. Why does it matter to have God on my side? I mean, God's not going to show up and, you know, use his power and his connections and resources to help me in my situation. God's not going to cause the stock market the go you know, and the way I want. God's not going to ultimately give me a job. It's the person making a decision, obviously, that's going to make give me the job. So often we want so many other things on our side. What do we need God for? And you know, it's this tension and this debate, this struggle and fight. Do we really just trust in God to be on our side and that's all we need? That the nation of Israel, the Kingdom of Judah, struggled with all the time, like they had enemies that were surrounding their their country, their territory, their cities, and they were always attacking, they were always trying to get at them, and they always ask the question, is it enough that God is for us, that God is with us? There was always a poll and a draw to call on somebody, call on the nation of Egypt. They had the power, they had the resources, they had the army, and the Kingdom of Israel was like, if we could just have them on our side then and we don't have to worry about our enemies. So often we live our life that way, don't we? We want all these other things to come in our life and there's so many prophets and throughout the history of Israel that we read in the Bible. These prophets come to the king of Judah, to Israel, and he says, I know you want Egypt on your side, but that is a bad decision. You think they're going to help you. They are not going to help you. You think that they're going to come and save you. They are not going to save you. They are going to cause more problems than anything else. Like, leave them alone. Our God is enough. Our God is on our side, he is with us. You do not need all of that other stuff. And what's crazy is that even their enemies knew this about Israel, like this was such an obvious thing...

...that the nation of Israel kept always running to Egypt, always running to Egypt. Well, we need Egypt, we need Egypt that even the enemy king, his name is senacorab. You'll hear his name a couple times today. SENACA RIBB and second kings, Chapter Eighteen, verse nineteen, says this. Then the Assyrian Kings Chief of staff told them to give this message to Hezekiah. SENAK RIB is the the Assyrian King, and Hezekiah is the king of Judah. Okay, this is what the Great King of Assyria, says, this is Snak Rib. What are you trusting in that makes you so confident? And I think if there is one question that you answered today, before you leave or as you leave this place, answer that question. What makes you confident? It's a good it's a great question. He says, do you think that mere words can substitute for military strength and skill? Who are you counting on that you have rebelled against me? See, the nation of Israel, the the Kingdom of Judah, at this time, they did not go with the Assyrians. The Assyrians were conquering everybody. They're like, you know, we either kill you or you join us. And the heat nation of Kingdom of Judah was like, we are not joining you. And so the kings like, who do you think? You are rebelling against me? Who are you counting on? And so he knew, didn't you know? Right? Are you counting on? On Egypt? And then he says this. He says, if you lean on Egypt, it'll be like a reed that splinters beneath your weight and pierces your hand. Pharaoh, the King of Egypt, is completely unreliable. See, even the enemy king knew this about Egypt. And how many things in our life do we lean on, do we count on, and there is absolutely no way that it's going to hold up to our weight? We lean on and trust in and hoping our money, and it it goes, it's gone. It's not what we thought it was. We lean on and and trust in and hoping our jobs and our positions, and then they disappear. We lean on trusted people, are friends, our spouse, and eventually they break and they cannot live up to the weight that we put on them. And that's why, that's why we need God on our side right that's why we need him to lean on, because he will never break and he will thankfully, I didn't get hurt here, but thankfully he won't hurt you. He won't, you won't Pierce your hand, but all of these other things do. And this is really the point of this entire series. Had it not been as I want to give you so many reasons why, you can put your full weight, your full who you are, your lean meaning on you're hoping in in God, in the person of God, of who he is. This study is called, in big terms, theology proper, the study of the person of God, and there are some characteristics and attributes about God that are unique to God. They're called the incommunicable attributes of God. They are unique to him. They're not communicated or to other people, to us, and some of them are some of them are communicable to us. And so, for example, an attribute...

...of God, God is love. Right, do you love? Yeah, God is love. We love, but we do it in a finite human way and God, of course, does it in a perfect way. God is just, he is right, he is fair, and we we seek justice, we want justice, we fight for justice. God is creator and we are creative in our own unique way. We're doing these attributes of God. But there are some things about God that are unique to God. Like he is all powerful. It's like, okay, what does that mean? Well, what does it mean to be able to be all powerful? Or what is God is all knowing. He knows absolutely everything, from the beginning of time to the end of time. He's outside of time, knows it all at the same time. Okay, what does that mean? God is all present. He is everywhere at the same time, in all places around the globe and in every galaxy. There's no place God is not okay, it's these characteristics these attributes of God that make God God and cause us to worship him, cause us to be in awe of him, cause us to to revere him and love him and trust in him and praise him and thank him. And that's exactly what the writer of this psalm does when he considers exactly that God is who he said he is, and this incredible, amazing, all powerful, all knowing, all present God is on our side. He is on our side. So praise the Lord Right, praise the Lord who did not let their teeth tear us apart. We escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap. The trap is broken and we are free. Our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth. In verse seven is where we get this beautiful image of this bird, and I'm so thankful for one of my friends who designed this for us. It's a I mean it's incredible picture. Have you ever felt there's the bird. Have you ever felt like you escape something that you shouldn't have escaped? You ever make it through like a car accident here, like I don't even know how I'm still here today, or you've been through like a hopeless situation, or maybe you've made it through or survived the drug overdose, a bankruptcy, or maybe you could say something like I would have been in those World Trade Centers on eleven had it not been that my alarm didn't go off that morning and for some reason I missed work. Like that's people's stories and it's a it's a miracle. It's amazing that God would be on our side, that would be for us in that way, and it's the cause us to praise God, to thank God. He is our help and if if he can create the heavens and the Earth, then certainly he can help us as we are living inside of what he created. You know, sometimes, sometimes we just need to say we made it, we made it, like we're here, it's like it's amazing, it's it's it's almost seems unlikely, impossible, but we made it. I made it. Turn to the neighbor next to you and tell him I made it. I made it, type it in the chat. I made it, like you made it through some stuff. By the grace of God, you're here today and things could be so totally different if it wasn't God on our side. You guys are maybe a little quiet. I'm going...

...to challenge you with something real quick. I want you to take ten seconds and I want you to praise God and thank God for him being on our side and getting you through something. Come on, somebody, let's say thank you God. I mean makes some noise. There we go. Let's say God, thank you that you are on our side. You have made it through, you have gotten us through some hard stuff. All right, hey, I want to tell you now about this historical artifact. It's in the British Museum. It's been there since one thousand eighteen fifty five. It's a long time ago. It's called the SENACAR RIB prism. It's a hexagonal clay prism that lists eight campaigns of SENNAC RIB, the Assyrian King, until the start of his final war against Babylon, and includes a description of the tribute received from Hezekiah, the King of Judah and one BC. I just took this right off of the British Museum's website. It was made in six nine, anyone BC, near Iraq. It's fifteen inches tall. On it is uniiform inscription. That's the language, the writing of the day, and there's four hundred and eighty seven lines of it on this thing. So first of all, it is incredible that this thing exists and that they've found it, like that's a miracle. That's remarkable. And if you've ever looked into biblical archeology, like they've found some pretty amazing things. Like it's amazing that you could take this book and you could look through it and you could be like, I think, I think this is over here. You know, that's what that's what it says, and then you start digging and it's like sure enough, Oh look, I found it. It's like it just gives you amazing reasons to believe that the Bible really is true. It's incredible. But I want to read to you lines eleven through twenty four. And No, they didn't teach me Kuniiform and seminary reading with somebody else translated, but we trust them. Look with what it says and of Hezekiah, who was the king of the Jews, who, it's not submitted to my yoke. He had forty six of his fence cities and strongholds and smaller cities which around about them and with we're without number. He said, I besieged, I besieged, I captured two hundred thousand, one hundred fifty people, small and great, male and female horses, I'm old donkeys, camels, men, sheep and numeral for their midst, I brought out and I reckon them as spoil. It's like, okay, we get it, you took a lot of stuff. Hezekiah himself. What's those next? Words? Like a caged or within Jerusalem, his royal city. I shut in. What words did SENAKAR RIB use to describe as a Kiah, like a cage bird? What words the God used in this psalm to describe what he was doing for the person? He freedom, like a bird from a trap. Right, we escaped like a bird from a hunter's trap. The trap is broken and we are free. SNAKAR RIB may have securely locked the cage, but the living God of Israel came in after it and unlocked it. The bird escaped it. It seems too good to be true. We escaped. Praise the Lord. God did it. Do you see it? But although this Psalm says it...

...was written by David, it's because of this coincidence that many people think that Hezekiah probably, maybe wrote this song. Maybe that inscription should have said descendant of David, not like David. Or if David did write it, then Hezekiah certainly adopted it and embraced it for his situation because it just describes what he went through so well. The very thing that God used, or sorry, the very thing that the enemy used against Hezekiah, is the very thing that God used to set him free. The very thing that the enemy meant for evil, God turned to good God to not abandon him. When he was a bird in a cage. God was at work the entire time and used it to help him escape. Now, what has the enemy said about you? What words, images, pictures, labels come to mind when you think about yourself and your situation? Sanakrim had a label for Hezekiah. He was a bird in a cage. He was done, it was over. He had them right where he wanted them. But God was on his side and has a Kiah escaped. The bird made it out of the cage. The cage is broken. And maybe there are some things in your past, things that you've done, things that you've said, that you aren't so happy about and in some ways and many ways maybe you feel ashamed about them. There's things that you've done that you hope that nobody would ever find out and you're mad at me right now because you're making you think about it, right, and these things that we experience in life, that we do in life, like they cause us to feel. Sometimes, I mean a whole range of things, but maybe you just feel like dirty, like dirty because of the people that you've been with, dirty, because of the places that you've been, dirty, because of the things that you've seen. You just kind of feel it on you in your mind and your soul. You just kind of you just feel, for lack of a better term, dirty, and you know, there's always some truth to these thoughts, these labels that we think about ourselves. Like we are, if we're really honest with ourselves, like yeah, there's a part of us right that is dirty. And in fact, the Prophets, one of the prophets, Isaiah, he wrote that even our righteous deeds are like filthy, dirty rags. It's like even our best stuff, but yet gone. He gets down into the dirt with us, he brush us us off and cleans us up and with dirt all over his hands, he puts his hands on our face and he looks us right in the eye and he says, I don't condemn you, I love you, I'm with you, I'm for you, I love you. Now go and send no more like God meets us right where we are, right in the dirt. He gets right in the mess with us and he loves us...

...as perfectly as possible and cleans us up. Scriptures say, though, our sins are like scarlet, you will be made as white as snow to God has some white, clean clothes for us to wear. You are washed, you are clean because of Jesus. And there's just something, though, in our thinking, something in our mind, that like we know, we know where a bird in a cage, we know we're stuck in many things we can't get out right, but there's something inside of us that, man, we want to figure it out. Well, work so hard, we're going to get this, we're gonna beat it, we're going to defeat it, we're going to overcome it, we're going to get out of here. We're going to figure it out. And when I figure it out, then God will love me, then I will feel worthy to have a relationship with God. And a lot of times we apply that to church. Right it's like, I can't go to church, but one SI clean myself up a little bit. Then then I'll come, you know. Or maybe, if we're a bird in a cage, maybe it's being the bird that's the problem. It's like if I just was something different, like if I was something new, if I just changed who I was, if, like I'm the problem, and so like, instead of being a bird, like what if I could become a snake, I could like slither right through the the caging, I could escape that way. But it's the bird, it's the person, it's who he are that is the problem. Or maybe maybe you've just given up all together, like you're a bird in a cage and that's all you ever be. You're stuck, it's over, you're out of hope, you're done. But God, somebody say, but God, but our God is for us, he is with us and he breaks the cage and we escape as a bird. God uses the very thing that locks us up to set us free. You feel dirty. God cleans us up. You feel like a failure. Why Bother? Right, I always mess up, it never works out. God can break that cycle and you can escape. In Christ we are more than conquers. You feel unlovable. God's love for you is deeper and wider and more perfect than anything you can comprehend. You feel weak. It's actually in your weakness that you are made strong by God. You feel rejected and alone. You are born into the family of God. You are adopted as heirs of the king of kings and the Lord of Lords. He bought you with his blood. Feel worthless. Jesus gave his life for you, he gave everything to buy you because he loves you. God takes the very things that we deal with, the very things that lock us up, and uses them to set us free. God has the power to do that. He wants to do that, he loves US and he provides a way of escape. Our help is from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth. Now we got to finish the story of Hezekiah and Sennachara. What happened? How do you escape? You know? Well, Second Kings, Chapter Twenty versus thirty two through thirty six. This is what the Lord said was going to happen. His armies, meaning and ACRIB's armies, will not enter Jerusalem, just God says. They will not enter Jerusalem. They...

...will not even shoot an Arrow at it. They will not march around its gates with their shields, nor build banks of earth, against its walls, you know, the run up the banks of earth to go on the other side. The king will return to his own country by the same road on which he came. He will not enter this city. He will he will not enter this city, says the Lord. Why? For my own honor, I mean, every time I've read that this week preparing for this message, I just get goosebumps. Like God, he's gonna fight for his people, he's gonna keep the enemy away. Why? Because that's who he is. For his own honor, for his own being, of who he is. He's gonna do it for himself, because of the WHO he is and for the sake of my servant David. He is gonna fight for you, he says. I will, I will defend the city and I will protect it. I will defend you and I will protect you. Incredible words, promises of God. Do you think it happened? Now? That night the angel of the Lord went out to the Assyrian camp and killed a hundred and eighty five thousand Assyrian soldiers, and when the surviving Assyrians woke up the next morning they found corpses everywhere. Then King Senna Grib of Assyria, broke camp and return to his own land. He went home to his capital of Nineveh and stayed there. God will fight for you. God is on your side. God can do anything, he is with you, he loves you, and the very thing that holds you down and locks you up is the very thing God wants to use to help you find him. And then he'll say to you, stop looking anywhere else, stop leaning on anything else. All that stuff is going to break, all that stuff is going to hurt you, all that stuff is going to let you down. Lean on me and all of those things that the enemy says about who you are, all of those things that you tell yourself that only you know, the conversations you have with you. You might be those things, God says, but I am like. You might be this, but I am what you need. I am your healing, I am your forgiveness, I am your strength, I am, God says, to whatever it is that you need. Would you pray with me as we close? God, as we come to you today, may we realize that, as we leave this place, that you are walking every step of the way with us, that you're all powerful strength, is going right there with us, that you're knowing of everything, walks into every unknown situation that we find ourselves in this week, and that your presence literally is with us every single step of the way. And, Lord, I pray that for us, that this would be enough, that you are truly on our side, and that's all we need. Lord, forgive us when we turn to so many other things, when we want to bring them on to our our team, onto our side. If only we had, if only I had, if only I could do this, but you're saying, God, just just trust me. Lord, help us to do exactly that, help us to lean on you and help us to see ourselves as...

...you see us. Though our sins might be as scarlet, you wash them white as snow. Lord, because of you we can be free. Thank you for what you do. It's in Jesus name I pray. Amen.

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