I preached this message on Sunday morning, March 15, 2020. Later that day, Governor Mike DeWine closed restaurants, bars, barber shops, salons, gyms, and essentially every other business in Ohio. Later that week he issued an order forbidding assemblies of more than 10 people. As a result, CrossPointe closed for eight weeks. However, during the shut-down and in the year since, we’ve continually experienced the goodness of the Lord.
Think about the amazing things we have learned in the past week—things we never would have known if not for the COVID-19 outbreak…
- Evidently toilet paper—not gold, silver, or other precious metals and jewels—but toilet paper is the most desired commodity in the United States when we’re facing a pandemic. By the way, we have plenty of toilet paper here, but if you steal the toilet paper, we will pray you get intestinal distress for a month!
- People will hoard odd things. I saw a picture a friend of mine posted of someone’s shopping cart with about two dozen bottles of Italian Dressing and a bunch of bags of Doritos.
- Memes are funny, even in times of crisis.
We’ve learned some lessons—but let me give you something this morning that we need to discipline ourselves to remember while we’re all in the middle of this mess—The Lord is good!
What? How can you say that? Have you seen the Stock Market?
Have you been to the grocery stores and have you seen the empty shelves and the masses of humanity buying all they can?
Have you heard of all the events being cancelled and the difficulty those cancellations are going to cause so many people?
Don’t you know that people all around us are frightened, anxious, and uncertain about the future?
Yes, I am aware of all these things. However, none of those circumstances change the fundamental truth that the Lord is good.
This morning we are going to step away from our study in the book of Habakkuk—largely because I was going to start teaching through the woes or the warnings God pronounced on Babylon for things like arrogance, greed, hoarding, violence, and idolatry (application would have been way too easy this week).
We will get back to Habakkuk next week, but today I just want to lift up our eyes from all the mess and focus our gaze on God—to see Him once again as the good God who delivers His people from our fears, and saves us out of our trouble, and provides all our needs.
Brothers and sisters, the Lord is good! But sometimes it takes difficult moments to understand how truly good He is.
There is an old saying my mom used to quote, “It’s always darkest just before the dawn.” Sometimes we need the darkness to appreciate, to a greater degree, the light.
Here is what I’m trying to say, many of our neighbors are panicking—and maybe you’ve struggled with feelings of anxiousness too—but understand that this time and these circumstances should magnify the glory and worth of God in your heart and life.
Why? Because, while uncertainty rules this moment of time—we live in the certainty that our God is for us and that He is good to His people.
One Psalm that reflects and reinforces this truth is Psalm 34. The 34th Psalm was written by David immediately after he went through what had to have felt like a hopeless moment in his life.
David was a young man who was chosen by God to become king of Israel because he was, as God said, a man after God’s own heart.
David became a hero in Israel and won many battles.
But not everyone in Israel loved David—in fact, king Saul hated him. He was jealous of David and he tried to kill him.
So, David did the only thing he could do, he ran. But king Saul pursued him, and the only place left to go was a place called Gath.
But there was a problem—you see, David killed a man—a giant named Goliath—the champion of Israel’s enemies the Philistines. Goliath was from Gath.
But David went to Gath and was probably hoping that no one there would recognize him, or the fact that he was carrying Goliath’s sword. That was not a good strategy because some men did recognize David and they knew that he was the king of Israel and that he was praised among the people of Israel for killing “his ten thousands.”
So, the men of Gath took David to Achish, the king of Gath. The Bible tells us that “David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath.” (1 Sam. 21:12)
Let me tell you how David got out of that mess—he acted like he was insane. He scribbled illegible marks on the doors of the gate, and he drooled all over himself. Achish thought he was a madman, so he rebuked the men of the city for bringing David to him, and Achish sent David away.
From there David hid out in a cave in Adullam—there he wrote these words:
1 I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. 3 Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
The words of Psalm 34 tell us how David made it through a time when “his heart was much afraid.” They tell us how David navigated a period in his life when he was almost certain that he was going to die.
Think about it, David was on the run from a king who wanted nothing more than to kill him, but he ran right into a king who had every reason and a great opportunity to kill him.
No wonder David was afraid—but David learned an important lesson that he wrote down while hiding in a cave—the Lord is good, even when danger abounds and especially when we are afraid.
Psalm 34 opens a window to David’s soul—the text shows us what David did to keep from being paralyzed by danger and fear.
So, today I want to show you, from David’s experience three steps you can take to keep from becoming paralyzed by danger and fear.
Praise the Lord – vs. 1-3
I know the idea of praising the Lord seems pretty basic—but how many of you have actually taken time this week, during the avalanche of news that was dumped on us, to actually stop and praise the Lord for who He is and what He has done and what He has promised to do?
Notice what David wrote, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Notice a few things.
- David praised the Lord personally. There was no one who could praise the Lord for him in his circumstance! He had a make a personal decision to have an attitude of praise toward God, regardless of his trouble.
- David praised the Lord continually. His view of God was not tainted by his circumstances. David knew that the Lord is good and worthy of praise when he was being praised by the king, and David knew that the Lord is good and worthy of praise when he was being chased by the king.
Our circumstances do not change the fact that the Lord is good—but our circumstances will certainly drive us to take our eyes off the one who is good and instead of living a life of continual praise, we will become consumed by worry and fear.Do you want to make it through difficult times?
- David praised the Lord verbally. He didn’t just praise God in his heart, David praised God with his mouth. Why is this important? Because what comes out of our mouth is what is actually in our heart.
Jesus said, “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” (Matthew 15:11, 18-20)
When you praise the Lord with your mouth in times of trouble, it is an indicator that your trust actually rests in Him. Listen, if all you can do is spout fear and worry about COVID-19, that may be an indicator that you are not trusting God in the midst of this situation.
Do you want to make it through difficult times? Learn to praise the Lord personally, continually, and verbally.
Now, let me show you why this is really important—because by praising the Lord your confidence in God grows.
David said, “my soul makes its boast in the Lord…” David did not have confidence in his faith, He had confidence in who His faith was founded upon.
Someone said, “It’s not great faith in God that you need; it’s faith in a great God. When you have faith in a great God, then your faith becomes great faith. I’m not against great faith, but don’t put the emphasis upon your faith. Put your emphasis upon who He is. And when you make your boast in the Lord, as you boast in the Lord, as you glory in the Lord, as you bless the Lord, you’re going to find out that your faith grows.”
When you praise, your faith is strengthened—and we are living in a day when we need to demonstrate that we, of all people, have faith in a great God. The Lord is good and our attitude, our actions, and our words during this time should demonstrate to all those who are looking at us that we trust a great and good God.
Seek the Lord – vs. 4-7
What did David do when he was in trouble? “I sought the Lord.”
Again, that sounds so basic, doesn’t it? But has your first instinct this week been to seek the Lord or was your first instinct to buy toilet paper and hand sanitizer?
The whole toilet paper and hand sanitizer has become somewhat of a joke—but if you really think about what is happening, you realize that its actually a very sad display of having nowhere else to turn. We are such a self-sufficient people that we will do what we can just to show that we are still somewhat in control. I can’t stop the virus, but I can…
Today our President has called for Americans to pray. He wrote, in this time we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones. I ask you to join me in a day of prayer for all people who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and to pray for God’s healing hand to be placed on the people of our Nation.”
I don’t know President Trump’s spiritual condition, but even our president knows that our success as a people is tied to going to God and asking for His divine intervention.
David sought the Lord, and the Lord answered him and delivered him—don’t miss this—from all his FEARS.
Listen, we know that eventually God delivered David from the danger—but here David admits that God’s initial answer to his prayer was that God delivered him from all his fears.
How do you overcome fear? Do you just decide to feel better? Do you ignore them? Do you just forget them? Do you fight against them? None of those strategies work!
Someone said, “You push those fears out the front door—they run around the house and come in the basement window into the subconscious.
You deal with fear by going to God—by seeking Him—by trusting Him to deliver you from them—by understanding that God alone is in control of all things.
Look at what happens when you seek the Lord and you cast all your cares upon him—“those who look to him are radiant.”
The idea here is that those who look to God in the midst of their fear will not only be delivered from their fear, but they will experience joy instead of fear.
But in order to experience this, you need to be humble. David knew there was nowhere else to turn and no one who could rescue Him. “This poor man cried…and the Lord heard and saved him out of all of his troubles.”
Remember something, David wrote this in a cave, by himself, while he was still on the run. So, this can’t mean that God saves him from a trouble-free life. But it does mean that God rescued him from what was troubling him—I think David was speaking of a soul-rescue.
This is important because it teaches us that God always responds to the cry of the humble. (Salvation)
It also teaches us that God protects those who are His—and God delights in protecting us.
If you want to understand that the Lord is good, you must praise the Lord, seek the Lord, and…
Enjoy the Lord – vs. 8-10
Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Sometimes we act like having to turn to the Lord is a last resort, when He is actually our best choice. Why? Because God delights in providing for us.
The greatest provision He has ever made happened when He gave His Son, Jesus to die in our place and for our sin so that we could have a relationship with the God who created us.
How do you taste the Lord? You have to know Him, and knowing Him leads to loving Him, and loving Him leads to praising Him, and praising Him leads to seeking Him, and seeking Him leads to trusting Him, and trusting Him leads to knowing that the Lord is good!
In these times, we need to enjoy the Lord! We need to realize that He is our fulfillment and our hope. We need to be walking, talking billboards to a watching world that we can enjoy life—even when COVID-19 is spreading rapidly and chaos begins to rule the day.
Why? Because in God we have no lack—in God we have all we need, and we lack no good thing.
There are people all around us who need what we have. They need to know that the Lord is good, and they need to hear it from us and see it displayed through our lives.
Listen, the Lord is good. Do you believe that?
There is an old song that says…
In times like these you need a Savior, In times like these you need an anchor;
Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
This Rock is Jesus, Yes He’s the One, This Rock is Jesus, the only One;
Be very sure, be very sure, Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock!
We have an anchor for our soul—the Lord is good.
So, take Psalm 34 and make it the desire of your heart and the pledge of your life. Praise the Lord, Seek the Lord, Enjoy the Lord and you will get through this—and maybe you’ll even lead others to know, trust, and love God along the way.
 Adrian Rogers, “The Power of Perpetual Praise,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), Ps 34:1–17.