A GUIDE FOR PEACE IN THE WAITING ROOM OF LIFE
Intro: My past, like yours, was a lost past! I do not want to go back to that
life ever again! My future, though as yet unseen, will end with me in Heaven
with the Lord. I am waiting excitedly for that day, as I know you are. In the
meantime, we wait! We do not know when the Lord will come for us to take
us to our future in glory, so we wait. While we wait, there are many
situations in life that could cause you and me to live in fear.
The looming war in the Middle East, the sad state of the economy, the
rising tide of sin and violence in the world, all conspire to steal our joy and
peace. When we take the time to look around, we see those who live lives
of wickedness prospering. When we see this, it renews an ages old struggle
over why the wicked prosper while the righteous seem to suffer. This was
the problem Job had. It was also the problem faced by a man named
Asaph, Psa. 73. If we keep our eyes on the world and all of its convulsions
this evening, we will most certainly live in fear and uncertainty. While there
are many reasons for fear when we look around, it is when we begin to look
up that we find an enduring source of peace in the waiting room of life.
Psalm 37 comes from the pen of King David when he is an old man, v.
25. Through his years, he endured many difficult circumstances that caused
his heart to fear. However, through those adversities David learned some
lessons about God and his faithfulness that gave him peace while he waited
to leave this world. You and I have the benefit of reaping a helpful harvest
from the lessons King David learned the hard way.
Tonight, in spite of the fact that we live in a difficult world, in the midst of
unsettled and uncertain times, I want you to know that you can enjoy peace
in the Lord. Even a peace that "passeth all understanding!" Allow me to
share with you the lessons David learned in his life. These lessons teach
us a something about the struggle the righteous face over the prosperity of
the wicked. They also point out why the righteous have a distinct, eternal
advantage over those who do not know the Lord. These valuable lessons
come together to form A GUIDE FOR PEACE IN THE WAITING ROOM OF
I. V. 1-2 THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON'S DISCOVERY
A. It may seem on the surface that the wicked man is prospering and
that he is enjoying life to the full, while the righteous man suffers.
This can cause the righteous man to "fret". This world means, "to
be hot, furious, to become angry, to be kindled." Sometimes this
anger is focused against the wicked man, sometimes at his apparent
advantages in life and sometimes this anger is focused at God!
The Psalmist says "Don't be angry when the wicked seem to
prosper! There is an alternative to anger, just look at their
B. When the righteous man takes the time to think life through, it
becomes quickly obvious who had the advantage in life. The wicked
man is like the grass, they are here for a time, then they are cut off
forever! There end is Hell! On the other hand, the righteous man
knows that even though life gets tough sometimes, when it ends, he
will be in Heaven with the Lord. He will spend his eternity in a place
where the problems and pains of life are not permitted to follow, Rev. 21:4.
C. Instead of envy, we should feel pure pity over those who do not
know the Lord!
II. V. 3 THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON'S DWELLING
A. Rather than envying the wicked man, which might cause us to
become like him, David says we are to trust the Lord and always do
the right thing in life. When we do, we can be confident that God will
take care of us.
B. This had been David's experience. Even when he was sorely
afflicted by his adversaries, he never missed a meal, Psa. 37:25.
The child of God who learns to live in absolute confidence in His
Lord will also find that he will dwell in a place of safety, assurance
and provision, Matt. 6:25-34.
III. V. 4 THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON'S DELIGHT
A. Instead of delighting in the things that please the flesh, the righteous
man is called upon to find his ultimate source of joy in the Lord. The
wicked man seeks his pleasure in the sins of the flesh and all that
the world can provide. He finds in the end that these things change
and can never satisfy the heart! The righteous man finds his source
of pleasure in the Lord. He never changes, Heb. 13:8, and He
absolutely satisfies those who delight in Him.
B. One of the greatest mistakes we make as children of God when
there are problems in our life is to focus on the problem instead of
the God behind the problem. As long as we concentrate on all that
is wrong in our lives, we are unable to concentrate on the glory of
God and upon His purpose for us in life. Our true source of
happiness must rise above the circumstances and situations of life
and it must come to rest in no other place but God Himself.
Life is a race, and it is often fraught with problems and
difficulties, but if we will keep our eyes on the right source, we will
find that the race is much easier to run and that our peace in the
Lord is much easier to maintain, Heb. 12:1-3.
IV. V. 5-6 THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON'S DEPENDENCE
A. While the wicked seem to prosper, the righteous also have a promise
for help in this life. We are told to "commit" our way unto the Lord.
The word "commit" is an interesting one. It means "to roll onto".
The idea is that instead of worrying and fretting, the righteous man
should learn to cast his burdens on the Lord and trust Him to take
care of matters in His way and at His time. This is an idea that is
repeated throughout the Bible, Isa. 55:22; 1 Pet. 5:7; Phil. 4:6-7.
B. Just as an additional thought, we need to remember that we can
worry and fret all we want too, but it will not speed up the Lord one
bit! He has a plan and He has a timing. Our duty is to trust Him and
He will "bring it to pass", that is, He will take care of it, in His own
C. The righteous man is also told that he will be vindicated for placing
his faith in the will of the Lord. Those who trust in the Lord need
never fear that He will fail them, or that they will be the laughing
stock of the devil and his crowd for very long, Rom. 10:11; Psa.
25:2-3. In the end, faith in God always pays out the greatest
V. V. 7 THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON'S DISCIPLINE
A. Instead of allowing the antics and the sins of the wicked cause us to
become angry and to burn with fear and worry, we are told to "rest
in the Lord". That is, we are to be careful about allowing ourselves
to be worked into a rage over all that the world is doing. We are to
patiently wait on the Lord to work out His plan in His timing.
B. Let's face it, when you consider the abortion industry that is killing
over 4,000 unborn children per day it is easy to become angry.
When you think of the porn industry that makes multiplied billions per
year as it destroys the innocence of America it is hard to refrain from
anger. When you think of drug abuse that is killing a generation and
when you consider the evils of legalized alcohol, that destroys lives
and devastates families it is hard to be calm.
Instead of relying upon anger to bring about change, we are
called upon to exercise godly wisdom and use other weapons in our
battle. You see, our weapons in the conflict we are waging are not
carnal or material, they are spiritual in nature, 2 Cor. 10:3-5.
Therefore, let us determine that we will dress up in the whole armor
of the Lord and that we will rest in Him and trust Him to give the
victory in His time and in His way.
VI. V. 8-10 THE RIGHTEOUS PERSON'S DELIVERANCE
A. Again, we are cautioned against anger. In verse 8, the focus of the
anger seems to be against the Lord and His seeming delays in life.
Instead of anger, we are commanded to be free from anger toward
God or the wicked, and we are commanded to be free from fear and
worry. We are reminded that in the end, we win!
Eventually, the wicked man will perish! Even his place and his
memory will be stricken out forever. However, the righteous man will
endure and he will be delivered in the end from the power and the
presence of sin.
B. There are those who become discouraged as the see the wicked
prospering and themselves struggling, and they are tempted to throw
up their hands and say, "What's the use?!", v. 9. We are reminded
that what we see in this world does not even give us a hint at what
will happen in the end of the matter.
One day the pleasures of the wicked will end in the pains of Hell.
While the problems of the righteous will end in the palaces of
Heaven. When it comes down to it tonight, which would you rather
have in your future?
Conc: While we wait, it often looks bad for the people of the Lord. There
are times when it seems like the worldly crowd is winning. It seems like the
church is languishing. It appears that somehow our faith in the Lord is not
paying off as we thought it would. When those times come, do not be
envious of that lost man who seems to be prospering. Just remember that
the story is still unfolding and that we haven't lived through the last scene
just yet! Keep your eyes on the sky, wait patiently for the Lord to finish His
plan for the ages and know that the best is yet to come!
(Note: This outline originated
with Dr. John Phillips! I tried, but couldn't improve on his!)