Get Out of Your Rut

Psalm 105

According to National Park Service,

It was in “1836 that the first wagons were used on the trek from Missouri to Oregon. A missionary party headed by Marcus Whitman and his wife Narcissa bravely set out to reach the Willamette Valley. …In the spring of 1843, a wagon train of nearly 1,000 people organized at Independence, Missouri with plans to reach Oregon Country. Amidst an overwhelming chorus of naysayers who doubted their success, the so-called “Great Migration” made it safely to Oregon. …More than 2,000 miles of trail ruts and traces can still be seen along the Oregon National Historic Trail in six states-reminders of the sacrifices, struggles, and triumphs of early American settlers. …[In Guernsey, Wyoming] where the trail was forced away from the river and crossed a ridge of soft sandstone, the track is worn to a depth of five feet, creating some of the most spectacular ruts remaining along the entire length of the Oregon-California Trail.”

Christians were people first, subject to all the things that befall sinful human beings. Conversion changed some things, made life harder in lots of ways. Sin never used to be a problem, wrong attitudes and desires – oh well… But not so for the Christian. Yes, have ongoing help of God applied to us through ministry of Holy Spirit yet Christian still subject to temptation, “backsliding” or falling back into previous ways of thinking and doing.

Psalmist gives series of imperatives – what are needed to get us out of our present circumstances or bad habit, our ruts, living life the way a Christian should. Don’t misunderstand – Christian life in our present experience has highs and lows, hard times and not so hard times. Job endured genuinely hard affliction, has had lots of company over the centuries. God graciously gives his children help to deal with ruts. Two ways to deal with them: park tow truck beside, pull out whoever gets stuck. Or…get load of gravel and fill them in. Psalm 105 does both: helps believer get out of rut, keeps believer from falling back in and getting stuck again.

A. intro v.1-7

give thanks (1a) ingratitude

horizontal perspective encourages being ungrateful – doesn’t have to be us compared to them, can be now compared to once upon a time

must give sincere thanks, not “thank you I’m not as bad off as….”; that’s just another way to express discontent

every child of God has his salvation, relationship with God as a “minimum” – start there, then keep going, is really not hard to come up with reasons for thanksgiving

call on his name (1b) independence

default is too often “git ‘r done” with little or no thought given to calling on God for help and guidance

calling on his name – call him by his names: those names ascribed to God that reveal his character

El Roi – God who sees me; Jehovah Jireh – my provider; El Shaddai – God almighty; Abba – Father

broadcast about his accomplishments (1c) insecurity

Israel was God’s particular people; he did two things – brought the nations to them, placed them among nations: God’s goal, that the nations would hear of him

has certainly brought the nations to us (immigration) – don’t be shy, be missionaries – don’t hold back from insecurity, it’s God you are telling about; “just the facts, ma’am,” as you know them

sing to him (2a) misdirection

focus and energy can be aimed at wrong thing or person – doing what we do, even the right thing, but with wrong motives/goal in mind

when you sing, sing to Him – matters not what you sound like, what others think, focus is on God, is to bring glory to God and receive his response

make music to him (2b) procrastination

real easy to come up with reasons why tomorrow is way better time to do something; often cover for wrong attitude

don’t wait until you feel like it; start singing and sing until you make music – singing comes from lips, music from heart and soul; “Soul music is the very soul of music.” CHS

talk him up (2c) insignificance

who will listen to (fill in the blank)? who will listen to what I have to say? way more important people speaking with louder voices than mine

not talking about what you have achieved – is God’s message about what God has done; see Deut. 6:21-25 “say to your son, “We were slaves….” – starts at home, then from there

God’s greatest, most wondrous work – redemption from sin; millions of people in world claim to believe that, heard it from someone, probably not someone famous

glory in his name (3a) defeat

if you are a true child of God, means he has adopted you into the family; if his name is your name, you are more than a conqueror (Rom. 8:37)

if above is true, Jesus is Lord, Savior, King, elder brother, you are in union with him; therefore…God gives victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57), means defeat is impossible – with his help we can live victoriously as conquerors

rejoice in the Lord (3b) melancholy

hearts of those who seek the Lord are to rejoice – consider this: those who seek the Lord will find him; will never be a fruitless search, a wild goose chase

Jer. 29:13And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

may not be instant gratification – remember Job! – but if we go on seeking, God condescends to be found

seek the Lord (4a) apathy

won’t find him if we don’t go looking! must get up and go after it, in his strength; his strength will keep us from apathy, will enable us to stay out of the ruts – is essential for us to live pleasing to him

seek his face (4b) indecision

probably known perhaps been one who stands in middle of something, turning around in circle, unable to decide what or which way

seek his presence continually – persevere in staying close to God, sensing his presence; required not because God moves – we do; if seeking his face comes first, other decisions will come more easily and rightly

remember the history (5) forgetfulness

remembering and periodically refreshing memory necessary to overcome forgetfulness; three “categories” of God’s dealing with his creatures identified, followed by examples of each category

his marvelous works (5a)

things under heading of common grace – good things, blessings granted to people without regard for spiritual condition

his wonders (5b)

things God has done that are obvious public demonstrations of his power and wisdom intended to incite awe, wonder and amazement of God; in NT period, miracles authenticated messenger and message of Gospel as from God

his judgments (words) (5c)

both God’s commands and ordinances and the promises he made regarding his governing of his people

B. history lesson v.8-41

examples – are not exhaustive but give enough to show principle at work, encourage reader to make own application

words (8-12)

covenants and covenant promises he made to patriarchs; by extension, later covenants including Mosaic Law

works (13-26, 37-38)

protection from enemies; provision of food, numerical growth, leaders; suppying material needs for wilderness journey

wonders / miracles (27-36, 39-41)

ten plagues, deliverance from Egypt including Red Sea crossing, pillar of cloud and fire; water from the rock, manna and quails

not just examples, real history

four sources we can use: Biblical history, “christian” history, personal history, all of human history

C. promises kept for a purpose v.42-45

he did all this (42-44)

all of previously described words, works, wonders performed by God as fulfillment of promise made to Abraham

if God did all that to keep part of his promise, can be assured he will do the rest…includes us: “all families of the earth”

also certain that he can do the rest because he is God and has already demonstrated both willingness and ability

so his people would do this

observe his statutes (45a) keep his laws (45b)

God expects his people to praise him; he also expects more than lip-service – saying right without doing right

God also desires that obedience flow out of hearts full of praise and thanksgiving for who he is, what he has done

greatest ideal: that people who rejoice in the Lord, are satisfied in the Lord, show their love for the Lord by praise of their lips, obedience in their lives

praise him (45c) Hallelujah!

for examples he has given to us of his faithfulness – are examples to show us how to remember and praise, but there is more: 1 Cor. 10:6, 11

Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did….Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction.”

When we put all pieces together – seeing God at work keeping his promises to his people and caring for his creatures in all of history, really only one proper response: Alleluia! Sing to Jesus

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