Trajectory: Finding Direction for Your Life Part 7 Trust God's Peace

Sermon Summary

This message looks at the need to trust and rely on God's peace in our hearts and minds. King David found himself in circumstances that would normally destroy a persons ability to have peace of any kind. His son Absalom was pursuing him to kill him and take over the kingdom. Other close associates had turned against David and some were saying that God would never forgive him for the terrible sins he had committed. But David decided to listen to God's voice rather than the voice of the world. David knew God's peace was the only peace in this world he would ever truly have. He allowed God's peace to protect, promote, and give rest and deliverance. We too must trust God's peace in our lives if we want to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy!

Community Group Discussion Guide

1. Do you sometimes find it difficult to find a sense of peace in the midst of life's circumstances? What are some of the ways you've sought to find inner peace?

2. David faced many foes and enemies. Some were family and close friends. However, our foes and enemies are not always people. What are some of the foes and enemies you face that seek to rob you of God's peace?

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Rom 8:36  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Rom 8:38  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
Rom 8:39  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

3. When a person trust God's peace they will find that His peace will not only protect them, but will also promote them. How does this work or how has it worked in your life?

Psalm 3:3-4 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

4. God wants you to trust His peace just like a child trusts a parent. Years ago I heard one of my children cry out in the night. I ran to her and picked her up and held her in my arms. She went right back to sleep. Her daddy was there! I put her back in her baby bed and headed back to bed, but the Lord stopped me in my tracks. All I could think of was this: Larry I want you to trust me like that!" I knew I couldn't go back to bed, I had to write a song.  The lyrics go like this…

"Tossed you high up in the sky and made you feel ten feet tall. With arms that could never fail you, you knew I wouldn't let you fall. My little Jessica you've such trust in me, yes you do now to chase away the shadow bandits that dance in your dreams, it's not as bad as it seems no no..
Someday you'll waken to find my power was only in your mind.  You'll see that I too have fears and have cried my share of tears.
Now when that time comes just do what you've always done only look to a different father and put your trust in the Heavenly One."

How has trusting the peace of God given you the ability to truly rest?

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(For a free download or to stream the song mentioned above "My Little Jessica", go to larrymcewen.com and click on the album cover with a picture of me holding a little boy from Haiti. Follow the instructions and enjoy)

Full Sermon Notes
Trajectory: Finding Direction For Your Life Part 7 Trust God's Peace

"Lord I come, I confess, Bowing here I find my rest, without You I fall apart, You're the One that guides my heart!" Byron, I don't know how you do it, but you find songs with perfect lyrics almost every single week! "Bowing here I find my rest!" Do you ever long for rest, and I don't mean sleep, I'm talking about mental and emotional rest that can only come from one source! Our Lord! David had learned to trust God's aim, His power, His plan, His protection, His provision, and His pardon, but now it was time to...

Trust God's Peace

I believe today's message is one that every single person in this room, including the preacher and maybe especially the preacher need to hear and to heed! Anybody here long for deep and abiding inner peace? Let's pray and ask God to help us learn the awesome secret to trusting God's peace! Pray!!

Trusting God's peace, finding peace, living in peace, well that was no easy thing for David. First of all he was the King of Israel. I can't even imagine the pressure he was under. And he was king during a time fraught with pagan enemies who were always ready to take down this so-called people of God. And then there were enemies amongst his own people and even his own family as we'll see today. And of course there was the internal struggle David had with making peace with his past. Last week we talked about accepting God's Pardon, but we must also come to the place where we are willing to pardon ourselves. I'm not talking about denying our past, our mistakes, our faults, or making light of our sin. I am talking about being willing to come to a place where you repent of your sin, turn away from it, accept God's pardon, but also learn to forgive yourself! David had to get to this place and it wasn't going to be easy because even though God had pardoned David, there were others who were not willing to let him off the hook. So with that in mind, let's look at our text today.

Today and for the next several weeks we are going to find direction for our lives by looking at the wisdom and lessons David shared with us in songs written as a result of the circumstances of his life. Take your Bibles and turn with me to Psalm 3.

Psalm 3:1-8 O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.”
But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.
Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

Reason #1 Foes and Enemies

Psalm 3:1 O LORD, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me!

David had some foes and enemies and evidently they were not few in number and one of the tragic things for David was some of his foes and enemies ended up being family and close associates. In fact one of them was his own son, Absalom. Absalom had decided he could do a better job of running the Kingdom than dear old dad, so he began plotting to take over the kingdom. Listen...

2 Samuel 15:1-6 In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him.
He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed
before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?”
He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.”
Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper,
but there is no representative of the king to hear you.”
And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land!
Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice.”
Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him.
Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice,
and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Sometimes life's greatest difficulties are found within the family or with our closest associates. And those kinds of trials can be the most heart wrenching and troubling. It's in those times we discover the reason we must find and trust the peace only God can bring into our lives. And by the time this Psalm was written things had escalated and Absalom was in pursuit of his dad to try and kill him and take away the kingdom. David was the king and had a palace, resources and many fighting men, but that could not keep him from the troubles of life. He may have thought, when he was a younger man, if I could only be the king, then everything would be different! But he soon discovered that without God's peace there would be no peace. Don't we sometimes make the same assumptions. "If I only had more money, more resources, more of this or that, then I would be happy, and find peace. If I only lived there, had that job, had that house, that boat, that relationship, then I would live in peace."

David had all of that but discovered that true peace can only be found in a relationship with Almighty God! And let me share with you something: God is always honest with people who are considering following Him. He never promises if we follow Him and believe in Him we won't get sick, or ever have a financial hurdle to overcome, or a relationship issue, or a car break down, or a child go rouge. But in the midst of the greatest trials and tribulations in life we can still have the peace of God. Let me explain something to you. Peace and happiness are not the same thing. Happiness is based on feelings and feelings are based on circumstances. Circumstances change from moment to moment and therefore, cannot be relied upon or trusted! True peace, on the other hand, is something that comes from the Joy of the Lord and it is internal and eternal and can be relied upon and trusted because it's source is God Himself. In fact, Jesus, just before the trial of His life, just before the cross, He had a conversation with His disciples. Let's listen in...

John 16:28-33 I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.
Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions.
This makes us believe that you came from God.”
“You believe at last!” Jesus answered.
“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home.
You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble.
But take heart! I have overcome the  world.”
And there's yet another vital reason we must learn to trust God's peace...

Reason #2 The Voice of the World

Psalm 3:2 Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him. ”

Not only was David being pursued by his son, some of his closest advisors and friends had turned on him. You see, David had finally come to a place where he could accept and trust God's pardon, and even began to forgive himself, but there were others who refused to forgive David for what he had done. One of those people was David's long time advisor and friend, Ahithophel.  

2 Samuel 17:1-2 Ahithophel said to Absalom, “I would choose twelve thousand men and set out tonight in pursuit of David.
I would attack him while he is weary and weak. I would strike him with terror, and then all the people with him will flee.
I would strike down only the king...

Ahithophel was Bathsheba's grandfather and you might be thinking the same thing I thought. "Well, no wonder, Ahithophel was struggling with forgiving David after what David had done to his granddaughter and grandson-n-law." Let me just say, forgiveness is never about saying the wrong that was done was right or not bad, or should go unpunished. However, forgiveness is saying…"I'm not going to be your judge, your jury, or your executioner! I'm going to pray that you realize what you did was wrong and that you are sorrowful and truly repent and seek God's forgiveness." My ability to forgive is always aided when I realize "there, accept for the grace of God go I!"

But here was David's situation: He knew he had been forgiven by God, but he was constantly being reminded of his sin by others! He was being told that God didn't really forgive him and that there was no hope for him. "Who do you think you're fooling, David, God hasn't forgiven you and God's not going to deliver you!" Anybody out there ever been there? How many times does Satan use the tactic of guilt, shame, and condemnation to steal our peace of mind and to try to kill our joy in the Lord and destroy our witness and our purpose in life? How often does Satan seek to employ or deploy this tactic? How about daily! Jesus warned us of this...

John 10:10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;

But then Jesus tells his disciples a beautiful thing about His purpose in their lives...

John 10:b ...I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

So you have to decide who you're going to listen to, the world or Jesus! If you've asked Jesus to come into your life to be your Savior and you've asked Him to forgive you, then you are forgiven, period! End of discussion. Forgiven! Don't let the condemning voices of this world tell you anything different. Don't listen to them! Don't believe them! Accept what God has freely offered and live in peace! I read this verse last week, but someone here needs to hear it again…

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

There is such peace when we accept the amazing grace and mercy of God into our lives! When we realize God has forgiven us and will help us with the circumstances and consequences of life, we become recipients of the peace of God. And this leads us to see another vital reason to trust God's peace...

Reason #3 God's Peace Protects and Promotes

Psalm 3:3-4 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.
To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.

David is trusting God's aim, His power, His plan, His protection, His provision and His pardon and the result is that God's peace forms a shield around him not only physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Paul the Apostle had some epic insight into this principle and shared it with us in his letter to the Philippians...

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

And we'll be talking about trusting God's perception of our needs when we pray, for the next two weeks. I hope you won't miss those messages. So when the voice of the world tries to make you anxious, just ask God to fill you with His peace that will transcend all understanding and trust His peace to guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus!! The world doesn't know or understand ability to have peace in the midst of terrible times. And while they may not be able to accept your explanation, they will see your example and hopefully they will at some point desire to know what you know and to have what you have!! Let's read David's words again because there's more in this verse…

Psalm 3:3 But you are a shield around me, O LORD; you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

While the world was trying to use David's failures to shame Him, God was using forgiveness to bestow glory on David and to lift his head! And here's something very important to understand: God bestowed on David glory. It was not David's glory, a glory earned, but God's glory, a glory undeserved, but given! And I love the part about God lifting David's head! Sometimes we are so vulnerable to the world's put downs and even our own despairing attitudes and are prone to become discouraged and down and feel as if we have no reason to lift our head. We are burdened, beaten and battered by our failures, our mistakes and our fears, but when we trust God's peace to flow into our lives our heads are lifted to view His glory, and majesty! God's peace promotes us to knew heights and glories not possible on our own. You see, when I'm tempted to doubt, despair, worry, fear, or lose confidence, trusting God's purpose, God's presence, and God's promises brings God's peace. More on these three to come in another message, but check this out...

Ephesians 1:17-21 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to
which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,
which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,
far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given,  
not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

And yet another vital reason to trust God's peace...

Reason #4 God's Peace Brings Rest

Psalm 3:4-5 To the LORD I cry aloud, and he answers me from his holy hill.
I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

I just love these words of David! His son is after him and some of his most trusted friends have now abandoned him, but David says something like this: "I'm going to go to sleep now, I'm tired! God's got this. He will sustain me!" Not that it didn't hurt him that these things were happening. It did! Listen...

Psalm 41:7 All my enemies whisper together against me; they imagine the worst for me, saying,
“A vile disease has beset him; he will never get up from the place where he lies.”
Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

The fact that his own son was after him to kill him probably brought a level of burden and stress unimaginable. Any parent here that loves their child knows what I'm talking about. When it's your kid, that's another level of struggle! And then there was the betrayal of his one time advisor and friend. Relationship troubles of any kind can rob us of peace and rest. Satan loves to sow relationship discord. But David knew he had to put it all in the hands of his Heavenly Father and let Him handle things. He knew he couldn't let the circumstances of his troubles cause him to lose faith, hope or peace! You see, the world can't give you peace or rest, because the world is under the influence of the enemy of God! Satan also wants you to be unsatisfied and dissatisfied so you can not possibly have true peace or real rest. Why? Because you will always be searching, but never finding, wanting, but never having, needing, but never achieving fulfillment! People with gold records want platinum and those with platinum want triple platinum. Those with boats, want yachts and those with Volkswagen's want Porches. Now I'm not saying it's wrong to have a platinum record or a yacht, but you won't find your peace there! It's not wrong to desire for your children and your friends to always be faithful in their love and friendship, but human relationships simply cannot bring you the peace you seek. Listen, husbands, your wife cannot be God for you and wives, your husband can't be God for you. Human relationships are so important and can be so good, but they cannot replace the relationship you need with God. If you've been chasing and running after something out there to give you meaning and to fulfill the void in your life and you are so tired you don't think you can go on, please know this: God desires to give you rest! In fact Jesus put it this way...

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

God wants you to trust His peace just like a child trusts a parent. Years ago I heard one of my children cry out in the night. I ran to her and picked her up and held her in my arms. She went right back to sleep. Her daddy was there! I put her back in her baby bed and headed back to bed, but the Lord stopped me in my tracks. All I could think of was this: Larry I want you to trust me like that!" I knew I couldn't go back to be, I had to write a song.  The lyrics go like this…

"Tossed you high up in the sky and made you feel ten feet tall. With arms that could never fail you, you knew I wouldn't let you fall. My little Jessica you've such trust in me, yes you do now to chase away the shadow bandits that dance in your dreams, it's not as bad as it seems no no..
Someday you'll waken to find my power was only in your mind.  You'll see that I too have fears and have cried my share of tears.
Now when that time comes just do what you've always done only look to a different father and put your trust in the Heavenly One."

Okay, one last reason it is vital to trust God's peace, although I'm sure there's more.  

Reason #5 God's Peace Brings Deliverence

Psalm 3:6-8 I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side.
Arise, O LORD! Deliver me, O my God! Strike all my enemies on the jaw; break the teeth of the wicked.
From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.

Talk about faith and trust in God's peace! David said "I will not fear the tens of thousands drawn up against me on every side!" Now, David may have literally had tens of thousands choosing to fight against him, but I can tell you this: His greater burden was the family and friends who had chosen to go against him. But regardless of who or how many, David knew God would deliver him. The peace of God comes strong when we trust God to deliver us from our troubles. When we've done all we know to do, we rest in His promise to deliver those have allowed Him to be their Savior and who make the daily decision to allow Jesus to be the Lord of their life. I had a dear friend reach out to me yesterday from North Georgia. I had witnessed God deliver him from some really tough things many years ago. And in the process, he led a prison guard to the Lord and sent him to see me. So one day this muscled up uniform officer walks into my office and I stand and shake his hand, wondering what was up. His voice began to shake just a little bit and he asked me if I knew this person. I said yes sir I do. He said to me, "well he's been leading this Bible study since he's been in jail, and I got saved and he told me to come talk to you, and that you would baptize me." I told him it would be an honor! Well I talked to this friend last night and he is now caring for his daughter and two grandchildren and another relative who has severe disabilities. He is blind in one eye and can't work. We prayed together and I asked God to give him peace, strength, and provision to fulfill the ministry God has given him to his family. So let me close with this truth: Whether you are a King being pursued by thousands of enemy troops, or like my friend who is disabled and no longer able to work or drive, and yet has the responsibility to care for four other people, remember these words of David in Psalm 31..

Psalm 31:1-17a In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O LORD, the God of truth.
I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the LORD.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction, and my bones grow weak.
But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love.
Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I have cried out to you...

Let's pray!

Sermon Prep Material

ETS: David is being pursued by his enemies but decides to trust God's peace in the midst of his troubles.
ESS: We must trust God's peace if we are to overcome the troubles of life.
OSS: I want my hearers to trust God's peace no matter what may befall them.
Probing Question: Why is it so vital to trust God's peace?
Unifying Word: Reasons

Transitional Sentence: Let's look at the reasons it is vital to trust God's peace.