Bottles in the Smoke
8 Dec 2001, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor)
TITLE: "BOTTLES IN THE SMOKE"
THEME: How to Handle Despair & Discouragement
Scripture Reading: Psalm 119:1-8
When all the news is negative it tends to have an effect upon the human mind. This in turn effects the physical. It can be negative local news. It can be negative global news. News which may include us all corporately. However, when we receive negative personal news it can launch us into discouragement and despair.
Jesus Christ's disciples were launched into despair and discouragement when he announced His imment departure. The more they contemplated life without the actual physical presence of their Lord their minds took on an attitude of loneliness and despondency. Their minds were afflicted with negative circumstances. They were stressed out worrying about the future without their Master. Jesus was well aware of this and dealt with the situation promptly.
A. THE MIND IS THE SEAT OF THE TROUBLE.
JOHN 14:1-3 Jesus Christ focused on the real issue. "Let not your hearts (minds) be troubled", with perplexity and mixed up fuzzy and hazy reasoning which we are capable of when bombarded with negative situations. Faith weakens, the future dims when we allow despair and discouragement take over our minds.
The mind and heart are the seat of the physical life. The seat of the moral nature and spiritual life. The seat of our desires and affections,perceptions thougths and understanding. The harbour of our reasoning conscience, intentions and purposes. The seat of our will. The protector of our belief and faith in God and the future.
Jesus made it quite clear that in times of stress, discouragement or despair we must confirm our belief in God. Our belief in the divinity of God the Father must also extend to include the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour and His diety.
To ease the pain Jesus Christ explained how He had to go away to heaven to prepare mansions for his followers. Now we only have temporary residence on this planet. We all wait our demise. But we are to be of good cheer because He is returning to take us to our "permanent dwellings." We must look past the transitory negatives of this life. We must look beyond despair and discouragement with biblical hope to the promised future with our lovely Lord and Redeemer.
The Psalmist encountered negative news and situations and at times felt God was unfair and had abandoned him. How did he handle Lonely despair and affliction.
"BOTTLES IN THE SMOKE"
PSALM 119:83 Possibly a poem/ song experienced by David, if not written by him. He says, " I am become like a bottle in the smoke". Skin bottles were used to hold wine and and other liquids. In cold weather the servants or the lady of the tent would place the bottles over a fire to heat the fluids for a warm drink. As we can imagine sometimes they were forgotten. They bcame dry and charred and smoked black , and overheated. The Psalmist felt that God had placed him over the fires of affliction and forgotten him and left him to dry out in the smoke of despair, negatives and discouragement. At the bottom of the barrel as it were. However, in his despair he claims not to forget God's WORD and the Statutes . Notice what he says in the following verses.
verse 50 He is comforted in affliction by God's WORD
verse 71 He claims affliction is "good" because it confirms God's statutes in his mind.
verse 143 He is in the grips of trouble and anguish. Yet he delights in God's Commmandments.
verses 153-4 He pleads with God to consider his case and to deliver him. He claims God's promises.
Verse 28 The Psalmist faints under discouragement but requests strength and renewal according to the promises of God in His Word.
Verse 136 Sad and discouraged because many disregard God's word.
Verse 6 Can only be unashamed when he respects all God's commandments. see also 31, 36, 78, 80, ( 116 - not ashamed of my hope.)
THE PSALMIST'S ATTITUDE TO GOD'S WORD
Verse 2 ( see also 10, 11, 32, 34, 36, 58, 69-70, 80, 111-112, 145, 161) Discouragement and despair are overcome when we give wholehearted allegiance to God and His word.
Verse 15, 23 reading is necessary but meditation is imperative if we are to survive negatives. (see also 48, 78, 97)
Verse (see verses 47, 48, 97, 113, 127, 140, 159, 163,) In verse 165, 167 He states the answer to the issue of despair and negatives. "Great peace" for those who love the Word of God. Nothing shall offend them or put them off God.
Verse 25 A petition for revival of strength and determination which comes from God via His word. (see 37, 40, 50, 88, 93, 107, 149, 156, 159
HOPE BANISHES THE PRESENT NEGATIVES
Verse 45 Hope and trust is built on God's word. Hope in His promises of final and future salvation. (see also 49, 74, 81, 114, 116, 147, 166) 116 asks to be kept from being ashamed of his hope.
Verse 41 God's salvation comes via His word. (see 81, 123, 155, 166, 174).
As with the Psalmist so with us all today. If we are to survive the negatives of life we must make the choice to TRUST his principles of righteous living. Ps 119:173-176. Praise God for His salvation and justice. Remember when all seems to be negative and you feel like a bottle in the smoke, that verse 64 says The earth is FULL of the Lord's love, mercy and grace. When we do that "perfect peace" will be ours verse 165.
As the negatives of war, hate crime, terrorism, disease flood our globe let us cry out in our despair, "It is time for you Lord, to act" for us. Keep your promises. Verse 126.
Friends, if you are choking on the smoke of despair and affliction and your faith in His word is being tested, remember the Psalmist's wisdom.
It may seem absurd - but turn to His word. Do not choke on the smoke. Revive in His Spirit. The Spirit of grace and mercy. Soon and very soon our God is going to put the fire out forever. Praise His Holy name.
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