Strength In The Day Of Trouble
25 Powerful Verses to Help Us Stand Strong in Uncertain Times
- Debbie McDaniel
- 2017Feb 07
The enemy will always lure us towards panic and worry if we focus on all that's wrong in this world. And even when we know Truth and believe that God’s in control, there can be a lot in this life we might start to feel anxious about. It can still be a daily battle in our hearts, in our minds. Because when we just keep looking all around, we will easily get defeated and lose strength.
Drained. Impatient. Or cynical.
Fear creeps in. We lose our focus because we're so distracted by all the things that can never really give us strength and hope anyway. God alone can offer us confident peace that can never be found in this life without Him. Choosing today, to set my eyes on Him.For if He made all of heaven and earth, surely He has a Sovereign, incredible plan, for you and for me. He knows our way in this journey of life, and He’s a “with us” God. These 25 Scriptures will breath life and strength into your soul when you're facing uncertain and shaky times.
Memorize these Bible verses to stand strong and remind yourself that God loves you.
25 Verses for Strength in Shaky Times
1. Psalm 46:1-2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” Psalm 46:1-2
2. Isaiah 40:31 “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31
3. Isaiah 59:19 “When the enemy comes in a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19
4. Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God, I will strengthen you and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
5. Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him…” Nahum 1:7
6. John 16:33 “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.” John 16:33
7. Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:28. Deuteronomy 3:22 “Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22
9. Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper…” Isaiah 54:17
10. Habakkuk 3:19 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19
11. Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
12. Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
13. 1 Peter 5:8-10 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:8-1014. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
15. 1 John 4:4 “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
16. John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
17. Numbers 6:24-26 The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you, the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
18. Genesis 50:20 “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
19. Psalm 29:11 “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” Psa 29:11
20. Ephesians 6:10-12 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:10-12
21. Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:1722. Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’” Psa 91:1-2
23. Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10
24. Romans 8:38-39 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
25. Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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.” Philippians 4:6-7
Choosing today to rely on His help not to “worry about anything,” but instead “pray about everything.” May His Spirit help us to guard our hearts and minds in Him.
A Prayer for Uncertain Times
You remind us in Your word that we never have to give way to fear and worry in this life. The enemy would love for us to get stuck there, but you’ve given us the keys to move past his lies and step over his traps. Thank you for the powerful weapons of prayer and your word.
Thank you for setting us free through Christ’s gift on the cross. Thank you for your Spirit that dwells within us even now and gives us peace. You assure us that you’re constantly with us, no matter what we face in our lives, or in this world. When all seems shaky and uncertain, we choose to look to you.
We know that you alone are Sovereign and you hold all things in your hands. We trust you even when we can’t see what you’re doing. We know you will make a way for us, where there seems to be no way. We’re confident and secure in you alone, for you are our Rock and Refuge, a very present help in trouble.Help us not to be easily swayed by headline news stories or defeat and discouragement. Strengthen our spirits, from deep within, so that we can walk in your freedom, truth, and peace today. You are greater than anything we face here in this world, and we believe that no weapon formed against us will prosper.
Raise up a barrier and defense around our lives dear Lord, protect us and keep us close to you.
In Jesus’ Name,
Image Credit: Unsplash.com
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on and at her blog www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
The following list provides more Bible verse resources focused on provided Scriptures that will meet you in your need. No matter the circumstance or situation, God’s Word can speak healing and encouragement into your life. Read and memorize these verses so you can remember God’s promises in the moment you need them!
Bible Verses to Calm an Anxious Soul
Bible Verses for Strength in Hard Times
Marriage Bible Verses to Pray Over Your Spouse
Bible Verses to Help Stop Anxiety and Panic
Bible Verses for Peace in Challenging Times
Victory Bible Verses to Pray Over the Battles
Freedom Bible Verses for Letting Go
Bible Verses for Overcoming the Fear of Death
Spiritual Warfare Bible Verses
Immanuel, God with Us Bible Verses
Bible Verses About Having Strength During Hard Times
A week or so ago I put together a massive post with well over a hundred bible verses about money and talked about how we need to make sure that we always put God first in our lives before money – and everything else.
We can easily allow money to become our master, and God can quickly move to the background if we’re not careful.
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. Matthew 6:24
One thing that occurred to me in the midst of listing all those verses, however, is that I never really touched on a topic that seems to be especially important right now in the midst of a double dip recession when so many people are having a hard time. The idea of looking to God for strength in the midst of hard times.
Bible Verses About Strength
Today I decided to bring together some encouraging and challenging verses talking about how and where we need to find strength in the midst of turbulent times. I hope you find them uplifting as well.
Where Do We Find Strength?
Where do we find our strength? In the Lord our God!
Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.
Nehemiah 8:10 Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Exodus 15:2 The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him— my father’s God, and I will exalt him!
Psalm 9:9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Psalm 34:10b Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Isaiah 26: 3-4 Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace—because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord God you have an everlasting rock.
1 Chronicles 16:11 Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!
Psalm 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.
Exodus 33:14 My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.
Deuteronomy 31:8 It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.
Isaiah 30:15 In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.
Don’t Worry Or Fear, Find Your Strength In Him
It can be so easy to give into worry, fear and despair, but with Him we can find strength, and look forward to wonderful things. He gives us hope!
Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Luke 12:25-26 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Psalm 27: 1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me,it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;though war break out against me,even then I will be confident.
Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Psalm 145: 18-19 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.
God Gives Us A Spirit Of Strength And Power
Through faith in Christ we are given a spirit of power, love and discipline, and for that reason we have nothing to fear. We can hold onto his promises and be confident that he’ll see us through even the darkest of days.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Psalm 138:3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.
Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 112: 1, 7-8 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.
Psalm 91:1-2 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.”
Psalm 112: 1, 7-8 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.
Hard Times May Come, But He’s There With Us Through Them All
Though we aren’t promised an easy life, we are told that Christ will be there with us when we believe in Him, that he won’t give us more than we can handle with His help, and even our hard times can be used to glorify God.
2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
Philippians 4: 12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
1 Peter 5: 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.
Hebrews 4:16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Deuteronomy 31:6,8 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.
2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.
Strength In Christ Our Lord And Savior
As the verses above illustrate, we’re told to call on Jesus Christ, and that he will hear us and give us strength, hope and a grace sufficient to carry us through. He will be our ever present help when we’re in need, and he can give us a peace that passes all understanding. For me that’s extremely encouraging.
How about you? Do you have any favorite bible verses about strength, and where you can find it? Did one of the verses above stick out more than the others for you? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Want to find more verses on Strength in the Bible and don’t have your own? Get a free Bible.
5 Glorious Reasons To Call On God In Your Trouble
“Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15)
What an incredible promise! The infinite One, the Creator of the Universe, the God of infinite power and might, invites us to call upon him in our troubles.
God doesn’t want us to try to make it on our own. He doesn’t want us to suck it up and keep calm and carry on. No, he wants us to call upon him in the day of trouble. To lay our cares at his feet. To come to him for rest from our heavy burdens.
The fact that the Lord says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble,” reveals five glorious things about his character.
#1 – It Shows That Our Heavenly Father Cares About Our Lives
He’s not aloof and uncaring. He’s not too busy running the universe to help us. He says, “I care about you. Call upon me in the day of trouble. Bring your worries and cares to me.”
“Be anxious for nothing and receive the peace that passes understanding. Bring every burden to the throne of grace. I’m just waiting to help you. You don’t bother me when you cast your cares upon me. I never get tired of hearing your needs.”
God doesn’t want us to try to bear our burdens on our own. We’re simply too weak, too frail, too incapable. As the Apostle Paul puts it, we are simply earthen vessels.
But when we call on the Lord in the day of trouble, our weakness is overshadowed by God’s glorious strength.
#2 – It Shows How Willing the Lord Is To Help Us
He doesn’t help us begrudgingly. He doesn’t say, “Oh you again. I know, I know, I’ve heard this a thousand times.” No! God truly desires to help us. He wouldn’t tell us to call upon him in the day of trouble if he wasn’t willing to help us.
Remember the leper in Luke 5?
While He was in one of the cities, behold, there was a man covered with leprosy; and when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and implored Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Luke 5:12-13 (NASB)
The Lord is inclined to help us. He’s just waiting to do good to us. We simply need to call upon him.
#3 – It Shows That God Knows We Need Simple Commands
How hard is to call upon the Lord? God could have said, “In the day of trouble I will answer you if you fast for 40 days and make a pilgrimage to the top of a mountain.”
All we need to do is open our lips. To lift up a whispered plea to the Lord. Anyone can call upon the Lord. It takes no training, no skill, no special talent. It takes but a minute.
Our God is so good. He is but a whisper away day and night. He is constantly listening. He hears our every prayer. Yet so often we do everything but call upon him. We fret and worry and try to figure out how we will solve our problem. Call upon Jesus in the day of trouble.
I’m reminded of that old hymn that says:
What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and grieves to bearWhat a privilege to carry everything to God in prayerOh what peace we often forfeit of what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer
Rather than needlessly suffering anxiety and worry, we can carry everything to God in prayer. We call upon God in the day of trouble and he answers our prayers.
#4 – It Shows That God Gives Sure and Certain Promises
“I WILL deliver you.” God doesn’t say, “I might deliver you,” but “I WILL deliver you.” God always keeps his promises.
God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19)
God won’t forget to deliver us. He won’t change his mind or lie. He will hear us and come to our help and surely and certainly deliver us. It might not be on our timetable, but he will not fail to keep his word. When we call upon the Lord in the day of trouble, he WILL answer us.
#5 – God Delivers For His Glory
He will receive praise and honor and glory when he rescues us. When God answers our cries for help, we will pour out thanks. We will tell others how God helped us. We will praise him.
We can even pray this, “Lord, please help me for your glory. When you help me it will show others your power and might and faithfulness and love.”
My suggestion: Begin to glorify God now in the midst of your trouble. Thank him that he hears your prayers. That he is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Praise him that he is causing all things to work together for your good and is making you more Christ.
Thank him that he is sovereign, wise and good, even in this. And keep asking him to deliver you. Because he longs to help you and will be true to his word.When God says, “Call upon me in the day of trouble,” he intends to answer that prayer.
Top 7 Bible Verses About Having Strength Through Tough Times
Everyone faces challenges and hardships at different points in their lives, but the important thing is to continue to trust God in the midst of those storms.
What seems terrible to us, is nothing for the Lord, as he starts with the impossible. He has given us his word to encourage us during those trials as well.
With that in mind, here are my top 7 Bible verses about having strength through tough times.
It is so encouraging for me to know that when difficulties come my way, the Lord is my refuge and my strength. I can run to his arms for comfort and safety at all times, as he is always there for me. The phrase “very present” brings peace as well, because we don’t have to wait our turn to go to him. God is always there for us when we need him.
If you have ever felt faint, you know the total weakness that overcomes you at that moment. It is during that crucial time, though, that the Lord comes in and strengthens us. He brings us renewed hope and stamina in order to continue in our life’s journey. Even when we are at our lowest point, he lifts us up into his loving arms and restores us back to normalcy.
This is a very well-known verse, as it brings much prophetic hope to us during tough times. It is also a reminder that when we wait for God to show up in our circumstances, that he will then renew our strength.
All we have to do is wait on him, and he will lift us up the eagles who fly above the storm clouds and the winds. How encouraging it is to know that with God’s help we will not grow weary or faint.
We will be able to walk and run again to face life’s challenges.
Tough times are inevitable, so I love what the prophet Jeremiah shares with us in this verse. He reminds us that God is our refuge and our stronghold—a strong tower that we can run to and be safe. The Lord is also our source of strength even when we feel overwhelmed by the trials and difficulties that we face.
“God is good all the time. All the time God is good.” Haven’t we all said these affirmations before, as we declare God’s faithfulness? I have said this many times, and I believe it with all of my heart.
In our lives we will have trouble, but we also know that we can go to the Lord for protection and comfort. He knows us intimately, and he still loves and cares for us very much.
Because he is so good, we can take refuge in him.
This is one of my favorite verses of all times, because when I have faced what seemed impossible situations it has been the Lord who strengthened me. He helped me overcome whatever difficulty or challenge I was experiencing at the time. God also renewed my sense of hope and even gave me his joy in the midst of it all.When I was 10 years old, I was trying to learn how to do a backwards dive, but I was too afraid to try it. Then this verse came to mind that I had learned a few years before, and I was suddenly overcome with the belief that I could do it. I immediately tried one more time, and I was wonderfully successful.
Ever since then, when I face challenges or tough times that seem impossible to me, I remember this verse.
Suffering is a part of the human condition, and going through tough times also seems inevitable. However, I what the apostle Peter tells us here, as he reminds us that our trials are only for a little while. God is full of grace, and he will come to our rescue. He will also restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us by his power if we submit to him.
God is always calling us to follow him—in the good times and in the tough times. He has also given us his word to encourage and inspire us when the road gets hard.
Paul writes in Colossians 1:11, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.
” So even when we face the storms in our lives, God will always strengthen us and give us the endurance and patience with joy that we need. What a blessing that is!
Written by Karla Hawkins
God has been good to me over the years, and I have much for which to be grateful to Him. First of all, I feel blessed to be the pastor’s wife of a thriving church in northern Michigan and the mother of four amazing grown children.
It is also very rewarding to be a Christian author, editor and translator for the Kingdom of God. Some of my favorite pastimes include supporting my children’s contemporary Christian band ONLY9AM, singing on the worship team at church, traveling, and connecting with family and friends via social media.
When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and especially with my precious three-year-old grandson.
Call Upon Me in the Day of Trouble and I Will Deliver You
The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting. Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him a mighty tempest.
He calls to the heavens above and to the earth, that he may judge his people: “Gather to me my faithful ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice!” The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! “Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you. I am God, your God.
I do not reprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings are continually before me. I will accept no bull from your house, nor he-goat from your folds. For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.
If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and all that is in it is mine. Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.
This psalm is a word from the Lord about a wrong view of Godleading to a wrong way of sacrificing to God. It has something verycrucial to say about how our view of God relates to our money andour giving to God's cause. I chose this text because I wanted toaddress the root issue of our financial condition, namely, the issueof God.
Our Financial Condition
Our financial condition is this: Our budget commitment tomissions and to ministry here this year is $1,064,000. Taking the adult worshipers who come to Bethlehemregularly, that commitment would cost about $19.23 a week per personor $2.75 a day ($1.84 to the local ministries and $.91 tomissions).
But as of last Sunday we were $160,000 short in this budgetgiving. So to meet our budget this year we need an average of$35,000 each Sunday for the rest of the year. That means that ifall our regularly attending worshipers gave an equal share, therewould be $362.50 each left to be given in this year. Or $33.00 aweek for the remaining 11 Sundays.
If you add to that the goal of$10,000 a Sunday for the new sanctuary, what we really need is $43a week for the rest of this year from each regularly attendingadult. That amounts to a tithe of an annual salary of $22,360 perperson.
With a lot of homemaking spouses, and with many youngpeople and students, and with numerous retired people, I don't knowif we average $22,000 annual salaries or not.
Probably not. Which means at least three things.
- One is that compared to other churches you are giving very well (64% increase over two years ago at this time!).
- A second thing that this means is that reaching our goals will simply require far more than tithing for many of us.
- Third, God is the root issue in this matter. Our shortfall has to do with our view of God. And if we reach our goals this year, it will have to do more with God than anything else.
So let's turnour attention now to the God who owns us and everything wehave.
The Courtroom Scene of Psalm 50
In Psalm 50 what we have is a courtroom scene. The roof of thecourtroom is heaven above, and the floor is the earth beneath. Godhimself is the judge. Verse 4b: he is there to judge his people;and verse 6b: “God himself if judge.” God is the clerk of court.
Verse 5: he calls the defendants to the bench: “Gather to me myfaithful ones.” And God is the chief witness. Verse 7: “Hear, O mypeople, and I will speak, O Israel, I will testify against you.
” Sofrom that verse you can also see that the defendants in the trialare God's own people.
Once the scene is established (in verses 1–7), there comes theindictment, the sentence, the rationale or explanation for theindictment and sentence, the prescribed correction, and a statementof the ultimate goal that the judge is trying to accomplish in thistrial. Let's move through these and then focus on the practicalimplications for us as a church.
The Indictment: You Are Insulting God
First, the indictment: Verse 8.
It is not stated directly. It is implied indirectly: “I do notreprove you for your sacrifices; your burnt offerings arecontinually before me.” So the indictment is not that they haveneglected to give sacrifices to God.
The indictment is that theyare giving sacrifices with a wrong mindset. This is seen in thenext verses. The mindset is that God somehow needs thesesacrifices . . . that he is dependent on hispeople for his food or for his satisfaction or strength.
That's theindictment—their sacrifices insult God as a needy God or adependent God.The sentence for this insult is given in verse 9: God says, “Iwill accept no bull from your house, nor he-goat from your folds.”The sentence is to nullify the sacrifice—to declare that itis not pleasing to him. This is a devastating sentence. Itbasically says that the center of their religious practice is emptyand void as long as this mindset prevails.
God Is Never Hungry
Then (in verses 10–13) comes the rationale or the explanationfor the indictment and the sentence. This is the heart of the text.This is most important, because it reveals who God really is. Therationale for the indictment has two parts.
One part says (in verse12), “If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world and allthat is in it is mine.
” And the other part says (in verse 13), As amatter of fact I do not get hungry: “Do I eat the flesh of bulls,or drink the blood of goats?”
So you can see more clearly here what the insulting mindset wasthat the people were on trial for. They had a view of God that madehim dependent on them. They slipped into the religious notion thattheir gifts were somehow meeting God's needs and that he would beat a loss without them.
And his response is to say that he does not need theirsacrifices for two reasons. One is that he is never hungry andnever eats. He is always totally satisfied with what he is inhimself and what he does for his glory. His food is to do his will(John 4:34).
God is an infinite ocean of supply, not a little watertrough that needs filling with the buckets of our supply. Acts17:25 says, “God is not served by human hands as though he neededanything, for he himself gives to all men life and breath andeverything.
God Owns Everything
The other reason he does not need our sacrifices is that if hewere ever to get hungry, he would not have to depend on us for hismeals because he owns everything.
Verse 12 said it in general: “Theworld and all that is in it is mine.” But verses 10–11 spell it outin amazing detail so that we don't miss the point: “Every beast ofthe forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.
I know all thebirds of the air, and all that moves in the field is mine.”The point of the psalm is that there are no exceptions: God ownseverything. Strictly speaking, human beings own nothing. What wecall ownership is really trusteeship.
From the birds of the air tothe bugs of the field, from the beasts of the forest to the cattleof the hills—it is all God's. He can do with it as hepleases.
It is impossible for God to steal, because there isn'tanything he doesn't own.
What the People Forgot
This is what the people had forgotten. And so they wereinsulting God in their worship by coming with the mindset that theywould now give to GOD some of THEIR possessions. They had notlearned to sing,
We give thee but thine own What e're the gift may be, All that we have is thine alone,
A trust, O Lord, from thee.
They had forgotten the truth,
All things are Thine: no gift have we Lord of all gifts to offer Thee; And hence with grateful hearts today
Thine own before Thy feet we lay.
The Correction: Three Things
Next then in the text comes the correction in verses 14–15a.What should we do if we have fallen into this evil mindset thattreats our possessions as though they were ours and not God's—that treats God as though he is somehow poor and deficientwithout us?
Verses 14–15a say to do three things:
Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High;
and call upon me in the day of trouble.
1. Offer Sacrifices of Thanksgiving
This is a description of the corrected mindset. First, everysacrifice must be a sacrifice of thanksgiving because the realgiver in every act of my giving is God. If I have something to give,it is because it belongs to God and he put it in my hands.
If Ihave a WILL to give, it is because God put it there (1 Chronicles29:14, 18; Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:21; 2 Corinthians 8:1). Ourgiving is really God's giving to us. Therefore ALL giving must be asacrifice of gratitude.
If we don't see this, how can we but insultGod?
2. Pay Your Vows to the Most HighSecond the corrected mindset pays its vows to the Most High. Ifyou want to see what a vow is, look at Psalm 66:13–14.
I will come into thy house with burnt offerings; I will pay thee my vows, that which my lips uttered
and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
A vow is a promise you make to God when you are in trouble. Imade a vow one time when I was a junior in college. I said, “Lord,if you will help me get though this public prayer in chapel withoutmy voice closing up because of nervousness, I will never again turndown a speaking opportunity fear.”
Paying a vow is not paying a salary or paying a bribe.It issimply keeping your word. It is not lying. It is a matter of faith.
Do you trust God to be as good and helpful for you in thefulfillment of your vow as he was in delivering you from trouble?So paying a vow honors God as the owner of all things by lookingback at the time he helped you and by expressing trust that he willkeep on doing that in your fulfillment of the vow.
3. Call upon God in the Day of Trouble
The third thing the corrected mindset does is call upon God inthe day of trouble (verse 15a).
In other words God is not the one in trouble. He is always in aposition to save from trouble. God is not hungry or poor. He isinfinitely resourceful. So the way not to insult him is to need himand to call to him for help.
So that is the corrected mindset: be thankful, pay your vows,call for help.
The Judge's Goal: Our Good and His Glory
Now finally we ask what is the ultimate goal of the judge inthis courtroom? What is God trying to accomplish in the life of hispeople? The last line of verse 15 gives the answer: “I will deliveryou, and you will glorify me.” He wants to answer their cry forhelp so that they will glorify him. His goal is our good and hisglory. We get the salvation; he gets the exaltation. We getdelivered; he gets admired.
That is the goal of the psalm. It's the goal of our church. Andit is the goal of God in all that he does—to satisfy hishungry people and glorify himself, who never gets hungry. “I willdeliver you, and you will glorify me.”
Five Applications to Our Situation
Now here are the lessons that I want to apply to us in ourfinancial situation at home and at the church.
1. Keep God Great in Your Eyes
Beware of a mindset thatbelittles and insults God. God is an absolutely unstoppable,unfailing, constant, volcano of power and fire and joy and help.
Henever wearies in the slightest and is omnipotently enthusiasticabout his gracious purposes in your life. Never let a weak ormiserly or tightfisted or weary or boring God enter your mind.Heowns all and loves to glorify his power and grace by deliveringpeople who call on him. Keep God great in your eyes for the rest ofthis year.
2. Believe His Promise
Believe his promise in verse 15: “Call on me in the day oftrouble and I will deliver you.” In the day of financial troubletrust him! Remember he is talking to people in this psalm who areon trial in his court for insulting him. There is hope even forthese—and for you. Believe God.
3. Call on the Lord
Always pray and do not lose heart. Waitpatiently for the Lord. He will come just when it is best for you.Call him to help you make the money you need, to have the job youneed, to find the courage you need to give what you should.
4. If He Leads You, Make a Vow
(It's not required. Deuteronomy23:21–23.) For example, suppose the car mechanic calls you Thursdaymorning and says, “Your car needs new rear axles and axle bearings.It will cost $750.” You cringe. “Is there no other way?” “No, theyare shot.” “Well, OK. Go ahead.
” Might not the Holy Spirit leadyou to pray at lunch with your wife, “Father, please get it donecheaper than the mechanic said” and to make a vow, “Lord, if you dothis, I will give to the ministry of the church whatever you save onthis bill.” That happened to Noël and me this week and there is a$222 check in the offering this morning to praise God for hisanswer to prayer.
Somehow we were going to live without that moneyin order to have a working car. We can live without it for the sakeof the ministry here too.
5. Glorify Him with All Your Heart
Finally, when God delivers you and this church from the day oftrouble, glorify him with all your heart.
I close with a call to prayer over the next 11 weeks. I havefelt led for some weeks to make a special commitment of prayer forthe financial strength of the church. So I would to tell youmy vow and invite you to join me as the Lord leads. Lord willing, Iwill be in the prayer room each Friday from 6:30 to 7:00 AM fromnow to the end of the year seeking the Lord for three things:
- that we will not fail in any of our mission and ministry commitments;
- that the Lord's choice for our Minister for Children's Discipleship would be known and called by Thanksgiving; and
- that people would be saved weekly though the anointed witness of our church.