A Psalm for Surviving the Holidays (Psalm 131)
Topic: Psalms Passage: Psalm 131:1–131:3
A Psalm for Surviving the Holidays (Psalm 131)
(see referenced quotes and passages at the end)
I. Intro: What Comes to Your Mind?: When you think about the idea of surviving the holidays, what comes to your mind? Financial, Busyness, Painful memories? The “Holiday Stress Index” conducted by Harris Interactive reported that 90% of respondents say they experience stress during the holiday season. But what about those holiday words: JOY and PEACE? How can this year be different?
II. Passage: “Hope in the Lord”: READ passage. Superscription: “of David”, but also “Song of Ascents”. (may be pilgrimage songs for Passover, Weeks, Booths—holiday songs!) THREE simple ideas (two descriptive, one prescriptive…but descriptions are also prescriptive!).
1. You're Not the Reason fortheSeason (v. 1) READ again.
What does David mean here? Same two things in Prov. 21:4 (#1) Also in Ps. 101:5 (#2). What about last half? Job's confession in the end (Job 42:3)(#3). Job thought he knew enough that He could demand an explanation from God for his sufferings.......Good quote on pride from C.S. Lewis. (#4)......Don't quite know the exact way David imagined struggle with these temptations, but overall picture is someone whose eyes on himself or herself…..caricatures of pride (Babel in the heart)…this is an especially big temptation during the holidays. (have an idea of how we want things to be, we know what's best, run around according to OUR power, want to look the part, our own happiness in view (even when buying gifts)).......Picture here of someone who has ACCEPTED his situation, limitations, station in life (what a gift to be at peace with these things). Humbled by understanding our position before God and distrusting ourselves (Ps. 130:3, 4).......second encouragement from his example >>>
2. Let God Rest You MerryGentleman (and Gentlewoman) (v. 2) READ again
Picture here of a child who is satisfied in mother's care. Have you seen this? Context is clear: David satisfied with God's care. Think about image: mother's care means nurture, provision, protection, guidance, acceptance, love. Similar confidence in Psalm 62:1, 2, 5-7 (#5)......Is this what you want this holiday season: a calm and quiet spirit......David can ACCEPT his situation, station, and limitations because of GOD's ACCEPTANCE......Quote by Victor Hugo (#6).....Jesus spoke about humility like this (#7)….this reality of peace is a Christmas blessing (Luke 2:14 (#8)). Let God rest you as you look to true Reason for the Season.
3. Yes, Hope is a Holiday Word. (v. 3) READ again
Think about holiday words: joy, peace, gifts, manger, noel, layaway. Well, hope should be near the top of the list. What are your holiday hopes? Sometimes our hope is in: a Norman Rockwell Christmas, the right gift and what that communicates, feelings from “Christmases long, long ago”, getting more accomplished, happy children.....psalmist, God calls us (God's people) to HOPE in Himself! Not just holiday hope, but a forever hope.......Ps. 130:5-8.....Christmas/Advent should uniquely encourage us (Augustine-#9). Movement of Psalm is from not hoping in oneself to the peace that comes from hoping in God. And David's example is to encourage others—greatest gift we can give to others is an encouragement to hope like this.
III. The Secret of Survival
What's the secret to 'surving' the holidays? It's the secret of not just surviving, but thriving...and not just during holidays, but every day. Look at Phil. 4:11-13, 19, 20 (#10). God’s gift of Christ, and Christ’s gift of new life is the secret. The “good news” the angels announced is the gospel for our thriving. Think about: the gospel inspires humility, the gospel brings peace, the gospel gives us hope! Only the gospel gives us the gift of contentment at Christmas….And so, in the midst of busyness, grief, etc...stop and say, “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up...”
VERSES & QUOTES:
#1: Haughty eyes and a proud heart,the lamp of the wicked, are sin. (Proverbs 21:4)
#2: Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. (Psalm 101:5b)
#3: Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. (Job 42:3)
#4: There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which every one in the world loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians ever imagine that they are guilty themselves....The essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil; Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind... As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. (C.S. Lewis)
#5: For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken... For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken  On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. (Ps. 62:1, 2, 5-7)
#6: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” (Victor Hugo)
#7: At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them  and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)
#8: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
#9: “Nothing was so necessary for raising our hope as to show us how deeply God loved us. And what could afford us a stronger proof of this than that the Son of God should become a partner with us of human nature?” (Augustine)
#10: Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.  I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me... And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Philippians 4:11-13, 19, 20)