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Singing Psalm 138 you are set free

Singing Psalm 138 you are set free from depending on yourself and other mere humans

Ever wish you could be set free from your burdens?

Ever have that feeling, “It all depends on me?”

Chasing that feeling might be a feeling of being indispensable. Or you might feel it is too much for you, and you are overwhelmed.

What does it look like when you feel indispensable and that it all depends on you? When a person or circumstance crosses your will, you will be up in arms. Incensed and looking to control, you will try to make it go your way rather than sit quietly under his revision of your plan. It takes a lot to convince yourself that the plans God has for you are better than the ones you thought up.

Something in you craves to be self-sufficient and cringes at the thought of needing God to even get dressed in the morning. You have your own preferred ways of getting rest and relaxation. You think it’s strange that Jesus beckons you to come to him for that.

There are those who honor Jesus with their lips while they mumble the Lord’s Prayer at church and say how good it is to be in the house of the Lord while thinking, “How good I am that I got myself to church.” Their hearts are far from him. They are distant when they could be right at home with the Lord. 

“The Lord, although exalted high,    On lowly ones will keep His eye;But those who, proud and haughty are,    He knows them only from afar.” ~ Psalm 138:6

What does it look like when you feel it is too much for you and are overwhelmed? The Lord knows you need the burdens off your shoulders. The weight of your troubles is crushing you. You were not made to depend on yourself.

Singing Psalm 138 steers you to the real reason you are at church: the Lord has made you a part of his Bride and has moved your heart to thank him and love him as one of his people.

With all my heart my thanks I’ll bring” ~ Psalm 138:1a

The Lord prepared in advance the good works he has for you to do and will bring to completion the good work that he began in you. Does it pertain to you? He has been working it out, he is working it out, and he will work it out. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” He will fulfill his purposes for you. He cannot forget the works of his hands. That is, he cannot forget you!

Singing Psalm 138 you are set free to depend on the Lord God alone

Come to Jesus and learn from him who describes himself as gentle and humble in heart.

The great transfer of your burdens: Jesus takes your heavy load. You rest in him and take his hand.

The next time your circumstances disturb you, ask the Lord to quiet your heart and to help you pause and wait with Jesus in mind. As a lamb before his shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. A few days later, he is seated at the Father’s right hand.

Your problem hasn’t been that you question whether Jesus is good and great but that you are not in awe of the unsearchable depths of how good and how great he is. His awesomeness is so “other” that he cannot be compared to anyone else – he is as far above all others as the heavens are higher than the earth.

Without this understanding you miss that you have access to rely on his goodness and greatness moment-by-moment. He is never depleted of goodness and greatness. The second you become unhinged, remember to dip your spoon of needs into his ocean of supply. Be set free from trying to save yourself. Be set free to acknowledge the truth that Jesus saves you.

Throughout the Old Testament scriptures you read, “…they shall know that I am the LORD.” To know who God is is so vital because God is all that is good and he is nothing but good. This is why he must be your all in all; evil is anything that opposes him because God is the definition of “good.” All that he thinks, feels, says, and does is good. Therefore, all thoughts, feelings, words and actions that are opposed to him cannot be good but are evil. 

It’s not that he can’t stand to be opposed and has to have everyone like him. It’s that you can’t stand when you oppose him and don’t like him or his ways because he is life and opposing him/not liking him is its opposite, death. When you think in any way that is not as God thinks, remember this proverb: “There is a way that seems right to a man, and in the end, it leads to death.” 

Singing Psalm 138 you are moved to pause and turn when something seems right to you but doesn’t line up according to God’s word. Opposing God leads to death. If you don’t pause and turn, you will fall, but his word will stand forever.

“For You have magnified your word,    So far above Your name, adored…All kings of earth will thank You, LORD;    They’ll sing when they have heard Your word.” ~ Psalm 138:2b,4

God takes evil, this thing that is merely a reaction against him, and uses that evil, whatever opposes him, for good. That’s how good he is. Evil cannot obstruct him from doing good. Satan, sin, and death have no hold on him at all.

Therefore, knowing God as he has revealed himself in his word is vital to knowing what is good as you navigate through the pathways he has for you weaving through many troubles. When the Lord steers you to himself, often using your troubles, he is not looking for you to glorify him for his sake but for yours. Though it is his due and you owe it to him, he has no need of it, because he is glorified just by being.

“…they shall know that I am the LORD their God with them… and you are my sheep, human sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Lord God.” ~ Ezekiel 34:30-31

He steers you to himself for your good, because without being tethered to him, you can do no good. You will be choked by pride. Your desires will become your demise. In the gospel according to John, you read in chapter 8 that the physical descendants of Abraham need Jesus to be set free from their slavery to sin, death, and the devil:

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

Depending on him, you are set free from all this. You are set free to do all the good that he prepared in advance for you to do. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

You are set free from anxiety, knowing that he will complete every good work he begins in you. The burdens are off your shoulders. It is nothing for him to relieve you from worrying. 

You are set free from anger because things no longer have to go your way. You are looking for God’s will to be done instead. Your joy knows no bounds as you rest in him.

You are set free from your unquenchable thirst for what doesn’t satisfy. “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’… let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” ~ Revelation 22:17

In Jesus you are set free as he redeems you to himself and breaks the sin wall that separates you from the Father. He gives you his Holy Spirit on whom you now depend and in whom you are set free from depending on yourself.

Singing Psalm 138 you are set free before the angels

You can display your dependence on the Lord before the angels who praise him day and night. “The gods” are in awe of the triune God who made a way for sinful people to be set free, “things into which angels long to look.”  That those under authority would freely, happily, and humbly wear a sign for the angels displays to the watching other-world that because of Jesus, they are no longer bucking authority as Lucifer did but are set free to sit under it for Christ’s sake.

“That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:10

The angels, who continuously congregate in song before the holy triune God, observe that sign of authority worn on the heads of wives not out of mere obligation and not burdensome but rather done joyfully in honor of the Lord. The angels see this and rejoice at the reversal of the self-will of their first parents; wives are counter-cultural and set free as they imitate the submission of their Lord Jesus Christ in public worship.

Oftentimes you must be set free from before you can be set free to. My Italian grandmother used to say a stern “capotosto!” at times. After too many times, it would be followed by a phrase I’m sure she didn’t really mean that sounded like: “Che ma ti mangiare cane!” 

Covering the head can remind you to come to Jesus to redeem your thinking, renew your mind, and be set free from hardheadedness. The Syro-Phoenician woman was not daunted when Jesus told her that he came first to satisfy Israel. Jesus was amazed at her reply that showed her belief not only that God exists but that he rewards those who seek him: “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.”

She knew it was nothing for Jesus to heal her daughter, to work out what pertained to her. When her circumstances looked ugly, she didn’t stare at them in anxiety or depression. She didn’t stubbornly dig in her heels at them in anger. She was given the grace to look to Jesus in them and wait, not in doubt and despair, but in faith and hope. Jesus answered her when she came to him. She was not disappointed. She was set free to see Jesus for who he is.

Singing Psalm 138, you have hope for the triune God to loose from you the shackles of your mind and your body. You are set free from what weighs you down as your pride is set aside. With that obstacle out of your way, the Lord Jesus then makes you want to run, able to run the race he has marked out for you. As you entrust your life to him and wait for him, you will not be disappointed.

Although there will be troubles along the way, you are set free to follow Lord Jesus in the midst of them. Since he has created you to depend on him and abide in his word, following him through trouble is actually the easy part!

“Before the gods, Your praise, I’ll sing.” ~ Psalm 138:1b

“…Your right hand, LORD, will set me free,    And work out what pertains to me.Your love, O LORD, forever stands;    Leave not the works done by Your hands.” ~ Psalm 138:7b-8

November 20-25, 2022


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