Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday
February 13, 2002
Lenten Series of the Lord's Prayer


Psalm 142


INTRODUCTION Today we begin a forty-day pilgrimage, which we call, Lent. With the Savior we will walk with Him as we observe His passion, suffering, torture and death.

Lent is a process. It is a six-week spiritual adventure where we become reflective and introspective. We will focus during the next six-week on two points; our need and the Savior’s solution. To help us in this process we will focus this year on the Lord’s Prayer.

Certainly we all need to pray. The Lord’s Prayer is a simple prayer – it was given to us by our Lord as a model prayer - as He has taught us so to pray. However this prayer is one of the most profound and serious prayers, as we are called to meditate on it daily. This evening we begin with the introduction: “Our Father Who art in heaven…”

To help us focus on this introduction let us consider for our meditation Psalm 142.  David was a complex individual. He knew great success. He was acquainted with failure. He was placed into the seat of power and encountered enemies; even those from his own family would try to wrestle it away from him.  He experienced every human emotion imagined.

The Psalms are windows to his soul. As prayers they direct our focus to God. As Scripture they are the answers to our prayers. Consider David the man of prayer – who invites us also to come to the Father.  In this Psalm we see David as he prays total and complete.

I.        Consider David the Distressed Man.  [Psalm 142:1-2]

A.     In his distress David gives his spoken request to God: “I cry to the Lord with my voice; to the Lord I make loud supplication” God would by these words tenderly invite us to believe that he is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that we may with all boldness and confidence ask Him as dear children ask their dear Father.

B.     As David cries to the Father, he makes a specific request.
1.      There is a complaint on his lips. David says: “I pour out my complaint to Him” (v.2a)

2.      It appears to be a complaint about his life as he says: “I declare before Him my trouble”.  Do we take our troubles to the Lord? David encourages us to do so – to take every trouble to the Lord. 

Transition:   David was a distressed man. He was also a desperate man. Desperate times did not cause David to take desperate measures. He was a man of quiet resolve. He took it to the Lord in prayer.

II.     David was a Desperate Man.  [Psalm 142:3-4]

In his prayers he was forced to face his doubts and his fears.
A.     David was truly fearful.
1.      There were pressures within.  David felt the pressure: “When my spirit was overwhelmed within me. Then you knew my path” (v.3b) The Lord knew what troubles us internal as well as external.

2.      There were also troubles without. “They have secretly set a snare for me” (v.3b) People were lying in wait for him. There were enemies in David’s life. He needed his Lord to sustain him

B.     In his desperation David felt all alone. He felt he was friendless. He was treated with social as well as spiritual indifference.
1.      He found himself treated with social indifference. “I look on my right hand and see for there is no one who acknowledges me” He was abandoned by all of his friends.

2.      David also knew of spiritual indifference: “refuge has failed me. No one cares for my soul”

TRANSITION:  Truly David found in his plight a desperate situation. He turned to the father in the depths of his despair. As he opened himself to the Lord he was given discernment and discretion.

III.   David as he prayed was a Discerning Man [Psalm 142:5-6]

As he wrestled, pleaded and cried out to God he found two eternal truths
A.     He found a satisfying portion: “I cried out to You, O Lord: I said, You are my refuge” (v.5)

B.     He also found a secure protection: “Attend to my cry, for I am brought low. Deliver me from my persecutors for they are stronger than I” (v.6)

TRANSITION: In this season of Lent we need to pray.  In our prayers may we not only speak but also listen as the Lord extends to us His mercy and grace.

IV.  As David came to the Lord, he found himself a Delivered Man. [Psalm 142:7-8] He was brought into the prospect of freedom, fellowship, and fullness.

A.     He was directed to freedom – “Bring my soul out of prison” (v.7a) David cried. Our freedom comes at the cross where our Savior suffered and died.

B.     As he found this freedom he was brought into a new found fellowship of knowing and experiencing God. As we know of this hope and freedom we rejoice along with David “…that I may praise Your name” (v7b)

C.     This brought David into the fullness of having a loving relationship with God our heavenly Father. David concludes “The righteous shall surround me for You shall deal bountifully with me” (v.8)

CONCLUSION:  As we begin this spiritual pilgrimage called Lent may the Lord so direct us to come to Him in prayer.

Lord Jesus, hanging on the cross, and left alone by Your disciples, You called upon Your Father with a mighty cry as You gave up Your Spirit. Deliver us from the prison of affliction and be Yourself our inheritance in the land of the living where with the Father and the Holy Spirit You are blessed now and forever. Amen.  For All the Saints A Prayer book For and By the Church; The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau © 1995 Delhi, NY vol. Year 1 The Season After Pentecost p. 754

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