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My Times Are In Thy Hands

by Julius Hovan

Hovans(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

Hello there and welcome to Words of Life, our broadcast of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are so glad you have tuned in today. What a joy it is for us to bring to you this brief message of good news that we believe will help you in the days in which we are living.

Several years ago General Motors, manufacturer of several different kinds of cars, had a saying for their Buick automobile. It went like this: Something to believe in, 1970 Buicks. They are something to believe in. They certainly are probably a good car. I have owned one or two. But I remember taking a trip with a friend of mine who had a brand new Buick automobile. It had less than 10,000 miles on it. We were travelling from Louisville, Kentucky to Dallas, Texas where we lived. And as we travelled along, that beautiful new automobile began to go very slowly. We could not get it to speed up on the interstate. And we limped along for many, many miles until we were able to limp into Dallas many hours later and finally he took it to the shop and found the problem. Well, that experience might make it a little bit hard to believe in that particular car.

We trust in material things. But we know they really don’t provide security. They are not really going to make us happy. If I can get that, I will be so happy, that new car. You know what happens to it? The new car smell goes away. It begins to get dirty. It begins to get dented, scratched up and the mileage piles up and we have got to have a new one. And so man does not live by bread or Buicks alone.

I want to turn with you this morning to the 31st Psalm and I want to glean a slogan there for the times in which we are living. Verse 15 says this: ‘My times are in thy hand. Deliver me from the hand of mine enemies and from them that persecute me.’

Time does not allow us in this brief broadcast to read all of the 24 verses of this psalm. And so I urge you somewhere today, you and God get together with your Bible and you read through the entirety of the psalm. I would like to give you just a little outline of it written from the hand of the great King David and allow you to see how David could say that his times were in God’s hands.
David was often times being chased by King Saul. He had many enemies that were after his life. As a king he had great and tremendous responsibilities and with any nation come problems. How could he say with such confidence: ‘My times are in thy hands’? And you will see, as you read through this psalm, the tremendous words of distress that are there. Verse nine for example: ‘Have mercy upon me, oh Lord, for I am in distress. My eyes waste away with grief and my soul and my body, my life is spent with sorrow and my years with sighing.’ The whole tenor of this psalm is one of distress and yet David could say what he said. David has, first of all, a distinct understanding of God. What he is trying to say to us, that his entire life with its chaos, with the change, with the circumstances, with the conditions that were all around him, sometimes sunshine, sometimes shadows, sometimes trials, sometimes triumph, whatever the circumstances were, they were all in the hands of almighty God.

Only the Christian, only the one who is a believer in this God can say that. You ask the man that is trusting in things, the materialist. He may say that his time is in the hand of evolution. I am part of the process, just carried along toward the inevitable goal of evolution. My trust is in things. Ask the Agnostic or the Atheist and his words are: Well, my time is in the grip of fate or blind chance, no plan, no pattern, no real purpose to life. I am just going to live out my days and that will be it. One man who was in that situation said: I am merely a piece of whirling dust in the universe with no sense of design or direction or destiny.

Is that not sad? What a contrast to David whose times are in the hands of God. Or you might ask the Socialist, Communism that has tried to rear its head again: My hands are in the times of social progress and change. We are moving toward this society where everybody is going to be equal. Well, my friends, it didn’t happen in Russia. It didn’t happen in the Soviet Union. It is not happening in America. It is not happening in the country where you live. It is never going to happen. Ask the average person. Well, my hands are in the time of the circumstances. I just take whatever comes.   What a difference as we compare these thoughts to the conclusion of David.

You have heard the little song that says, he has got the whole world in his hands. He has got you and me, brother, in his hands. He has got the tiny little baby in his hands. Oh, this is the God of David, this God who is God and who is Sovereign. David had a distinct understanding of God. What did he know? He knew that God was his God, a personal God. But I trusted in thee, oh Lord, he says in verse 14. I said: ‘You are my God.’ Can you say that today? Is God your personal God? Not just your momma’s God or your daddy’s God. Your grandpa, not your country’s God. Some countries have a God. Is God, Jehovah, your God personally? David shows throughout this psalm not only this personal God, but this very present God. He was there to hear David’s cry, to bring answers, to offer strength and help.

The problem is not so much that God is dead for many people, but he is distant, he is far away. But God will be as close to you as you will allow him to be. He is the creator. He is the controller of the universe in which we live. He is available, a personal, present God and also a powerful God. David revealed how God had been able to deliver him from some of the friends that turned against him.

Listen to verses 19 and 20. ‘How great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee, which thou has wrought for them that take refuge in thee before the sons of men. In the covert of thy presence will you hide them from the plottings of man. You will keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues..

Sometimes even our friends become our enemies and they turn from us or do not support us. God is a powerful God to help in those situations. But God is also able to defeat our foes, those enemies that are so abundant in our life. We have the personal enemy of self, of selfishness, of an evil nature that is in every human being. This God is a God able to help us deal with and defeat those foes.
What a contrast that is to the idol gods worshipped by millions. The story came out of the great battle in Vietnam. A Christian Vietnamese was watching while his house burned and he showed the joy of the Lord even as the flames of his home burning lit up his face. Needless to say those who looked at him said: How can you be this way when everything you own is burning up? His answer: My God is not burning up.

Those others who had the idols and altars in their home, if their home burned, their god would be destroyed. But this man knew God personally, knew God as a present being in his life and knew God as a God of great power. David had a distinct understanding of God and he was able to put that trust in him.
Notice his confidence as you read through this psalm when you read through it later. And I hope you will do that. Trust becomes a key word. David had had some problems. You go back to that ninth verse that we read earlier. He is in distress and grief and his body is in trouble, in great sorrow and sighing. David was tested. He had some difficulty. In verse 10 he says: ‘My life is spent with sorrow, my years with sighing. My strength fails because of my sin. My very bones are wasting away.’ He confesses his sinfulness here. He was being tested.

Would you keep on trusting in God when things don’t go well? How many times, perhaps, have we asked why God would allow that to happen? God must not be a very good God if he allows such tragedy. That argument is used by so many different people. David trusted God even when his faith was tested under trial and confusion and battling with sin. But in that 12th verse, notice his sense of loneliness, his sense of worthlessness. ‘I am forgotten as a dead man out of my mind. I am like a broken vessel.’ Yet he is still trusting in God in spite of that. And then in verse 13, ‘For I have heard the defaming of many. There is terror on every side. While they took counsel together against me, devising ways to take away my life.’

Are you living in a circumstance like that? There are some of you listening today in some nations of the world who may be in areas where various groups are coming against the Church and against Christians and burning down churches with Christians in them, slaughtering by the dozens those who are followers of Christ. And yet in the midst of that they trust in God. And after all of that in those two verses David could say: ‘But I trusted in thee. For you are my God.’

We can see what a difference it makes. Now if you read down through this psalm you will see David struggling a little bit with life. He has some problems. He says in verse 22: ‘As for me, I said in my haste: I am cut off from before your eyes. Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my supplication when I cried. Lord, I have reached a point where I had thought there was no contact between us. I felt like you had deserted me. You left me.’ There was a little faltering trust. You might have that occasionally. That would not be a surprise in the world in which we live today. Most of us experience something like that. David’s trust continued on. And so here is David whose times are in the hands of God. Here is David with a distinct understanding of this God, this God who was personal and present and powerful in his life. Here is David with deep confidence in God to stand with God against everything.

But there is a final point in this psalm that we want to consider. And it is David’s deliberate resting in the Lord. David had this understanding about God. He had this tremendous confidence in God. But now he goes even a step further. He, in essence says, I just turn it all over to you. God, my trust is in you. I have that confidence. When you come in to sit down on a chair or you go to church and you sit in the church bench, the church pew, you don’t ever think about whether the seat will hold you up. No, you probably sat in it before. You know it will hold you up. You see it holding up someone else. And so you just with confidence sit down in it. So is David’s confidence in God. How could he have such confidence in the midst of what we read in this psalm, all the difficulty and stress that he was having? Look at verse five. We can see him resting in God’s past salvation.

‘Into your hand I commend my spirit. You have redeemed me, oh Lord, you God of truth.’ There is past redemption. There is past blessing. There is the past working of God in the life of this man David. He knew what God could do. If you are familiar with the New Testament then you are aware that this is a passage of Scripture that is referring to the Lord Jesus: Into thy hand I commend my spirit. The words of Jesus on Calvary are taken from this verse. But David could say them about himself. He could commend his very self to God, because of God’s past salvation. Verse 21 he said: ‘You have showed me marvelous loving kindness.’
David had experienced the touch and blessing of God. And so he was resting in God’s past salvation. But he is also now resting in God’s personal sufficiency. Notice how he closes the psalm, verses 23 and 24.

‘Oh love Jehovah, all you his saints. Jehovah preserves the faithful and plentifully rewards those that deal proudly. Be strong. Let your heart take courage all ye who have hope in the Lord.’ What a psalm this is, indeed. David, resting in not only what God has done in the past, but what God is doing in the present. That convinced David that God would take care of him for the future.

Listen to verses 19 and 20. ‘Oh how great is thy goodness which you have laid up for them that fear thee.’ Here is something not yet gained. Here is something down the road. Here is a supply not yet enjoyed. Oh, what a precious thought it is to see what God is going to yet do for us. Paul put it this way: ‘Mind hath not begun to comprehend the great things laid up for those who love the Lord.’

A knowledge of God is good. Trusting in God is better than knowledge of God, but resting in God is best of all.   Now it is inevitable. If you can be like Paul and put your times, yourself in the hand of God, if you can have an understanding of the greatness of God, that he is your personal, present, powerful God, inevitably, it will lead to the fact that you will rest in him and you will put your confidence in him.

And here is the icing on the cake. For we close by seeing David’s dynamic rejoicing in the Lord. This psalm is not a weeping. It is not a lament. It is the testimony of David of the greatness of the God in whom he trusts. He is not grieving in this psalm, but he is glorying in his great God. My times are in your hands. And he doesn’t say it fatalistically. Oh, well, we just have to give up and we have got to go through life gloomily and fearfully. Rather, as I read in this psalm words like verse seven: ‘I will be glad and rejoice in your loving kindness, for you have seen my affliction. You have known my soul in its adversity.’

What a attitude for David to posses when he has so many difficulties. What a hope, then, for the challenge that lies ahead in the world in which we live. I believe we are living in the last days. I can’t imagine that it is going to be very long before God gets fed up with the wickedness of the world, the millions of innocent babies that are aborted every year, more than a million in America alone, the terrible sexual immorality and perversion that is running rampant around the world. God is not pleased. And he had to deal with it in the past in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the great flood. And we need to understand that he is going to get fed up.

How are we going to endure? We had better have confidence in God. Our trust needs to be in him. The book of Ecclesiastes says it this way. ‘The righteous and their works are in the hand of God.’ One African native translated it this way. ‘All my life’s whys and whens and wheres and wherefores are in God’s hand.’

At which stage of life are you? Knowing you know about God. Everybody does to some degree. How well do you know him? Knowing well enough to trust him? And are you resting in his promises and, as a result, rejoicing with life?

It seems that a traveler traveling in the winter time came to the great Mississippi river at twilight. It was bitterly cold and he did not wish to stay out in the open. There was no bridge. There were no trees or bushes or anything to which he could go for shelter. And so he started across fearfully on the frozen river crawling on his hands and knees, fearful that it was going to break the ice and he would fall in. He was about half way across, the story says, when he heard some great voice singing and he heard the clap, clap, clap of iron horseshoes coming across on the ice. And he turned around to se a four horse team pulling a big load of logs. Oh, the man on the sled had confidence that the ice could hold him. The man crawling on his hands and knees did not. What a difference it makes. If he had only known the strength of the ice. If we would only know the strength and wisdom of our great God. The Bible says: ‘It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ Think about that. But it is a wonderful thing to say: God, my times are in your hands. I know you. I am trusting in you. I am resting in you. I am rejoicing in you, this great personal, present, powerful God. And my faith is in the sacrifice and work of Jesus Christ your Son.

God bless you today.

 

Julius Hovan is minister of the Bohon Church of Christ, Bohon, KY.




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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