The Devil wants to oppress man and make him an animal; God wants to rescue His people and free them from all external and internal oppression.
Scripture: Psalm 77
- This Psalm speaks wisdom for times of trouble and distress.
- Jesus Himself faced distress through prayer (Heb. 4:7-8).
- As the dominant cultural philosophy becomes cynicism, Christianity is increasingly persecuted.
- The Greek Cynic had little faith in human sincerity; he despised all comfort and security, seeking to live 'naturally' as a virtue. He believed that the earth belonged equally to all, and that social conventions were the source of human misery.
- Cynicism became extinct as Christianity spread in the Roman empire, bestowing dignity to man as God's image bearer.
- Today cynics are promoting a) the equality of all sexual choices to young children; b) abortion of pre-born girls as support for woman's equality and sexual freedom; c) environmentalism to bring man into a state of nature, and to bring advanced countries down to par with developing countries, and d) a view that man is no more than an animal.
- Our culture has thus embraced cynicism about questions of what humans are and what the good life entails.
- There is a fifth form of pragmatic cynicism, which entails avarice and careerism: the desire to pursue wealth and comfort for their own sake.
- These cynics refuse to consider the benefits of life under God and how we could pursue the God-blessed life.
- There's no area of life which God doesn't speak to and which won't be transformed when you bring it into submission to God: culture, education, work, family, etc.
- Because the Christian worldview is being eclipsed, we are seeing an increasingly dark world. However, Jesus has won the victory. The night is always darkest before the dawn.
- God is actively engaged in redeeming the world, and we are to be busy about that work in our respective callings.
- We need to start with God in seeking solutions.
- God is the God who hears (v. 1). We can resist comfort (v. 2) but God won't leave us.
- God is distant and absent (v. 5) when the psalmist is self-focused (v. 6); he wasn't looking to the God who is near.
- In verse 10 the psalmist appeals to God's power to act.
- God is merciful to sinners; this is consistent with His unchanging nature.
- After verse 9, in the Lord's strength, the psalmist is full of light and strength.
- God is not a theological concept; He's the One who acts in history.
- In verses 16-20, we have a scene of transport, portraying the great clash between the Creator and the forces of chaos which oppose His righteous rule, the “turbulent waters” (cf. Psalm 2).
- The Devil wants to oppress man and make him an animal; God wants to rescue His people and free them from all external and internal oppression.
- God's character is honoured as the people of God live in accordance with it.
- It is the unseen footprints of our God that lead us into the promised land.
- He who called us is faithful. He will surely do it (1 Thess. 5:24).
- How does Hebrews 4:7-8 comfort us when facing trouble?
- What is cynicism? How does our culture reflect cynicism?
- What kind of cynicism is a particular temptation for Christians?
- What approach to distress led the psalmist to despair? What approach leads to victory and exaltation?
- Do we act in our workplace as if the chief end of our work is to glorify God? How can we improve in this area?
- How does God's vision for His creation and our lives contrast with that of the cynic?
- Are we honouring our God by living in accordance with His character?