Thought for the Week - 30th SeptemberPastor Gareth Watkins
Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy
This Psalm is described as a Psalm of deliverance and a refrain of the redeemed. Who are the redeemed? We are! When we stand on our own before Christ, we will be called the redeemed.
The redeemed are the ones who Christ has saved. He has saved them from eternal death. These are the ones who Christ cleansed from their sins and gave them a new life on Earth. If you are redeemed, this Psalm describes you.
Redeemed is a word that people use casually in church circles. But it’s a powerful word. Christ has redeemed us from the enemy of our soul. If we are redeemed, we have been purchased and taken from where we should be to somewhere else, because of Christ. That’s a lovely thought! We are no longer in the place where we should be. We’ve been taken into a new position because of what Christ has done for us.
The enemy doesn’t want you to be where you are called redeemed. He wants you to be in the place where you are called sinful, lost, in darkness and bound. Christ has taken us to a place where satan doesn’t want. It’s a place where we’re called free, no longer captive, set free of sins and have an eternal life under God. That is the position of the redeemed.
This scripture is saying that if we’re one of the redeemed – we should say so. In other words, don’t hide what the Lord has done for you. Say what He has done. This might not always be very comfortable in a place of work, a gathering of other people, or even with church people. Church people don’t always want to hear what God has done. For example, I once met someone who wasn’t allowed to speak of their faith and relationship with God unless they were asked about it.
If we are redeemed and have everything that God has given to us, we have to say that the Lord has done so! We are not to keep quiet about the Lord, His benefits, and His mercies. We are not to keep quiet when God has provided a way for us through something so that we can now enjoy His mercies. How long do those mercies last for? The scripture tells us that they last forever! Why should we then be quiet? Why should we be quiet about what God has given us as one of those who are redeemed? We have been redeemed, with all His mercies that come day by day in so many ways. We must speak of it.
What are we actually going to say to people?
Think about what He’s done for you. Has He made you happy? Has He brought you peace? Has He given you a gift? Has He healed you? Has He repaired a relationship? What have you as a redeemed person been given that you must give an account of? And give an account you must. It says we have to say so. This isn’t a silent chapter – a chapter where you go to a church, be silent and not speak. This is giving an account to whoever asks you. In fact, even if they don’t ask you.
I met someone this week who hasn’t worked for a very long time. I thought of our church. There’s no unemployment in our church. We have people come along who don’t work. They pray and get work. God has been faithful to us as the redeemed. When the person told me they couldn’t get work, I had to give an account of what God has done for us – He gives us work. Some things work by natural abilities, but there’s another side where God Himself breaks through and sorts things out. In our natural ability we can only go so far. Then the major part that actually makes the difference, is the blessing of God. That’s when we have to say as the redeemed that we’re going to say so. We’re going to speak it into the circumstance.
As Paul says in Romans 10: 9:
confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
It’s not just enough to believe, we must confess with our mouths. Out of our hearts we believe, but it’s out of our mouths that a confession is made. We have to give confession according to the scripture, and not just sit in silence.
Diana wrote last week about James. It applied to us all. She told us not to look around but to look at ourselves. She wrote about the power of the tongue etc. This Psalm shows us a positive way of using the tongue. When God has done something – which He does all the time – the redeemed of the Lord have to say so. Even when people don’t want to hear it. We don’t have to push it onto people, but to say to nothing is wrong.
In Verse 14 we read:
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
He brought us out of darkness and the shadow of death. He’s broken our chains in pieces. Can you give account of the chains that have held you? What darkness has been on your life? The redeemed should know they’ve come out of darkness. I can speak of my darkness, and I can say the Lord has brought me out of darkness and broken chains that held me.
What darkness and what chains are we talking about?
Darkness can be fears. Fears such as fears of natural things, but also fears of praying out loud, fear of praying to God etc. It can be anxieties. It can be mental health issues. Most people have gone through times where things are like a big, black cloud over them. Sometimes God allows it to happen. But God frees us from that assault and we come out of that place where we’re no longer afflicted in such a way.
Darkness can be the weight of sin, where you know you’re a sinner and you know you’re doomed. Where it’s like a black veil between you and God. Can the redeemed people say so and speak of that? It’s important that everyone hears that from you. Why else would people need to find Christ? They know they have the sin, they don’t know how to get free of it. By you speaking the word and saying it to them, they can see a hope of getting free. They can get a hope of getting free from their phobia, their assault, the spiritual darkness. Darkness comes in in so many ways – dabbling with a ouija board in college, or a film you shouldn’t have watched. It can hook a fear on you.
The chains of the redeemed have been broken in pieces! What chains?
The torment of ill health, the questions about “why me” and the fears of what’s going to happen next. Praise God He does redeem us! He doesn’t always heal us, but we can be set free from the chain of it.
The chain of phobias. People can’t move freely or live freely because of massive phobias that hold them fast. Chains that hold us into this world. People can’t stop living to satisfy the demand of the world. They’re like a rat on a wheel – keeping everyone happy, doing this, dressing like this, looking like that. All the while it’s a chain they can’t get free of. Christ can redeem us and set us free from the chains that belong to this world. How many people are wracked in grief that they can’t get free from. It can be a dreadful holder that holds people fast for years and years.
When we say we’re redeemed – saved from something – we’ve got a lot to be thankful to our Christ for from saving us from. He’s brought us out from darkness and our chains have been broken into pieces! Does that describe you? The ones brought out of darkness. The ones who’ve had their chains broken?
In Verse 15 we read:
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
God is so good to us! God is so wonderful to us. We don’t always appreciate the goodness of God. Week by week, God shows us His goodness. He shows us through the testimonies we hear. The goodness, mercy and love of God comes through.
I mentioned a person earlier who was unable to get a job. In our conversation, I was able to speak to them about God. I was able to speak of God’s mercies, and the richness and redemption that He gives to me. I was able to impart that to that person and give them hope. I could have spoken about Josephus or something from the Roman historians, but that wouldn’t have fed them or given them one little stitch. What’s given them hope is that Christ can redeem! And give them a job!
Are we numbered with the redeemed? If we are, there’s something else to note: that this mercy lasts forever. What a blessing for those who call themselves redeemed.
What if we refuse and walk away? In Verse 17-18 we read:
Fools, because of their transgression,
And because of their iniquities, were afflicted.
Their soul abhorred all manner of food,
And they drew near to the gates of death.
If we walk away from God and walk away from a place where you’re redeemed, you’re called a fool. We are called a fool because of our sin and our iniquity. Afflictions come because of sin. At my age, I can speak of things that come now because of sins I’ve done before hand. Be careful of the times when you deliberately walk away from God. Because His mercies are meant to last forever. He’s not foolish – He’s there and wants you to stand and live in that place of the redeemed, and not walk away. If you do walk away, as is your choice, then sins that cause afflictions will come. This is not to cause fear. It’s a fact. With sin comes other circumstances.
Does this really happen? If I walk on with God will the mercies of God last forever? That is what the Psalmist says and that is what my testimony would say. Does the affliction and darkness come if you walk away from God? Yes it does.
If we are the redeemed, and we can stand in that place as the redeemed, then this works and is true. God cannot lie. God wants us to be part of His family, as His sons and His daughters, and part of the body of Christ.
He wants us to function. Is there a function in your life as part of the redeemed? He intends you to function. He doesn’t save you to sit and do nothing. He has a function for you as part of the body of Christ.
If we do as we’re told, that body, that life, and that mercy will endure forever. And the redeemed will say so!
In Verse 20 we read:
He sent His word and healed them,
And delivered them from their destructions.
God has delivered us from those destructions that belong to us. He sends his Word. Isn’t it wonderful how He speaks His Word into our circumstances? He’s don’t it for us all over time.
Give thanks to the Lord for His mercy endures. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!