Stay Put!

Text: Psalm 125

This past Sunday I had the privilege of preaching at a church not far from our home. After the second service the auditorium emptied—all but for a handful of people. There was a group of four individuals sitting in the second row—two men, a woman, and a young teenager. I started to move toward them, when I noticed that the woman was crying. My first thought was, “Surely the sermon wasn’t that bad!” [No editorial comments, please!] Then the woman was the first to speak. She said, “Thank you for that message.  I wasn’t sure I was going to come this morning. In fact, I was ready to give up on God, until I listened to what He was saying through you.” 

I don’t get encouraging words like that after every sermon, but the woman’s words made my day! She went on to tell me her story. Her job was being phased out. Her oldest daughter won’t speak to her, and she doesn’t know why. Life hasn’t been very good for her in the last couple of months. I listened and then encouraged her from the Scripture that I had expounded earlier in the service. As we were leaving, I said, “You are going through a difficult time. But don’t walk away from your faith. Stay put!” She smiled and assured me she would do just that!

If I were to see her again, I would tell her to read Psalm 125. This is a psalm for people who are disillusioned with life and about to walk away from God and everything He represents. However, the psalmist has a better way for spiritual pilgrims to think and live. Please notice that this psalm is extremely God-focused from start to finish.

  • In verse 2 the writer says that the Lord surrounds those who trust in Him. He is like the mountains around Jerusalem that provide a natural protective wall that can protect Yahweh’s worshipers. 
  • In verse 3 we are told that Yahweh specifically protects His people from being oppressed long-term by wicked rulers. He does this so that the people of God will not give up and take on the ways of their captors. 
  • In verse 5 the psalmist expands on the theme of verse 3 and tells us that God cleanses His followers from evil influences. He bestows good things on the upright (cf. v. 4), but righteous judgment on the wicked. 

Psalm 125 is a song that calls us to “stay put” rather than quitting on God.  After all, the Lord’s protective love surrounds those who keep trusting Him. 

Someone might ask, “What does it mean to trust God?” For the ancient people of Israel “trust” was not simply an intellectual activity. It was an intentional act of choosing to come under the rule and reign of God. The person of faith says, “I don’t understand all that is going on right now, but I will trust you, Lord!  I will love you and obey whatever you ask me to do.” 

Ok, but can we REALLY trust God to protect us? Verse 2 states that “the Lord surrounds His people both NOW and FOREVER.” Think of it this way:

People who trust the Lord are people who have a faith that is “test-worthy.” God sometimes allows challenges to come into our lives not to destroy us but to “test” us. Through a variety of experiences God gives us the opportunity to see the current status of our faith. 

So what will happen if we “stay put” instead of walking away from God? Look at verse 5. It ends with the words, “Peace be with Israel!” Eugene Peterson says that this phrase simply means, “RELAX!”  Or to put it another way, “Just relax and keep trusting in the God whose love is so extensive that He never stops protecting you.”  
Life might be hard for you right now, but it will not always be this way. So just relax in Jesus…and STAY PUT!

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