Remember...

Yesterday I finished up reading through the Psalms, or rather listening through them during my drive back from seminary in St. Louis. I have to say, you certainly get a different perspective when you go through the whole book of Psalms in two sittings. There are many themes that jump out, like praising God, asking for deliverance from the wicked, seeing God as the Creator and sustainer, and many others. One theme that really shined clearly from the last third of the book was the theme of remembering.

If you are like me, it is easy for you to become discouraged. In the old days, that was called melancholy. Today some might call it depression. Maybe it is being in a funk, down in the dumps, or feeling low. Whatever you call it, you know it when you feel it. Often times this is brought on when I feel overwhelmed or that there is a situation I just can't see my way out of. My heart wants to know if there is light at the end of the tunnel, if deliverance will come. At times like these, I must remember. This is the idea of preaching truth to yourself, or as John Piper explains in his classic, trusting in Future Grace.

Each of us has a past filled with promises of God that have been kept, times when we've been delivered, and instances where prayer has been answered. When we experience "melancholy," we need to remind ourselves of those times. We see this pattern throughout the Psalms, recounting the works of the Lord and responding in praise. Whether it is God's work in creation, His deliverance from slavery in Egypt, or more recent salvation from oppressive kings, the Psalms are full of recitations of God's past works. That past faithfulness should give us confidence that God will continue to work the same way in the future. It prepares us for that future of difficulty and trial.

In Abraham's life, he was able to offer up Isaac with confidence to God knowing that God would continue in His pattern of faithfulness. In David's life, he knew that God would deliver him from Saul because all of God's promises had come true in the past, so why wouldn't the promise of David being king also not come to pass. Past evidences of God's grace in our lives give us confidence to trust in His continuing future grace.

So, don't let your heart be troubled. Preach truth to yourself. Read through chunks of the Psalms and be encouraged.

(If you'd like to learn more about this, I happened to preach about it a few months back. You can listen to it here if you'd like.

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