Wednesday, May 02, 2012
FINDING YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE
"May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose." (Psalm 20:4 HCSB)
David reminds us that God is in the life-changing business. If David shared his story with you, he might say, "I was a shepherd; I became a soldier; I am a sovereign." David found his purpose in life. My story goes something like this, "I was a prodigal; I became a penitent; I am a pastor." I found my purpose in life. What is your story? Do you have one? If you don't have a story, you can have one--and you need one today! God has an incredible purpose for your life, "May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose." (Psalm 20:4 HCSB) How can we find that purpose? David tells us how.
We find His purpose BY LOOKING TO GOD.
"May Yahweh answer you in a day of trouble; may the name of Jacob's God protect you. May He send you help from the sanctuary and sustain you from Zion. May He remember all your offerings and accept your burnt offering. Selah" (Psalm 20:1-3 HCSB)
You may remember that “Selah” is a musical notation that bids us to pause and consider what has been said. The Psalmist is directing our gaze upward. If we look around us to find our purpose in life, the world will misdirect us. But, if we look above us, we can discover the purpose for which God has crafted us.
In these verses we find the first of three times God’s name is emphasized “the name of the Jacob's God” (v.1); “the name of our God” (v.5); and “the name of Yahweh our God” (v.7). Clearly, David was directing our attention to God.
We look to the name of the God of Jacob. Remember Jacob? God chose him even before he was born. God set His heart on Jacob, to lead Jacob to set his heart on God. Never was there a more unlikely candidate for the grace of God, we might think—Jacob was a cheat and a scoundrel. He was a crooked schemer. Yet, that made him the best candidate, for that is what grace is all about. It abounds to the chief of sinners! God sought him, caught him, taught him and wrought him into a vessel he could use.
Perhaps you are like Jacob—always planning and trying to make your own way. You have imagined a purpose for your life—you’ve got big plans. You're going to go far. Yet, things aren't working our exactly as you’ve dreamed. There is still an emptiness inside you. Your schedule is full of activity, but your heart is void of contentment. No matter how much stuff you accumulate, there is this gnawing sense of something missing.
Jacob was that way, but then Jacob saw heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending on a ladder suspended between heaven and earth. That upward look began a journey of finding and fulfilling his God-given purpose. Jesus, in John’s Gospel, identified Himself as that ladder—the only One who can bring us to God. Look to Him today!
Purpose in life is found by looking to God and BY LISTENING TO GOD.
"May He give you what your heart desires and fulfill your whole purpose. Let us shout for joy at your victory and lift the banner in the name of our God. May Yahweh fulfill all your requests." (Psalm 20:4, 5 HCSB)
Someone says, “Follow your heart” and they indicate that this is the way to find your purpose in life. Yet, that may lead you down a dead-end road. The unregenerate heart—the heart of one apart from God—is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jer.17:9). We must have a new heart, given by God in regeneration. As a child of God, led by the Spirit, we can follow our heart when it is in tune with God,
Consider this: "Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart's desires. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act..." (Psalm 37:4, 5 HCSB). David was in harmony with God’s purposes. The sweet singer of Israel was following the Heavenly Conductor.
But, let us think not only in a musical metaphor, but a military one, for David was not only a singer--he was a soldier. That is the terminology he uses here to describe God’s salvation. The Hebrew word for banner is only found in this Psalm and in the Song of Solomon where it is translated, “the chief among ten thousand.” It literally means the standard-bearer among ten thousand. When Israel went to war, the troops were to carry their banners and rally around the flags. The chief Standard Bearer is Christ Himself and we are to line up behind Him and follow Him. Then He leads us to victory. God isn't just the Choir Director of the singers, but the Commanding Officer of the soldiers.
We find our purpose in life by looking to God, by listening to God and BY LEANING ON GOD.
"Now I know that the Lord gives victory to His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with mighty victories from His right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses, but we take pride in the name of Yahweh our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand firm. Lord, give victory to the king! May He answer us on the day that we call." (Psalm 20:6-9 HCSB)
It wouldn’t be his own strength he would lean on, but God’s. He knew that to trust in himself and his own military might was folly. It would be trust in God that would bring triumph. Faith is the victory. Total deliverance would be found in trusting dependence.
David was a king, but he depended on the King of kings. Israel was at a crisis moment in her existence, as this Psalm reflects. A great army has arrayed itself against them, with chariots and horses. The peril was enormous. The survival of the nation was at stake.
America has come to such a time. We face the greatest danger we have ever known. If we continue to lean on our own economic schemes and military strategy and government bureaucracy there is no hope for us. Nations have risen in the past, flexed their muscles, only to be eventually swept away as they refused to look to God, listen to Him and lean on Him. Do, we think it will be different for us? We once declared our independence from the King of England. Will we now declare our dependence on the King of Eternity? That is our only hope.
We began by talking about the life-changing power of God--how His story intersects with our story. That is how we find our purpose in life. God wants to write His story in you. Will you look to Him, listen to His voice and lean on Him for salvation? If you have done that, will you ask Him to deepen that work of grace in your heart as you journey on in His thrilling, fulfilling purpose? God has His pen in hand, open your heart--a new chapter is ready to be written. After each chapter, eventually the ultimate purpose of God will be fulfilled and the story will conclude, "And they lived happily, ever after."