Text: Psalm 112:7
Title: Having a Fixed Heart
Introduction: Golf professional Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about overconfidence: “It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, ‘Congratulations.’ I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters.”
There is a tendency for us to lose our focus. It is my prayer that God would use this message to set our hearts right with the Lord. And may we push the “re-focus” button and fix our heart upon the Lord.
The subject matter of the psalm are the character, conduct, usefulness, and happiness of a good man. Psalms 111-113 go together as a hallelujah in reference to Jehovah’s ways with Israel in their deliverance. First, Psalm 111.
I. The Foundation of a Fixed Heart v1-5
A. The Fear of the Lord – v1
The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
The Fear of the Lord is having an awe for God. Practicing His presence.
It is the beginning of wisdom.
B. Delight in His Word
Psalm 119:16; Ps. 1:1-3;
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
1. It brings Blessings v2-3
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
2. It will Guide you. v4-5
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Be sure to walk in the Light.
II. The Focus of a Fixed Heart – v6-7
A. In the Lord – v7b
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
We are in a race. Stay in your lane. Stop comparing, you have your own lane.
The goal and the focus is to stay on the course that God has given you, keep your eyes on Him and everyday come to the place of personal discipline between you and God, so that you’re disciplining yourself that the Lord and His will is your target. You should not allow what others say or what you might say to others distract you.
Success is a moving target, Christian happiness is a fixed goal – Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:8) the same.
Worldly success is changing. Degrees, books, seminars.
Where you focus during the adversities of your race determines the outcome of your race. What’s your target? Success? Why are you doing what you are doing. Jesus is concerned about our motives.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
B. His trust is in the Lord – Prov. 3:5-7; 2 Sam.22:31
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:
When life gets overwhelming, it is hard to stay focused. Sometimes, we don’t even realize we have lost focus on what really matters! What are you focused on? Do you seek to please God in all that you do? Is your main goal throughout the day to serve and honor Him?
III. The Fearlessness of a Fixed Heart
A. He shall not be moved (established)- v6a, 8a
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
1. Of evil tidings. *news that shake us. – v7a
Let the morrow be what it may, our God is the God of tomorrow. Whatever events may have happened, which to us are unknown, our Jehovah is God of the unknown as well as of the known. We are determined to trust the LORD, come what may. If the very worst should happen, our God is still the greatest and best. Therefore will we not fear though the postman’s knock should startle us or a telegram wake us at midnight. The LORD liveth, and what can His children fears.
All of our Fiery trials are Father-filtered.
Margaret Clarkson said “Nothing comes your way that has not first passed through the filter of His love. The sovereignty of God is one impregnable rock to which the suffering human heart must cling. The circumstances surrounding our lives are no accident. They may be the work of evil but that evil is held firmly within the might of our sovereign God. All evil is subject to Him, and evil cannot touch His children unless He permits it. God is the Lord of human history and the personal history of every member of His redeemed family.”
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
We are called Believers not Understanders because we don’t always understand be we are to always believe.
Bruce Goodrich was being initiated into the cadet corps at Texas A&M University. One night, Bruce was forced to run until he dropped-but he never got up. Bruce Goodrich died before he even entered college.
A short time after the tragedy, Bruce’s father wrote this letter to the administration, faculty, student body, and the corps of cadets:
“I would like to take this opportunity to express the appreciation of my family for the great outpouring of concern and sympathy from Texas A&M University and the college community over the loss of our son, Bruce. We were deeply touched by the tribute paid to him in the battalion. We were particularly pleased to note that his Christian witness did not go unnoticed during his brief time on campus.
I hope it will be some comfort to know that we harbor no ill will in the matter. We know our God makes no mistakes. Bruce had an appointment with his Lord and is now secure in his celestial home. When the question is asked, ‘Why did this happen?’ perhaps one answer will be, ‘So that many will consider where they will spend eternity.'”
While many people were upset over the tragedy at Texas A&M, Mr. Goodrich showed that even though his son had been killed, he was not going to harbor bitterness against the college or the young people who had caused his son’s death. He let go of the hurt and trusted the Lord’s hand in the situation.
God has ways we higher than ours. God owes us no answers.
2. By his enemies. – v8
But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
They really meant evil. It was not melo-drama, psychological warfare. They really meant it for evil. They wanted Joseph out.
R.B. Ouellette – The worst thing that our opposition (other, irritation) can ever do to us is to be the unwitting instrument of God’s will to accomplish His purpose in our lives. (Angry words, unkind people, hate mail! Somebody owed you some money, burned your house…) all for our good!
Dreams do come true after some purging. The path may not always be what you thought it would be, but be assured that God is in control.
B. It will be remembered by the next generation. v6, 9
Let’s be faithful! We are leaving a legacy!
Last Words of Christian men:
“Our God is the God from whom cometh salvation: God is the Lord by whom we escape death.”-Martin Luther
“Live in Christ, live in Christ, and the flesh need not fear death.”-John Knox
“The best of all is, God is with us. Farewell! Farewell!”-John Wesley
“I shall be satisfied with Thy likeness-satisfied, satisfied!”-Charles Wesley
“I fought a good fight, I finished my course, I have kept the faith.” – Paul
Conclusion: Foundation, Focus, Fearlessness.
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts daily. Only the Word of God can truly determine whether we have the right focus or not.
Keep your heart right. May why we do what we do be because of the Lord.
When the heart is pure then the vision would be clear.