Sermon:  Character Confidence

Summary:  We can pray to God with confidence that he will hear and act on our behalf 
because of his righteous character and covenant loyalty.  We should therefore take refuge 
in the God through prayer, maintaining godliness, and staying loyal to the God who acts 
rather than try to get even or take revenge.

Know:  God is righteous and faithful; therefore he will act on our prayers

Feel:  Confidence in God because of his character

Do:  Examine your typical reactions to trouble and difficulty and what part prayer plays in it.  
Identify reasons for not being more bathed in prayer, and also reflect on God's character 
and how your understanding of his character relates to how you deal with your struggles.

Text:  Psalm 5

Scripture Reading:  Psalm 4:3

1.  Have you ever had anyone start a false rumor about you?  How do you deal with it?
	a.  You could take revenge and start a rumor yourself
		- Not a godly thing to do
	b.  Turn on emo music and get more depressed
	c.  Turn on elmo music and get happy
	d.  When you are persecuted, mistreated by ungodly people, there is 
	     something better for a believer
2.  Psalm 5 is an example of a Psalmist who prays when mistreated
	a.  (v.1-3) - The Psalmist prays with confidence
		- He believes that God will hear his voice
		- He arranges his prayer to God and waits for his answer
	b.  He does not put on emo cds, he doesn't try to take revenge
		-  Instead, he turns it over to God with confidence (v.4-12)
		- He fully expects God to answer
	c.  This is a model for prayer, we should pray in confidence
		- Maybe you find praying with true confidence difficult?  
		- Why?  What is the source of doubt?
	d. Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of what God is like
		- JB Phillip's book - "Your God is Too Small"
		- Deals with misconceptions of God
		- Resident policeman, earthly parent, grand old man, meek and 
		   mild, god-in-a-box, managing director, etc.
		- How you understand God affects how you pray
3.  According to the Psalmist, the source of confidence stems ultimately 
      from his understanding of God's character  
	a.  It is not saying a prayer in the right form, the right words, etc.
		- Meaningless repetition does not impress God
	b.  The Psalmist has confidence, hope, and expectation based on God
	c.  Wouldn't you like to have that too?
4.  Lesson:  We can be confident & hopeful in prayer because of God's character
	a.  Will cover the ones that come out in this text
	b.  What is God like in this Psalm?

I.  (v.4-6) - God hates evil
	A.  Hate is a strong word - Beyond mere dislike
	B.  ILL:  When I was in High School
		1.  One of my teachers got on to us when we said, "I hate you" 
		     even if were kidding around
		2.  "Do you know what hate means?"
			a.  It is more than just dislike
			b.  It is a seething, loathing desire to destroy what you hate
		3.  He told us to say, "I immensely dislike you."
	C.  Have you ever thought about God hating anything?
		1.  v.4 - Evil does not dwell/sojourn with God
			a.  The word, "dwell" refers to a guest or sojourner
			b.  Idea of a guest who receives hospitality
			c.  God is not hospitable in the least toward evil
			d.  We shouldn't be either
		2.  Heb 1:9 - Even Jesus loved righteousness & hated lawlessness
		3.  So are we to hate evil people?  (v.9-10) 
			a.  If not careful, could get that idea
			b.  Prays for God to let them fall by their own devices/plans
				- He doesn't try to personally take vengeance
				- Ask God to allow things to play themselves out
			c.  God a God of order, everything works together
				- What happens if 
					You don't put oil in car? 
					Jump out of plane with no parachute? 
					You have acne and no pimple cream?
					No surge protector during lightning storm?
				- Consequence is natural result of the created order
			d.  When violate God's moral order, backfire
				- Haman and Esther are an example
				- Aphitophel & Husai /Saul & David / David & Absalom 
				- Apostles and Herod in Acts 12:20-23
		4.  (Jude 1:23) - Shows how to hate evil
			a.  Save the sinner, hate the sin - with a passion like Christ
			b.  That is how God loves and hates
			c.  He hated evil so much, and loves us so much
			d.  It took his only son to the cross
	D.  God will take care of evil, he hates it
		1.  For some who refuse to repent, they will not endure
			a.  Natural outcome of their decision is destruction
			b.  God gives them the choice
		2.  For those who repent, forgiveness and transformation
			a.  An enemy can become a valued friend and brother
			b.  Sauls can become Pauls
		3.  Either way God will take care of it 
		4.  We need to pray for our enemies - God will take care of it

II.  (v.7-8) God's covenant loyalty is abundant
	A.  v.7 - Uses the word, "Hesed"
		1.  No equivalent word in English with same range of meaning
		2.  Means:  Lovingkindess, loyalty, mercy, love, faithfulness
		3.  Often used in a covenant context - Covenant loyalty
		4.  The Psalmist confidence comes from his covenant relationship 
		      with God
	B.  God's self revelation at Sinai attests to this
		1.  Ex 34:6-7 - Abounding in hesed and truth/faithfulness
			a.  Punish to the third and fourth
			b.  Hesed for thousands
		2.  Goes back to Abraham in Gen 22:15-18
			a.  God "swore" to bless Abraham and his descendants
			b.  We are recipients of that oath
		3.  Rom 3:3 - Some did not believe, nullify God's faithfulness?
			a.  No it did not.  God swore to uphold his promise
			b.  God's love and faithfulness was relentless
		4.  The invitation of entering the covenant extends to all  
			a.  That's why we should pray for our enemies
			b.  God not willing that any should perish
			c.  Wants Sauls to become Pauls
			d.  God's wants conversion and transformation
				- Enemy becoming a faithful Christian is better
				- That is what happened to Paul the Apostle
	C.  ILL:  I remember the first time I saw my Uncle's Tatoos on his arm
		1.  It said "Arch" and "Rose" - He got them in his army days
			a.  I asked him who Rose was
			b.  It was an old girlfriend.  
			c.  He told us never to put a girls name on a tattoo
			d.  I think he eventually had it surgically removed
		2.  (Isa 49:14-16; 50:1-2) - God's covenant is permanent
			a.  God is loyal, he got a "tattoo" so to speak
			b.  50:1 is a Rhetorical question
				- People believed God had given up
				- God tells them to produce the certificate of divorce
				- They couldn't, God didn't give them one
			c.  Committed spiritual adultery, but God didn't give up
		3.  Imagine if spouse cheats on you, not once, but several times
			a.  So what if you both promised, he broke the promise
			b.  No one would fault you for getting a divorce
			c.  If you stayed, some would call you a fool
		4.  Not God, he remained faithful.  
	D.  Since God is faithful, you can go to him in confidence
		1.  Don't go emo, but go to him in prayer
		2.  If you in covenant relationship with him, he is loyal and faithful

III.  (v.11-12) God blesses the righteous
	A.  If you are in a covenant relationship, then you are also living righteous
	B.  What does it mean to be blessed?
		1.  The word is used in several ways
			a.  Praise, speak well of, bestow good, or even congratulate
			b.  In this case, it means to grant prosperity or well being
			c.  When it is "GOD'S" blessing, it is a powerful thing
		2.  Several passages attest to this:
			a.  Dt 27-28 - Blessings and Curses - Prosperity
			b.  Prov 10:22 - It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich
			     and he adds no sorrow to it
				- Not blessing of your boss, friends, community, etc. 
			c.  Matt 5:1-12 - A series of beatitudes
				-  Highlights the blessings of righteousness
				-  Take a look at the type of prosperity you receive
				-  This is true prosperity
		3.  Blessing includes a bestowal of prosperity
			a.  v.12 - Surrounded with God's favor as with a shield
				- God favors the righteous
			b.  Material, emotional, physical, and spiritual prosperity
			c.  Prosperity as God defines it, not as the world defines it
		4.  The greatest blessing is God himself
			a.  Fellowship with God is life, peace, and well being
			b.  Jesus is the bread of life - John 6
			c.  Eternal life is knowing God - John 17
			d.  Everything else of this earth will be destroyed
	C.  ILL:  Little Billy's Dad gad been gone for nearly six months due to job
		1.  Dad would be home on his birthday, bringing a gift
			-  Dad arrived, Billy ran up threw his arms around his Dad
		2.  Dad said, "Don't you want to see what I brought you."
			a.  Billy said, "Not yet, I just want you."
			b.  Billy's best gift that birthday was his Dad
		3.  What if your parent said, "My gift to you is me?"
			a.  Some of us might have thrown a fit
			b.  But really that is the greatest gift of all
	D.  It is not about things, but about the one who gives the things
		1.  God's blessing comes to his children who live righteous
		2.  The blessing is that we are his children
		3.  Everything else comes from that 
1.  So, when things go badly for you, if you are mistreated, don't go emo
2.  Pray to the God who is loyal to you and take refuge in him.  
3.  How do you take refuge?  Pray, be loyal to him, live godly in spite of trouble, don't be intimidated


Small Group Questions:  Character Confidence

Summary:  We can pray to God with confidence that he will hear and act on our behalf because 
of his righteous character and covenant loyalty.  We should therefore take refuge in the God 
through prayer, maintaining godliness, and staying loyal to the God who acts rather than try to 
get even or take revenge.

-  What schoolyard bully did you dislike immensely?
- What gave you the most comfort growing up?  Parents? Grandparents? Siblings? Stuffed Toys?  
A Teacher?  Other?_______

Explore: (Psalm 5)

1.  What is bothering the Psalmist?  How does he react?  What are some ways he could have 

2.  What does the Psalmist pray to God for?  What might this say about the Psalmist?

3.  What in this Psalm demonstrates the Psalmist's confidence?  What are the bases of the 
Psalmist's confidence?

4.  What characteristics of God come through in this Psalm?  Can you think of any Biblical examples 
that demonstrate any of these characteristics?

5.  What are some other characteristics of God that are not included in this Psalm?


6.  How do you typically react to trouble and difficulty with other people?

7.  What are some reasons your reactions are not more bathed in prayer?

8.  In what ways do your prayer habits and your understanding of God's character reflect each other?  
Do your prayer habits reveal your understanding of God, or does your understanding of God reveal 
your prayer habits?

9.  What is God calling you to do tonight?

Prayer:  Psalm 4:3