Search Me God

Psalm 139 is a important scripture about enduring hard times.

Scott Rodgers
Oct 28, 2018    36m
In this sermon Pastor Rodgers teaches us how to cope with dark, angry feelings. He uses Psalm 139 as an example of a scripture about enduring hard times. He explains that God knows every thought before we even think it. So if we ask God to search our heart, and then ask him to give us insight on why we are so upset, we might be able to overcome these feelings and find joy again. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Scott Rodgers: 00:25 Cornerstone, how's everybody doing today? Come on, man. You guys doing well? Good to see you all. My name is Scott, and I'm thrilled to be here with you today. Let's kind of keep it going, because let's give a shout out and let the campuses know how much we love them and appreciate them. San Tan, We love you guys. Cornerstone San Tan. Come on, give it up for Cornerstone San Tan. Cornerstone in Scottsdale, come on, let's give a shout out for everyone out there in Scottsdale today. And even everyone who's joining us online, come on, let's give it up for those folks maybe throughout the week, kind of dial it into this experience.

Scott Rodgers: 00:57 I want to give a couple of shout outs as well as some of the folks at the other locations from all of us in Chandler, to all of you out there in here. Here's one, Candid Gingrass in the San Tan campus. Candid, the word on the street is that you've been serving for years in the cafe, and we all know that people love the cafe out there. We want you from Chandler, all of us are going to let you know how much we love you, we think you're awesome. Let's give it up for Candid Gingrass, serving out in San Tan, keep it up. And then in Scottsdale, Yvonne Hendrix. Here's the word on the street about you, Yvonne, is that you are all things guest services, so without you, people might not even feel loved in Scottsdale. That's a little exaggeration, but there's no exaggeration to the impact that you have, and thank you so much for what you're doing. Let's give it up for Yvonne, you're awesome, we love you from Chandler.

Scott Rodgers: 01:53 As well as everyone of you who served here in Chandler at the harvest festival this last Friday night. Man, thank you so much for what you did. It was a great time. San Tan, Scottsdale, you guys were having your harvest festival this week on Wednesday, so man, it's going to be awesome. Was there anybody here at the Chandler Harvest Festival on Friday? Raise your hand if you actually came on out, and did you enjoy it? Was it good? Did you have a good time? Good, good man. Doesn't happen without everyone who served to make it all happen, so we're just grateful for every single one of you. You know, not only is the harvest festival a great thing for our communities right here in Chandler, and then Scottsdale, San Tan, and just the East Valley. I think it's kind of the unofficial launch of the next season of the year. Because y'all know what season were upon, righ? Well, let me let you in on that. It's pumpkin spice lattes season, right? Come on. Absolutely. Anybody here raise your hand, every location, if you're a coffee lover, come on, raise your hand. I want to see who's here. Okay. A good portion of us. Now here's a little debate I'm going to let you on for my wife, Shelly and I. It's an ongoing debate about what constitutes a real cup of coffee. I am of the opinion, and I believe the spiritual, biblical, godly conviction, that a cup of coffee actually looks like this. It's on the screen. This right here, is a real cup of coffee. That's just my opinion. Now, my wife Shelly, has a different opinion on this. This on the screen is what Shelly considers a true cup of coffee. She loves this, whatever, the frozen Caramel Frappe at Mcdonald's, just loves this thing. So we have a little debate about this thing, because you know I'm saying no, this is what a real cup of coffee it looks like. She's like, no, this is real cup of coffee. And I just try to encourage her, I'm like, Hon, you've got to stop fooling yourself because you're drinking dessert for breakfast. But she disagrees. So I want your help today to either prove my point, or disprove my point, San Tan and Scottsdale participate in this. I'm going to. Take a little survey, by show of hands, all right? Shelly versus Scott and what is a real cup of coffee? How many would say, I'm sorry bro, Shelly's got it right. The frappe, that's a real cup of coffee right there. Put your hand up. That's what coffee is meant to be, right? I'm willing to pay five, six, seven, twelve, fifteen dollars for this cup of coffee. It's right. Okay. All right. I'm feeling a little encouraged here by the lack of hands that just went up. Oh man, I wish my wife were here right now. How many of you would say, uh ah, Scott, that on the right hand side, that's so real cup of coffee. That's what I'm talking about. You know, it was an overwhelming show of hands, but an underwhelming audio response. There was like a ooh, kind of a thing. You know, why am I talking about coffee when we're going to dig into scripture?

Scott Rodgers: 05:11 We'll speak in the scripture. If you have a Bible on you, go to Psalm 139, Psalm 139 in the Old Testament. If you don't have a Bible on you, the scriptures will be on the screen, but I'm, I encourage you to engage in God's word if you have a copy with you. Why are we talking about coffee in this way before we get into the Bible? Well, one is we love to have fun at Cornerstone, just love to have fun. The other reason is often when I have the opportunity to share with you guys in this way, in a way I try to serve you up a nice pumpkin spice latte with a couple extra pumps of sugar, maybe an extra dose of whipped cream on the top, with some drizzle across the whip cream, maybe even some sprinkle. Some of you guys are going man, I'm getting like the jitters right now, give me the eight bucks, let's go. Right? That's what I typically like to to serve you up. Something that's good and sweet. Good for everybody. Well, today I just want to, I'm going to go in a little bit different flavor. I want us to pull up a chair, and I'm going to pour you a black cup of coffee. I'm going to add a little cream, maybe a little cinnamon on top. But I just want to have a real honest conversation where we get quickly to the point, so that hopefully God can do some business in our hearts before we walk out of here, about 25 minutes from now. Anybody interested in this black cup of coffee conversation? Let's get right after it. Okay. Alright. 50 of us that. Okay, we're good, let's do this thing. The rest of you will just have to watch the rest of us enjoy this cup of real coffee.

Scott Rodgers: 07:00 Alright, so Psalm 139. Let me just set it up in this way, because, well I'll say it like this. I have got to know a number of folks here at Cornerstone, in doing what I do. I just love hearing people's stories, and just chit chatting here and there, and having some real life conversations. And often in my conversations with some of you, there's a really encouraging moment that I hear, and I'm going to share it with you. And I don't want you to think it's like egotistical or something of that nature, it really isn't, I'm just trying to make a point. Whenever I'm talking in conversation, I should say often in some conversations, some of you will say to me, Scott, you're just so encouraging. And then other times I hear folks you'll say, dude, like you're so joyful. And I got to tell you this, this really with all sincerity, whenever I hear that like, man, you're encouraging, your joyful. On the inside, I'm filled with gratitude when I hear that, and I'm not looking for that after the service. All right? But it's just like my heart swells with gratitude, because I can tell you I haven't always been that way, or this way. Because there was a season in my life, that I've actually talked about a number of times in different ways, for different purposes, here at Cornerstone over over recent years. That there was that season in my life that was as discouraged as I've ever been, and joy was non-existent in my heart, and in my life. I mean as a follower of Jesus, as best I can, a committed follower of Christ, I had no joy in. I've talked about that, I've even wrote a book about it, which eight have you bought. Thank you, Shelly is thankful for the eight of you. If you're interested, you can find it on Amazon. This was also Shelly telling me what to say right now, you can find on Amazon. It's called Now what? Following Jesus through lives difficult times. And in that book I just unpack this journey that I went through, of five long years of being incredibly discouraged, and having no joy, and I learned so much about God in that season. And I learned a whole lot more about myself as he brought me through that.

Scott Rodgers: 09:35 What didn't make it into the book, is some of what I'm going to talk about today, and it's Psalm 139. Because God used Psalm 139 to do part of that transformative, deeper work in my life, and what I want to do in this conversation is I just want to share with you some of that process. Because here's my goal, that we will walk out of here in a few minutes, and you will be encouraged to act on what I'm talking about. That you incorporate into your life, this conversation. You'll bring it into your prayer time. If you're a person of faith, and even if you're not a person of faith, you can bring this into your life, and see God begin to respond to you, as you get to know him more closely. So anybody interested in this conversation? Alright, remember, black cup of coffee, a little bit of cream.

Scott Rodgers: 10:27 All right, let's go to Psalm 139:1. And here's what it says. Once my tablet gets up here, here we go, verse one, "You have searched me Lord, and you know me." Now, right out of the gate, that's either encouraging or scary. God's searching, what's that mean? Okay, let's keep going, "You search me Lord, and you know me. (Verse two.) You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down. You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you Lord, Know it completely." Man, think about this for a moment. That God, our creator, knows everything about you, he knows everything about me. In fact, here's an idea that I just want to throw out, that we can grab on, it's going to be kind of an anchor in this conversation. It's this, and we could each say this, that God knows my heart, better than I know my heart. That God knows you and me so deeply, and so intimately, that he knows more about us than we even know of ourselves. He knows the intentions of our heart. He knows why we feel the way we do, and why we think, what will you think. And he knows what we're thinking about doing. And like we just read, even before we say something, God knows that we're going to say it.

Scott Rodgers: 12:02 Let me show you what it says in scripture in this regard. In First Samuel chapter sixteen, verse seven, it's on the screen. Check it out. It says, "The Lord doesn't see things the way you see them. People judge by what? (What's it say?) People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." The New Testament continues this same thing by saying in Hebrews chapter four, verse thirteen, "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God." Now, if we were to go back to the Greek language in unpack the meaning of that word, nothing, guess what it means? Nothing. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Then it goes on. "Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable." Hmm? Here's where this comes into play, in one of the many ways, realizing that God knows our heart better than we know our hearts. Scripture, the Bible, gives us a great understanding into the human condition, because of this. But I would say that we often approach God's word backwards. Here's what I mean. Let me explain. If I pull out my phone right now, and I take a picture of everyone here in the Chandler campus, like this. Smile, wave, do something noticeable. There we go. How about you guys over here? Smile. come on. Alright, here you go. You guys are looking like Cardinals fans right now, come on, smile. There you go. Good. If I were to take these pictures, and post them on Instagram and it popped up in your feed and you were to zoom into the photo. Who is the first person you're going to look for? Say it a little bit louder, come on. Yeah, we look for ourselves, don't we? Don't we always do that? And why do we do that? Because so many of us were like, I hate looking at photos of myself, anybody like that? I'm like, oh no, do I really look that way? But we look, and we zoom in, and we're like, was I smiling, were my eyes, was one eye closed one and one eye half open? Is it a good hair day, is it a bad hair day? What do I look like? And it's in that same way that we approach the Bible. We're like, okay, what does this say about me? I want to see myself in it. God what do you have to say about me? Me and me, me, me, me, me, me, me.

Scott Rodgers: 14:43 Now, that's not bad, but I want to suggest this, that the Bible is first and foremost the story of God. Who he is, what he's done, what he's doing, and what he's going to do. It's the story of God. And then after that, is how you’re in my story, fits into his story. In fact, the more that we know God, the better we understand our self. The more that we understand his nature, and his character, and his attributes, and who he is, the better we understand our own nature. Because he reveals it to us in his word. The better we understand our propensities, our brokenness, our humanity, our weaknesses, our potential, even our purpose in life. The more that we know him, the better we understand who we are. He knows our heart better than we know our heart. In fact, let me try to fake this for a moment, and sound like a really smart person. Our theology, informs our anthropology. It's our study of God, that educates our understanding of humankind. The more we know him, the better we understand ourselves.

Scott Rodgers: 16:12 And here's where the Psalms, specifically Psalm 139, gets really interesting. But really the whole book of Psalms, has anybody ever read through the Book of Psalms, some of the Psalms? Okay, eight of us at Chandler. Anybody else read the Bible out there? Scottsdale, San Tan? Give it a shot sometime, give it a try. It's good stuff in there. Well, here's what's interesting about the Psalms, because they're in the Bible, we as followers of Jesus consider it to be the words of God to mankind. But at the same time the Psalms are the songs of praise in the prayers of people, back to God. So they're God's words to us, and they are people's words to God. It's a really interesting blend, and what we see in the Psalms when it comes to prayers, is that they're prayers with hearts wide open, just wide open. And in Psalm 139, the writer David is praying with not holding himself back in any way. Hearts wide open. In fact, they call Psalm 139 a Psalm of lament. Because when writing this, David is evidently in a season of anguish, a season of pain. He's full of anger and frustration, and what David is doing in this Psalm, that many of us might be familiar with the statement. Is he's encouraging himself in the Lord. He's like in a really bad place. And he's basically going, all right, man, if I'm going to make it through this season, if I'm going to get through this, and I'm going to survive, I need to first and foremost remind myself who god is. I need to remind myself that he is with me, that he's not going to leave me, he's not going to abandon me in this moment, but God is with me. And he goes on. Not only does he say, God, you know the words that I'm going to speak before I even speak. You search me. You know me. He says, "God, there's nowhere I can go outside of your presence." He says things, and read it sometime, maybe read it later today. He says, "God, I can go to the highest of heavens, and you were there. I can go to the depths of the earth, and still you were there with me." Basically, he says, I can mountaineer to the top of Mount Everest, I could hike to the base of the Grand Canyon, the spirit of God is still there to lead me and guide me. And then he goes on, he says, and you know what? God, you have made me in a wonderful way, I am fearfully and wonderfully made, God. And he's basically going, man, if I'm going to stay strong and basically anchor myself through this time, I need to remember who you are in my life. He's encouraging himself in the Lord. Anybody ever had to do that before? Just encourage yourself, and remind yourself of who God is? That's what's going on here.

Scott Rodgers: 19:14 So let's keep digging in and see what it does. Go down to verse 17, verse 17 reads like this. David writes, "How precious to me are your thoughts, God? How vast is the sum of them? Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I wake, I'm still with you. Pretty awesome stuff. But then it's like out of left field, he pivots and goes in an entirely different direction. And what I want to show to you is there's a process that seems to be taking place here. Let me reread verse 18 to show you how quick the corner turned. How we turned the corner on verse 19. Verse 18, he writes, "Were I to count them (Regarding God's thoughts for him.) were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I wake, I'm still with you, God." Awesome. And then verse 19, he goes, "If only you God would slay the wicked." I mean that's like (tires braking sound). Anybody ever prayed that before. Only if you God would slay the wicked. Come on man. How many guys are praying that Friday night in Chandler, trying to find a parking spot at the harvest festival. Black cup of coffee, he says, "If only you God would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are blood bloodthirsty!" Verse 20, he continues, "They speak of you. (Speaking of God.) They speak of you with evil intent, your adversaries misuse your name. Do I not hate those who hate you lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?" Now it sounds like he's gone off into like being like one of those churches that gets on
the news for picketing everything, and hating everything in the world. I mean, is that where he's going?

Scott Rodgers: 20:59 Verse Twenty Two, he says, "I have nothing but hatred for them. I count them my enemies." I can't speak for you, but I'll tell you this, that doesn't really sit well with me. I mean, come on, think about this. Where does that line up with, David even had it in the Old Testament, where does this hatred for so many people line up with love your neighbor as yourself? You eve thinking about that? Where does that kind of attitude align with the teachings of Jesus? When Jesus says, do unto others as you'd have them do unto you? Or when he says, Hey, love your enemies, turn the other cheek. How does this all fit together? Here's how it fits. The smart people, they tell us that this portion of Psalm 139 is what's called an imprecatory prayer. Big Word isn't it? Here's what's happening. David, in his anguish, in his pain, in his anger, and in his frustration, is basically venting it all to God, so that he doesn't act on it towards others. That's what's going on here. Anybody ever done that? You ever had one of those times of prayer, where you're just letting it all out. I'm like, well...If you've ever prayed in that way, like you're just no holds barred, full exposure, total gut honest with God about how you feel, and what you think about so and so, or this and that. I mean, if you've ever had it, how many of you would say, it was actually a really good prayer time? I'm telling you right now, man, and this might sound weird, those were some of the best times for me. I mean, especially in that particular season, I mentioned in the beginning, there were moments in that time where I would literally, because I didn't want to adversely affect my family with how I was feeling in the moment. I would go out of the house, get in the car and drive around the community. While I'm banging on the steering wheel, yelling at God, telling him what I thought about so and so, and this and that. And even telling God how mad I was at him, for what I thought, to be allowing my circumstance to happen. And I would say things in those prayers that I actually wouldn't say on stage. Even at Cornerstone. But man, it wasn't just therapeutic, it was spiritually refreshing. Maybe you're thinking, oh, okay, whoa, Whoa, whoa, hold on Scott, are you telling me to be irreverent toward God? Absolutely not. But I am encouraging you to be honest with him. David, he says, God, you already know how I feel, you already know what I want to do. You know it all God, and I know that you're big enough to handle it, because you already know it all. So I'm just going to voice it to you in hopes that I can get it out of my system so that I don't go act on it.

Scott Rodgers: 24:34 Here's what's going on. Here's what's interesting. It's like he has a super cool big pair of binoculars, and this is huge, and awesome. San Tan campus, I can see you guys, you're looking good today. Here's what's going on. David, in all of his angst, is choosing to encourage himself in the Lord by magnifying God's greatness in his life. He's reminding himself of who he knows God to be, and he's basically gazing upon him and just glorifying him. And God you're amazing, you're never going to leave me. You know the words that are going to come out of my mouth, I can't go anywhere to escape your presence, God. I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. Your thoughts to me are incredible. God, you're awesome. And then he changes his focus, and he goes down. Heathens, kill them all God. Have you ever done that? Like we're in church. We're like, glory to God, you are incredible, God, your grace for me is wonderful, your thoughts from your amazing, your plans for me are to prosper me, and give me a future. God, you are my hope. God, my spouse is a jerk, take him out Lord, take him to be with you today. Ever do that? God, you're omniscience, your omnipotence, you're all knowing, you're all powerful. God, nothing is impossible with you, God. God, you're the best ever. Seahawks fan, take them out today, Lord. Take them down. That's what's going on here.

Scott Rodgers: 26:39 And here's the thing. It says if, I'm speculating bit, but I think you'd see it as you read through it. It's like God's saying, come on, bring it on, get it out of your system, I'm big enough to handle it, we've got this. So he magnifies God's greatness, he amplifies people's weakness. And God's like, all right, get it out of your system. Remind yourself of who I am. God, your awesome. Heathen's kill them. And then God continues the process by doing this. Alright, you good? You got it out? Good, it's therapeutic, it's helpful, it's refreshing. Now, here's where I want to go (screams). God's like now let's talk about what's in your heart. Serious, let me show you. Go down to verse 23, verse 23. David finally gets to the point in this process where he says, "Search me God and know (What?) Know my heart." We already read, David knows, God knows his heart. It's just like God was waiting for him to invite him into this piece. He says, "Search me God, and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts." See if there's any what? "See if there's any offensive way" And everybody body else. Now he doesn't, does he? "See if there is any offensive way in me, and then lead me in the way everlasting."

Scott Rodgers: 28:31 God, you, God why, oh God. Embracing that process in your and my life, changes our life. It really does. I've experienced it firsthand. And here's something that's key. Here's maybe the action step to this conversation. It starts with a statement. God doesn't need permission to search our heart, but if we ask, he shows us what he sees. He will show you what's in your heart that maybe you're unaware of. And here's the cool thing, when God shows us what's in our heart, it's not because he wants to condemn us, he wants to show us what's been getting in the way. What's been getting in the way of my growth? What's been getting in the way of my moving past how I feel in this whole thing that's put me in a funk? In fact, I would say this, ad to your prayers, these questions. Because we know God will reveal to us what's in our heart, if we ask him. And maybe you say, God, what is it about my condition, that makes me feel this way? Think about it for a moment. God, what is it about me? What do you see in me that makes me feel the way, or think the way I do right now in this moment? Why, when someone cuts me off when driving to work? Well, yeah, maybe they are a jerk, I don't know. But why is so angering, why do I wave at them with only one finger? What is it about my condition, that makes me feel like that's the way to love on them? I mean seriously, God will you show me why does that provoke me so much? God, what is it about my condition, that makes me feel like I need to be the one who has the way go for me? Like it always has to go my way.

Scott Rodgers: 30:50 Then maybe God will start to speak to your heart, and say, it's because you want to be a little bit above me, and you want to be in control of everything. God, why do my kids so often not measure up? Like we don't say that, but maybe we feel like, just why don't they measure up? What's in my heart. Why? What about my condition makes me feel that way when I think about my children? Maybe God will speak to you, to your heart and say, well, maybe because you feel like you don't measure up. But I want you to know that you measure up for me, you're my child, you have my favor on your life. God, what is it about? Maybe ask it in this way. God, why am I so vulnerable to the way things are? How many of you have hot buttons? Anybody? Bart, do you have a hot button? Mary, how many hot buttons does he have? Can you put them on two hands? Come on, let's go for honesty here for a moment. Hot buttons. Okay, good, good, good. Why does that tick me off that way? Do you think God's big enough to help us grow to a place where those hot buttons go away? Anybody think that that's possible? Why does that bother me so god? Why am I so vulnerable to that? Why am I still holding onto that anger, and that bitterness, and unforgiveness. Regardless of someone's actions, right or wrong, why does it still bother me in this way? God, why am I so vulnerable to this?

Scott Rodgers: 32:35 And we simply begin to pray, God, search my heart, show me what you see. Have you ever struggled in any way of hearing the voice of God? Anybody? Like that's a concept that's sometimes difficult, isn't it? And I think God speaks to us in many ways, primarily through scripture. But the spirit of God is still speaking to those of us who want to follow him, and surrender our lives to him, and he'd nudges us along in particular directions. Or speaks to our heart and inaudible ways, and just myriad ways. If you ever struggle with hearing the voice of God in your life, start to pray this prayer. God, search my heart, and show me what you see. What's getting in the way of where you want me to ultimately be, and let's get to work on that stuff. What's making me so vulnerable? Wouldn't it be awesome if we took our frustration and vented it to God, the one who can help us solve our own struggles? Instead of posting it on Facebook all the time.

Scott Rodgers: 33:45 Simple action step, that'll change your life. I'm telling you, man, this process changed everything about me. This process, this isn't preacher exaggeration. Okay? Transformed me into someone who's encouraging, and someone who has joy. I'm telling you, man, legitimate joy. Everyday isn't awesome, you guys know what I'm saying. It was this process right here. God, I'm struggling, it sucks right now, but I'm going to remind myself who you are. I'm going to encourage myself in the Lord. That's going to be part of my daily walk, and then I'm going to vent to you all my angst and frustration, even my pain, and my let downs, and my disappointments toward others in prayer, so that I don't walk around like a toxic people hater. And then I'm going to say God, but I know where real change happens. Because I can't change them, search me, God, what is it about my condition that makes me so vulnerable to this, and let's grow through it. Black cup of coffee is that okay?

Scott Rodgers: 35:03 Let's pray. Let me pray for you. Scottsdale, San Tan, we're going to pray together. Father God. Hmm? What I believe is that you're speaking to many of us in a very unique, and personal way right now? God, I pray that you continue to just show us what you see in our hearts, because many of us sitting here in this conversation, they're already praying from our hearts and God search my heart. Okay? I'm cool with that. You already see it, you already know it. So God, I'm just going to invite you to show me what you see. Show me, Lord. And God, I thank you that whatever you're showing any of us in this moment, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. But God, you're just showing us what might be hindering who you want us to be, what you want us to do. So God do a work in our hearts, in these areas. God, search our hearts, show us what you see. Show us something about our condition that that makes us vulnerable to this stuff, and help us to grow through it, so that we can have the fruit of the spirit of God in our life, and then be an encourager to those around us. And we thank you for that. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
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