Monday, March 29, 2021

“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?” Psalm 22 [Matt's Messages]

“My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 28, 2021 :: Psalm 22

For the last several months we have been studying together the fortifying truth of the Psalms. And for the last several weeks we have
been specifically focusing on the Psalms of the Passion [Psalm 69, Psalm 55].

The Psalms of the Passion were songs written over a thousand years before Jesus was even born and, yet upon mature Christian reflection, are obviously songs that were singing about our Lord Jesus and what He endured for us on that first Passion Week.

Psalm 22 is the greatest of the Psalms of the Passion.

You and I, as Christians, cannot read Psalm 22 without seeing and hearing Jesus. If you’re a Christian, it’s just about impossible to miss Jesus in Psalm 22.

Because Jesus Himself quoted this very psalm when He was hanging on the Cross!

Jesus clearly lived out this Psalm like nobody ever before Him or ever since.

At the same time, God’s people had sung this song for a thousand years before Jesus was ever born.

And it was written in such a way that believers could model our prayers off of it when we are going through difficult times, as well.

Our suffering doesn’t compare with Jesus’ of course, and yet our sufferings are real, and God’s Word teaches us how to pray when we feel. real. pain.

Psalm 22 is a lament that shows us how to pray when we feel awful like King David did.

And Psalm 22 is a prophetic song that shows us more clearly what King Jesus felt when He suffered and died for us.

And, at the very end, Psalm 22 gives us glimpse of the glory that is coming because of God’s deliverance, a foretaste of what we’re going to focus on next Sunday when we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord.

Psalm 22, verse 1.

“For the director of music. To the tune of ‘The Doe of the Morning.’ A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.”

I don’t know what the tune of “The Doe of the Morning” sounded like. “The Deer at Dawn.” My guess is that it started, at least, in a minor key because these are sad lyrics. 

They are raw, aren’t they?

King David must have been feeling extreme anguish to write a song like this.

He felt horrible. He felt terrible. He felt miserable.

He felt abandoned.

He felt forsaken.

And it was disorienting. Bewildering. Mystifying. 

“My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me? WHY are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent.” 

That word “groaning” in verse 1 shows up again in verse 13 to describe the roaring of a lion.

King David is “roaring” out to God. He’s crying out in a primal scream. Day and night.

But it seems like God is not answering!

Like God has blocked his number. He’s getting a busy signal. His calls are all going right to voicemail and the voicemail box is full or has not been set up. So try again later. And nobody will answer then either.

That’s how it feels.

David feels rejected.
David feels abandoned.
David feels forsaken.

And, of course, whatever David felt, Jesus felt even more.

King Jesus is Great David’s Greatest Son.

What David merely tasted, Jesus swallowed whole.

So if King David felt forsaken, how much more did King Jesus?!

That’s why these words were on the lips of our Savior when He was hanging on the Cross. He couldn’t think of a better quotation to make His prayer as He was crucified. 

He prayed these words in Aramaic. Matthew 27:46,“About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’– which means [Psalm 22, verse 1], ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’”

It’s not that Jesus didn’t know the answer. It’s that He felt the question like never before.

Jesus, the Son of God, in His humanity was feeling the abandonment of God as He absorbed the wrath of God because of the love of God for His rebellious people.

We call this, “The Cry of Dereliction” because of just how bad it felt for Jesus to become sin for us. The Bible says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus was being treated–as if He was sin itself–with the full justice of God. 

So, of course, it felt to the Son of God like His God was forsaking Him!

With all of the unimaginable horror that would go with it.

“My God, my God, why?” 

Jesus knew the answer, but He was experiencing the excruciating pain of the question.

Now you and I have never felt this way like Jesus did.

Perhaps we’ve never felt this way like even David did.

But we’ve all felt abandoned before. We’ve all felt forsaken before.

And, I’ll bet that most of us, if not all of us, here have felt at one time or another forsaken by God.

Life hurts. Honk if you’ve had a nice light easy year with no trouble. I thought so. And this might not have been your worst year ever or your worst year yet.

How do you pray when your life feels like this? How do you pray when it feels like God has stopped taking your calls?

Two points this morning of what we can learn about prayer in pain from Psalm 22.


Don’t stop talking to God even when it feels like God is not listening.

That’s what David is doing here, right? He keeps praying.

And don’t miss the key little two-letter word that’s in there 3 times in the first 3 verses. What is it?


He calls God, “My God.” “My God.” “My God.” That’s a relationship word.

He’s taking these terrible feelings–even terrible feelings about his God–TO HIS GOD.

He prays his distress.

One of the things that makes him so distressed is that he knows that God has been faithful to deliver Israel in the past, and it makes him wonder why He’s not doing it for David right now. Verse 3.

“Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: ‘He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.’”

David feels downright inhuman. He’s been trusting the LORD like Israel in the past, but the LORD has not yet delivered him from his sufferings. And it makes him feel less than human.

Like a worm. Like the lowest of the creatures trampled under foot. Fill of dirt.

And treated like dirt by the people around him. 

Scorned. Despised. Mocked. Insulted. 

You can’t help but see Jesus here, can you?

Jesus in the garden.
Jesus in the temple.
Jesus in the courtyard.
Jesus on trial.
Jesus on the Cross.

Scorned. Despised. Mocked. Insulted. 

In fact, the gospel writers tell us that the people who were taunting Jesus when He was on the cross literally said these words, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, 'I am the Son of God.’”

They were wickedly and unwittingly fulfilling Psalm 22, verses 7&8! “Sure doesn’t seem like the LORD delights in him!”

And David experienced something similar but smaller.

And you and I have and will experience something similar but smaller, as well.

What do you when that happens?

Well, one of the things you do is you tell your God all about it.

You pray your distress back to your Lord.

I know that I would rather sing a upbeat praise song or even a comforting ballad.

How about the next Psalm? Psalm 23. Anybody like that one? Honk if you like Psalm 23.

But we don’t just need to pray like Psalm 23. We need to pray like Psalm 22.

Pray your distress.

What made it even harder for David was that God had been near him his whole life long, but now it felt like he was far away. Verse 9.

“Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother's breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God. [There it is again, “my God.”]  Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.”

Trouble is near, but God seems far.

And yet David keeps talking to Him.

And asking Him to intervene.

Verse 11 is a great prayer. It’s a plea for help, and we’ve been learning that an essential feature of godly prayer is asking God to help us when we are in trouble.

And David sure was in trouble. Verse 12.

“Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me. Roaring lions tearing their prey open their mouths wide against me. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd [a broken piece of pottery], and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.”

This is bad.

This is really bad.

David says that he’s being attacked by wild animals.

I don’t think they were literally animals. I think it’s a metaphor. He’s under attack from wild people who hate him and want to take him down.

And it’s feeling right now like they are going to win, and he’s going to die.

He just about can’t go on.

His attackers are like strong bulls from the Texas of Israel, the region of Bashan where they grew their cattle big and strong. You don’t want to get trampled by one of these big old bulls from Bashan.

They aren’t just bulls. They are lions that tear open their prey, and David is their prey.

He’s their victim. And it’s got him weak and defeated and deflated and exhausted. He’s dehydrated and racked with thirst.

And Who does that remind you of?

Remember, this was written over a thousand years before Jesus was born.

But it sure sounds a lot like His crucifixion to me.

David’s enemies are not just like bulls and lions. They are also like dogs. V.16

“Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet.”

For David, this might have been figurative about dog bites.

But for Jesus, sadly, it was very literal. 

“...they have pierced my hands and my feet.”

Verse 17. “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

The Gospel of John tells us that this was fulfilled literally in Jesus, as well.

Think about that! One of the Roman soldiers went home on Friday from work with Jesus’ clothing.

He’s emaciated. He’s shamed. He’s suffering.

And He’s praying. 

Verse 19. “But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me. Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.”

When you are in distress, pray your distress, and ask God to deliver you from your distress.

David did.

I don’t know about you, but I have learned a lot in the last twelve months about lament. About praying painful prayers to God.

God wants us to bring our whole souls to Him even when we are hurting.

Especially when we are hurting.

And we could be hurting from a whole boatload of different things.

I’m sure there is a lot of pain right here in this parking lot today.

Take it to the Lord.

Take the whole blistering mess to the Lord.

Because the God of Psalm 23 is the same God of Psalm 22.

So you can take everything to Him and tell Him everything you feel including that you feel like He is not listening.

Because you know, down deep, that He is.

David kept praying even though he felt like this.

And so did Jesus.

David prayed for deliverance, and surprisingly, he still expected it to come.

Some translations round off verse 21 by saying, “You have saved me!” or “You have answered me!” like the answer came while David was actually still writing the song.

And that’s possible. My guess is that he’s actually just anticipating it. David expects to be rescued once again even though he feels like this, and so he plans to praise God and to proclaim his deliverance.

And that’s point two of two this morning. Pray your distress and:


In verse 22, the psalm changes dramatically.

I’m wondering if there is even a key change in the “Doe of the Morning” tune right here.

Any way about it, it gets ratcheted up into a glorious praise song. Verse 22.

“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. [He’s no longer alone. Or at least, he expects to not be alone.] You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.”

David knows that God is listening.

It may not feel like it, but he knows.

And he expects to be delivered from his great distress.

V.24.  God “has not hidden his face from [David] but has listened to his cry for help.”

And so he plans to praise God, and he wants others to praise God, too. Like we’ve seen over and over again this year, this praise is contagious.

It goes from David to Israel and then out to the nations. Verse 25.

“From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows. The poor will eat and be satisfied; they who seek the LORD will praise him–may your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations.”

He’s not just the Lord of Israel.

He’s the Lord of the whole wide world!

This is a missionary psalm, isn’t it?

This is a psalm that starts in Israel and emanates out to the ends of the earth.

Even to Central Pennsylvania. V.29.

“All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him–those who cannot keep themselves alive. [Which is all of us. And not just then but now and forever.] Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn–for he has done it.”

You know who he’s talking about?

Well, among others, he’s talking about us.

This was written about 3,000 years ago by King David.

And it predicts us.

That people in a parking lot in central Pennsylvania who were not yet born (really not yet born! 3,000 years not born!) will hear about the righteousness of God and the deliverance of God.

How God saved David.
And how God saves us.

We don’t do it.
We can’t save ourselves.

But what does verse 31 say? “He has done it.”

To me, that sounds a lot like what Jesus said on the Cross when He cried, “It is finished.”

Proclaim your deliverance. 

Assuming you’ve been delivered. Verse 27 says that we have to repent. We have to turn to the Lord and put our faith in Him, bowing before Him.

To be saved, we must turn from our sins and trust in the Savior.

Jesus died on the Cross to pay for sins. He absorbed the wrath of God.

Jesus felt this forsaken so that we will never be forsaken.

“He has done it.”

Trust in Him, and proclaim His deliverance.

Now, of course, that doesn’t mean that every time you pray, you will be delivered in the way that you are hoping or on the timetable that you are proposing.

David, apparently, lived to fight another day.

You and I may not.

Jesus did not.

On the day that Jesus prayed Psalm 22, He was crucified and died.

He came back to life to give us life.

Jesus was delivered, too.

And He also proclaims His own deliverance!

Did verse 22 sound familiar to you?

“I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you.”

Well, that gets quoted in the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter 2.

And guess who it says is singing that song?

If you guessed, “Jesus,” you guessed right!

Hebrews 2:11-12. Jesus is not ashamed to call [us family] “He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises.’”

Even Jesus proclaimed His deliverance.

Deliverance from death.

I can’t hardly wait for us all to come back next Sunday and sing about it and proclaim our deliverance and praise our deliverer!


Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021 / Spring 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69
26. "Cast Your Cares on the LORD" - Psalm 55

Sunday, March 21, 2021

“Cast Your Cares on the LORD” Psalm 55 [Matt's Messages]

“Cast Your Cares on the LORD”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 21, 2021 :: Psalm 55

Last weekend, we began a short series of sermons within our series of sermons on the psalms.

We began to focus on what we’re calling the “Psalms of the Passion,” that is psalms that were written a thousand years before Jesus was even born but upon mature Christian reflection obviously were singing about the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ.

These songs had meaning for King David and the other faithful believers who sang them when they were first written, but they also foreshadowed and prefigured great King David’s greatest Son, King Jesus and what He went through in His passion.

Last time, we looked at Psalm 69 which is probably the most quoted psalm in the New Testament. Today, I want us to turn to Psalm 55 which is only quoted directly, as far as I can tell, one time in the New Testament and that’s in 1 Peter chapter 5, not the gospels.

But Christians for centuries have heard the voice of Jesus as they have read Psalm 55, especially as they contemplate how Jesus must have felt when He was betrayed.

Because Psalm 55 is a song about betrayal.

King David was under attack. He was threatened on every side. And it was scary!

But the worst part of his experience recounted in this song was that it wasn’t a faceless enemy that was behind the attacks on David and his city. 

His enemy had once been his friend.

Have you ever been betrayed? We’ve all tasted betrayal on some level. 

King David experienced it on an excruciating level.

King Jesus experienced it on a crucifying level.

What do you do when betrayal happens to you?

Well, here’s the title of our message for today. It actually comes from the end of Psalm 55. It’s in verse 22. It’s the bottom line. It’s the bedrock at the end of the day of what we should do when something like this happens to us:

“Cast Your Cares on the LORD.” 

Cast Your Cares on Yahweh, the Triune God of the Universe.

Now, that sounds nice. It’s obviously right. Christians all know this, don’t we?

But might sound trite or too easy. Or too nice. Or too pretty.

It might sound like a little meme with a pretty background with a flower or a tree picture with it that you post on social media.

“Cast your cares on the LORD.”

But we’ll see as we read Psalm 55 that that word “cares” is describing an awful reality. Real burdens. Real pain. Real heartache and anguish.

From which David never actually escapes in this psalm! When the song is over and the record stops playing, it still hurts.

Which makes the call to cast your cares more meaningful, not less. And the promise that goes with it, too.

Let me show you what I mean. Let’s get into Psalm 55 together and see and feel for ourselves these “cares” that David was experiencing. 

Psalm 55, verse 1.

“For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A maskil [a teaching psalm] of David. 

Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.” 

You can hear from the git-go how much David is struggling.

This is a prayer. He goes right to God from the start.

“Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me.”

That’s where to go. But these are the prayers of a man at peace who is experiencing joy and tranquility and blessing.

This is a man besieged.

And think about these words being sung by and prayed by Jesus, too.

“My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught at the voice of the enemy, at the stares of the wicked; for they bring down suffering upon me and revile me in their anger.” 

He’s surrounded. He’s under attack. He hears his enemies’ voices. He feels their stares. He feels their anger. There is violence coming at him.

And how does he feel? 

Look at verse 4.

“My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death assail me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.”

This is terrible!

Have you felt like this?

What did you do when you felt like this?

I have only two major points of application to make from Psalm 55 for us to learn today. And here’s the first one:


When you feel these kinds of feelings, when you experience this kind of distress, when you are afraid with these kinds of fears, make sure you tell God how you feel!

All too often we have the idea that we have to get ourselves all cleaned up to pray. We have to get ourselves all composed and at peace and calmed down to present our prayers before the Lord.

Does David sound calm?!

How He fell down on His face? How He sweat drops of blood? How He asked that the cup be taken from Him?

David wants out.  David wants to check out. He doesn’t even want to be king any more. Not if it means this. He wishes that he could just get away from it all. Verse 6.

“I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest–I would flee far away and stay in the desert; Selah I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.”

That sounds kind of pretty, “wings of a dove,” but he’s basically saying that he wishes he could get out of his contract.

He is done. He’s over it. “I wish I didn’t have to do this any more.”

Have you ever felt like that? How many times have we said "I'm over this" in the last year?

It’s normal to feel that some times.

Great King David felt like that.

Even the Greatest King Jesus felt like that!

The question is what do you do when you feel like that?

Tell Him.

That’s part of what it means to cast your cares on the LORD. It means to cry this stuff out to Him!

It’s not wrong to want out. And it’s not wrong to tell the Lord you feel that way.

“I wish I wasn’t here” is a faithful prayer for a Christian to pray when the attacks are on the way.

And while you’re telling Him how you really feel, you can also ask Him to fix it. That’s what David does in verse 9.

“Confuse the wicked, O Lord, confound their speech [mix-up their signals, block their channels, so they aren’t successful in their wicked plans], for I see violence and strife in the city. Day and night they prowl about on its walls; malice and abuse are within it.  Destructive forces are at work in the city; threats and lies never leave its streets.”

Things are bad. And they aren’t getting any better. The threat is constant. David wants the Lord to scramble the communications of the wicked just like He did at the Tower of Babel so that these gangs of insurrectionists will not be triumphant in destroying Jerusalem. There is no escape in sight.

But here’s the worst part. Verse 12.

“If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.”

“It is you!”

Those are the worst three words in this song.

I think that a lot of the psalms are like Country Music Songs. Country at its best gets at the human experience (often of loss) in short memorable lyrics with images and licks that stick with you.

I think Hank Williams could have done something good with “Wings of a Dove.”

And I think that Johnny Cash could have done something like verses 12 through 14 with the song title, “But it is you.”

Betrayal is a special kind of pain.

Because we have opened ourselves up to our friends and loved ones. We have made ourselves vulnerable.

That’s why divorce is so excruciatingly painful. Because you have opened yourself up and showed all of your vulnerabilities to someone who now hurts you.

David was betrayed by his son Absalom. And he was betrayed by his counselor Ahithophel. This could be about either of them or someone else from his inner circle.

Whoever it was, it was someone really close to him.

A peer, a buddy, a “church friend.” They used to worship in the temple together!

And now this?!

Notice that David directly addresses this traitor in the song. It’s just like a Country Song, isn’t it? “You did this. And it hurts.”

And think about Judas. 

How close had Judas come to Jesus?

Jesus had washed his bare feet.

Now, just like week, we can be surprised or embarrassed by the imprecatory prayers such as verse 15.

But they are simply righteous requests for the Lord to make things right.

They are prayers for God to bring justice. To fix things. To right wrongs.

David is not asking for his own imperfect justice. And he’s not taking vengeance in his own hands. He is asking God for justice. Verse 15.

“Let death take my enemies by surprise; let them go down alive to the grave, for evil finds lodging among them.”

If they are going to be like that? If my old friend has become my new enemy, then let him get swallowed up like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram in the desert.

If they are unrepentant, “evil finds lodging among them,” then, Lord, bring them down!

Tell Him. Ask Him. Call upon the Lord to fix things. Verse 16

“But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them–[Selah] men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.”

Do you see what David is doing?

He is calling out to the Lord for help.

He does this again and again the Psalms. We said that last week. We’ll see again and again.

The Psalms are full of the cries for help. Turning to God with our problems. Telling Him how we feel, what we are going through and what we need.

How often do you do that?

I believe that one of the things the Lord has done in many of our hearts in the last twelve difficult months has been teaching us to really pray about how we feel.

To really tell God how it is in our hearts.

And to really cry out to God to bring change.

How often do we do that?

David says that he does it (v.17), “Evening, morning, and noon.”

That’s probably a way of saying, “All day long.”

But it’s not a bad idea to set a timer on your phone and stop to pray several times a day.

“Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”

Do you hear that note of confidence? He still is distressed, but he’s also trusting. That’s going to be our second and last point of application for Psalm 55.


David has experienced the deliverance of God time and time again, and he expects it again once more. V.18

“He ransoms me unharmed [literally, “shalomed” at peace] from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. God, who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them–men who never change their ways and have no fear of God.”

Again, they are unrepentant. They are unchanging in their opposition to David and to God.

Well, it turns out that God is unchanging, too!

He is enthroned forever. He is “King Forevermore!” His throne will not budge.

“Your throne was established long ago; 
you are from all eternity.
The seas have lifted up, O LORD, 
the seas have lifted up their voice; 
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, 
mightier than the breakers of the sea– 
the LORD on high is mighty.”

Nothing changes that. Nothing!

Not even the betrayal of our closest friends. Verse 20.

“My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant. His speech is smooth as butter, yet war is in his heart; his words are more soothing than oil, yet they are drawn swords.”

How about that for lyrics of a country song?

I’ll bet Dolly Parton could do wonders with “smooth as butter” and “soothing than oil” yet “war is in his heart” and his words are “drawn swords.”

A two-faced back-stabber.

That’s what he was.

That’s what Ahithophel was.
That’s what Judas was.
That’s what the traitor in your life was.

What are you going to do about it?

Yes, you can confront them. David did in this song!

But more than that, you can tell the Lord about them and what they did to you.

And then you can cast your cares upon Him. Verse 22.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

That’s no small thing!
That’s no trite thing!
That’s not a platitude for some plaque somewhere.

That’s taking your real pain and burden and casting your cares off of your back and onto the Lord’s back.

And finding that even if the pain doesn’t subside, the Lord will sustain you.

Because if you belong to Him, you will never fall.

That doesn’t mean you won’t ever die. 

Jesus sang this song to the fullest and He died after being betrayed. 

But He didn't fall.

And He didn’t fail!

And His faith didn’t fail. He trusted God to the end. And God raised Him up from the dead. Resurrection Sunday is just two weeks away!

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

What David is singing in Psalm 55 is that even if your closest friend lets you down...

More than lets you down! If you closest friend turns on you and betrays you, can you know that the LORD will never let you down!

The LORD will never betray you!

He will NEVER let the righteous fall.

He will not just carry your burdens.

He will carry you.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you...”

That’s the promise.

The promise is the God will, in His perfect timing and in His perfect way [God will,  fix everything and bring perfect justice. V.23

“But you, O God, will bring down the wicked into the pit of corruption; bloodthirsty and deceitful men will not live out half their days. But as for me, I trust in you.”

That’s the way to end, isn’t it?

Remember, David is still scared.

He still feels everything from verses 1 through 21!

All of the fear.
All of the anguish.
All of the pain of betrayal.

But he also is confident that God will fix everything.

And so he trusts Him.

Can you say that, too?

“But as for me, I trust in you.”


Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning" - Psalm 30 
25. 'The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck" - Psalm 69

Sunday, March 14, 2021

“The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck” Psalm 69 [Matt's Messages]

“The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck”
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
March 14, 2021 :: Psalm 69

Good thing “I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, and I work for a non-profit organization” (as Walt Kaiser would say). I was wrong about that one.

It has been quite a year for the whole world in dealing with this pandemic. And it’s been quite a year for our little church. It’s been really hard, but God has been really good.

For 52 Sundays now we have provided one of these videos for use in worship at home. We finished the Gospel of Matthew, then we went through the Letter to the Philippians, and then we settled into the Fortifying Truth of the Psalms. 

And, Lord-willing, we’re going stay there in the Psalms for a little bit longer. They are so rich and so sweet and so good for our hearts!

During this season of the church’s year, we tend to focus on the Passion of Jesus, on that crucial last week before His crucifixion. We focus on Jesus’ sufferings and what He went through for us on the Cross.

And there are a number of Psalms, written a thousand years before Jesus was even born, that predicted, prefigured, and foreshadowed Jesus’ passion.

For the next 3 Sundays, I want us to look at “Psalms of the Passion.” Psalms that, upon reflection, obviously are singing about the suffering of our Lord Jesus.

And the first one will be Psalm 69. Psalm 69.

Psalm 69 is probably quoted more than any other Psalm in the New Testament. If the New Testament were hyperlinked with little blue text underlines every time there is a quote, there would probably be more links to Psalm 69 than any other Psalm in the Psalter. You’ll hear the echoes as we read it.

As we read Psalm 69, we can’t help but hear and see the Lord Jesus.

That’s how the apostles felt as they wrote the New Testament. Again and again they said, “This psalm is about Jesus.” 

And it’s also about us. Psalm 69 is a prayer song for us to use as a model when we need help and are under hateful attack.

King David was under attack from his enemies. He was experiencing overwhelming persecution, and he felt like he was going to drown.

Last time, in Psalm 30, we read about a time when David had been pulled up from almost drowning. This time it feels like he’s just about to go down for the count.

He says that “The Waters Have Come Up To My Neck.”

And he calls out to the LORD for help. 

Psalm 69, verse 1.

“For the director of music. To the tune of ‘Lilies.’ Of David. Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.”

I wonder what the tune “Lilies” sounded like? It’s the same tune as Psalm 45, that beautiful wedding song that we studied a month ago. David used it for this song as well, which is more of a lament, a sad song.

David clearly is suffering, isn’t he? The waters are up to his neck, and there is no place to put his foot to keep his head above water. He’s floundering and going to drown. And he’s been yelling for help, and nobody is coming. His throat is parched and his eyes are going blind searching for God’s rescue.

You get the sense of someone lost at sea and about to die a watery death.

But all of that is just metaphorical. He’s not literally drowning in the water. He’s under attack from hateful persecutors. Verse 4.

“Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal.”

Do you get the picture?

David is the victim of injustice, of slander.

He’s got irrational enemies with no good reason to hate him, but yet they do.

And they are seeking to destroy him. Can you feel it?

They have claimed that he’s stolen something. We don’t know what. Perhaps they are saying that he stole the throne from Saul. Or that he’s embezzling funds that were meant for the building of the temple for his own use. Or that he’s stealing from the people with excessive taxes to buy the building materials for the temple.

We don’t know what their slander was. But we know that David was paying for it!

He was suffering for it, even though he was innocent of the charges.

Sound like anybody you know?

Nobody was ever hated like Jesus was hated for no good reason.

There’s no good reason to hate Jesus, but He sure was, and He sure is.

And Jesus suffered for crimes He did not commit. That’s what Passion Week is all about.

Now, David is not claiming to be sinless. God knows! Verse 5.

“You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you.”

But he’s saying, “This thing I’m suffering for today is not my guilt! God knows that I am guilty, but not of this. This suffering is undeserved.”

And, of course, every iota of Jesus’ suffering was undeserved.

King David was worried that the shame that was coming to him though he had not done anything to deserve it was going to rub off on God’s holy people because it was smearing him, their king. Verse 6.

“May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the LORD Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O God of Israel.”

This is another way of asking for rescue.

David is saying that if he dies in unjust disgrace, it will bring unjust disgrace on God’s holy people. He’s thinking of others, not just himself. And He’s thinking about the LORD and how it all reflects on Him. Verse 7.

“For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”

You can’t help but hear Jesus here, can’t you?

David sings that he experiences scorn and shame for the LORD.

He is alienated from his family. And he is insulted.

“...the insults of those who insult you fall on me.”

Why? Because David has zeal, passion, for the house of the LORD!

What does that mean? Well, it means that he wanted to be with the LORD.

He wanted to worship Him and be in His presence. For David that meant worship at the tabernacle, and being the chief cheerleader and instigator for the building of the temple, God’s house.

David never got to build the temple, but he amassed all of the stuff that his son Solomon would need to build it later. David cared deeply about meeting with God in holy worship. Zeal!

And that was, apparently, getting him into deep trouble. V.10

“When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards.”

Do you feel how shamed he was?

Not ashamed. He knew he wasn’t doing wrong. He was doing right.

But they were heaping the shame on him, regardless. In their eyes, he could do no right. Everything he did was wrong.

And I don’t care what anybody says, that kind of mocking is deeply painful. It hurts.

I think that we ought to draw from this that we ought to expect to be hated for loving God.

David’s true crime was a zeal for God’s house, a love of true worship, a love for being with God Himself. What we call around here “a life-changing relationship” with Lord. That was David’s crime.

And he was mocked and scorned and shamed and slandered and attacked for it.

So you and I should not be surprised when we experience the same, as well.

The Lord Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, said to His disciples, “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also...” (John 15:20b). And then He said that his enemies have seen Him do His divine miracles...“yet they have hated both me and my Father. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: 'They hated me without reason.'” (John 15:24-25). That’s Psalm 69, verse 4!

No good reason but that He loved the Lord. And He had zeal for His house. After Jesus cleansed the temple, His disciples realized that He was fulfilling verse 9 (according to John 2, verse 17).

Jesus was hated for no good reason, except His zeal, and He died for it.

And we, as His followers, should expect the same kind of treatment.

Assuming we have the same kind of zeal.

We should aspire to have that kind of zeal for which we might then be persecuted.

Do you have a passion for the Lord?

It sure got David in trouble.
And it got Jesus in trouble.

“The insults of those who insult you fall on me.” The Apostle Paul quoted verse 9 in Romans 15:3 to apply to Christ and what He went through on the Cross for you and me.

Remember when He was insulted? We looked at it closely a year ago.
Remember when He was scorned and made the butt of the jokes?

When they put the crown of thorns on His head?
When they blindfolded Him and spit on Him and hit him and asked, “Prophesy! Who hit you?”
Remember when Jesus was the song of the drunkards?

All of this so far is written as part of David’s big prayer request that he started with in verse 1.

It’s a prayer for salvation, for rescue. David is in deep trouble, overwhelming trouble.

And he’s calling out for help.

I have three summary points for this message that try to capture this song in 3 short prayer requests. 

Here’s the first one:


That’s what David is pleading to the Lord. “Lord, please rescue me. I’m about to drown.” They are mocking me. Verse 13.

“But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes.”

This kind of prayer, “Rescue me,” is a major theme of the psalms. I’m sure you’ve seen it again and again. David and others are in trouble, and they ask the Lord to get them out of the trouble.

And that’s a good prayer for you and me to pray, too, isn’t it?

“Rescue me!”

“Lord, I need your help. If you don’t come through, I’m a goner.”

Sometimes, David has gotten himself into his trouble by his own mistakes, errors, and sins.

But other times, like here, he’s been basically doing what he’s supposed to do as a God-loving, God-fearing, thumbs-up king of Israel.

But it’s getting him into trouble.

I think sometimes we wonder what wrong we’ve done to get into such trouble, when we’re actually doing it right. We just have to expect trouble!

And when trouble comes, we can plead with the Lord to get us out of it.

“Rescue me!”

Are you in trouble right now? Are you taking it to the Lord in prayer?

David knows the heart of God, and that He loves His people and loves to rescue them from trouble. Look again at verse 13.

“But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor [in your perfect timing]; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. [Verse 16] Answer me, O LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.”

That’s God’s heart for His covenant people. He loves to get them out of trouble.

And bring them justice. That’s summary point number two:


One more time, in verse 19, David says just how bad these attacks on him are. And he says that God knows all about it. V.19

“You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you.  Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”

David was left alone and abandoned. No help, no sympathy, no comfort, no friends.

And, I think this is metaphor here for David. When he needed their friendship of food and drink, they gave him poison and vinegar, so to speak.

But it was literally true for the Lord Jesus (see Matthew 27:34, 48 and John 19:28-29).

What the soldiers gave Jesus when He on the cross made His suffering so much worse!

So David prayed prayers of imprecation. Those are prayers of cursing.

David asks God to judge his enemies. Not only to rescue him from his enemies, but to do to them what they are have been trying to do to him. Verse 22.

“May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. [Backfire.] May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents. For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt. Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous.”

So much we could say about those words.

They are holy words.

This is not evil. This is not wrong. These are God-authorized prayers, righteous expressions of righteous anger and a righteous desire for justice.

We have to be careful with them. They are powerful words. They shouldn’t just be thrown around. But they are holy.

Notice, for example, that these holy words are expressed in prayer. This is not David cursing out his enemies to their faces.

This is David asking God to bring vengeance on, not just David’s enemies, but God’s enemies.

And notice that David is not taking revenge himself. He is not being a vigilante dispensing his own justice. He is pleading with God to bring His own justice.

If these enemies will not repent.

I’m sure that David would be happy if they did. 

But if they persist in persecuting the king for having zeal for the Lord, they should surely pay for it!

Do you know how the New Testament applies verse 25? It’s to Judas. Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus and refused to repent. So let Judas’ place be deserted (Acts chapter 1, verse 20).

These are holy words. And the New Testament talks like this, as well.

The New Testament has imprecations, too. There is justice and judgment to come.

Remember how the Lord Jesus talked about the judgment coming when He would return, just a few days before He went to the Cross? Matthew 24 and 25.

We can pray today that the Lord will bring justice.

That’s what we’re praying when we pray, “Your kingdom come!”

For those who kick God’s people when they are down (v.26), “For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those who hurt.” For those who unrepentantly and without remorse persecute the righteous, we pray that they will receive the Lord’s justice!

Now, of course, we can pray for more than that. The Lord Jesus also taught to pray for God’s blessing on our enemies. To bless them and not curse them.

And He showed us how on the Cross. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

We can pray for that, too.

Because Jesus, who perfectly fulfilled this Psalm, also took on Himself the punishment that our sins deserved.

He bore God’s wrath for us, receiving in His body on the Tree, the justice that our sins deserved.

So that if anyone repents and puts their faith in Jesus, justice will still be done, and they can be forgiven and included in the Lamb’s book of life.

But if they will not turn, then we can also pray that God’s justice will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

So that praise comes to Him forever. That’s our last point, point number three.


Rescue me. Judge them. Praise Him! 

In verse 29, David lays out his request for rescue one last time and then pivots to praise. Verse 29.

“I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. [And then when you do...] I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hoofs. [More than an expensive sacrifice.] The poor will see and be glad–you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. [He loves to save them! And He loves to hear our praise. Verse 34.] 

Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there.”

David fully expects to be rescued once again.

He expects God to turn the situation around and to fix everything!

Now, notice that nothing has changed. David is still about to drown. At any moment his lungs might fill with water, and he go down into the depths.

But David knows God.

And David knows that God will, one day, fix everything.

And so David plans to praise Him. No matter what.

For Jesus, of course, that “fixing everything” came after death.

Jesus had to die before He experienced the vindication and salvation of the resurrection.

We have not been promised salvation from every bit of our earthly troubles.

COVID or cancer or a car-wreck may take any of us down.

Our enemies may take us down.

But we know that, ultimately, the LORD will prevail!

One day, the Lord will fix everything in creation.

So we and all creation should fix ourselves to praise Him.


Fortifying Truth - Psalms - Fall 2020 / Winter 2021

01. Majestic and Mindful - Psalm 8
02. All Our Days - Psalm 90
03. "The LORD on High Is Mighty!" - Psalm 93
04. "The LORD Is My Shepherd" - Psalm 23
05. "Praise the LORD, O My Soul!" - Psalm 103
06. "The Blessing of Aaron's Oily Beard" - Psalm 133
07. "A Dying Thirst for the Living God" - Psalm 42
08. "Our Fortress" - Psalm 46
09. Unrestless - Psalm 131
10. "Sun and Shield" - Psalm 84
11. "With Songs of Joy" - Psalm 126
12. "His Love Endures Forever" - Psalm 136
13. "How Many Are Your Works, O LORD!" - Psalm 104
14. "My Soul Waits for the Lord" - Psalm 130
15. "Remember David" - Psalm 132
16. "My Son" - Psalm 2
17. "Search Me" - Psalm 139
18. "Cleanse Me" - Psalm 51
19. "A New Song" - Psalm 96
20. "Hear My Prayer, O LORD." - Psalm 86
21. "May All the Peoples Praise" - Psalm 67
22. "A Wedding Song" - Psalm 45
23. "My Feet Had Almost Slipped" - Psalm 73
24. “Rejoicing Comes in the Morning”

Sunday, March 07, 2021

"Our Weakness, God's Strength, and the Gospel" by Joel Michaels [LEFC Sermon Notes]

"Our Weakness, God's Strength, and the Gospel"
Joel Michaels
2 Corinthians 4:7-18

As the apostle Paul starts into Ch.4 of his 2nd letter to the Corinthian church, he paints a picture of what it is like to be an apostle, or in our day a missionary or to make it a little more personal, a Christian telling others about Jesus Christ.  We need to spread the Gospel to our family, our friends, our
neighbors, coworkers and on down the line.  If we don't have a burden for others, we made need to check our relationship with Christ.  It's not easy to do, tell others about Jesus, but maybe this passage will help you and me to have some courage and realize God is with us in the work.

Paul speaks the Truth, so here we go.  

Follow along in your Bible as I read  2 Corinthians 4:7-18.

Let's look at vs 7 and the phrase “ But we have this treasure.”

Paul was an apostle and a missionary out starting churches, but Paul had the thing that it took to start these churches, a treasure.  We need to know what this “treasure” was.  To find out jump back to vs. 5-6 in this same chapter.  

What is the treasure?  It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  That is the “treasure “ Paul is giving out. It is the treasure that is in Paul.  People need the Gospel treasure to become Christians and when you have Christians you have a church.  That is how it works.

So that is the treasure.  Jesus Christ and the Gospel of salvation.  Make a note of that.

A question for you: What do you keep a treasure in?  A vault? A safe? A treasure chest on a deserted island with a big X marking the spot?  Those things make sense.  Maybe not the deserted island.  Something safe and secure and strong.  Locked up.

What does Paul say God keeps his treasure in?  Look at vs. 7 again.   A jar of clay, a human.  
Genesis 2:7 “ the Lord formed man from the dust of the earth”

Paul is a jar of clay, so were the other apostles, so are our missionaries, so is our pastor, and you and me.

Think about a jar of clay.  It's not something we would keep a treasure in.  A jar of clay is weak, brittle and fragile.  If it has a lid it can't be locked.  If you drop it, it breaks.

Let me ask you another question:

Who told you about the good news of Jesus Christ?  Who passed the treasure on to you?  Were they super humans or just regular people, who were Christians?  Did they have frailties, faults, maybe an illness that held them back physically?  I can answer that question for you, yes they did. They are or were jars of clay.

So at this point you may be asking:
Why would God do that? Why would God put this treasure in a jar of clay, a weak, frail human.
Why would God leave this important thing up to people like Paul, Peter, Timothy or our missionaries?  They get sick, they have bad days, they get down.
Why would he leave it up to us?  There are lots of days I feel broke and fractured.  I'm not the best of anything, the best dad, the best husband, not the best technician at work, and not the best Christian.

So why would God put his treasure in us, in me?  The crazy thing is, he did.  God's thoughts and his will are on a so much higher plane than ours, what doesn't make sense to us is his perfect plan.

Read vs. 7 again.

God chose to make it this way to show us and everybody else, it's not about the container the treasure is in, but the treasure itself and God's all surpassing power.  It is God who made the light to shine.  It is Jesus Christ, God the Son, who saved us from our sin.  Remember that treasure from vs' 5 and 6.  It is for His glory.

When humans have earthly treasure, something of value, it typically comes with power and pride.  We hold it to ourselves.  In God's wisdom he wasn't having that, so his treasure is in a jar of clay.

Another note for you.

God shows his power through our frailty and weakness.  I was thinking something else, jars of clay can't be locked, there is no point, you could just smash the jar.  They are made to hold something until you need it.  A cookie jar is made to give out cookies.  We have this jar of clay, all are different, but they are made to give out the treasure God put in them.  It begs the question.  What are we doing with the treasure? Are we giving it out?  A question I wrestle with.  Am I telling people about Jesus?

Now if it was left up to us.  This work of giving out the Gospel from this jar of clay, we would crack.  We would break and fall apart from the stress.  Remember how in vs 7 this was to show God's power.  It is God who holds it all together.  His strength, his power hold the jar together, after all He made it.    He kept Paul together, He keeps our missionaries together, He will keep us in one piece.  So, His treasure, the Gospel will continue to spread through this world, his power is moving it along from Paul right on down the line.

Look what God does for Paul, this jar of clay in vs 8-9.

Does the work of an apostle sound easy?  Is it easy to be a witness for Jesus, to tell people the Gospel?
Not usually.  Sometimes it's severe hardship.  Paul knew something about that, read 2 Corinthians 11:16-33, in this same letter.  Sometimes with us it's not hardship or persecution,  it's just us not wanting to offend, maybe scared, or worried about what people will think.  God will give the strength and the courage.   

The struggles of being a Gospel spreading Christian are real.  You may have experienced struggles yourself, if not read some biographies about missionaries or gospel workers.  It is a burden for the lost and a trust in God's provision that motivates.

It is God that keeps His workers in one piece. It is his plan to show His power. It is His strength not ours. 

I don't care how tough we think we are, we will crack.  Only God prevents it and does it faithfully.  We don't need to wonder if He might help us to give out the treasure.  He will help us.  God chose weak vessels to give out His treasure to other weak vessels.

The point here is God holds us together to to do the work he has called us to do, that is to tell people about Jesus.

I need to bring this to a close but I want you to see a few more things like vs 15. 

Friends, Paul is not around anymore, maybe the person who gave you the treasure, who told you about the Savior, is not around anymore, but grace is reaching more and more people.  It does because it is through these jars of clay that God shows His power, and His glory and this treasure that He wants out in the world goes forth.
A few points for you to think on.
-We are weak jars of clay, but God is exceedingly powerful
-We have a treasure to give, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
-It's all about God's power and glory.

Lets read vs 16-18 to close.

We press on. We fix our eyes on the eternal.