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As a society, we are a distracted people. Adrian Ward, a Cognitive Psychologist led an in-depth study to determine how well people complete tasks when they have their smartphones nearby even when they are not using them. Findings- “Focus is worse and productivity declines when your smartphone is in reach even if it is off.” Of course smartphones are really just a symptom of our distraction. We are overwhelmed with information, entertainment, and activity, and it is easy to lose sight of the most important things in life.
Focus On God>Focus on Things Above>Focus on What is Good> Focus on Hope
Focus= directed attention or a point of concentration- Imagine how profoundly different spiritually we would all be if we invested as much time on our spiritual development as we do on information, entertainment, and activity.
The Psalmist David was a king and prophet. He likely wrote Psalm 141 during the time when Saul was persecuting him, as a prayer of spiritual focus.
v8 . . .my eyes look to you, Lord, my Lord.
Focus On God In Worship vv1-2
David prayed to God as an evening offering. He was not a priest, but he understood the significance of sacrifice to God. According to Exodus 29:38-42. The priest was to offer a lamb in the morning and a lamb in the evening. The second one at twilight, was to be with a grain and drink offering, as a pleasing aroma, a fire offering to the Lord. David spoke of prayer as incense rising up.
The form of prayer is communication, the focus of prayer is worship. The focus of prayer is not to get what you want, the purpose of prayer is to draw near to God.
Appeal to God for help; Plea to God to listen- Raised hands were the posture of worship.
Psalm 63:3-4 My lips will glorify you because your faithful love is better than life. So I will bless you as long as I live; at your name, I will lift up my hands.
Hebrews 13:15 Therefore, through him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name.
Are you focusing on God in worship through prayer? Recognize the greatness of God; Realize your own inadequacy; Make your plea
Focus On God In Holiness vv3-7
The fruit of holiness grows in the soil of prayer.
Speech- v3 Set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips.
James 3:9-10 We praise our Lord and Father with it, and we curse men who are made in God’s likeness with it. Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way.
Heart- v4 Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing.
C.H. Spurgeon- Unless the fountain of life is kept pure the streams of life will soon be polluted.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.
Actions- v4 . . .wicked acts with men who commit sin. Do not let me feast on their delicacies. Reject wickedness and embrace righteousness.
Accountability– v5 Let the righteous one strike me- it is an act of faithful love.
1 Peter 4:1-6
Focus On God For Protection vv8-10
Lord God= Yahweh Adonai v8 I seek refuge in You
Life is dangerous and unpredictable. v9 Protect me from the trap they have set for me, and from the snares of evildoers.
In 2015 a 2700 year old piece of clay inscribed with King Hezekiah’s seal was discovered in Jerusalem. The finding was at the foot of the southern wall on the Temple Mount. The inscription translates- Belonging to Hezekiah, son of Ahaz king of Judah. It has a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two symbols signifying life. Archaeologists believe the seal was used as a symbol of God’s protection after the Lord healed him from a life threatening illness. Hezekiah pled with the Lord to heal him and God answered his prayer.
So what about John the Baptist who was killed at the direction of Herod the Tetrarch? Stephen who was stoned? James who was killed by Herod Agrippa I? Or saints throughout history who have lost their lives in service to God or as a result living in a sin fallen world? Did God forsake them?
How can we reconcile the protection of God with the suffering of the world? Is God cruel, or weak or what? A lot of people blame God.
We live in a sin-fallen world, but we have a God who sent a Savior.
1 Corinthians 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. . . .So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:54-55
Compared to eternity, the time we spend in a sin-fallen world, is not significant.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
v8 My eyes look to You, Lord.