LET GO AND LET GOD
A sermon preached at Elijah ministries on 22nd Feb 2009
Good morning brothers and sisters, welcome to Elijah this morning. It’s a great privilege to be standing before you this morning.
To any other newcomers to Elijah – welcome to our humble Ministry… we hope you will be blessed today…
Shall we pray…
What’s been put on my heart today is the subject of Worry. And the title of today’s message is an old cliché - Let go and Let God.
In a world where we have so much to worry about, Jesus commands us not to worry.
Is this really possible? In this day and age? In the times that we live in?
– where crime and corruption is rampant?
– Where the global economy lies in tatters… on the verge of complete meltdown?
– Where the predictions of global warming and environmental destruction point to doom and gloom…
And more seriously, where preaching the Gospel is becoming a crime?
– From a worldly perspective, these are worrying times indeed…
and yet Jesus tells us… not to worry…?
So the question is: Is it really possible not to worry?
Turn with me to Matthew 6.
Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (25) "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? (26) "Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (27) "And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (28) "And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, (29) yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. (30) "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! (31) "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?'
(32) "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(33) "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (34) "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
And isn’t that a true saying – each day has enough trouble of it’s own… I sometimes don’t even want to get up in the mornings…
Reminds me of a Prayer that my wife has stuck above her desk… it goes like this:
So far today, I am doing alright.
I have not gossiped, been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or self indulgent. I have not whined, complained or cursed. I haven’t watched any TV, eaten any chocolate or charged anything to my Credit Card.
But I will be getting out of bed in a minute and I think I’m really going to need your help then.
Each day has enough trouble of its own…
And Jesus says we shouldn’t
worry about tomorrow….
A wise man once said: Worrying about tomorrow can never change tomorrow, but it can certainly ruin today.
But before we go on, I think it’s important that we define what it means to worry. The Oxford Dictionary defines worry as:
A disturbed peace of mind; to be troubled or to have mental distress.
The Greek word for “worry,” is merim-nah-o, which in it’s root form means “to be drawn in two different directions, to be distracted or divided.”
And this is born out in our passage in Matthew, where the issue of being divided between 2 Masters is discussed.
Worrying will always cause division in your priorities, or distraction from what your primary focus should be.
A good illustration of this idea is found in the reception at Bethany where we find Mary sitting at the feet of Christ listening to the Word, while Martha, busy with all her serving, was “distracted and bothered about so many things”
Keep a bookmark in Matthew and turn to Luke 10.
Luke 10:38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. (39) She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.
(40) But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." (41) But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; (42) but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Only one thing is necessary…. But what is this one thing, the good part that shall not be taken away?
Go back to Matthew 6:33…
"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.
That’s what’s necessary… first and foremost.
Seeking first the Kingdom of God should be our primary focus.
When we are worried and troubled about the cares of this life, we become divided and distracted from our primary focus. And our primary focus should be our devotion to God and a yearning for His Word.
In this passage, the KJV translates the Greek word merim-nah-o several times as: Take no thought…
- take no thought for your life
- Take therefore no thought for the morrow
This is not a good translation – the word merim-nah-o
means – to be anxious or to worry. But the old English translation of “take no
thought” is confusing, since it implies that there should be no thinking, or
planning for our future or even our daily needs. Whereas Scripture teaches us to
pray for our daily bread, for our daily needs; Scripture teaches us that we are
to work for our necessities, and we are even to plan for the future.
So a better translation in verse 25 is -
"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, -
You see the emphasis and problem here is not thought, or genuine concern or planning, but rather anxiety, or worry, or preoccupation with material things, with mammon - because this will divide and choke out the pursuit of His Kingdom and His righteousness…
So it’s important to distinguish the difference between common sense, or concern, or careful thought and planning, on the one hand, and worry, or mental distress, on the other. Christ certainly does not forbid working to maintain, support, and preserve our quality of life; nor does he forbid the thought, care and planning that is needed to accomplish that. It’s important to differentiate between the 2.
Common sense, and planning things with careful thought is encouraged and is in fact, necessary. However, all anxious, perplexing, and distressing thoughts and worries; such as those that arise from fear and unbelief, are dishonourable to God. There is a big difference between concern and worry.
The God of all things, of nature and providence, wants us to be concerned, but He does not want us to fret, to worry, to be fearful or to despair.
Keep your place in Matthew and turn to Philippians 4…
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing… here again, the KJV says: be careful for nothing. But it’s the same word merim-nah-o, which means worry.
6 Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
(7) And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
The peace that surpasses all
That’s what every human being is constantly searching for. They call it by different names like Nirvana and Karma blah blah blah, but what it is, is the Peace of the God of Israel. And the good news is that it’s available to everyone who chooses to bow the knee, to submit to Almighty God.
It all sounds very simple, doesn’t it? It all sounds so easy. And it is easy…
until you have to wake up in the morning.
If I said to you today, don’t worry about the economy…
don’t worry about how you’re going to get a job;
don’t worry about how you’re going to make ends meet;
don’t worry about the bond or the rent that’s due, or the School fees or the University fees.
Don’t worry about the fact that you have been robbed at gunpoint or your car hijacked!
Stop worrying about your friends and family in Zimbabwe …
– if I told you these things you’d probably think that I’m crazy!
But then, we are reminded of Jesus words in verse 27,
“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
Let me repeat that: Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
In other words,
can your worrying improve the economy?
Will worrying add to your finances?
Will worrying help you find a job?
Can your worrying make you any healthier?
Can your worrying stop you from being robbed?
Can worrying do anything good?
The fact is, that worrying does nothing.
All it does is give you wrinkles from frowning, and plenty grey hairs.
But what’s even more serious is that it just gets in the way of a trusting relationship with Him. A trusting relationship with Jesus Christ.
But no one wants to worry, no one chooses to worry, so why do we do it?
We worry because we don’t put enough trust in God.
We are reluctant to believe that God’s way is better than our way. WE would rather be in control.
And I would like you to know this morning, that God’s way is so much better than our way…
God’s way is infinitely better than our way.
And Jesus had a word that described our inability to trust God, our unwillingness to follow Him, our insatiable need to be in control – that word is SIN.
Unfortunately, worry is a sure sign of our sinful state -- a warning sign of our lack of faith and trust in a God who promises to care for our every need.
If you worry, you lack faith.
And that’s not what I say, it’s what Jesus says:
V30 of Matthew 6: (30) "But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! (31) "Do not worry then.
The Lord points out the root cause of the problem…. “You of little faith”.
He shows us here that the main reason for worry is a lack of faith in the trustworthiness of God.
To worry over the cares of this life is not a trivial sin. Because when we worry, we are acting as though our heavenly Father is not trustworthy, either in His word or His promises. What we’re saying by worrying, is that we do not really believe that He is big enough or great enough, or that He will really care for us. By worrying, we are showing that we’re really not living by faith.
This is the real heart of the matter. O ye of Little Faith. We talk about loving God, how much He means to us, about heaven and God’s sovereignty, but then we live as though none of this really exists! … As soon as the pressures of life draw us away from God and heavenly treasures.
And let me just say one thing here… contrary to the Word Faith teaching of so many churches - living by faith doesn’t ever replace common sense, proper planning, diligence and hard work. And it doesn’t replace making our requests known to God through fervent prayer, supplication and thanksgiving.
You see, worrying is part of our sinful nature. It’s very difficult thing not to do.
So how do we handle the pressures of life?
What can we do to stop the anxiety? The pressures that this world puts on us as Christians, fathers, mothers, as students, youth and as humans, in general?
How can we stop our fretting, the worrying and the biting of our fingernails? What can we do to stop our sleepless nights?
I know what many of you are thinking…. No, the answer is not to move to Australia!
What can we do to stop worrying and restore the joy of a faithful follower of Jesus Christ?
Here’s the secret: WE can’t. Just as there is nothing that we can physically do to save ourselves, there is nothing that we can physically do to stop worrying. It all rests on the Grace of God.
We can’t have the peace that surpasses all understanding without God being the primary focus of our lives. We cannot overcome the obstacles of life by ourselves.
What is impossible with humans is certainly possible with God.
We cannot stop being human, we cannot truly stop worrying, we cannot gain the abundant life, without fully relying and trusting God.
So, if you want to stop worrying, and fully rely on God, I’ve got one, simple, powerful word for you. In fact, It’s one of the most important words in the entire Bible. This one word appears in the Bible over 900 times.
It’s the word….LET, which means… to allow… to yield
LET there be light.
LET brotherly love continue.
LET Jesus Christ do a good
work in you.
LET His mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…
LET no man deceive you…
He who has ears… LET him hear!
LET is a word of transforming faith.
To LET is the gate that opens the power of God’s love in our life – it takes on the total love and power of the Creator and allows God to work his might in us.
LET opens us up to the wonderful and awesome grace of God, so that we can overcome the obstacles that cause worry, anxiety, and stress in life; and have peace, not through ourselves, but through Him.
LET is an expression of the choices we have in life as a Christian… it’s either the narrow path to heaven or the wide road to hell. There is always a choice to be made – that’s why on Judgement Day, there can be no excuses. People have a choice to make… a choice to LET, or to allow, or to yield, and more importantly, to submit to the saving Grace of Almighty God.
And that’s what we need to do. We have to learn to… Let go and let God.
Give up the terrible human trait of always having to be in control… let go, and allow God. Let go and Submit to God.
Many of us Christians are control freaks – we get totally stressed out when things don’t go our way, … and when strange things happen, when things don’t go the way you planned, we worry so much that we end up actually blocking God’s grace in our lives and in the lives of our families — and very often, the result is the exact opposite of what we originally intended….
Does this sound familiar? When we block the grace of God through our own stubbornness ?
We need to constantly remind ourselves:
to ‘Let Go’ of my constant need to fix everything, to control things,
to let Go of my worry and to Let God’s sustaining power take away all fear!
And as we’ve been taught many times – part of a Christian’s life are tests and trials, Brothers and sisters, part of a Christian’s life is suffering – to suffer as Christ did, to suffer for Christ’s sake. To pick up our crosses and follow Jesus – that was His command to us. That’s a difficult thing to do, without worrying.
And many Christians are suffering terribly. In this very congregation, I know of people that are going through torment, through relationship problems, through serious health issues, they cannot find employment, some are suffering persecution and everyone is affected by crime….
Friends and family are leaving the country in their droves… and financially times are very hard…
The fact is that life for a true Christian in South Africa is difficult, it’s stressful, it’s worrying - just as life for a Christian in any part of the world is difficult, especially in these last days – the problem is, that we’re promised that it’s going to get even more stressful – so much so that men’s hearts will fail them from fear. So how are we going to cope?
But even as we undergo these tests and trials, we are given an instruction… Peter says in 1 Peter 4:13 that we are to rejoice!
But rejoice in asmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Now that’s a difficult thing to do, to rejoice when you’re being put through the fire…. but it becomes easier if you keep your focus on Jesus, when you let go and let God.
Turn to James 1:
James 1:2 from the NAS:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,
(3) knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
(4) And let patience have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
When we face tests and trials, Peter said we should rejoice, and now James confirms it - we are supposed to rejoice, because we know that the test will produce patience and endurance. We should rejoice because then we know we are in the will of God.
To be able to rejoice during your trials and tribulations, you need to keep your focus, keep your eyes on Jesus, trust in the Lord… go to verse 12
James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
The crown of Life! What a wonderful reward!
Yet, sadly, most of us don’t rejoice… instead we murmur and complain about everything.
We need to put things into perspective… take a reality check. We hear so much complaining about our circumstances in South Africa, everyone is so negative, even Christians. I believe we all need to take that reality check.
From time to time, we need to refocus our priorities, we need to actually determine what’s really important in our lives here on earth.
– we have the privilege of being able to attend church…
– the privilege of owning a Bible,
– the privilege of worshiping the Lord without persecution.
To me that’s really important, because in many countries, to own a Bible you run the risk of being beheaded… Now, I’m not going to go into the stats of persecution of the church, but understand that there are many thousands of real Christians in the world who are dieing for their faith, for their stand for Jesus. There are many thousands of people who are prepared to be missionaries and put their lives on the line for the sake of spreading the Gospel.
And all we can do is moan about how bad the crime rate is, about how bad corruption is, about how bad circumstances are in South Africa.
Yet we are still so extremely privileged to be able to worship so freely. The time is coming when it will be a crime to say that Jesus Christ is the only way, the truth and the life.
Already it’s hate speech to speak out against homosexuality. Pastors have been thrown in jail for saying this from the pulpit!
And soon it will be hate speech to say that there is only one God.
But we are commanded to preach the Gospel unto the ends of the earth. Well I’ve said this before, and I ask again… where does the end of the earth actually start? I’ll tell you where… It starts right where you live, right in your own back yard.
We live in a country where the vast majority of people are unsaved, where:
– the Goliath of Islam is devouring souls second to none; wherever you look there are mosques sprouting up, with that irritating man on the megaphone on Friday afternoons.
In our country, almost one quarter of our population are so called Zionists who wear their funny little khaki suits and black hats with the stars on them, and who worship a man, their prophet Lekganyane – who died in the 1970’s. His son Barnabus Lekganyane now heads the ZCC church and surprise, surprise, he is one of the richest people in all Africa. This is a wicked religion and these poor people need the Truth, they desperately need the Gospel. But be warned, Zionists are a particularly stiff-necked people… to preach to them, you will be met with irritation and even anger.
Also, there are countless millions of people in our country whose faith is based on ancestral worship, on necromancy and on pleasing the dead. These people too, desperately need the true Gospel.
So, as South Africans, if you have a calling to reach the lost, then start at the beginning of the ends of the earth. Start in your own back yard, because goodness knows this country needs the Gospel. But understand that by doing that, you WILL face persecution, you will be threatened and abused… and that might lead to further stress and potential worry in your life.
James says we are blessed if we persevere through our trials. And Peter says we should rejoice through them.
The hardest thing in the world is to thank God when the going gets tough, but that is what we must do. We do not know what the future holds, but our great and gracious God does, and He knows the way through the wilderness.
For you and for me.
I’m sure most of us here this morning have been through periods in our lives when we went through great testing and even suffering. Times where things were so bad, you couldn’t understand why they were happening to you… or what you’d done to deserve them.
I think many of us have been there… but when you look back on those days… with hindsight, you come to a very clear realization that they were put there for a reason – a reason that always brings greater glory to God. You can see God’s hand so clearly in your deliverance. You can see His purposes accomplished so clearly in your own suffering.
You might question what’s
happening to you right now, but God knows what’s best for you… as His child, He
knows exactly what you need. That’s why we need to rejoice… down the line…
you’ll understand the reasons why.
Turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice evermore. (17) Pray without ceasing. (18) In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
It is the will of God that we, as Christians, sometimes experience great trials and burdens. It is also His will that He wants us to keep our perspective, to look to eternity, therefore we must give Him thanks for what has happened and is happening in our lives. If we don’t, bitterness will be the result and we will never get past the suffering. To grow in grace and not have to take the test again and again, give Him thanks and do it from a heart trusting in Him.
Your parents, your father always knew better than you right? Well in the same way, our heavenly father does too.
But before we can let go of our worry, pain, and distress, we must FIRST let God’s peace, love and grace enter into our hearts and work within us, towards righteousness.
Back to Matthew 6, and look at verse 33 “Strive FIRST for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
In other words, God needs to come first in our lives. Nothing of this world should ever get in the way of our pursuit of God. Worrying pushes God from the center and focuses our attention solely on ourselves. When we worry, we have forgotten that if God is in his rightful place as Lord of our lives, all the other concerns in our lives will be taken care of. Maybe not always in the way we want them to be taken care of… but if we allow the Lord to take care of them, in His perfect time and His perfect way, we will have that eternal peace… the peace that surpasses all understanding. And that’s the only kind of peace that leads to an abundant life in the Lord Jesus.
I’ll be honest with you, I was ‘worried’ about doing this sermon. I worried because I know that some of you in this room have been without a job for a long time, struggling with health issues, with children that greatly distress you, the state of the economy is putting a huge burden on your finances. Many of you are facing terrible dilemmas and troubles that are robbing you of your joy.
I was worried because for me to say to you, ‘don’t worry,’ sounds kind of self-righteous, a bit pious, and worst of all, simplistic… almost as if I don’t ever worry.
But if you look around you, you too can be moved by the stories of people, in this church, who have kept God as their top priority through all their trials and tribulations… through some amazing accounts of adversity. Some people in this church have gained an incredible sense of peace and a clarity of direction when they did not let their worry get in the way of serving. And their light shines brightly.
And the Good News is this: There is nothing in your life that God’s grace cannot overcome, if we just let go and LET GOD accomplish his purpose in your life. There is nothing about our lives that God’s grace cannot make new, if we just submit to His perfect ways.
And Jesus challenges us to never let worry take the place of God.
But does letting go mean that we don’t have to do anything? That it’s okay to be irresponsible? That it is an easy thing to do? That we don’t have to look for a job, study for our exams or preach to the lost? Of course not.
In fact, to put God first in our lives is extremely hard.
To put God first means that we live our lives for God, not for ourselves, not for our work, not even for our families.
To put God first means that we do all we can to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ. We read about Him, we pray to him, we worship him, we serve him, we meet with others who love him.
To put God first is to love God with all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our strength, and all of our mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself.
To put God first, we need to live by faith…
But what does it really mean to live by faith?
Gal 2:20 reads: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
To live by faith means having Christ living inside you.
Turn to Philippians 2
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, (2) make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (3) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (4) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (8) Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (9) For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, (10) so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (11) and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (12) So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; (13) for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
Jesus gave up His life so that we might live. It is because He first loved us, that we should love Him – we should be grateful enough to obey the Holy Spirit living within us.
Like Christ did, we need to humble ourselves by becoming obedient to the point of death. And you can only do this if you abide in Christ and He in you…
if you dwell in the shelter of the most High.
And this brings me to that favourite Psalm… Psalm 91.
Psalms 91: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!" (3) For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. (4) He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
In the shadow of the Almighty, under His wings we find refuge, we find protection and we actually find life…
Psalm 91:5 You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; (6) Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
Life is a dangerous journey and you never know what's going to happen tomorrow. Even in the middle of the day, at noon, destructions come. And if you live in Gauteng Province, you know just how true those words are.
Do you know what the GP means on your car’s numberplate? It really means Gangsta’s Paradise! Life in SA is not for sissies.
So life is a dangerous journey and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but during our dangerous journey here on earth, He's promised never to leave us, nor forsake us. Don’t worry, He'll always be there with us.
You see, we as Christians are not immune to life's problems, but my goodness, have we got a marvellous refuge! Amen?
It is a Biblical fact that all true Christians will suffer trials and tribulations. Jesus said, pick up your cross and follow me, He never said, Christianity would be easy.
And that’s what this Psalm is about… it’s about deliverance out of trouble… it’s not about not ever having trouble. It’s about finding a refuge in times of trouble, finding a solace and a comforter, in the midst of your troubles.
Have a look at verse 15…. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in….. trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
And when your life becomes filled with worries, trials and troubles, what keeps you? When unpredictable things happen to you, when the very thing that you thought would never happen to you, happens, what keeps you?
It’s confidence that the promises of God are true.
And in this Psalm there are many amazing
I wonder how many times each one of us have been protected and sheltered from disease, or delivered from death’s door, that we don’t even know about? Those times when we were delayed because we forgot something, turned around and went to fetch it, then got in the car and came across a horrific accident that happened just minutes earlier. It could have been you…
Could this be luck? Or coincidence? No. It’s the Providence of God. The promises of God are true. All through the mercy of God – and this is why we need to let go… let go and let God… walk in faith…
Romans 8: says in v28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.
We don’t know why some good people suffer so… but what we do know, is that this life is but a vapour, and to true Christians, it’s not important what happens to our mortal bodies in this lifetime. What is important, is to keep perspective on eternity. Keep your eyes and your focus on Jesus, because He is coming back soon… Amen?
If you walk in faith like this, it doesn’t matter what you face because God is with us! He is in control. It might not always seem like that to you, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Lord of the Universe is in control of your life, … if you let Him.
If God is with us, and God is for us, and God is in us, who
can be against us?
If you kept that perspective, you never need to worry.
From verse 5 right through to verse 13, there is a mighty list of things that we will be protected from. Look at some of them, verse 5 and 6:
(5) You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; (6) Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
And here’s the crux. It doesn’t say there won’t be terrors by night, it says you just won’t be afraid of them – you won’t worry about them. It doesn’t say there won’t be war or arrows that fly, or there won’t be disease and destruction – it doesn’t say that. It just says that you won’t be afraid of them.
It actually says, by inference, that there will be terrors by night, there will be wars and arrows, there will be disease stalking everywhere and destruction when you least expect it… these WILL happen regardless. The point is that Christians will not be afraid. It's not about completely avoiding trouble or hardship, it's about deliverance in the midst of our troubles and hardship.
Do you see the eternal perspective? The point is to look at eternity - and the psalm says that the worst thing that can ever happen to me… can never, ever destroy my soul.
That is why our Lord said in Mat 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Though cancer may eat your flesh, it cannot destroy your soul.
Though Alzheimer's may make you forget, God will never forget you.
Isn't that the point? Isn’t that what walking in faith means? It’s not about running around healing everybody with miracle crusades and finacial prosperity sermons, that's not what it’s about - What it is about is… eternity.
Then the Psalmist reminds us again, just as if to make sure, that in the midst of all these promises of how God will protect you, right in the middle of trouble, just in case you forget… that there is a condition.
That condition of all these promises is made in verse 1, and he reminds us again in Verse: 9 Because you have made the LORD, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Interesting here in v 10 it says that no evil shall befall thee. Disease and afflictions can hurt the flesh, arrows can pierce the heart, but it is evil that touches the spirit. And the promise here is that your Spirit will remain untouched!
And why is that?…. and here is my favourite part of this psalm, one of my favourite passages in the entire Bible…
(11) For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
The Bible teaches us very, very clearly that those who live close to the heart of God will have divine protection. And I believe, brothers and sisters, that when we get to heaven we're going to be amazed when we realize how many times the angels intervened and took care of us.
In closing, we read:
v(14) "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. (15) "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. (16) "With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation."
If you stay close to the heart of God, He'll bless your life and protect you. You will enjoy long life, and angels will escort you around. Isn't that incredible?
And it’s promises like these that allow the Christian to stand firm when the rest of the world goes to pieces.
Martin Luther once wrote: 'Though they kill, God's truth still abides, His kingdom is forever'. Forever is a long time.
Jesus taught that nothing should come before God:
not even the food that nourishes our bodies,
should come before the Bread of Life that nourishes our souls;
not even the water that is essential to sustain life,
should come before the Living Water that gives eternal life;
– not even clothing that protects us, is near as important as the Holy Spirit that walks with us through the trials of life.
If the things of God do not come first, then the things of this world will always drag us down.
Therefore, the message today is to put God as the top priority in your life. Then, and only then,
will worry give way to hope…
anxiety give way to peace…
and fear give way to courage.
We will never be without the stresses of life, but we will be able to face anything this world has to throw at us…while singing praises to God.