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God’s Care is both Comprehensive and Climactic

03/04/2020

God’s Care is both Comprehensive and Climactic

Text. Psalm 91:3-8

The psalmist has been telling us about his personal relationship with God.  We found two challenges in verse one and two; have I a personal relationship why God, and if I have, how deep is that relationship?  Am I, like the psalmist, living close to the Lord?  In the next section of the psalm, the pronoun changes from ‘me’ and ‘I’ to ‘you!’  What the Lord has done for the psalmist, and is doing for him, he does for everyone who trusts him. Here’s the promises that are given to us in Psalm 91:3-8.

Listen to this service as a podcast:

SERVICE PODCASTS

1 The Measure of God’s Protection.  V3-6. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

Those who trust in the Lord will experience his protective care.  But look at how wonderful and marvellous that caste for his children is…

  • It meets all our needs.  v3.  In every circumstance of life, the Lord is with us, he is watching over us, there is not a single situation that we cannot take to the Lord in prayer, knowing that he will care for us.  The psalmist demonstrates the breadth of this compassion God has for us by confronting us with two lifetime scenarios.  
    • Scenario 1.  The trusting heart is in danger from the snare of men.  Some years ago, long before the days of internet scams I got a phone call to tell me that I had one a free holiday in Spain!  It was really good and the holiday, in a popular resort, a fortnight in the sun, for two, was described in great detail!  The girl took down all my details, and told me that all I had to do was to claim my free holiday was to attend a time-share presentation in Exeter!  What a disappointment!  It would cost me more to go to the presentation in Exeter than it would to book a fortnight in Spain!  It was a trap, of course, because once they got you into the time-share presentation they’d employ slick sales people to get you into a financial commitment that would drain your bank account!  And I walked right into it! But there are worse traps, Spiritual traps, laid by wicked men.  The psalmist depicts a cruel heartless fowler, a man who will ensnare wild birds and bring them into captivity, who deliberately lays out traps for his victims to fall into. And of course the poor wee bird is totally unaware of the presence of the trap.  Trust in the Lord, stay close to him to avoid spiritual traps.
    • Scenario 2.  The trusting heart is in the midst of a deadly epidemic or plague.  In those scenario the psalmist is thinking of a ‘noise some pestilence.’  Deadly diseases!  Again, the message is to TRUST IN THE LORD.

In both these scenarios, the Lord is our deliverer!   I wonder too, how often has the Lord in his providence spared us from these traps and perils, and we are not even aware of it!  John Newton wrote, ‘Through many dangers, toils and snares we have already come, ’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.

  • It shows us that he loves us.  If you love someone you will want to protect them from harm.  There’s a beautiful illustration of the all encompassing love of God in verse 4.  Again the psalmist uses two illustrations to help us understand…
    • We are like chicks, gathered under the wings of the mother hen!  Just the way a hen gathers her chicks together, and snuggles them under her wings for safety and comfort and warmth, so the Lord similarly gathers all of those who trust in him.  You can see this demonstrated in the love of Jesus for his people too, when looking at the poor lost people of Jerusalem, Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, …how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!  yet in complete contrast, the psalmist tells us…
    • We are protected by a strong armour, a wall of protection all around us.    Having likened the Lord to the tenderness of a mother hen, the psalmist now likens him to a strong and effectual suit of armour, a shield and a breastplate, to stave off the attacks of the enemy, a theme later developed by Paul in Ephesians six when he tear he’s us to put on the whole armour of God.
  • It calms ALL our fears.  V6.  In this last little set of couplets in this part of the psalm we are reminded that God’s care for us never wanes at any time, he is ALWAYS with us, by day of by night.  The night time terrors, the nightmares and dreams, the fear of the dark hours, – the Lord watches over us.  The wars that rage through the day, the visible fears of invasion and murder and assault and robbery, – the Lord watches over us.  The dreadful illnesses that occur in this life, and from which we are not exempt, – the Lord watches over us.  The heat and burden of the day, when it seems that we are too frail and too fraught to go on, – the Lord watches over us.  He always cares for us, he never leaves us alone, he watches over us by night and by day.  

Away back in my teens we used to sing, ‘All your anxieties, all your cares, bring to the mercy-seat, leave them there.  Never a burden that He cannot bear, never a friend like Jesus!’  What a friend we have in Jesus!  All our sins and griefs to bear!  And YET…

 

2. The Culmination of God’s Protection! V7-8

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

We often do not understand the ways of the Lord, and we only fully appreciate his grand design when we get to heaven, and it is revealed to us.  There are two questions that people often ask about the protection of the Lord.

  1. If I am a Christian, then will nothing bad happen to me?  A Christian girl called me one evening to tell me that her mother had been rushed into hospital.  The following Sunday, when her mother’s condition was no better, possibly worse, she told me that she couldn’t believe that God would ever let her mummy die!  Actually at that time she recovered, but she did die!  I know, for I buried her!  But surely, if what the psalmist is saying is to be taken at face value, then God will always protect the believer from harm, and we will never get sick, or be depressed or die.  But no, God’s protection does not mean that Christians will never suffer!  They will, but that suffering is always for their own good, to teach them or to bring them into a deeper relationship with God.  It is never to punish them or harm them spiritually.  And when we do suffer, God goes with us through that suffering, the one who gave his only Son to suffer and die for us!  And his son has already taken upon himself the punishment that we deserved.    There’s a second question…
  2. Is Coronavirus God’s judgement on sin?  Well we certainly deserve God’s judgment!  And of course, every form of sickness that exists in the world is a result of sin, for until Adam and Eve wilfully sinned and rebelled against God, there was no sin, no weeds, no hard labour, no sweat and toil, no birth-pains, no sickness, no tears, and no death…  There was no Coronavirus in the garden of Eden- or if there was, it was beneficial, and harmless!  Genesis 3:17-19 … cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.   

Yet both of these questions are ultimately answered in Psalm 91:7-8!  It depicts a scenario where the trusting soul is in the midst of countless others, and all around him souls are falling away.  It is a terrifying sight – yet although he is aware of this dreadful state of affairs, the believer is untouched by it!  We notice in the verse that this is at the time when the wicked will receive their reward.  In other words the psalmist is looking ahead to the day of the Lord, to Judgement Day, when all men shall fall away from the terrible wrath of God upon sin, yet the believer, in the midst of that terrible day, will not fall, but will stand!  He will not stand in his own strength but will stand in the righteousness of Christ alone.  Jesus speaks of that Day too in John 6:28-29 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.  It is on that great day that the Lord’s protection of his people will be truly revealed.  When the wicked are receiving the reward due for their deeds, the believer is dwelling under the protecting love of the Lord.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life!

Conclusion.

How great then is God’s loving care for his people.  How comprehensive in its breadth, and how unceasing in its duration.  How effective, in that it deals with every situation and every crisis of life… And finally, when we stand before God in eternity, how great is his wonderful, protecting, grace, that spares us from the consequences of our own sin, having laid all of pour great burden of guilt upon Jesus, who bore it for us at the cross and paid all our debts, and fully satisfied God’s justice for us.   

 

THIS SERMON WAS DELIVERED ON A CD FOR CHURCH MEMBERS AND FRIENDS ‘SOCIALLY ISOLATED’ DURING THE COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK.

From → Bible Study, Psalms

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