Rarely do I publish my sermons on the blog. It usually requires a number of changes, since I do not draft my sermons to be read, but to be preached.
This weeks sermonette (due to its length), on the other hand, may be an encouragement to someone (or someones) out there who is struggling with trusting God in the face of danger, and is being tempted to fear the danger rather than believe God.
It is my hope that this will be an encouragement to all believers to persevere in the face of danger.
“He Will Give His Angels Charge Over You”
Danger—we face it everyday; sometimes knowingly, sometimes unknowingly. We drink coffee—anything that dark and full of caffeine has to be dangerous. We breathe dirty and polluted air, full of deadly particles. We are surrounded by dangerous viruses and bacteria. In fact, at this very moment your skin is covered in deadly bacteria. And following this service, we will climb into our vehicles and head home—and in doing so, we will put ourselves in harms’ way: roads are becoming more crowded, and therefore, more dangerous. And once we walk into our homes, we will breathe a sigh of relief, thinking we are no longer in danger … until we remember that hundreds of thousands of people die in their homes each year. Have you had enough, yet?!!
Danger is a reality. We face it daily—in fact, we face it every moment. Since Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, danger has lurked just around the corner. Sin’s curse brought about sin, sickness, sadness, disease, broken relationships, discontent workers going postal, corporate bigwigs swindling away their employees retirement plans, car accidents, and cancer. So, how do we as Christians deal with the constant danger? How do we persevere when our very lives are in constant jeopardy?
Psalm 91 gives us the answer. This is one of the most comforting texts in all of Scripture. We don’t know its author, or the circumstances in which it was penned. But we do know this … we know what it feels like to be in danger. We know what this Psalmist is experiencing. All of us have been there at one time or another: danger has lurked, and we’ve been tempted to fear the danger rather than trust our God.
For sake of time, I will simply summarize the comfort and protection God provides for His own when they find themselves surrounded by danger. First, in verses 1-4, the Psalmist reminds us that we dwell in the secret place of the most High. As believers in Jesus, we dwell in a secret place--the place where danger cannot go (because it’s a secret place)--under the shadow of our Almighty Protector. God protects us not in some far-off, deserted fortress; He protects us with Himself. He is our refuge and fortress. He is our deliverer. He is the One who covers us with His wings in that secret place, beyond the reach of danger!
Next, in verses 5-10, the Psalmist explains that there is no reason to fear. He is out to prove this premise: fearing, even when danger surrounds us, is a ridiculous response. It’s ludicrous. It’s insane. Why? Because, God rules over and superintends in every danger we face. Yes, the danger is real—there are terrors at night; there are arrows that fly by day; there are pestilence and disease that stalk in the darkness; there are enemies who have laid a snare for us. Friends, the danger we face daily is real; it’s not just a figment of our imagination. So the Psalmist is not out to prove that the danger isn’t real, he is out to show us that every danger we face is directed by the governing and superintending hand of God. He is the Most High, and He is our dwelling place … our habitation … our home. We not only dwell with Him, we dwell IN HIM!
Then, in verses 14-16, the Psalmist offers his final argument in proving that danger itself poses no threat to the child of God who is dwelling in the shadow of the Almighty: because we have set our love on Him. Now, we would most likely expect verse 14 to talk about God’s love for us, but instead it talks of our love for Him. So the Psalmist is saying that for all who love God—all who belong to Him by faith—God promises to deliver. It’s the truth Paul expresses in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good; to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
God promises not to abandon the one who loves Him. Regardless of the danger we are facing, we are not alone. And because we are not alone, when we call upon God for help, He hears us--and delivers us.
But there's more: not only is God with the one who loves Him, God satisfies the one who loves Him. He doesn’t leave us wanting. In Psalm 23 we are reminded that “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
Not even danger itself can leave us wanting, because even in the end … even when death, according to the sovereign will of God, visits us, and we breathe our last breath, we remain under the Shadow of the Almighty, we continue to dwell in the secret place of the Most High. And at that moment, the moment of our death, we will experience the greatest deliverance any human has ever known—ultimate deliverance from sin into the eternal presence of our Lord and Savior and King Jesus! And then, as the Psalmist concludes, “He will show us His salvation!”
Now you will notice that I skipped a section in this Psalm; I intentionally saved verses 11-13 for last because this is one of the most intriguing passages concerning angels in all Scripture. And the Psalmist draws our attention to angelic ministry in our lives as still more evidence that we need not fear danger because God has given His angels charge over us.
Verse 11 tells us that God uses angels to protect and preserve us. It’s important to note what this verse does not say: it does not say that God needs angels in order to protect us! That’s important. Although God uses angels to accomplish His eternal purposes, He does not need them in order to protect us. Yet, God chooses to use angels to guard us and to keep us in all our ways.
Angels have always played a vital role in God’s plan and purposes: in Daniel 10, we are given a rare peek into the world of spiritual warfare, when in response to Daniel’s prayer, God directed an angel to bring him the answer to his prayer. For 21 days, this angel was engaged in spiritual warfare with demonic forces until Michael the archangel came to help overcome the resistance. In Matthew and Luke, an angel was involved in informing both Mary and Joseph that Mary would give birth to a child, and that child would be the Son of God and would save His people from their sins. Angels pronounced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds, and ministered to Him following His temptation by Satan in the wilderness and during His time in the Garden of Gethsemane just prior to His arrest.
So, angels are real spiritual beings … they are messengers sent from God to minister to God’s children by protecting us from danger, strengthening us in times of weakness, and refreshing us in times of discouragement.
One final word from our text; if I could summarize the message of Psalm 91 in one sentence it would be this: “Until we accomplish everything God has planned for us from eternity past, we are immortal.”
So although danger is real rather than imagined; and although the adversaries are powerful, let us be convinced that there is Someone more powerful than the ever-present danger of our adversaries: the all-powerful, personal God is our Refuge; He is our secret place; He will cover us with His wings. He will direct the arrows that fly our way. There is no evil that will befall us that will destroy us!
And when, according to His good and sovereign plan, like our Savior, we die, let us be assured that those same angels who preserved us in our days on earth will usher us instantaneously and safely into the eternal presence of our God (Luke 16:22)! Until then, like our Savior, let us persevere in the face of danger! AMEN.
Readers who attend Delhi Baptist Church are not excused from the Sunday Evening service because they have read this! Don't even think about it!
Labels: Angelology, Encouragement, Psalm 91, Sermons