07 Psalm 91 You are my fortress
Psalm 91 • Sermon • Submitted
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Psalm 91 Study 7 - You are my Fortress We read in Psalm 91:2, "I will say to the LORD, "You are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust."" (GW) When do we need a fortress? In Nahum 1:7, we read, "The LORD is good. He is a fortress in the day of trouble. He knows those who seek shelter in him." (GW) The prophet Nahum beautifully portrays to us that the Lord is good, that He is our fortress when we are faced with troubles, and most importantly He knows those of us who take shelter in Him. God is good does not imply that we would face no trouble, but it does reassure us that the Lord has promised to be our fortress, and our shelter in the midst of these hardships. A fortress is a place of total safety, and kings in ancient times found refuge in them. Everyone who has decided to enter into this fortress to seek refuge in the Lord, are known by Him. In every situation no matter how hard it seems, we should still be able to say, that the Lord is good because that is what God is always. We read about Job, who was challenged with unimaginable trials but in the midst of all of it Job never once cursed God. He lost everything on one day, but Job was still able to say in Job 1:21, "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (ESV). Job had the right perspective that every good thing came from God alone. All of us have been about our daily chores without even realizing that all that we were able to do, mundane things like going out or shopping were all privileges from God. Suddenly when faced with a lockdown, we realize how many things we have taken for granted. We must acknowledge that God is good and be thankful for everything in our lives. There are some people who ascribe that when they decide to draw near to God, the trials in their lives seem to increase. They therefore are in doubt if they are on the right path in seeking God more intently. Let us never analyze who God is based on our circumstances, for we can be certain that God is good all the time. The hardships we encounter are only temporary and the Lord is able to remove all of these difficulties from our way to keep us secure in Him. We must have faith to believe that the Lord is more than able to remove these hurdles ahead of us, and clear the way for us. The Israelites were in deep trouble in Egypt We read in Exodus 5:19, "The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when they were told, "Don't make fewer bricks each day than you're supposed to."" (GW) The Israelites were in bondage to the Egyptians for many long years. As the intensity of these troubles increased they cried out to God. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver the Israelites from the cruel hands of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. When Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and sought that he send the Israelites to go out of Egypt to the wilderness to worship the Lord, Pharaoh was angered. In his wrath Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters to withhold from the Israelites the straw that was provided to make the bricks. The Israelites were now in deeper trouble as they had no resources but were still required to make the exact number of bricks that they made earlier. Pharaoh also scorned Moses and Aaron and questioned them this way in Exodus 5:2, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go?" (ESV) The Israelites thought that Moses and Aaron would bring them immediate relief and deliverance, but instead their troubles increased manifold after they met with Pharaoh. When Pharaoh questioned the authority of God, the consequence was that God sent plagues upon the Egyptians. In general, people call out to God only when they come to the end of the rope as it were. It is far better to seek the Lord when things are going good. That is why we read in Isaiah 55:6, "Seek the LORD while he may be found. Call on him while he is near." (GW) This means that if we do not seek God when things are fine, there will come a time when things will be bad, and we will not be able to call on Him. There are those who question God, just like Pharaoh did, but today when we are struck with a malady, mankind stands dumbfounded with no solution to a major crisis. Science may advance a great deal but we must remember that there is a God who is sovereign and almighty above all human power and wisdom. Whenever human beings becomes rebellious against God there will always be severe consequences that we will have to face. A world that was going at full speed with hectic schedules, could have never imagined that we would have to discard all our schedules to be locked down within the confines of our homes to keep ourselves safe. The reason for this predicament is that we forgotten God who is the most important person in our lives, and have been running after positions, possessions and worldly pleasures. This is the time for us to turn back to the God who created us, and to realize that He is an awesome and mighty God. The distinction between the Israelites and the Egyptians 1. The flies did no harm to the people of Israel who dwelt in Goshen We read in Exodus 8:22-23, "But I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live, so that there will be no flies there. I will do this so that you will know that I, the LORD, am at work in this land. I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miracle will take place tomorrow.' ""(GNB) When Pharaoh challenged God, the Lord replied him that He would do something miraculous to distinguish between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The difference would be that while flies would infest the land of Egypt, the region of Goshen where the Israelites dwelt, which was also in Egypt would be protected from these flies. This miracle the Lord said He would perform so that Pharaoh would realize that it was the Lord who was at work. The Lord did send the flies that caused much destruction to the land of Egypt, but the land of Goshen where God's people stayed was kept safe from all harm. The Lord was a fortress around the homes of all those who believed in Him and were His children. When faced with troubles, often we pass them off as some natural phenomenon that are common to all human beings, because many people are unable to accept the fact that there is a sovereign God above. In the midst of trying circumstances, it is vital that we take time to ponder on the reasons for these calamities. God will always make a clear difference between those who are His children, and those who are not. If you are wondering who the children of God are, they are those who believe in the Lord Jesus irrespective of who they are. Jesus came as a Saviour for all of mankind, and that is why the good news of His birth was announced to all. 2. The livestock of the Israelites was spared from death We read in Exodus 9:4, "I will make a distinction between the animals of the Israelites and those of the Egyptians, and no animal that belongs to the Israelites will die." (GNB) We also read in Exodus 9:26, "The region of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was the only place where there was no hail."(GNB) When the Egyptians were struck with the plague of the death of the livestock, the Lord again intervened to make a clear discrimination. The animals that belonged to the Israelites were all spared from death and destruction. So also, when all of Egypt was struck with severe hail stones, the Israelites were safe and secure in the region of Goshen. As those who believe in the Lord Jesus, we are assured of protection for our lives. Also God will be a fortress around us to keep safe all that belongs to us. This protection of God extends to all those who are part of our immediate and extended family. Rahab was protected We read of Rahab who had her house built on the wall of Jericho. When the Israelites proceeded to the land of Canaan, the city of Jericho was a hindrance to their progress. The Lord fought for the Israelites and brought down the mighty walls of Jericho with just the shouts of praise of the armies of Israel. However, in the midst of those unbelieving people, Rahab believed in the God of Israel. The outcome was that while the entire city was destroyed, the mighty walls of Jericho came crumbling down, but Rahab and her entire family who resided on top of that same wall were kept safe. As children of God we need to believe and affirm that God alone is our fortress. Our God is the same yesterday, today and forever and we must be sure that He will make a distinction between those who are His people and those who are not. The ones who are His are assured of being protected in the midst of all these pestilences. The words of Elipaz, the friend of Job We read in Job 5:19, "He will keep you safe from six troubles, and when the seventh one comes, no harm will touch you:" (GW) The six troubles refers to the problems that come one after the other. However, the seventh one refers to wholeness. We may be challenged with myriads of challenges, but the Lord will deliver us out of them all. We should never become discouraged or disheartened, but constantly thank the Lord trusting Him to be our fortress. The Psalmist says in Psalm 32:7, "You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble. You surround me with joyous songs of salvation. Selah" (GW) The Psalmist realized that the Lord would protect him, as He alone was his hiding place. He further declared that the Lord will encompass him with joyous songs of salvation. As we stay inside our homes, may the praises of the Lord alone fill our residence, and may everything that displeases the Lord be cast aside. Let us keep singing the songs of victory and deliverance, for the enemy has no entry into our fortress, for God has hidden us from his view. We also read in Psalm 107:28, "In their distress they cried out to the LORD. He led them from their troubles." (GW) The Lord protects us from all our troubles when we sincerely call out to Him. This is not a time to relax, but a time for us to call out to the Lord to have mercy on us, and liberate us. The grace of God is not only needed for us, but for all those who are around us. We must seek the Lord and pray most fervently if we desire that the Lord should intervene in our present situation. We read in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, "I may shut the sky so that there is no rain, or command grasshoppers to devour the countryside, or send an epidemic among my people. However, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, search for me, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear their prayer from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their country." (GW) The Lord is speaking to His people and the first thing that God expects of us is humility. As believers we have sadly conformed ourselves to the patterns of the world around us. We must set aside our careless attitudes, sincerely pray and seek after the Lord. The evil ways that the Lord wants us to turn away from are our indifference to Him and our unwillingness to give to Him the honor and time that is duly His. If we do so the Lord promises that He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and bring healing to our land. We read in 2 Chronicles 7:13 that the Lord will shut up the sky so that there will be no rain. We began 2020 with severe wild fires in Australia that could not be put out because they had no rains. We also read of grasshoppers that came in large numbers and caused great devastation in the continent of Africa. Finally the word speaks about an epidemic, which we now call a pandemic that has swept over all the world. The call of God to us is to humble ourselves, and seek the Lord to restore to us all that we have lost. We have spent all of our time for our own selfish pursuits and have forgotten to seek the face of God. Let us turn back to God, give Him the top priority in our lives, spending more time in reading the word of God, and walking in obedience to His word. The Lord is our fortress only if we will turn away from all our wicked ways and come back to the Him with true repentance and humility.