09 January 2007

Psalm 27

Who's up for a history lesson? In the 1930's, France watched Germany build up its military. WWI had cost France many lives, and they realized that they did not have enough soldiers to defend the country in case of a long conflict. They got their top military minds together, and they decided that the best plan would be to defend the border with Germany. So, they built a series of bunkers and heavy artillery guns along border with Germany. The concrete was 5 feet thick, there was an underground railroad, it was air conditioned. It even had a movie theater! But, there was just one problem—Germany didn't attack it. They realized that going up against this barricade would be almost suicidal. So, they went around, came in behind it, and captured it. They then turned around and used it against those who came to help France.

Sometimes, we put up our own Maginot Line against Satan. We use "willpower", self-help books, we watch Dr. Phil. Problem is, Satan is a lot smarter than we sometimes give him credit for, and he can find a way around whatever defense we can come up with. However, we who know the Lord Jesus Christ need to remember that no matter what Satan throws our way, we can call upon a defense that Satan can't get around—it's called the cross. Turn if you will to Psalm 27. Some people here are trying to quit smoking—that is a great idea. But let me tell ya one thing—YOU can't. YOU can muster up all the energy you want. Guess what? Satan will find a way to get around it. But, let us keep this Psalm in mind.

Christ offers believers His STRENGTH.
Verses 1-3
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked came against me to eat up my flesh, my enemies and foes, they stumbled and fell. Though an army may encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war may rise against me, in this I will be confident.
The problem with France's Maginot Line wasn't in building it. The design, the materials, the construction—it was impenetrable. Well, for one thing, they underestimated the enemy they were facing. Does that sound familiar? Don’t we sometimes underestimate Satan? I saw a movie recently called "Woman Thou Art Loosed". In it, a preacher was talking to a woman in jail. And at one point, this preacher says that "people give the devil too much credit". The girl answers back, "I don't think they give him enough credit". (Disclaimer: I saw this movie before I knew that TD Jakes was a heretic. So, take this illustration for what it is.)

If we try to fight him with our own willpower, with some new book by the latest hot pop psychologist, we're gonna fail. But if, as it says, the LORD is the strength of our life, then, of whom shall we be afraid? NO ONE!!!!! NOTHING!!! Because if we depend on the defense that GOD has given us—the Holy Spirit—we can face anything that Satan tries to use against us. That word confident means "to trust, to be bold and secure". In other words, when I say, "The LORD is the strength of my life...", this I can say boldly, and be secure in knowing it.

Christ offers us His SECURITY.
Verses 4-6
One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Listen to that—"In the secret place of His tabernacle". You know what that is? That's the Holy of Holies. When we call out to Him in times of trouble, GOD Himself will take us behind that veil where only the high priest could go. This I believe is an Old Testament picture of Christ. Listen to what it says in Hebrews 10:19-20—Therefore, having boldness to enter the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He made for us through His flesh. And here, David says that when we are in trouble, GOD Himself will take us and hide us there in that Holy of Holies. "His pavilion"—another word for "curtain", like the curtain separating the Holy of Holies form the rest of the tabernacle.

Matthew, when describing what happened after Jesus died, it says that the curtain in the temple was ripped in two, FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM. GOD reached down, after Christ had offered Himself as our offering for sin, and, as it says in Ephesians 2:13-18--But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Only GOD could tear apart that curtain, and take us behind it.

Next, we see that Christ hears our SUPPLICATION.
Verses 7-10
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, "Seek My face," my heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek." Do not hide Your face from me; do not turn Your servant away in anger; You have been my help; do not leave me nor forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me.
Your mother and father, as much as they may love you, may not always be there to take care of you. They may die, they may lose their job, or you may get into a big blow-up with them, and you may stop talking. That's why Philippians 4:6-7 tells us to Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known unto GOD. However, we have to be careful what we are asking for, and the reason we are asking for it. Listen to James 4:2-3--You don’t have because you don’t ask. You ask and don’t have because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

If you listen to the "Model Prayer", the first things we are to ask for are what? For GOD's name be praised, and for His will be done. Once we set our hearts on those two things, then we ask Him for our daily bread. Now, we hear the phrase "seek His face". What exactly does it mean? When we "seek the face of GOD", we acknowledge that there is some situation that we can't get through on our own, and we need GOD to give us the strength we will need. When we do this, we take the focus off of ourselves, and put His glory above all else.

Next, Christ offers us SAFETY.
Verses 11-13
Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies. Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and such as breathe out violence. I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
When we depend on the LORD to guide our way, He will guide us through that "valley of the shadow of death." Psalm 34:7 says, The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. In Psalm 35:5-6, David asks the LORD to make his enemies to ...be like chaff before the wind, and let the angel of the Lord chase them. Let their way be dark and slippery, and let the angel of the Lord pursue them.

Finally, Jesus offers us SERENITY.
Verse 14
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!
Maybe not today, tomorrow, or next week—but GOD will show us why we go through what we go through. And this psalm talks about safety, strength, security, and security in GOD. I began by talking about trusting in man-made things.

Do you know that GOD Himself is an army? I went to the website for US Army, and looked up what each rank was responsible for.
  • A general commands all operations that fall within their geographical area. Psalm 24 says, The earth and all it contains and those who dwell in it belong to the LORD.
  • A major commands which troops to go where and for what purpose. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."
  • A captain teaches skills at combat training centers. Jesus said this about the Holy Spirit in John 16: "He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" and "He will guide you into all truth..."
  • A sargeant sets an example and a standard for privates to look up to, and live up to. 1st Peter 1:15-16 says, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior…
  • A corporal serves as team leader of the smallest Army units. Paul said of Christ in Ephesians 5:23 that He is the ...head of the church...the church is subject to Christ.
  • Finally, look at the role of the private: their primary role is to carry out orders issued to them to the best of his ability. Jesus prayed this the night before He was crucified, in John 17:4: "I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do." When the Son of GOD came, He came as a general, a major, a sargeant. But, most telling of all, He came as a provate, to carry out the orders given to Him by the Father.

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