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A Place of Safety

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A Place of Safety

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A Place of Safety

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In a world of dangers real and imagined, a Christian must rely on the word of God to decide when to obey civil authority and when to obey God. Psalm 91 reminds us of God's loving, complete protection to those who seek Him.

Sermon Notes

Brethren, do you find these times confusing at all, in any way? The situation around the world has the powers of city, state, and national authority taking steps they claim are to protect everyone, but those steps for protection involve requiring people to do things they normally would not have to do, and those same precautions may or may not apply in different settings.

We read and hear about rights being revoked, but we also read and hear about safety. And from these we then find various forms of judgment and virtue signaling.

It can be very confusing. So, we can choose to enter an intellectual and emotional battle of wits and arguments as to whether or not we should do those things, but should we even bother? No matter how we “feel” about it, God does provide us some simple guidelines so that we can know what MUST be done. And when we understand what MUST be done, how we should behave no longer has to remain confusing.

These guidelines from God’s word reveal that we should obey authority that is over us. We could go to scriptures to prove we should obey our spiritual elders, but we can also go to scripture which clearly shows we should obey civil leaders, too.

Romans 13:1 Romans 13:1Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
American King James Version×
 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
Romans 13:2 Romans 13:2Whoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
American King James Version×
 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
Romans 13:3 Romans 13:3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Will you then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and you shall have praise of the same:
American King James Version×
 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

But these guidelines have their limitations, because we are also clearly taught that, if the civil authority enacts a requirement that would cause us to disobey, we must NOT obey. This happened to Peter and the apostles in front of the Pharisees.
Remember Peter and John in chapter 4

Acts 5:27 Acts 5:27And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
American King James Version×
 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them,
Acts 5:28 Acts 5:28Saying, Did not we straightly command you that you should not teach in this name? and, behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood on us.
American King James Version×
 saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"
Acts 5:29 Acts 5:29Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
American King James Version×
 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.
Acts 5:30 Acts 5:30The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew and hanged on a tree.
American King James Version×
 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.
Acts 5:31 Acts 5:31Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
American King James Version×
 Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.
Acts 5:32 Acts 5:32And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.
American King James Version×
 And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit which God has given to those who obey Him."

Remember Peter and John in chapter 4
So, in a basic way, God has given us a direction that simplifies things for us. Whether or not we want to trouble ourselves with the politics of obedience or compliance. Whether or not we are happy with the circumstances, we know to obey civil authorities with the caveat that we never disobey God.

Jesus was tested by Satan, and Satan used the word of God to try and trick Him…

Luk 4:9  Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.
Luk 4:10  For it is written: 'HE SHALL GIVE HIS ANGELS CHARGE OVER YOU, TO KEEP YOU,'
Luk 4:11  and, 'IN THEIR HANDS THEY SHALL BEAR YOU UP, LEST YOU DASH YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.' "
Luk 4:12  And Jesus answered and said to him, "It has been said, 'YOU SHALL NOT TEMPT THE LORD YOUR GOD.' "

The reference that Satan used to test Jesus can be found in Psalm 91, so this is where we will focus for the remainder of the message to help guide us through the gauntlet of whom to obey and when.

Psalms 91:1 Psalms 91:1He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
American King James Version×
 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalms 91:2 Psalms 91:2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
American King James Version×
 I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust."
Psalms 91:3 Psalms 91:3Surely he shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
American King James Version×
 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence.
Psalms 91:4 Psalms 91:4He shall cover you with his feathers, and under his wings shall you trust: his truth shall be your shield and buckler.
American King James Version×
 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

Verses 3-4 explain what that “secret place” is, but we also see it referenced in Psalm 31.

Psalms 31:19 Psalms 31:19Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you; which you have worked for them that trust in you before the sons of men!
American King James Version×
 Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!
Psalms 31:20 Psalms 31:20You shall hide them in the secret of your presence from the pride of man: you shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
American King James Version×
 You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion From the strife of tongues.

So the place that is secret is actually God’s presence in our lives. It’s secret because those who do not know God don’t recognize His presence.

Matthew 23:37 Matthew 23:37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
American King James Version×
 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

In the case of Judah, during Jesus’ first coming, we even see that God desired NOT to be a secret to His people, but, alas, His people did not actually desire to know Him.

Continuing in Psalms 91:5-12 Psalms 91:5-12 [5] You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; [6] Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. [7] A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. [8] Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked. [9] Because you have made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation; [10] There shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling. [11] For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. [12] They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
American King James Version×

Psalms 91:5 Psalms 91:5You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day;
American King James Version×
 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Psalms 91:6 Psalms 91:6Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday.
American King James Version×
 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. (continued…)
Psalms 91:7 Psalms 91:7A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
American King James Version×
 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.
Psalms 91:8 Psalms 91:8Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked.
American King James Version×
 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
Psalms 91:9 Psalms 91:9Because you have made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation;
American King James Version×
 Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
Psalms 91:10 Psalms 91:10There shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
American King James Version×
 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
Psalms 91:11 Psalms 91:11For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
American King James Version×
 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.
Psalms 91:12 Psalms 91:12They shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
American King James Version×
 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Verses 11-12 were the verses Satan used to make Jesus stumble, but why would Jesus stumble if he proved to Satan His Father would protect Him if he intentionally jumped? To jump off of a cliff would be to willfully put yourself in harm’s way, and then only for the sake of “proving” or “testing” God’s promise, but in the whole of Psalm 91, we see that the context is to protect us from things we have no control over for protecting ourselves.

Psalms 91:13 Psalms 91:13You shall tread on the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shall you trample under feet.
American King James Version×
 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
Psalms 91:14 Psalms 91:14Because he has set his love on me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name.
American King James Version×
 "Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
Psalms 91:15 Psalms 91:15He shall call on me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.
American King James Version×
 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.
Psalms 91:16 Psalms 91:16With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.
American King James Version×
 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation."

So, these past several months have been confusing and frustrating on many levels, but what we must do in such times is remember to obey those in authority over us while continuing to obey God. In obeying God, even if we have to defy, respectfully, the authorities who might cause us to disobey God. God promises to protect us.

I don’t know if you’ve been following the story about John MacArthur and his congregation in California, but a judge just ruled they have a right to assemble, no matter what the governor  rules otherwise. That church, which has followed every other rule of the state, drew a line where they believed the governor would cause them to transgress against God. They put themselves in harm’s way. They took a risk of being fined and shut down.

Psalms 103:13 Psalms 103:13Like as a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.
American King James Version×
 The LORD is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
Psalms 103:14 Psalms 103:14For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
American King James Version×
 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.
Psalms 103:15 Psalms 103:15As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
American King James Version×
 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
Psalms 103:16 Psalms 103:16For the wind passes over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
American King James Version×
 The wind blows, and we are gone—as though we had never been here.
Psalms 103:17 Psalms 103:17But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on them that fear him, and his righteousness to children's children;
American King James Version×
 But the love of the LORD remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children
Psalms 103:18 Psalms 103:18To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.
American King James Version×
 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!