THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Psalms: Living By Faith In God
XLVI. Relying On Our Timeless Sure Defense
Introduction: (To show the need . . .)
The temptation exists for many people to feel very vulnerable to harm right now:
(1) The day after the midterm elections, I heard a radio talk show host claim that the demographics of our state and nation have changed so quickly and greatly in favor of progressives that he had no more hope for the country!
(2) In reality, in the popular vote, Republicans reportedly had 6 million more votes than Democrats, but the world’s leaders have clearly shifted to the oppressive left. Take, for example the climate change issue: (a) “A recent study published in The Lancet . . . showed that nearly 60 percent of the 10,000 teens and young people surveyed were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ worried about climate change. Forty-five percent said their feelings about climate challenges negatively affected their lives and 75 percent said the future was frightening to them.” (Wayne Kalyn, “Do You Have Climate Anxiety?” Parade, November 13, 2022, p. 27) (b) In addition, “(e)arth’s warming weather and rising seas are getting worse and doing so faster than before, the World Meteorological Organization warned . . . as world leaders started gathering for international climate negotiations” in Egypt. (Seth Borenstein, “U. N. weather report: Climate woes bad and getting worse faster,” Republican-American, November 7, 2022, p. 4B) (b) However, David M. Simon in his piece, “Who are the real climate science deniers?” (Ibid., November 3, 2022, p. 8A) reported that “these are the facts from an Environmental Protection Agency report updated on August 1, 2022: ‘When averaged over all of the world’s oceans, absolute sea level has risen at an average rate of 0.06 inches per year from 1880 to 2013,’ including a slightly increased rate since 1993 of ‘0.12 to 0.14 inches per year.’ The recent increased rate is only a single foot in 84 to 96 years.” Also, “The University of Oxford has presented data from . . . The International Disaster Database that shows that since 1920, even as world population has quadrupled and the earth has warmed, the number of people killed each year by natural disasters has declined by over 90 percent.” (Ibid.) Still, the gathering in Egypt chose “to formally discuss (sic) the question of vulnerable nations receiving money [from wealthy nations] for the loss and damage they’ve suffered from climate change.” (AP, “World in Crisis a grim backdrop for U. N. talks,” Ibid., November 7, 2022, p. 4B) If we add that God in Genesis 8:22 promised to keep the earth’s climate habitable for man for the duration of the earth’s existence, there is no valid reason for reparations to any nation over climate variations!
(3) Our state ballot proposal that favored early voting was passed in the recent midterm elections, but it’s an ongoing concern: The editorial, “Early voting” (Ibid., November 2, 2022, p. 6A) claimed, “Early voting would short-circuit . . . democracy, allowing people to cast votes without the requisite knowledge to make an informed decision.” For example, “a recent debate performance revealed that (Lt. Gov. John Fetterman) is dealing with a debilitating cognitive impairment and should be focused on recovery, not trying to decide national policy. But by the time the debate occurred, about 9 million Pennsylvanians had already cast early votes.” (Ibid.)
Need: So, we ask, “How does God call us to handle the temptation to feel vulnerable to harm in today’s world?!”
I. The psalmist declared that God was Israel’s Sure Defense at all times, Psalm 46:1-3 NIV:
A. He claimed that God was Israel’s Refuge and Strength, always an abundant Help in trouble, Psalm 46:1.
B. Thus, Israel had no cause to fear “whatever happens,” Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, ftn. to Psalm 46:2-3.
II. However, though the psalmist added that Israel’s capitol of Jerusalem was secure by God’s care at the time, the city’s security depended on the nation’s obedience to the Mosaic Law, Psalm 46:4-7 NIV et al.:
A. The psalmist claimed that Jerusalem was God’s abode, what gave the city security, Psalm 46:4-5. If Gentiles attacked Jerusalem, they would fall, for God was in the city and would be its Fortress, Psalm 46:6-7 NIV.
B. However, that protection depended on Israel’s obedience to the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 28:1-7): If she sinned, God would remove His protection (Deuteronomy 28:15, 25).
III. Still, God would eventually destroy Israel’s enemies and give her peace to His glory, Psalm 46:8-11:
A. The psalmist praised God for His eventual final worldwide destruction of Israel’s enemies, Psalm 46:8-9.
B. Israel was thus to “Be still” (KJV), i. e., “do nothing, be quiet (raphah, B. D. B., A Heb. and Eng. Lex. of the O. T., p. 951-952), not to fret if threatened but rely on God to deliver her in exalting Himself, Psalm 46:10.
IV. The psalmist concluded that the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel’s ancestor Jacob who once returned to the Holy Land only to be met by his estranged brother Esau who rode toward him with 400 threatening horsemen (Genesis 32:1-33:4) was with them as their Refuge like He had been with Jacob, Psalm 46:11.
Lesson: God was Israel’s Sure Defense at all times, and He would keep Jerusalem secure if His people obeyed Him. However, God would eventually destroy all of His people’s foes that they might dwell in peace to His glory.
Application: (1) May we trust in Christ Who died as our Atoning Sacrifice for sin that we might receive God's gift of eternal life, John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11. (2) May we trust God to be our Sure Defense at all times and to deliver us from all threats in eternity. (3) Meanwhile, since in the Church era God protects us so that we might fulfill His calling for us (2 Timothy 4:6-7, 16-18), may we commit ourselves to fulfilling His assignments.
Conclusion: (To illustrate the message and provide additional guidance . . .)
We view God’s will on handling the issues in our introduction that we might address them with His blessing:
(1) On the dismay many voters have experienced over the elections, (a) by way of review, we are witnessing the pretribulational “mini-Great Tribulation” that was foretold in Revelation 3:21, and God’s assigned will as implied in Revelation 7:17 with 3:21 is that we believers in churches where Scripture is taught might minister God’s nurturing Word to people who are disillusioned by oppressive leaders who are full of intrigue in the religious-government-business complex. (b) Then, for our own edification as believers in Christ, since “worldliness” is a major critique that Christ prophetically made about today’s evangelicals in Revelation 3:17b KJV (“miserable,” cf. 1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV), we believers in Christ need to heed 1 John 2:15-17 (as follows): (i) The midterm election results were allowed of the Lord to serve as a “wake-up” call especially for us believers to “stop loving” (agapate, present imperative of agapao with the negative particle me, signifying a command to cease a current action; U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1966, p. 815; Wm. D. Mounce, The Analyt. Lex. to the Grk. N. T., 1993, p. 48) the present world system and its lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of this life, 1 John 2:16! (ii) This present world, as steeped in unnerving evil as it is, is nevertheless “being made to pass away” (paragetai, the present passive of parago, Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T., p. 816; Ibid., Mounce, p. 351) by God or by the self-destructive nature of the world’s own evil, so it is foolish for us believers to love this world! (iii) On the other hand, a believer who is in the process of “fulfilling” (poion, present active participle of poieo, “make, fulfill,” Ibid., U. B. S. Grk. N. T.; Ibid., Mounce, p. 382, 381) God’s assigned will for his life and ministry is in the process of “remaining” (menei, present active from meno, U. B. S. Grk. N. T.; Ibid., Mounce, p. 314) into eternity, 1 John 2:17. In other words, sticking to God’s assignments for us in our lives and ministries will bear eternal fruit long after this godless world has passed away, regardless how imposing or established the evil world system may seem now! We believers should thus respond to the spiritual darkness we see not by becoming dismayed over it, but by ceasing to love this world and instead to devote ourselves to fulfill God’s assignments, what will last throughout eternity long after the world has passed away! (c) If we wonder what is God’s personal assignment, (i) He calls us to live righteous lives (1 Peter 1:13-16) (ii) in obeying Scripture (1 Peter 2:1-3) and (iii) using the spiritual gift for spiritual service that God gave us at salvation (1 Peter 4:10-11; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11) to edify others in the local church body (Ephesians 4:11-16). (iv) If we wonder which spiritual gift we have, lists of the gifts appear in Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; and Ephesians 4:11. (Ibid., Ryrie, p. 1845) Keep in mind that the “sign” gifts of the Early Church have ceased to exist, meaning that we will not have any of those spiritual gifts, and those “sign” gifts include apostles, prophets, miracle workers, healing, speaking in tongues and interpreting tongues. (See our Church Bylaws, Article III, Section 11: “Spiritual Gifts.”)
(2) On climate change reparations to poor nations, if they are ever implemented, raising our taxes, (a) we must trust God to help us no matter what world leaders do (Hebrews 13:5-6) (b) and work independently to avoid material need and have a good testimony (1 Thessalonians 2:11-12; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). (c) Financial guru Suze Orman claims that the government is doing nothing to fix the shrinking Social Security System fund, that we should not rely on Social Security as a retirement safety net but save ourselves! (Serah Louis, “‘The only people that are going to save us, is us,’: Suze Orman says Social Security is in trouble – here’s what to do before your retire,” November 11, 1011; finance.yahoo.com) To this end, Scripture’s directives in “(2, b)” just above apply along with retaining income streams by investing in business endeavors, Ecclesiastes 11:1-6. [This goes even for volatile markets: Robert L. Bloch (“Warren Buffett’s 5 Secrets for Mastering the Chaos in the Market,” Bottom Line Personal, October 15, 2022, p. 1-3) noted that the great investor Warren Buffett “regards falling [stock] prices as long-term bargains, not short-term losses,” he has great “patience” in investing, he “doesn’t time the stock market,” he is “bold” in investing and he has an “unwavering belief in” the market’s dynamics so as to keep on investing – just what Ecclesiastes 11:1-6 directs!]
(3) On early voting, Daniel 2:40-44 predicted that decay would occur in Western Civilizations, so we should expect it to occur and minister instead for Christ’s coming Millennial Kingdom, Matthew 13:51-52 with 13:37-43.
May we trust in Christ Who died as our Atoning Sacrifice for sin that we might receive God’s gift of eternal life. May we rely on God as our ever-present Fortress and focus on His assignments for us for blessing.