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  Sunday Sermon - 4/7/02
 I Am Safe - Psalm 124:1-2

I Am Safe

"If it had not been the Lord who was on our side" (Psalm 124:1,2)

There is an attitude among us that goes something like this: "My appointment book (my planner) is filled, therefore I am!" It might be a "Palm Pilot" or some other device that gives you satisfaction or it may be your job you look to. Your reputation may be such that you are CONTENT in who you are. You may have a ministry, a marriage, or a mixture of factors that reflect back to you the message: "I'm OK! - I'm safe - nothing can happen to me!”

And you may be OK, at that. But if your completeness is only an outward thing, a mask that you wear even for yourself - watch out! For life can tear off that mask, at a time and in circumstances you least want it to happen. Actually, life WILL take off that mask - it's really just a question of WHEN that will occur.

David, the author of Psalm 124, was the shepherd boy who ended up a king He saw life from aspects only revealed to a few and is a man we should listen to, for he has much to say. The Lord is “on our side”, as David wrote. Life and people rise up against one another, but God is looking out for you. We must listen to Him and look out for each other.

Gloria Johnson tells a very interesting story about an incident involving a Bible study in her church. During that study, God “prompted” her to speak certain words, and she did. She asked, "Does somebody here need a hug?" No one answered, and they returned to the Bible study. The prompt came a second time. No answer again. A third time, and she was embarrassed, but this time, there was more. She was to walk around the table and hug a certain young man, which she did, after asking him to stand up.

Gloria gives WONDERFUL hugs. The recipient feels great from them, and it was so for this young man. Except that his body stiffened initially and he looked away from her. But she persisted, and he burst into tears. He had received a touch of God through the obedience of this woman who listened to her Lord.

Some time later, Gloria was attending an evening service and thought that she should look behind her. She did, and it was the same young man. He was looking downward, and the Lord spoke to her heart: "His pride is going to kill him." She prayed and tried to talk with him, but she continued, “he was a hard person to get through to.”

Two weeks later, the young man was found in an alley. His body was “like a throw-away doll”. His pride indeed had killed him. He won the battle for sovereignty in his life but lost the war. Notice that even though the young man kept his pride, God was “on his side” and at work on his behalf. How many others were praying for this young man, we do not know, but Gloria certainly was, and God reaches out through His people.

You may not agree that God "speaks" to people in this day and age, and that's fine. There are lots of people who would adopt that position and why not? There is always a danger that those who "hear" might not be hearing from the right source. The same Paul who said "Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and "Do not despise prophecies" (1 Thessalonians 5:20), also said "Test all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It should be mentioned that we've known Gloria for many years and can vouch for her – she loves the Lord. And if we listen to the one "side" of this issue, we should also look at the other.

My wife and I were watching the ice skating competition the other night and saw people from many countries in those events. There are always slight differences in appearance between people but I was struck by how similar they were, no matter what part of the world they came from. They attempted the same routines and were alike in many ways. The small differences actually accentuated the fact that all of them were just people. The judges were busy judging what they saw and the commentators were suggesting that those doing the judging were expressing bias in their decision, in favor of "their" countries. I was struck that all this was much like the body of Christ, the Church. We differ in small ways, but if we trust in Him, we eventually will learn to receive one another.

The ways we differ might not seem small to you.

Years ago, I was living in a tiny, dark apartment, because of circumstances that were uncomfortable for me at the time. It seemed like any hope for a "good" life was gone. I was lonely, and then I heard a voice coming through the wall. This was the wall connecting with the apartment to the south. The north side connected with the “rec room” of that trailer / apartment complex, and the sounds through the north wall, included phrases like "B-4, O-1" and so on. There were many elderly people there, and they played a lot of bingo.

The voice through the OTHER wall was a singing voice, a man's voice, and the music consisted of traditional Christian songs. I went next door, knocked, and met a gentleman in his 80's, named Orville Scobie. I listened to him and learned to love this man of God. He was a "snowbird", as they were called in Arizona (our home at the time). "Snowbirds" are elderly people who live in colder country (Minnesota, or wherever) during the summer and stay someplace in Arizona (often in a trailer) for the winter. Orville's wife had recently gone to be with the Lord and for the winter in question, this man from Alberta was my neighbor.

It became quickly apparent that Orville and I had MAJOR theological differences. I won't go into them but his belief structure crossed MANY of my doctrinal boundaries, and yet, as that year went on, I could not deny that Orville's love for our Lord Jesus Christ was genuine. If my faith was real, so was his. We learned to love one another.

"If it had not been the Lord who was on our side" (Psalm 124:1,2) we would have been at war with one another in a minute. But Orville and I were rescued from each another by the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, and in Him, “Our soul escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we have escaped; our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Psalm 124:7-8).

I do not know what happened to the soul of that young man. It is definite that God had made a way of peace for him through the cross of Jesus Christ. But what we do with that offer is our own choice. The Lord was the way of peace for Orville and me, and the same peace is King David’s, Gloria’s, and yours, if you want Him.

Father, we do want You. We reach out to You in the Name of Jesus Christ and say “yes” to You. We love You, Lord, and receive You - forever. Thank You. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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