Summary: Life often shakes us to the core; but, in the presence of God we stand secure.
Psalm 46 / A Safe Place
Intro: Do you remember a few weeks ago when we had a minor earthquake here in Kentucky? That set me to thinking about earthquakes. The problem with an earthquake is there is nowhere to go to get away from it once it has started. The biggest earthquake on record hit Chile on May 22, 1960 measuring 9.5 on the Richter Scale. The biggest quake to hit the U.S. was recorded in Alaska on March 28, 1964 and measured 9.2 on the Richter Scale. 2nd largest. Quakes that shake people up. They unnerve us. They cause fear and panic.
I. Earthquakes are not the only kind of quakes that shake us up.
A. Dr. Thomas Holmes did some research into human stress. He published what is called the “stress test.” (SermonCentral – Quakes That Shake by Steve Shepherd) Here is a list of some the “quakes” that shake up our lives:
The death of a spouse – major quake
Divorce – major quake
Death of a family member
Getting fired from your job
Death of a close friend
Change in job
B. How do we respond to stresses that mess with our hearts and heads? Some people get angry. Others become cynical. Some get down and depressed. Others run away. But smart people run to the Lord.
C. Psalm 46: 1 – 2 This scripture does not need to be interpreted. It needs to be trusted, believed in, counted on and made the center of our lives. God is all-powerful, all-wise, all-holy, and all-loving. God is our refuge and strength whether we realize it or not. He protects us from evil, keeps us safe, provides for us in every situation .
II. I watch the game show “Survivor.” I think it is a microcosm of the way our world is today. People lie and connive. They get rid of those people who are a threat. The “survivor” is awarded a prize of $1 million.
A. We all want to live in a calm and peaceful place. But the devil likes to stir the pot and give us trouble. The enemies of the Christian and the church are many. There is constant danger to our families and children. Sometimes there is even danger in the church. Every day there is the potential for what the Psalmist describes: Psalm 46: 2 - 3
B. There are no guarantees in this world about anything. As often as the weather changes, so can our fortunes in life. Things go wrong, people try to find security in all the wrong places: financial consultant, marriage counselor, money, knowing the right people. If we just roll up our sleeves and work a little harder things will be okay. It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to find earthly solutions to spiritual problems.
C. Psalm 46: 4 – 7 You are the “city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” God’s word tells you that Christ Jesus did it all for us. Because of him, we will survive through every period of danger and every difficulty.
III. If you are always in survival mode, fighting against temptation, sin, and the dangers all around you, you may be looking for deliverance.
A. Psalm 46: 8 – 10 “Be still” / “Relax” / stop fighting it so hard! Quit struggling against life. “Know that I am God.” / remember that God is God. God reigns. Trust God to see you through the problems you face.
B. Jesus knew our tendency to fear and be restless; he spoke powerful words in John 14:1 “Let not your hearts be trouble; believe in God, believe also in Me.” --- John 14: 27 – “ Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be trouble, neither let them be afraid.”
C. Last week the choir sang a beautiful anthem – “It Is Well With My Soul.” --- It was written by a Presbyterian by the name of Horatio G. Spafford: Born in N. Troy, NY on Oct 20, 1828. Law practice in Chicago. Described as, “A man of unusual intelligence and refinement, deeply spiritual, and a devoted student of the Scriptures.”(“It Is Well With My Soul by David Rigg, SermonCentral.com) – OCT 9, 1871 Great Chicago Fire. / 4 daughters and wife – French steamer, Ville de Havre. – Nov 22, 1873 sank. 47 survived – telegram “Saved Alone”- Spafford left immediately for Cardiff, Wales. Wrote this hymn.
Conclu: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrow like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.”