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Security in an Insecure World

There are many things that make our world insecure. J. Tierney writes in the New York Times, “For most of the year, it is the duty of the press to scour the known universe looking for ways to ruin your day. The more fear, guilt or angst a news story induces, the better.” He goes on to write about 10 things that have been hyped and really are not things we should be worrying about. He writes about everything from carcinogenic cell phones, plastic bottles to disappearing ice in the Arctic. All of which has been proven to be hyped and exaggerated but of course no one has gone back to set the record straight.

We have to worry about the economy, terrorism, and now the World Health Organization has finally come up with a flu to warn us about. It’s not the bird flu we heard about a couple of years ago but this time it is swine flu. Although they haven’t used the word pandemic I expect it to be pulled out any day, dusted off and thrown into the media any day.

What’s a person supposed to do when in reality the world we live in can be turned upside down in a moment’s time?

How are we supposed to cope with the insecurity of living in an insecure world?

In 1937, the great Golden Gate Bridge was completed. It cost $77 million. It was built in two stages: the first slowly, and the second rapidly. In the first stage, twenty-three men fell to their death. And the work ground to a halt because fear paralyzed the workmen as helplessly they watched their companions plummeting from the structure to the water far below. Finally, an ingenious person thought, “There needs to be a security net.” So they put together, for $100,000, the largest net ever built and hung that net beneath the workmen. When phase two began, ten were saved who fell into that net. The work proceeded twenty-five percent faster until the job was done. The Psalmist addresses this in Psalm 1. In just six short verses we are given the secret of living God’s way as opposed to living without God in the center of our lives. 

 1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.
 
3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. 

 4 But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.

6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”
Psalm 1:1-6 NLT

Psalm 1 is anonymous. It is one of the “orphan psalms.” The theme is God’s Word and how it is to be loved, pondered, and obeyed by His people. It shows us God’s Word as the great safeguard against the philosophies of an ungodly world and culture. This Psalm belongs more to the category of “wisdom” rather to the hymns and prayers that make up most of the book. This psalm introduces the entire collection of psalms by describing the type of person who reads and uses them.
Today we are going to examine how we fit into this classic Psalm. I want you to be thinking about your life and where you are in relationship to your place in the descriptive words of this Psalm. 

1. The Picture of Security:   They are like. . .

3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

The writes describes those whose live is full of joy as being like a tree. Let’s quickly go through these descriptive phrases:

Vitality:  “. . . like trees.”

People who trust the Lord with their lives are like trees. They live and serve a purpose far beyond the giving of shade. They serve many functions, including providing food, shade, wildlife habitats, windbreaks and lumber. There is a vitality to a tree that is stable.

You and I will experience a vitality in our lives when we are planted in Christ.

Security:  “. . .like trees planted”

Like a tree planted and taking root our spiritual roots will run deep thus providing us a sense of security as we go deeper in our walk with Christ.

Capacity:  “. . .planted along the riverbank”

Trees planted along a riverbank will generally be healthier and have a better capacity for growth and strength than those growing away from a water source. Again you and I can have as much of God as we want.

How much do you want is the question?

Fertility: “. . .bearing fruit each season.”

This phrase speaks for itself and should serve as a reminder that we have been given a purpose by God. If we are spiritually healthy He will use us to bear fruit in the lives of other people.

16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.” John 15:16 NLT

Longevity: “. . .their leaves never wither.”

It is the promise of God and His word that we will never die. Our earthly bodies will slowly decline and pass away but we will be alive in spirit and living in eternity.

Prosperity:  “. . .and they prosper in all they do.”


2. The Plan for Security

 1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.

It is really important that some of us come to understand what it means to be a Christfollower or a Christian. If you want to know and experience a sense of security and peace about the present and your future I would encourage you to really evaluate your relationship with Christ.

Are you really a Christian? Have you really prayed and asked to be in a daily relationship with Christ?

Repentance: Have you repented for your sins. In other words have you asked forgiveness and followed it up with allowing God to change your lifestyle?

Repentance is a change of mind, heart and attitude. The Psalmist addresses and describes this in verse one and in the form of three descriptive phrases. Repentance brings joy that can only come from God.

a. Don’t follow the advice of the wicked.
b. Don’t stand around with sinners.
c. Don’t join in with the mockers.

KJV: Walking, Standing and Sitting 

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1:1 KJV

 1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.  2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. Psalm 1:1 NLT

Faith and Obedience:

By faith the person who finds joy and security will embrace the word will and way of the Lord. How do you know that His word and will and way are? You know because you are in communion with Him. In other words you have a daily God-focus to your life.

Communion:

2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. Psalm 1:2 NLT

We just spent time recently in our series on the spiritual disciplines teaching about mediating, reading the Bible and praying. You can get online and go back to the March 8, 09 sermon and read about what it means to spend time with God.

In his book Enjoying Intimacy with God, J. Oswald Sanders makes a piercing observation: "We are at this moment as close to God as we really choose to be. True, there are times when we would like to know a deeper intimacy, but when it comes to the point, we are not prepared to pay the price involved."

3. Do you Possess this Kind of Security?

There are people who will not hear or heed the word of God. They will pursue their own way of living. 

 4 But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. 5 They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly.

6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”
Psalm 1:4-6 NLT

Are you filled with joy today?

Are you living and experiencing God’s presence in your life or are you trying to make it through this life on your own?

An astronaut was asked, “How does it feel inside the space capsule or shuttle?” He replied, “It really makes you think, when everything is done according to the lowest bidder. It really makes you think.”

Are you living your life according to the lowest bid you can make? That is not Chrsitfollowing.

There is a life that you and I can live until God is in the midst of all we do. When that happens we become fully aware of His presence and we become useful the Kingdom of God on this earth.

A missionary on furlough told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan, "While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. It was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point. On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and begin my two day journey back to the hospital. Upon arriving at the city, two men were fighting, and one was seriously injured. I treated his injuries and told him about Jesus Christ. I then traveled two days, camped overnight, and arrived back home without incident. Two weeks later I repeated my journey. When I arrived back at the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me he knew I carried money and medicines. He said "Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs. But just as we were about to jump your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards!" At this I laughed and said that I certainly was all alone out in that jungle campsite. But the young man pressed the point, saying, "No Sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those 26 armed guards that we were afraid and left you alone." At this point in his message, a man in the audience jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked the exact day that incident happened. The missionary told him - and the man excitedly told THIS story - "On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here, and I was preparing to play golf. I was about to tee off when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Holy Spirit was SO STRONG, I called men to meet me here to pray for you. "If you were here with me that day to pray please stand up?" The men who met together to pray stood up. The missionary wasn’t really concerned with who they were - but he wept as he counted their number -You guessed it - there were 26!

You might want to write this down. Here is another way to look at this Psalm:

Look around you: Who are you being influenced by?
Look inside of you: Who are you becoming?
Look ahead: How will your life be judged?

 1How well God must like you— you don't hang out at Sin Saloon, you don't slink along Dead-End Road,  you don't go to Smart-Mouth College.

 2-3 Instead you thrill to GOD's Word,
      you chew on Scripture day and night.
   You're a tree replanted in Eden,
      bearing fresh fruit every month,
   Never dropping a leaf,
      always in blossom.

 4-5 You're not at all like the wicked,
      who are mere windblown dust—
   Without defense in court,
      unfit company for innocent people.

 6 GOD charts the road you take.
   The road they take is Skid Row.
Psalm 1:1-6, The Message

 



2009/04/26