Thursday, June 11, 2015

LIVING WITHIN THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY


Psalm 91:1-9

I invite you to look with me at Psalm 91.  I suggest that you read the entire Psalm yourself. For our purposes, we will look at the first 9 verses.

The gods of the ancient world were concerned with powerful people, not unlike our world today. You know those people: the wealthy, the intellectual, the gorgeous, the great athletes, and cunning warriors. The remaining members of society just served as a backdrop, so to speak, for the schemes of the mighty and powerful, and the deities. That is not true for the God portrayed in the Bible. Our God is one who, not only is interested in his creation personally, but also loves them infinitely. Psalm 91 is a reminder of that.


According to the great commentator, Matthew Henry, verses 1-9 remind all of us that those who live a life of communion with God are constantly safe under His protection and may have security of mind at all times. I don’t have to remind you widows that you find yourselves so vulnerable at times without the protection of your husbands…not just physical protection, but protection from scams and being over charged, to name two. I think these verses have special meaning to you.


"The Widow of Zaraphath"
I couldn’t help but think of some of the widows in the Bible and how God’s protection was there for them. The first one who comes to mind is the ‘”widow of Zaraphath.”  Her story is recorded in I Kings 17. We know that the drought in Israel affected many women. Have you ever wondered why God sent the prophet to her? I suggest it was because of His concern for her as a widow. Psalm 68 reminds us that God is a defender of widows. She, as well as her child, would have died without divine intervention. She appears to be without family or anyone to whom she could turn. Do you ever feel like that? Remember that if your trust is in God and you are abiding in Him, nothing can happen to you without His permission.

Naomi & Ruth
Two other Old Testament widows who experienced God’s protection and guidance were Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth After her husband and two sons had died, Naomi was left in a foreign land grief stricken and destitute – and not just a little bit angry with God. But, she was God’s child and His love for her was not diminished by her anger and frustration. Think of that long trip back to Israel she took, along with Ruth. They were vulnerable to wild animals, robbers, and unsavory males. Yet, their ever loving and watchful God protected them the whole journey and lead them safely to Bethlehem. Once there, God lead the young widow Ruth to the fields of Boaz who just happened to be a relative of Naomi and became her kinsman redeemer in the tradition of that time. God was working on behalf of these two widows in all of these things. Ruth’s declaration that Naomi’s god would be her god was the best decision of her life. No two women were in a more desperate situation upon arriving back in Bethlehem. Yet, verse four of this Psalm uses the metaphor for God as that of a hen who lovingly gathers her chicks under her wing to keep them safe. And that is just what God did for these two widows. Matthew Henry states that by natural instinct the hen not only protects them, but calls them under that protection when she sees them in danger, not only keeping them safe, but cherishing them and keeping them warm. What a beautiful picture of the personal, loving, caring God that is spoken of in this Psalm. You may sometimes feel as helpless as a chick and easy prey for life’s predators, but you are invited to trust under the shadow of the wings of the great God of the universe. He’s just that caring of you precious widows.

With so much happening in our culture and in the world at large, it easy for one to worry about dangers of all sorts. Verse 5 centers on things that may be a cause for concern:


·       You don’t need to fear the nighttime
·       You don’t need to fear what could happen to you during the daytime
·       You don’t have to worry about sicknesses
·       You don’t have to worry about world calamities or disasters
·       You don’t have to fear wars


The best part of that section states that the reason you don’t have to be overly concerned even though you are living alone is because GOD IS YOUR REFUGE!

Just as the widow of Zaraphath obeyed the request of the prophet Elijah, and Naomi and Ruth put their trust in the God of Israel, so you must decide to make God your refuge, you must converse with Him, and be “at home” with Him.  The Psalmist says, “I choose the God above all gods to shelter me.” These promises in Psalm 91 are sure to all who do so and you can know that no evil will befall you. You may have to go through some sufferings and trouble, but our loving God allows that for your good and He will go with you and see you safely and lovingly through them.

Think upon the words of this Psalm and choose to trust your entire life to the God of the Bible who loves you more than you can ever know. Next week we’ll look at the rest of this Psalm.                  
                                                           
Message by Shari Hervold
Next week's message:  Living UNDER the Shadow of the Almighty
Psalm 91: 9-16
                                                                              
                                       


Just click on the center of the picture and enjoy Josh Groban - Eagles Wings 
God Bless!


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