SERMON SUMMARY: We are taught from a young age that the world is a dangerous place and we need somewhere to run to for safety. A house of sticks or straw won’t do; we need a strong house to save us. Throughout the Psalms, God is called a refuge and a fortress. The Psalmists take comfort in knowing that God is their home. But what does that mean? Come join us this Sunday as we look at the well-loved Psalm 91 and kick off a short series on the Psalms.
In the Book of Psalms there is profit for all, with healing power for our salvation…All who read it may find the cure for their own individual failings. All with eyes to see can discover in it a complete gymnasium for the soul, a stadium for all the virtues, equipped for every kind of exercise.
—St. Ambrose of Milan
I have been accustomed to call this book [of Psalms], I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which anyone can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
CONFESSION OF SIN: The Psalms teach us the way we should live; they tune our hearts to sing God’s praise and to trust in him. But our sinful nature is like an “Anti-Psalm” which tunes our hearts to trust in ourselves and the idols we have made. This month we are going to confess our default setting using the words of Anti-Psalms written from the words of our sermon text; these words show the contrast between worship and idolatry.
God, you promise to be a refuge to those who are weary and heavy laden.
Yet because of my sin I falsely believe I am homeless in a harsh land.
I dwell in the shelter that I build with my own two hands;
I abide in the shadow of my latest achievement.
I say to my career, my status, and my savings,
“You are my refuge and my fortress; I will trust no one else.”
And I acts as though For they will deliver me from insignificance, from loneliness, from the ravages of age, from insecurity.
I lie awake at night preparing for the terror that may come to me; when morning comes I will carry my anxieties into every waking thought.
I falsely believe that Every disaster, every disease, every deception must be accounted for;
I can abide no vulnerability. I cannot rest until I have made a plan for my defense.
If I can’t save myself, I will live in shame the rest of my days. I will get what I deserve. I must build my own legacy or be forgotten.
We have believed and been formed by lies, Father. Confirm us in the truth of your gospel and conform us to the image of your Son. Use this confession and the songs that we sing to do so, amen.
SONG TO CONSIDER:
Restore us, O Lord
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping
Will go out with songs of joy
The nations will sing songs of joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord