“God Is Our Refuge and Strength”
In this message from Psalm 46, Pastor Bill Slabaugh shows us how to lay hold of the sufficiency we have in God who is our refuge and our strength—even if we panic. This is the audio podcast of the live-stream of the worship service of Grace Baptist Church in Emmett, Idaho. The live-stream audio quality was poor but you can hear the message clearly here.
Psalm 56: “I Shall not Be Afraid – Grateful Trust in God”
This message is part of our first live-stream worship service from Grace Baptist Church in Emmett, Idaho. Like thousands of other churches around the world, we live-streamed our worship service to the homes of the members of our congregation and to others around the world. God has provided wonderful technology to help connect and minister to one another during the Corona Virus pandemic.
From Psalm 56, we learn that God has given us two spiritual tools to handle very difficult and fearful things like the Corona Virus. The first spiritual tool to deal with our fears is prayer. And the second tool is to trust God and His Word.
As I am writing this, the White House just announced that they are recommending that no groups meet that are larger than 10 people and that all restaurants and bars are to be closed. It’s a nationwide ban. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are not exempt from the Corona Virus epidemic and it’s far reaching effects. But the Bible teaches that as believers we are “overcomers.” So how do we overcome? What does victory look like? And most importantly, what was the Apostle Paul’s aim when he was horribly mistreated and suffered physically? Our aim should be the same, “that Christ be exalted in our bodies” (cf. Philippians 1:20).
Several years ago, a missionary was sitting at her second-story window when she was handed a letter from home. As she opened the letter, a crisp, new, ten-dollar bill fell out. She was pleasantly surprised, but as she read the letter her eyes were distracted by the movement of a shabbily dressed stranger down below. He was leaning against a post in front of the building.
She couldn’t get him off her mind. Thinking that he might be in greater financial stress than she, she slipped the bill into an envelope on which she quickly penned, “Don’t despair” and she threw it out the window. The stranger below picked it up, read it, looked up, and smiled as he tipped his hat and went his way.
The next day she was about to leave the house when a knock came at the door. She found the same shabbily dressed man smiling as he handed her a roll of bills. When she asked what they were for, he replied, “That’s the sixty bucks you won, lady. Don’t Despair paid five to one.”
Swindoll, Charles R.. The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart (Swindoll Leadership Library) (p. 274). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
What shall I render to the LORD
For all His benefits toward me?
The word translated “render” means to repay or give back. “What can I can give back to God for everything He has done for me?” And what the Psalmist is saying is, “I can’t think of thing one that would be equal to what He has done for me.” Fortunately God doesn’t expect us to return in equal.
So motivated by all God’s benefits toward him, the Psalmist says, “OK, this is what I will do:”
I shall lift up the cup of salvation
And call upon the name of the LORD.
I shall pay my vows to the LORD,
Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.While I was giving this message on a Sunday Morning, I gave the people in the congregation the opportunity to share what God had done for them—to testify in the presence of God’s people and to vocally express His benefits toward them. Before you listen to the message, take some time to recount what God has done for you.
While in the Upper Room with His disciples the Lord Jesus told them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
The old commandment was to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Whatever we do for ourselves in meeting our own needs, we are to do for others. But in giving the new commandment, Jesus raised the bar big time. It doesn’t make the old commandment null and void, but we are love one another as Jesus loved us. In a word, we are to love others “sacrificially.” The supreme demonstration of Jesus’ love was when He went to the cross and bore God’s wrath on our behalf.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).