Awareness Of God’s Presence
Awareness of God's presence comes from obedience to God's will.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doing Alright? Well, I trust so, bless your heart. I’m glad to be back with you. I feel fine, happy to be given the privilege of sharing the Word of God with you. For most of you it’s in the early morning hours, although some of you hear the broadcast in the afternoon and a few in the late evening or night hours as well. But for the most part, I like to get up early in the morning and realize that I feel just about the same way you feel when you yawn and stretch and say, “Oh boy, another day.” There’s one thing that’s sure, you don’t want somebody hollering at you that early in the day, do you? [laughter] I try. Oh, I’ve just been praying that God would put His love in my voice, His blessing and His truth and His power, but most of all His love. So many people are lonely and neglected and down and discouraged. And maybe something that the Lord may say through yours truly, will encourage your heart in these moments. That’s what I wanna do, I wanna put a handle on the Word of God, so that you can get hold of it for yourself. God bless you.
We’re looking at Psalm 91, for a little break in between book study– we finished the book of Mark. And I thought, “Well, lets look at a Psalm.” I love the Psalms, don’t you? The last time we got together, we were walking through the first three and a half verses of the Psalm, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high.” If you wanna find the secret place, you have to start obeying. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear, that means obey Him. “He that hath My words and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me and I will love him, my Father will love him, We will come unto him and make our abode with him.” Jesus said. The secret place of the Most High is the place of prayer and obedience. Then if you’re there, it says, “You’ll abide under the shadow of the Almighty, the presence, the real presence of God.” The awareness of God’s presence comes from obeying God’s will. You wanna mark that down as a sort of an axiom in your own mental notebook, something that is always true. The awareness of God’s presence comes from obedience to God’s will.
Notice how that works out in other scriptures, our Lord Jesus gave us, for instance, what we call the great commission, “Go ye into all the world and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I’ve commanded you.” That is a command, not an option, incidentally. Missionary work, the evangelization of our world is a command, not an option; we need to obey it. And when we do, then our blessed Lord says, “Lo, I am with you.”
Now, Paul says the same thing over in Philippians 4, “Those things you have heard, learned and seen and received in me, do.” That’s the action, that’s the obedience, “And the God of peace shall be with you.” See, the awareness of God’s presence follows obedience to God’s will. It’s a great truth and once you learn it, you never forget it and it revolutionizes your life. “God is my refuge. I flee to my Lord when I can’t defend myself. God is my fortress. He makes me able to stand against every attack. He’s my God. He’s the one I worship and thus in Him will I trust.”
Small thought here, the only thing or person worth trusting is that which has these three components: My refuge, what to do when you don’t have any strength. My fortress, what to do when you’re under attack. My God, who can you ultimately worship? That’s the one you can trust. That shows you immediately how far short all the other religions and cults of this world come, because they do not, ultimately, they do not provide these three basic ingredients of assurance that you have in that second verse. Then we were just beginning to discuss some of the things that God will do, “He’ll deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, from the noise and pestilence, He shall cover thee with his feathers under his wings, shalt thou trust.” Does God have the wings and feathers? No, of course not, this is metabolic language, highly figurative. But it gives you the truth in any case, “cover thee”. You have the picture of a furry hen settling down over its little chicks. Our Lord Jesus used that figure of speech as He was wailing, crying, actually a strong man crying over Jerusalem, “Oh Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered thee as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings and you would not?” Here you have the same figure of speech, under His wings shalt thou trust.
God’s presence, it starts with obedience, remember that now. The secret place, the awareness of God’s presence comes to those who obey Him. If you want to get real with God, start obeying what you know to be His will, right? When that happens, then He says, “Under his wings shalt thou trust.” To be comfortable with your life, knowing that you’re under the shelter of Almighty God. Now it says, “Under his wing shalt thou trust.” It doesn’t say fidget, it doesn’t say worry, it doesn’t say defend yourself, it says trust. Do you realize that you don’t have to defend yourself in this world? You don’t have to go through life trying to straighten other people out. All you have to do is to specialize in obeying your Lord and he takes care of the rest. Now somebody is arguing with me immediately and saying “Oh brother Cook you can’t mean that, you do have to stand up for your rights in this world, if I didn’t stand up for my rights people would walk all over me” Oh would they? And if they did, what would be the result?
Do you know that I’ve seen in my lifetime that lives have been changed by the action of a Christian who did not defend himself. OJ Smith, Doctor OJ Smith who’s now with the Lord, great missionary statesman and hero of the faith in our recent generation, just passed away recently. Founder of the People’s Church in Toronto, many of you know of him. He had a saying that fastened itself upon my own mind early on, many years ago. He said, “My rule has always been: No defence, No attack. I will never attack another brother or sister in criticism, and I will never defend myself.” And you know the Lord took care of that dear man through the years. He had some critics in the early days, especially as he began to emphasize world evangelization as the very reason for the local church. He used to say, “Every person in the world has more right to hear the gospel once, than anybody has to hear it twice. And the light that shines the farthest, shines the brightest nearer home.” These were some of his sayings, but he had a number of critics in the early days when he began to emphasize world evangelization, began to send out missionaries from that church there in Toronto.
Well, he followed his rule. No defense, no attack. God took care of him. And I’ve seen other people, I guess, and so have you, really, if you think about it, haven’t you? Who really just specialized in obeying what God told him to do and didn’t fight back, didn’t try to defend themselves, just specialized in obeying God, God takes care of it. Yes He does, “Under his wings shalt thou trust.” Would you learn that lesson today? And would you start applying it in everyday life? You don’t have to fight back, you don’t have to answer back, you don’t have to straighten things out. Some of us it seems carry as we say a chip on our shoulder and we’re ready to be offended by some chance utterance. Some racial slur. Some snub. Where people who are either better off or think they are, snub you and pass you by. And we’re ready to be offended by these things. Remember the Bible says, “Great peace have they that love thy law.” There’s obedience again, that, “Peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them.”
You see when you’re operating according to a higher rule, other things don’t seem to matter quite so much. You wanna think about that and apply it to your own life? “Under his wings shalt thou trust.” Not fight, not fidget, not worry, not stew, but trust. And it says, “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” “Oh, here we come into a battle language, and Cook you’ve just been telling us you didn’t have to fight back.” [chuckle] Well, there is a battle, but it’s not a battle for your own rights; it’s a battle for His truth. His truth, there’s the difference. You don’t have to defend yourself, what you do have to do is to obey God. And then it says, “His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” A shield is something with which you ward off the arrows and spear thrusts of those who come against you. A buckler has to do with armament that you wear. I suppose that you might say it would be the equivalent of our modern bulletproof vest, you know what that is. So you could put it that way, your shield and your bulletproof vest, somebody or something comes at you with the type of opposition that can even pierce your own feeble attempts to protect yourself. Alright, you’re wearing something that isn’t going to give in, the truth of God stands up under attack.
Oh by the way, you don’t have to defend the Bible all you have to do is proclaim it. I know there are those who feel as though it is their God-given duty to engage in polemics with other folk and argue about the Bible, and that’s Alright I’m not criticizing them. If that’s what God wants them to do so be it. But for the rest of us, you don’t have to go around defending God, all you have to do is proclaim His truth. His truth shall be thy shield. His truth shall be thy buckler. And Paul talks about the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Small thought here while we think of it, I mentioned Paul’s listing of the armament of the Christian as found there in Ephesians 6, you know there’s nothing for your back. There is no provision for the Christian to run away, only to face in to the conflict with the kind of ammunition that wins the battle.
God does not plan for you to fail; He plans for you to win. “Thanks be unto God,” says Paul in Corinthians 2:14. “Thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ and maketh manifest the Savior.” That’s our word fragrance, “The fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” Oh, today would you specialize in obeying God? And would you learn the secret of trusting the God who can take care of you? And would you realize that the battle is not for your rights but for God’s truth? And that the truth you proclaim is in itself the winning combination? Wonderful concepts that can revolutionize anybody’s life, yours that is, if you’ll apply it.
Dear Father, today, help us to be specialists in obeying God, I ask in Jesus’s name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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