The Secret Place
Don't let Satan's half truths snare you. They are merely lies mixed with a little logic. Dwell with God and He will keep you safe in any situation.
Hello, radio friends. How in the world are you? Are you doing Alright? This is your good friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. I consider every broadcast a God-given opportunity to share the Word with you. I never take for granted the fact that yours truly is on the air, and that we have this ministry. It’s a precious gift of God, and I’m thankful for that and I’m thankful for you. Thanks for being there. If you weren’t there, wouldn’t be anybody there. [chuckle] It’s nice to get together around the Word of God.
Look at Psalm 91, that’s what we’re studying in these days. Last time we got together, we talked about dwelling in the secret place of the most high, being at home with God and having God be at home in your heart. “If any man love me, he will keep,” that means obey, “My Word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to Him and make our abode with Him.” God, at home, in your heart. And as a result, it says, “You’ll abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” God’s presence in any situation is all you need. You wanna remember that? God’s presence in any situation is all you need. He’ll see you through. He will cover you. He will protect you. He will make you a victor instead of a victim. Hallelujah for that.
Now, he says, “I’ll say of the Lord,” this is verse two. “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God.” This is a review as well. You start with God, my God, and as a result He becomes your refuge, a place where you hide when you can’t defend yourself, and He becomes your fortress, a place where you resist all attacks successfully and become the victor. God is all you need. Now, in verse three, “Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. And He’ll cover thee with His feathers. Under His wings shalt thou trust. His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in the darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, my refuge, even the most high, thy habitation.” My, what wonderful promises you have there.
Well, let’s go at it and see what it says. “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler.” Now, the Bible speaks of snares, almost always as reference to satanic temptation to evil. “The snare of the devil,” you read in Paul’s writings. The snare of the devil. What is it? It’s a trap you set for a bird. You set a snare for a bird. You wanna catch a bird, a wild bird. You set a snare. You set a trap. And there you have the picture language once again. Satan is depicted in a number of ways. He’s depicted as “a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” And he’s shown in the New Testament as an evil personage that has many devices. “We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices.” And he’s shown in terms of one who’s taking captives, “Those who are taken captive by Satan at his will.” But here you have the idea of a trap that’s laid. How many times the unwary person has walked into the trap that Satan has laid for them, and then looking back they say ruefully, “Oh, if I had only known where this would lead.”
The Devil’s propositions are always reasonable. This started in the Garden of Eden, “Ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as God, knowing good and evil,” he said to Adam and to Eve. Now there’s a lie bolstered by half a truth. “Ye shall not surely die,” that’s a lie. Because, “Death entered in as by one man’s sin entered into the world, and death by sin,” said Paul. “And so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.” Yes, we do die. “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after that the judgment,” the writer to the Hebrews proclaims. That was a lie, wasn’t it? “Ye shall not surely die,” he was telling a lie there. But he bolstered it with a half truth, “For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, ye shall be as God.” And that was a half truth because who can be just like God. “Knowing good and evil,” now, that part is true.
And so the traps that Satan sets for you always have a little logic to them, but they’re always traps. To a mouse, cheese is always cheese. That’s why a mousetrap is successful. You and I need to be guided, and to be guarded, and to be delivered from Satan’s snare. “He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler.” A good many years ago I was praying over a number of different job situations. I had, I think, five openings at the time, five propositions given to me concerning different work that I might do. And one particularly was attractive to me. It was attractive, number one, because it offered a good salary. Number two, because I wouldn’t have to move from where I was then living. Number three, because it would give me opportunity to speak to the public and continue ministering as I would.
It seemed logical and I kinda liked the idea. It also involved some political activity, and I thought about that, but I thought, “Oh, well. A citizen ought to certainly be interested in politics anyway. A Christian citizen probably ought to have that kind of an interest.” I tended to shrug off that part of it so far as any deep consideration of it was concerned, so that I was disposed to think seriously about it. Really, I was. It had all the elements that I was seeking. It was logical. Well, I went to see my good friend Dr. Culbertson, who at that time was president of the Moody Bible Institute, a dear friend of mine through many years. He was a bishop in the Reformed Episcopal Church. We always called him ‘Bishop,’ or some very close friends shortened ‘Bishop’ to ‘Bish.’ [chuckle] I never went that far. I always called him Dr. Culbertson.
But anyhow, I went to see him. He welcomed me warmly, as he always did. I sat down, I said, “You know, Doctor, I’ve got a number of opportunities and I’m just seeking the Lord as to which way to go. Would you mind just sort of thinking out loud with me about them?” “Oh, no,” he said. “What are they?” I laid them out. And I said, “This one here is the one that, I wish I knew for sure that was Alright, ’cause I like the idea.” And I told him then about that particular job opening, that it didn’t involve moving, and it had a good salary, and it would allow me to have some public ministry, although being political in nature. Well, he looked at me and he said, “You know what? It certainly is attractive.” But he said, “Just to be honest with you, I have a hard time envisioning Bob Cook doing that sort of thing.” He smiled and that was the end of that part of the conversation.
And that stuck in my memory and I turned the man down who was offering me the job. He got greatly offended and hasn’t spoken to me since. [chuckle] He doesn’t know what a nice guy I am, right? [chuckle] But I’ve thanked God many a time that I was delivered from what would obviously have been a snare to me. It would’ve been a side road. It would’ve been a detour. It would’ve gotten me off the main line. God had other plans for me and it wasn’t very long after that that I found myself moving toward the college where I served as president for 23 years. Listen, dear friend, you stay close to God, He’ll keep you from the snares. You won’t fall into the traps. You can’t always identify them. That foot soldier slogging through the jungle in Vietnam couldn’t always be sure where the claymore mine was. That’s the way life is.
But oh, how you and I need to be protected by a God who does know where the traps are. He does know where the land mines are. He does know where the explosive situations lie, and He will keep you from them. Pray your way through the day. Oh, how often I’ve told my young people that. Pray your way through the day. Pray before you answer the phone. Pray before you open a letter. Pray before you answer it, surely. Pray before you make a decision. Pray before you go on a date. Pray your way through the day, and God will protect you. “He shall deliver thee,” it says. Not just give you advice. Oftentimes, what I needed was not to be given advice, but to be delivered. “Lord, get me out of this.” He’ll deliver you from the snare of the fowler. Thank God for the delivering power of God. Amen.
Well, back to the text. “He’ll deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence.” Now, what is pestilence? That’s infection. That’s disease. That’s the bubonic plague. The sort of thing that comes upon you and you can’t protect yourself from it. Now, the word is ‘deliver.’ “He’ll deliver you from the noisome pestilence.” God can keep you in the midst of dangerous situations. He can keep you, and He can deliver you, and He will. God is able to do, Paul says in Ephesians 3:20, “Exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us. The Lord knoweth how to deliver the righteous from temptation.” He can deliver you from the infection of a sinful world. All you need to do to be infected by the world’s culture is to do nothing.
Stop praying and stop reading your Bible, and stop seeking God and just go on living, and you will be infected with the world’s culture, I guarantee you. We call it ‘acculturation.’ That’s a long word, meaning you get filled up with the culture and the beliefs of the world around you. He’s gonna deliver you if you stay close to Him. He’ll deliver you from the noisome pestilence. He’ll deliver you from the sickness of soul that comes when you neglect God. Stay close to God and let Him be at home in your heart and let your life be one that’s devoted to obeying Him, and He will keep you safe. Great truth, isn’t it? Oh, I love this Psalm. We’ll get back to the next verse the next time we get together.
Dear Father, today help us to stay close to Thee in love, in obedience, and in absolute commitment. Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, I pray, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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