FROM THE PRACTICAL TO THE SPIRITUAL (Part One)
INTRO: With the coronavirus as a threat to our health, we need to be practical about our conduct. We need to exercise prudence by washing our hands with ample soap frequently and by not sneezing on others. But the greatest and most important exercise is prayer.
I. FEAR OR OPPORTUNITY?
> Fear can harass us and cause us to be fearful.
- Fear itself can make us sick.
- We may lose sleep because we are afraid.
- People tend to fear the worst.
- Most of that which we fear will not happen.
> This is our opportunity!
- “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
- This is the time to let our light shine.
- This is our moment for the Lord.
- This is a perfect time to bring faith and not fear to others.
- God plants seeds when we speak to others.
- This is a perfect time to talk to others about the Lord; they are fearful.
- Those who have no faith should see the difference in us.
- This is a perfect opportunity to bring others to the Lord.
- It is also a perfect opportunity for us to get back to the Lord.
II. WE KNOW WHAT TO DO.
> In the practical, we know how to use appropriate hygiene practices.
- We know to wash our hands frequently.
- We know to cover our coughs and sneezes.
- We need to stay home when we are sick.
> In the spiritual, be in prayer.
- Be prayerful about protection.
- The Lord is our umbrella.
- The protective cover of the Lord is when we seek Him and pray and read His Word.
- We have a protection in the Lord, but we can vacate it.
- We vacate it when we do our own thing and live opposite of the will of God.
- There is grace and mercy, and perhaps we may be protected for a while.
III. PSALM 91 - OUR PRAYER OF PROTECTION
> Psalm 91 is Christians’ testimony to the world.
- The safest place in the world is under the shadow of the Almighty.
- Not everyone can pray this prayer; it is conditional.
- This prayer is for “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High.”
- It is the place where we remain.
- In the Greek, it means to stay overnight.
- We spend time in His presence.
- We spend time listening to Him and praying.
- We acknowledge Him and His presence.
> Verses one and two give us the assurance of God’s protection.
- “I will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (v. 1).
- When it is really hot outside, we find protection and rest in the shade.
- God is there even in the darkest times.
> Speaking out the Word has power – speak it.
- “I will say of the Lord” – I will verbalize (v. 2).
- There is power in our words.
- We speak that we dwell in the shadow of His wings.
- We speak that He protects us.
- We don’t dwell on the virus.
- My God – it is personal; He is not someone else’s God.
- It is our testimony to the world.
- He is my God in whom I trust.
> Verse three says that God will save us from deadly pestilence.
- Pestilence is defined as any fatal disease that hits the masses of people.
- God knew ahead of time that this would come.
- He says that we can be safe.
- He will protect us in an epidemic.
- He will protect us under His wings and His feathers just as an eagle protects its young.
> Verses 4-8 and 11-13 are the ways God protects.
- Verse ten is an invitation for us to receive God’s protection.
- Do we really trust God to keep us safe?
- Do we really trust that God is bigger than a virus or cancer?
- He will protect us from the traps of the world.
- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (John 10:10).
- If the enemy can get in our mind and let us believe that we will get sick, that is his goal.
- He wants us to be destroyed.
- We need to trust in God.
- His faithfulness will be our shield and rampart, our protection (v. 4).
- We are not ignorant of the enemy’s designs; he sets traps for us (2 Corinthians 2:11).
- The weapons we fight with are not of the world.
- "We take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
- We are not to fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day (v. 5).
- When these things come, we are not to fear.
- People may become afraid in the night.
- We will not fear.
- What replaces fear?
- Faith will replace fear.
- If we have faith that God will protect us, we rest in that.
- Sometimes things will still happen, but the Lord is still with us.
- The enemy sends his arrows at the most vulnerable target.
- But the Lord is our shield.
- The arrow will hit where it can cause the most damage.
- We may be tempted to go in the wrong direction or to engage in a wrongful relationship.
> "A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you" (v. 7).
- We are protected by the Lord.
CONCLUSION: As we consider these things, we need to remember that while we stay fixed under God’s secret place, we will remain stable under the shadow of the Almighty. He is our refuge and our strength; we can trust in Him. We shouldn’t let fear cause us to stay away – to hide away at home. This situation could get worse before it gets better. We know the Lord, and He is more powerful than a virus. Be practical, be prayerful, and be proclaiming the gospel.