Deuteronomy 33:26-27

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 21, 2001

Introduction

This is from an article by Minky Warden for Newsweek – she is writing about what it’s like working in the Empire State Building, now once again the tallest skyscraper in New York City.

“I overcome my jitters to go to work, but we all have plenty of time to prepare mentally for the worst as we endure, with unexpected appreciation, hour-long waits to pass through new building security. During one of the frequent bomb threats (the building has had three full evacuations in past weeks), I saw fire trucks pull up in front. Looking out my window, I caught myself noticing with relief a terrace a few stories below, a jump I calculated I could survive—especially if I buy a rope ladder. None of us in the building paid much attention to terraces before. Last week, a police truck that pulled up in front of the building, after several tenants reported receiving suspicious-looking envelopes—including one with a Pakistani postmark but no return address. So far, no traces of anthrax have been found, but everyone remains on edge.”

For some of us, the anxiety that we felt from the events of September 11 seems to be lessening a little.

A recent Newsweek poll shows that whereas last week 37 percent of adult Americans were feeling somewhat or a lot less safe where they live and work, this week only 24 percent are feeling personally less safe.

To me, it seems that life is simply different now.

I turn on CNN and am finding myself just waiting for the next tragedy to occur.

I find myself getting angry at the littlest things. I find that I’m extremely tired all the time.

There are people who have cancelled their newspaper subscriptions and who don’t watch the news on TV anymore because it makes them too anxious or depressed.

We need to get our eyes back on Jesus.

(Mat 14:22-33 KJV) And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. {23} And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. {24} But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. {25} And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. {26} And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. {27} But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. {28} And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. {29} And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. {30} But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. {31} And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? {32} And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. {33} Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The disciples weren’t in a bad place. They were not out on the Sea of Galilee because they were running from the Lord. They had obeyed Jesus. Jesus had sent them out into the storm.
But they were still fearful.
Peter had the courage to be willing to try and walk on the stormy sea, but when his attention went from Jesus to the wind and the waves, he began to sink.
We need to get our eyes on Jesus to be able to make it through the storms of life.

This week we read in Isaiah

(Isa 26:3 KJV) Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

My aim this morning is to help us focus our minds on the Lord and grasp a bit of this peace God wants to give us.

:26 There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun,

Jeshurun[email protected] – “upright one”; a symbolic name for Israel describing her ideal character; it appears to be an expression of affection by God towards His people.

Lesson

God helps the upright

God is speaking here of His people, the nation of Israel. He is calling them “upright” because this is what He wants them to be.
The problem we face is that by ourselves, we can never measure up to God’s standards of being “upright”, His righteousness.
(Rom 3:23 KJV) For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
We become upright through Jesus Christ.
(2 Cor 5:20-21 KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. {21} For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

The way we become right with God is through what Jesus did for us on the cross. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

When we come to God and receive His forgiveness through Jesus, God takes our sins and exchanges them for the righteousness of Jesus so that we now become “upright” or “righteous”.

Illustration

GOLDEN SLIPPERS

It was only four days before Christmas. The spirit of the season hadn’t yet caught up with me, even though cars packed the parking lot of our local discount store. Inside the store, it was worse. Shopping carts and last minute shoppers jammed the aisles. Why did I come today? I wondered. My feet ached almost as much as my head. My list contained names of several people who claimed they wanted nothing but I knew their feelings would be hurt if I didn’t buy them anything. Buying for someone who had everything and deploring the high cost of items, I considered gift buying anything but fun. Hurriedly, I filled my shopping cart with last minute items and proceeded to the long checkout lines. I picked the shortest but it looked as if it would mean at least a 20-minute wait. In front of me were two small children - a boy of about 5 and a younger girl. The boy wore a ragged coat. Enormously large, tattered tennis shoes jutted far out in front of his much too short jeans. He clutched several crumpled dollar bills in his grimy hands. The girl’s clothing resembled her brother’s. Her head was a matted mass of curly hair. Reminders of an evening meal showed on her small face. She carried a beautiful pair of shiny, gold house slippers. As the Christmas music sounded in the store’s stereo system, the girl hummed along, off key but happily. When we finally approached the checkout register, the girl carefully placed the shoes on the counter. She treated them as though they were a treasure. The clerk rang up the bill. “That will be $6.09,” she said. The boy laid his crumpled dollars atop the stand while he searched his pockets. He finally came up with $3.12. “I guess we will have to put them back, “ he bravely said. “We will come back some other time, maybe tomorrow.” With that statement, a soft sob broke from the little girl. “But Jesus would have loved these shoes, “ she cried. “Well, we’ll go home and work some more. Don’t cry. We’ll come back,” he said. Quickly I handed $3.00 to the cashier. These children had waited in line for a long time. And, after all, it was Christmas. Suddenly a pair of arms came around me and a small voice said, “Thank you lady.” “What did you mean when you said Jesus would like the shoes?” I asked. The boy answered, “Our mommy is sick and going to heaven. Daddy said she might go before Christmas to be with Jesus.” The girl spoke, “My Sunday school teacher said the streets in heaven are shiny gold, just like these shoes. Won’t mommy be beautiful walking on those streets to match these shoes?” My eyes flooded as I looked into her tear streaked face. “Yes” I answered, “I am sure she will.” Silently I thanked God for using these children to remind me of the true spirit of giving.”

~Author Unknown

This is a story that is much more than just learning how to give.  It’s a parable of how God has given to us.  We’re like the children unable to pay for the slippers and Jesus comes up behind us and offers to pay for what we can’t afford.
He paid a debt He didn’t owe because we had a debt we couldn’t pay.

:26 who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.

(Deu 33:26 NIV)  who rides on the heavens to help you and on the clouds in his majesty.

I think of that “Xtreme Sport” where the guys jump out of a plane and “air surf” on something like a snowboard before opening up their parachute.  God can get to you quick.

:27 The eternal God

eternalqedem – east, antiquity, from of old, earliest time

Lesson

God is huge

One of my favorite passages that gives me a glimpse of God’s awesomeness is –

(Isa 40:12-31 KJV) Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
The picture is that God’s hands must be HUGE.  Think of measuring out the Pacific Ocean with a couple handfuls of water.
At the Men’s Retreat last weekend, we saw an amazing thing.  Stars!  There are actually stars up in the night sky!  At least there are in Green Valley.

I remember very little from my days of loving astronomy, but I could recognize the constellation Orion, with its belt of three stars, the Pleiades.

The brightest star in Orion is Rigel, the seventh brightest star in the sky, found on Orion’s left foot.  It is 910 light years away from earth.

A light year is the distance that light travels within a vacuum in one year.  It is roughly about 5.88 trillion miles.

Travelling at 75 miles an hour, 24 hours a day, you could cover 657,000 miles in a year if you never stopped for potty breaks. It would take you about 8,950 years to cover the distance of a light year, travelling at 75 miles an hour.

To get from here to Rigel, travelling at “freeway speeds”, it would take you 8,144,292 years.

And to think that God can measure it with the “span” of His hand.

{13} Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? {14} With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? {15} Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
The “small dust” of a balance was the invisible stuff a merchant would “blow off” to show you that you weren’t paying for the dust in your transaction.  God is much bigger than any nation.
{16} And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. {17} All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. {18} To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? {19} The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. {20} He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.
It’s really quite silly to think of how far short our ideas about God can fall.
{21} Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? {22} It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: {23} That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. {24} Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. {25} To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. {26} Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. {27} Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? {28} Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. {29} He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. {30} Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: {31} But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
God is very, very big. If we will learn to wait upon Him, we will find new strength.

:27 is thy refuge,

Lesson

God is safe

He is our “refuge”, a place of safety.

One of my favorite Scriptures that talks about the safety of the Lord is –

(Psa 91 KJV) He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. {2} I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. {3} Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
The King James word “pestilence” means “disease”, or “the fatal plague” (NLT).  Stuff like anthrax.
{4} He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. {5} Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; {6} Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. {7} A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. {8} Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. {9} Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; {10} There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
God promises to protect those who will trust in Him.
{11} For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. {12} They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. {13} Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. {14} Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. {15} He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. {16} With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation.

One example of this is found with in Daniel 3, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego –

The Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, had set up a huge statue and demanded that all his servants worship this statue every time the band played.  All who wouldn’t bow would be thrown into the fiery furnace.  But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego wouldn’t bow down.  They were brought before the king:
(Dan 3:16-18 KJV)  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. {17} If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. {18} But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
As a result of their obeying the Lord, they found themselves being thrown into the fiery furnace.
(Dan 3:23-25 KJV)  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. {24} Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. {25} He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
God’s protection doesn’t mean we won’t go through difficult times or fiery furnaces.  But it means that when we take a stand for God, God will stand with us.  Jesus will be with us in the fire.

:27 and underneath are the everlasting arms:

everlasting arms – Arms that do not grow tired.

Lesson

God never tires of holding you

(Isa 40:11 KJV) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.

Isaiah paints the picture of a Shepherd picking up a fragile little lamb and tucking the little creature under his arm, inside his coat.  A little lamb won’t have to be afraid of a cold night when it is lying in the bosom of the shepherd.
The mother sheep need to go a little slower than the rest of the flock because they need to stop and nurse the lambs. The Shepherd doesn’t beat them or yell at them to go faster.  He gently guides them and leads them from one place of rest to the next.

You can trust in His strong arms.

Illustration

Years ago a military officer and his wife were aboard a ship that was caught in a raging ocean storm.  Seeing the frantic look in her eyes, the man tried unsuccessfully to calm her fears. Suddenly she grasped his sleeve and cried, “How can you be so calm?”  He stepped back a few feet and drew his sword.  Pointing it at her heart, he said, “Are you afraid of this?”  Without hesitation she answered, “Of course not!”  “Why not?” he inquired.  “Because it’s in your hand, and you love me too much to hurt me.”  To this he replied, “I know the One who holds the winds and the waters in the hollow of His hand, and He will surely care for us!”  The officer was not disturbed because he had put his trust in the Lord.

You may feel that you are at a point in your life when you are hitting bottom.

If “underneath” are the “everlasting arms”, it’s very possible that you are in the safest of all places.

:27 and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

God is the one who handles the enemies of Israel.

Let God be the one who fights your battles.