Sunday Morning | September 24, 2023 | Andrew Harrell | Louisville, KY
Guest Speaker Andrew Harrell, Valley View's worship pastor, preaches on Psalm 91, about abiding and dwelling in God's presence.
At Valley View Church we are currently studying through the entire gospel of John, verse by verse. You can join us on Sunday mornings at 11 AM for worship. We are located at 8911 3rd Street Road, Louisville KY 40272.
Well, good morning Valley View. How's everyone today? That song. There's a hard line in that song to sing, isn’t there? I want to be tried by fire. That didn't come out real easy. That part for me. But I got to say, though, if you've been a Christian any amount of time, you know that's true. The Lord refines you and never the way you would pick. He knows what we need. In fact, how many would say because of his refining, you're way better person than you would have been otherwise. Yeah, we wouldn't choose it per se, even though we sing and ask for it. Maybe. But we know it's what we need and he knows what we need. Speaking of him knowing what we need, I wasn't supposed to be here today. Last weekend was our anniversary. 24 years. Last September 18th. Yeah. Normally we try to get away on our anniversary, but we were presenting the budget and new Deacon/ Elders that weekend, so I pushed it to this weekend and the place we wanted to go fell through. So we've pushed it out a little farther. We're here. All that to say, I already had someone else scheduled to preach today, so we're going to stay with Andrew is going to deliver the message today. And I just want to say just a little bit about Andrew, because if you don't know him, you really need to get to know him. He has a fantastic heart, a passion for Christ, a love for the Lord, a love for people. And it's an honor to have a guy like that on our staff, let alone leading us in worship. He's a great guy and I love that at Valley View, we have a culture where it's not just one person delivering all the messages. We have other people come up. Andrew, Colby-- we've had people from the outside who come up. That helps bring just a variety of voices and personalities and ideas that just helps to shape our culture. And what I love about Andrew is his passion for worship. That's why he is going to be presenting today from the Book of Psalms. In fact, as he talked about this passage and Psalms, he's going to he's going to preach from, I just thought that couldn't be any more perfect because the themes that show up in that songs he's been talking about, just in our casual conversations about the way God is working in his life for the last few months. So I think you're going to be real encouraged by what you hear from Andrew. Let's welcome him up. Andrew? Thank you, Pastor John. This isn't one of those moments where you, you know, you trade off compliments, but I will say, it's an honor to serve under Pastor John because he's just a great guy, first of all. But, second of all, he's he's a great leader. He's a great pastor to be under and to grow from and learn from. So can we give him a big shout out? So this morning, if you've got your Bibles, let’s open it up to Psalm 91. I'm excited to get to share this with you all this morning. This is a passage that over the last I would say nine months has been a passage that has just gripped ahold of my heart. So I'm going to --we're going to break it down. We're not going to go through every detail of Psalm 91, but I'm going to start off by giving you a little history on it. Psalms 91 is known as-- in certain circles-- as a soldier song or the song that is the prayer against the attacks of the enemy. Historians believe and scholars believe that actually Moses wrote the song. And as you break it apart, you can see the-- how it would relate to Moses’ life. However, I do believe it is my personal conviction that this was a favorite psalm of David, especially when he was on the run from Saul. So what I'd like to do is I'm going to read straight through the whole thing and I'm going to pause in a couple of points and then we're going to go back and break it down because this psalm has just got so much meat to it. Like there was a few moments while I was preparing for this. I begin to just get pumped up because it was like, Oh my gosh, I never saw that before. I have read that a thousand times. Never saw that. And then his his kindness and his grace and the spirit of God on it. Revelating something in my heart. It was just like, lt's like, wow. So I'm going to pause and kind of highlight those things to you all. So the first thing I want to address before we get there, I'm going to tell you at one point to make a mark in your Bible if you're okay making marks, I make marks in my Bible. It's for me to go back and and study and memorize. But the cool thing and I got to even experience this with Pastor John this week is Psalm 91 goes through in about halfway through it repeats itself in different language. So you read the first part, but then it actually repeats itself. So I'm going to let you know where that little part is. So I'm going to start off here we go. We're going to have it on the screens and this is the new King James. And the reason, again, I tell you, I personally like that is, I'm a worshiper. I'm a worship leader. It flows. It's a psalmist’s language. So here we go. He who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I will trust. Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with his feathers and under his wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side and 10,000 at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked. Now, right here, if you want to make a little mark, this is kind of what repeats itself right here. Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling, for he shall give his angels charge over you to keep you in all of your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against the stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. Because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him. I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He shall call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. And that is a really cool part we're going to highlight in a minute-- I'm super pumped --With a long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. Is that not awesome? Like, do you read that? And you're like, There is a lot there, like a lot to unpack. But this morning we're just going to point out a few things. The first key into really understandingthis passage is this:
Those who dwell and abide in the secret place. Those who dwell and abide in the secret place. Now dwell and abide can be kind of interchangeable sometimes with words. Here's -- I looked at a thousand definitions, but here's the way I like to break it down. Dwell. A child dwells in their home, they abide in the backyard near their home. But the home is the reference point. Does that make sense? And under that, as long as the child is dwelling and abiding in that, they're safe. Right? I got into beekeeping this year. I'm not an expert, harvested some honey this year, I'm excited and learning a bunch. But when my bees dwell in the house that I provided for them, they abide in my yard, all within they're using the reference point as as their home. Right? So the dwell and abide can be interchangeable. But in this passage they have a little bit of a of a distinction between the two. So I want you to think of like, okay, dwelling is residency and abiding is kind of the in within the distance of the residency. But the key part is this, the secret place. What is the secret place? What is the secret place? The secret place is where he is. The secret place is where he is. That sometimes looks different day to day. He's the king of kings, Lord of Lords. He's on the move. He's doing things. The secret place is where he is and in John 15, remember that It says if we abide in him, and his words abide in us. So my--if I want to really unpack and understand Psalm 91, I have to get those first keys of dwelling, in abiding where he is. The danger with the mere scripture is this-- we can roll past these words. I mean, I'm guilty of it. You know, sometimes, I get up in the morning, I do my morning reading and I'm exhausted, and I've got my cup of coffee, and the dog is running out and in, and all that, and I just am like, I just got to get this done. I just got to get this done. I got to get on to the kids. I gotta... So sometimes it can happen. We can we can easily roll past this because we think we already know it, but we cannot exhaust understanding the truth of God's living Word. Amen? We always need to ask the Lord for fresh revelation and to reveal himself in any area that we have self-deception and we need to be honest with ourselves. Like when I read a passage of scripture like this, I'm going to be honest with you all here, when I read it and when I begin to do it, some of my mentors, this is a key verse that that they've been anchored into for years. I would read it. I'm like, Sounds great. Sounds. I don't know what it means, but it sounds good, you know? Yay! And then I'll be like, okay, I want it to take root. I want it to take root. And I had to be honest, does it really govern the way I live my life? When I read some 91, does it govern the way I live my life? Does it usher me into prayer? Does it usher me into contending for this passage, or is it just head knowledge? And in this, it's realizing that it's an ongoing lifestyle that fosters consciousness and awareness of the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit. A lot of people fall short of that because they get the idea of it, but they don't have the contending for it. Does that make sense? They get this idea that they're like, you know, I read it sounds good, but no, we are called to contend for it. Take this passage, grab a hold of it, let it become yours until you see yourself in that passage. And sometimes I'll do that with my journal. I will actually rewrite the passage out and I will say, Andrew abides and dwells with I mean, I will I will find myself in this passage to where it becomes me, because I need that to anchor myself. The second key that I want to highlight right here is this: He will deliver and protect. Now, I have read this, this verse, this passage numerous times, numerous times, numerous times, especially in different dark seasons. I would let it play over me all night long. Just listening to it, listening to it. I never realized the connection on this until this week. Verse three, which is ‘surely he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler’ in verse 14 through 16. Check it out‘because he has set his love upon me, therefore I will deliver him and I will set him on high because he knows my name and he shall call me and I will answer him and I will be with him in trouble.’ Here's the cool thing. Before this passage unlocks this thing about protection he talks about he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler. Now, the fowler was the hunter, and the way they would like trap these birds is they would they would like, put out usually fruit out of season. They'd put out the things that were enticing and they would set the traps and the birds would come in and start eating and, boom, they would catch them. And here... here's the cool thing, it’s Psalm 91, it says this‘I will deliver you from the fowler.’ But if you jump over to verse 14, it says ‘not only will I deliver you, but I will honor you.’ Are you getting it? Not only do I deliver you, but I will honor you. That is powerful. That is huge. How many times as a parent, when I deliver my child, I don't honor them. I'm late. So Declan is my middle one. He's always doing something. Jumping and getting hurt and all that. And I'm like, Declan, that's why you got stuck. Don't do it again. Get out of there. Why do you think your leg hurts? You just jumped out of a tree. You know, it... it... but here's what the Lord is saying in that passage. I will deliver him and then I'll go, you know what? Hey, that's my child. That's my son. That's my daughter. I'm so proud of them. They're awesome. They're amazing. That's my beloved one. Hey, that's my child right there. I know what, no, I know what they did here, but guess what? I love them. That's mine. That totally contradicts our culture of shame, right? It totally contradicts our culture of shame. And here he is saying, look, he's going to deliver you and honor you. And then if you continue with that it says this,‘and I will set him on high because he knows my name.’ If we know his name, if we have given our yes to him and we make him first, when we fall into the snare of the fowler, when we fall into those mistakes. Look, I had one this week. Maybe I'm the only one, but I had that. I made the dumb decision. I came in agreement with fear. I came in agreement with the law, and I agreed with this, saying I'm like, Oh my gosh, here I am again, man. How did I do that? And the Lord’s like, hey, I'm going to deliver you. And I got you. I love that the passage brings up deliverance before the protection. I love that it puts it in that order because we would think, oh, well, the protection wasn't there. That's why I got here. And then he had to deliver me. Now he's like, uh uh, I'm going to deliver you and then I'm going to protect you. Grab ahold of that today. Let that, let that pierce your heart. Let the Holy Spirit breathe on that. What does it look [like] in your life for him to have delivered you and honored you? The second part of that is he delivers and he protects me. Part of Jesus--part of God's name is Elohim. If I'm pronouncing right. I’ll have my expert right here correct me. Am I saying it right? Is that how you would say it, how would you say it? Okay, great. Awesome. Yes. I have to hold on to that name as my protector. And one of my favorite passages that ... that we... that I personally reflect back to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that says that he says in Daniel three he will deliver us from the hand o King, but it's not let it be known O King that we will not serve your God. This is the thing that Adrian and I were talking about this week a little bit, and there's so many people that they look at a passage like this and they'll say, okay, well, he protects me. But Andrew, I had an experience where he didn't I had this encounter where it didn't work out the way I thought it would. I'm holding on to this truth, but it didn't it didn't work that way. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. And it's okay not to know why. I had a friend of mine years ago went through cancer. She was. We were the same age roughly. She was two or three years older and she got diagnosed with the same exact diagnosis, Hodgkin's lymphoma. And she... I had 1A, she had 2B, which meant it was in two different locations with the same size and she didn't respond to chemo. Her body didn't respond to chemo. Her ...She and her husband pastored the largest youth group in the country that over 5000 kids a week that they were ministering to when she was in her hospital room. They were praying so loud outside of her hospital room that they actually had to shut down the wing of the hospital. And there were so many kids outside of the hospital that it was... it was just unheard of. News stories, all this. She didn't make it. I did. I don't know why. It was tormenting at first. It was ...it was... I had to get some prayer and healing over that. I don't know why. I don't know why. Was it open doors of the enemy? Was it? I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. I don't know. And that's okay. That I don't know, because the truth is this. I will say the Lord, He is my refuge, even when it doesn't make sense. Even when I don't understand, I will say the Lord is my refuge. I will white knuckle, grabbing ahold of the truth, that He is my refuge, even when it ... when I... I don't know why it's sometimes and sometimes I don't know. I'm going to grab ahold on and just say, this is where my identity is. This is where my hope is this is where my security is. I may be facing this. This may be the reality of the natural things, but it doesn't matter. The picture I see. It's like when a child grabs ahold of their parent's leg. It's I'm holding on. I'm holding on. You go, I go. We're together. We're one. Because that is what I have to be anchored in, because all the enemy wants is just that open door to start playing mind games. And if he gets in there and starts playing mind games, then I'll start questioning, Well, maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. And then what about this? And what about that? And then suddenly I'm on a slippery slope of unbelief because of maybe an experience. And I'm here to encourage you today that maybe you've had those, maybe you lost a loved one to COVID, cancer, sickness, disease or things just didn't happen the way you thought they would. The enemy came in. You know, the fowler came in, snuck something, stole something. He's my refuge End of statement. And when things don't make sense, he's still my refuge. And that's what I love in Daniel three when Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego say, if he doesn't protect me, I'm still not bowing. I'm still not bowing. I'm still standing, I'm still holding on. And I'll tell you right now, I'm still learning this process. I don't say I have it all figured out, but I am going to grab ahold and hold on I had a... back... that I always get Labor Day and Memorial Day. Labor Day, right? That was the one we just had, right? Yeah. Labor Day. Yeah. Labor Day. We did a family hike and Ariyah, we went to the spot that we hadn't been in a while. It was Hemlocks Cliffs. If you've never been there, it's an Indiana beautiful trail. Really easy trail. Well, I say real easy- easy for kids. It's a it's a great trail. You go down this ravine, then you hike along this creek bed and you pop out about a mile and a half long Ariyah. The last time she went was 3 years ago. And we almost went 3 years to the day. She was little. She's in a backpack carrier and all this. Now, my little princess recognizes all the things that you face in the woods, like the snakes and the bears and the lions and whatever else you can imagine. Wherever I went, she was glued to me. If you got a picture of her, put it up there. This is this is Ariyah and I in the woods together and wherever we went. Yeah, she's wearing a tutu running shoes. And that's. That's her normal attire when she's not in school. So there... there Ariyah and I were walking through the woods, and at first I'm walking ahead and I have this horrible tendency when I'm with my family, I tend to walk a little faster, be ahead of. She was glued to me and I'm like, Man, you're usually not this glued to me. But she knew that whatever the woods would bring, I would protect her. She knew whatever there was, obstacle would come. Whether we were going down a ravine. I was going to take care of her and, you know, certain sections. She was like, I'm tired. Carry me, all this. But I would try to even even hide from her a little bit just to see, like we'd go around a corner. I'd be like, my how about this? Right? No, she found me like that. She was on it. She was just like, Where you at dad? Nope, I’m right here with you. I'm right here with you. That was the perfect picture for me of abiding in this in this specific passage of Scripture was the way Ariyah was just glued to me because she knew no matter what we faced, daddy's got a knife, daddy's got a gun, and he's going to take care of it. And here's the thing. Here's the cool part. By the end of the hike, she felt so comfortable. She ran off ahead of me because she knew that I was still there on the trail with her. And I was like chased her. She's like, let's race, dad, you can't catch me. I'm going get back to the car before you know the beginning. She's like this by the end of it. Why? Because she knew that we were together. We were abiding. So he delivers and he protects. The third key is this. You will not fear verse five, verse six. You should not be afraid of the terror of the night with the arrows and flight day, nor the pestilence that walk in the darkness, nor the destruction that lays waste at noonday. If you're not abiding in God, if you're not spending that time with him, if you're not soaking in his presence, if you're not just sitting there and engaging with him, what are you abiding in? Are you abiding in pride? Are you abiding it fear? Are you abiding in hey, I am self-made. What are you abiding in? Are you abiding in unbelief, hopelessness? Every moment we have an opportunity to move deeper into truth with him. And when we abide with him, the fear just seems so much smaller of whatever we're facing, whether it's a job loss, whether it's health, finances. And again, I know all of these things are real, but when we're with him, we know, just like Ariyah. I'm with her. And whatever we face dad's going to take care of it, dad's going to take care of it. So then we go to the application part of this and that's this How do we abide? How do we endure? First of all, it's all about the secret place we have to learn how to abide in and dwell there. We have to learn. How do we go there? Matthew 6.‘But when you pray, go into your room, and when you shut your door, pray to your father who's in the secret place and your father who sees in secret, will reward you openly.’ For me to abide, I have to learn to stop the busyness. I am very, very, very busy. Very busy. You are very, very, very busy. I have to stop sometimes that once I drop a child off at school, I have to pull over on the side of the road. Okay. God, I know. I had the morning Bible moment. I know I drank my coffee. Here I am. Here I am. Where are you? Are we together? We on the same page. Am I ahead of you? Am I behind you? It like I just want to make sure we're in sync together. Sometimes, like I have to shut the phone off or I have to...and I get it. They're all ... we all have emergencies. We all have. Where are you? Where are you? What are you highlighting? What are you doing? Am I connected? Am I engaged with what you're doing? What do you want to talk about? What's on your heart? What's on your mind? Then that suddenly that that moment of stopping becomes a secret place. You understand? It becomes the secret place. Why? Because we're engaging as one, our hearts are connected. Because I'm stopping. I'm listening to what is on his heart. And a key part of that, too, is humility. Look, when I'm busy, sometimes I'm like, Oh, I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it, I got it. I'll get it done. I got it, I got it. Humility. It requires me stopping and going, I can't do anything without you. And here I am about to run off, try to parent kids, try to lead worship, try to counsel situations, try to handle this, try to handle that. And I'm about to do it without you because I'm not in humility of dependance of you. I have to stop and plug myself in and go, okay, am I am unplugged? Am I running on empty? Am I... are we... are we in tune? Are we engaged with each other? That humility is what keeps me anchored to who he is, to what he's knowing. Okay, I'm dependent. I can't do anything without you. I've been fully forgiven and I have to have you for anything and everything I do. Or I will wake up and be stupid. I'm just being honest. Like I have to be that dependent because I could be stupid on the turn of a dime. Ask Adrienne. But I can. I can. But. But for real. Like I have to be. Okay. Here I am. Here I am. Here I am. It's got to be constant connection. John 2 verse 6 reminds us that whoever claims to abide in Jesus must walk as Jesus walked in step with his Father. So how do we trust? Like Psalm 91 shows us it's the simple steps of obedience in faith. The simple steps of obedience and faith. Exodus 33, Moses, one of my favorite people in the Bible, says, ‘My presence will go with you’ it’s God was telling him this.‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. Then he said to him, If your presence does not go with us, do not bring us from here.’ We have to put our trust in God alone. And when I put my trust in others, I am. I am putting my trust in God in them, not in not putting my identity or my trust in them. Does that make sense? I'm putting my trust in what God is doing inside them, but we have to put our trust in Him alone. We have to put our focus in Him alone. If I can put my trust there and I realize that I'm not leaning on my own understanding and my own strength, and I can be obedient with the baby steps of faith. That's how my trust will go there When I'm comfortable, I honestly don't do as good a job trusting. When I've taken baby steps of obedience, It forces me to trust because it's usually things that make me slightly uncomfortable. It's usually things like, Hey, you see that person in the store? Why don't you ask me if you can pray for him? I really don't want to be that guy or it's or it's. It's another situation of God saying, Hey, I want you to call that person and ask them this. Or Hey, call that friend up and ask them a painful conversation. But you feel that I'm actually on it or do this, or it's those little steps of obedience being in tune with what he's saying in tune in that all comes out of abiding. As I'm abiding, I start ...my mind begins to get renewed as I dwell there with him. I start realizing, Oh wow, this starts changing inside of me because I am spending so much time in the presence of Jesus. Had these three friends in college and one was from one from New Zealand, other was South African, the other one was from England. And I hung out with them all the time and we were always doing stuff in music, things together. The thing was, because I spent so much time with them, I, weirdly enough, I'm from Louisiana. I grew up in Kentucky, don't have an accent. I actually started sounding like them a little bit and I was like, I would say something ... to a friend, I would say a word, and they'd be like, Say that again? I'd say it and they’d be like, You sound like Aaron, who was British, or You sound like this guy who is from South Africa, Jonathan. You sound like this guy Jason from New Zealand. I'd be like, No, I don't. They're like, You do, and I’m like, really? You serious? I don't know. That's weird. But here's the thing. When we abide with him and we're spinning that, we begin to look like him. The trust becomes more a part of our identity and what we do as sons and daughters of the King. So the last application point-- before I go there, I'm going to ask the deacons to go ahead and prepare communion-- is, hold fast to him in love. Psalm 27.‘For one thing, I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek His temple.’ John 14, verse 15.‘If you love God, you will keep His commandments, no matter how weak or small our love seems. God takes notice of every yes we give Him, every small step of obedience is lavishing your love upon him.’ He's got to be our first thing we look at. We've got to set our gaze and our love on him. And it comes from abiding. It comes from just being together and it comes together with...with, just to be relational, to interact, to engage with one another. Adrienne and I, a lot of y'all know Facebook, Instagram, all that. We just got back from a trip in Italy, and it's a trip that I've been wanting to do for a long time. I think they've got a picture of us up there. I just had such a good time. I was like, Oh, we got to put a picture up there. Yes, that is us in a boat on Lake Como. It's beautiful. Paradise. Part of heaven will look like Lake Como. I'm just telling you, just if you all want to know what heaven look, look up Google Lake Como. It's heaven. But here's the thing. We had such a good time. We got to travel the countryside. Just doing. Just being together. And because our life is really busy, just like your lives are really busy. When we got away like that, I realized, Oh my goodness, I really, really, really, really love my wife. Like you love each other. You love each other. But when you get away and you just are like, We're just going to be together. There's no kids around, there's no distraction, and we're going to be in one of the most beautiful places in the earth and just be together like, Let's go get gelato for the third time today. Let's, you know, let's, let's get pizza. You know, it's...it’s...but you're just like, we're just having fun and you're abiding. You're dwelling together in this relationship of, like, no agenda, but just being together in the most beautiful place. That's what God desires daily. And it's an invitation. It's an invitation. Yeah. To that.