A Safehouse For the Unforgiven
Sermon Reflections from A Safehouse for the Unforgiven | Damon Hopkins | February 19, 2023
We had the privilege of having Damon Hopkins share with us again this Sunday. His message of hope and redemption in Christ was like a balm to our souls. Our passage was Psalm 91 where God speaks of His deep love, and the openness of His arms and heart towards all who look to Him. Damon used the character of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany as examples of how God is a Safe House to all who come to Him be they forgiven or unforgiven. God has it for all of us.
Here is the passage in The Message translation, which is a paraphrased translation. It gives new perspective to this beloved psalm. Verses 1-13 show God’s deep love for us and the extension of His arms all around us.
1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!” You are safe in Him!
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you--
under them you’re perfectly safe; You are protected from
his arms fend off all harm. the surrounding world.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge, He is your refuge.
the High God your very own home, Your home is in Him.
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels He has angels to guard you at
to guard you wherever you go. all times.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling. He will catch you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, You can walk unharmed
and kick young lions and serpents from the path. with Him.
Which of these images speaks to you? Mary Magdalene is an example of one caught in sin who turned to see Jesus. She was caught by the deep abiding love of Jesus and redeemed from the pit of her sin. She turned to Jesus as her refuge, hope and protector. What about you? Do you turn to God and depend upon His deep love? Do you trust Him to be with you always, never leaving or forsaking you? She did. God’s promises of protection, hope, refuge are for all those who seek His forgiveness. He is a safe house for all- those who are unforgiven who first seek Him for salvation and for those who are believers who turn to Him with humble and repentant hearts.
Our second Mary, Mary of Bethany who was the sister of Lazarus and Martha, believed in Jesus. She looked to Him as her savior. She had experienced his salvation of her brother Lazarus when Jesus resurrected him from the dead. Mary wanted nothing more than to sit at Jesus’ feet and soak it all in- his love, his knowledge and his hope of life. She showed her great love for Jesus by washing his feet and anointing him with expensive perfume. How do you express your great love and devotion for God? What do you bring to Him as an offering of love? He is waiting with arms wide open to embrace you fully with His love.
The last portion of this Psalm shows us our God with arms wide open to receive our humble hearts.
14-16 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”
I am amazed by the promises of God contained in these verses. He says if we will hold on to Him, get to know and trust Him then our rewards will be amazing! He will get us out of trouble, care for us, rescues us, throw us a party i.e. rejoice with us, give us long life and salvation! Wow! What a God we serve. How do we access all of this deep love and comfort in His arms? Look again at verses 1-2, our memory verse in the NIV, Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
All it takes to receive all of God’s love and protection is to dwell the shelter He alone can provide; then He will be our refuge and fortress. I like to think of dwelling in His shelter as living in obedience to His Word, claiming daily Jesus’ forgiveness and hope in my life, fellowshipping with other believers and relaxing in His loving presence.
May you experience His deep love this week as you snuggle into the warmth and depth of His loving arms!
The Unknown Love | A Safehouse for the Unforgiven
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