The Bare Soul - August 14, 2011

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Unshakeable" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on August 25, 2011.

Unshakeable - August 25, 2011

Psalm 16:8 - I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Ever wonder why some people seem so unmoved by tragic circumstances? Those who are affluent often have vast reserves of wealth, giving them insurance against life's upheavals. Yet, those who possess everything that this world might offer, often display as much or more insecurity towards day to day trials as someone with little or nothing. Just because someone can afford to live in a remarkably beautiful home doesn't mean the proverbial "roof over their head" gives them security. Likewise, if someone can afford the best healthcare offered doesn't mean that they won't die an untimely death from an incurable disease. While wealth is helpful, it is not what any of us should rely upon concerning a secure lifestyle for ourselves or our families. This is confirmed over and over again in scripture, and especially in the life of David, the shepherd who became king. While it is uncertain the particular background that led David to write Psalm 16, it is probably safe to imagine any number of precarious situations as illustrated throughout the Davidic scriptures. Many times we are shown throughout the books of Samuel how David struggled against adversaries such as his predecessor, Saul, or even his own son Absalom. These historical scriptures ascribed to Samuel give us a look into the events that surrounded David's reign. However, the Psalms give us a look into the heart or the emotions of these situations. Psalm 16 is atypical of how David addressed the Lord when in distress. Verse eight becomes the crescendo of David's trust in this familiar psalm as he proclaims with assurance: I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

To believe that David hadn't learned this lesson of faith years before would provoke naivety on behalf of the reader. When talking to Saul regarding his ability to defeat the giant, Goliath, David matter-of-factly stated how the bear and the lion did not shake his resolve. (I Samuel 17:34-37) These were faith-builders, preparing him for the contest with the Philistine from Gath. While David's victory and accolades over killing the giant were short-lived, the coming trials experienced between himself and the House of Saul were God's tests as he continued to hone the future king for the greatest reign of any earthly ruler of Israel, both past and future. David had learned the secret that no matter what happens, God is not to be denied regarding His ability to show Himself strong on behalf of those who would but trust Him. (II Chronicles 16:9) Of course, David is only one example of countless others who have trusted in their Savior to remain unshakeable in the face of impossible odds. Often, it merely takes God's perspective to understand how strong He really is regarding our faith. Elisha, like David his predecessor, understood God through eyes of assurance, that God would do far beyond all his expectations. He did not shake with fear when the army of Aram surrounded him and his servant. We are told in the second chapter of the second book of Kings that the man of God's attendant was distraught when he witnessed this great army surrounding their house. His faithlessness was countermanded by Elisha's faith concerning whether this earthly army was any match for the heavenly hosts that were soon to strike this impotent expression of temporal might. (II Kings 6:15-18) Did Elisha understand this great epiphany of the Lord's might just "all of a sudden?" I suggest that he learned his "unshakeability" by serving his master, Elijah. The understudy to the old prophet had surely heard of Elijah's steadfastness against Ahab and Jezebel, how they sought Elijah's life on more than one occasion. Then, Elisha experienced first hand his mentor's resolute faith -- day after day that he ministered to the wizened seer -- up to the very day that Elijah was swept away into heaven by the fiery chariot. (II Kings 2:11)

David and Elisha, king and prophet respectively, were archetypes of the greatest King and Prophet to be born centuries later to the House of David. Jesus Christ gives us many examples of his unshakeability in the face of any circumstance. The instance where Jesus fell asleep in the stern of the boat while He and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee gives us a clear picture of how calm Jesus was in the midst of apparent danger. (Mark 4:38) His reserved behavior, when the Pharisees were vehemently questioning Him and accusing the woman caught in adultery, was a testimony of His relationship with His Father. (John 8:6-8) Nothing could remove Him from His relationship with His Father and nothing could shake Him from His resolve to do the Father's will. He completely fulfilled His role as the Son of David, perfectly fulfilling all things that David's lineage (up to that point) was unable to accomplish. Jesus Christ fulfilled Psalm 16 and gave mankind the ability to move toward God and to remain unshakable in any situation.

While Christ fulfilled this Psalm and many others perfectly, it is our heritage to receive the gift of God and to remain unshakeable in situations that used to baffle us in our own power. Psalm 16:8 is a promise of degrees since the outcome is contingent on how we respond. To the extent that we view God as the solution to anything we might face, is the degree that we will not be phased by what this life might seek to throw at us. Shall we trust God in all situations, trusting Him to be our Rock no matter what happens? Or shall we fold without allowing our faith to embrace His promises? Our lives, both now and for eternity, are contingent on how we choose.

Heavenly Father, You are the Rock of our salvation. There is no other that we can look to for salvation. May we remain resolute, unshakeable regarding the storms of life that might come our way. May we, like David and like Your Son, look continually toward You and Your salvation. For only in beholding You will we be saved. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,




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