Joseph Prince - Intimacy With The Father Brings Protection
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, praise the Lord, hallelujah. I wanna tell you something about the sermon series that I'm doing now, Psalms 91. We have done this before in 2003 and then in 2003 we had an incident, in fact, not just a national incident but international incident where a disease called SARS began to take so many lives. The world that we live in today, if it's not a terror, there is plagues. If it's not plague, there's destruction even in the air and the food we eat. More than at any other time, we are in dire need of divine protection. And for us to acknowledge that, we need to humble ourselves and say, "With all my smarts, with all my degrees and qualifications, with all the titles to my name, only God can put me at the right place at the right time. I need God".
Remember that God told Nebuchadnezzar that you are the head of gold of the statue that he saw in a dream, interpreted by the prophet Daniel. And God told him, "I gave you dominion, I give you power". In fact, at that time, he was even called king of kings because Israel rebelled so God transferred, finally after Israel committed idolatry, God wanted Israel to rule the world with justice, fairness, righteousness, and equity. But Israel worshiped idols and, finally, God sent prophet after prophet, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and they still refused. And God says, "Okay, there'll be a transfer of dominion, world dominion".
Hence, the story of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. And the statue talks about the Babylonian captivity that took the children of Israel, all of them, captive. And then after that, after King Nebuchadnezzar, was the Medo-Persian. After the Medo-Persian, we have the Greeks, Alexander the Great. Then we have the Romans and that's the time that Jesus was born in Israel. And the Bible says that in the days of the end, the Roman Empire will revive again, and the Roman Empire is a large part of the Middle East and Europe, and there'll be a United States of Europe. It's all in Bible prophecy. But the Bible tells us there's protection.
Now, when I say "protection," don't get into ideas like "I will never, never suffer anything, you know"? What you should not suffer are the things that Jesus took for you at the cross. But one thing the Bible says, and the Bible even promised that you will suffer is that you will suffer persecution as a believer. You will be mocked, you'll be made fun of. The world will hate you. Jesus said in his high priestly prayer, "The world will hate you because you belong to me. The servant is not above his master. If they hated the master, they'll hate you," amen. The world has a hatred for everything that's good, amen. We were once upon a time the world. Today, we are in the world but we are not of the world. So don't get ideas like, you know, you will never be persecuted. God promises, "Yay, all that live godly shall suffer persecution". But Jesus says, "Leap for joy when man revile you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven".
Now, that doesn't mean you will die and go to heaven, then get your reward, all right? It means your reward begins in heaven. You have a reward that is made in heaven, and a reward implies you have done something, so God rewards you for that. So get ready for that. And another thing is that sometimes, and Job, the book of Job, tells us that "he shall deliver you in six troubles. Yes, in seven no evil shall touch you". Sometimes, we get into trouble, all right, then we ask, "Where is the protection"?
Now, if you're already in trouble, whether you have a bad, you know, prognosis, whether you already see that you are in that situation, whether you are dismissed from your job or whatever the case may be, it has already happened. Don't ask, "Where is the protection"? because some things God wants to deliver you out of. To deliver you out of means you are in it. Are you listening? But there are some things: "In seven no evil shall touch you". So I can't tell you when is our seven. But there is a promise in the Bible that says some things he delivers you. Some things he keeps delivering you out of. But some things no evil will touch you. Now, I believe that numbers play a significance in the Bible. I believe that we are coming to the seventh day where no evil will touch us. Can I have a good "amen"?
So once again, let's all look at Psalms 91. We read the entire Psalms 91 last week, and it's important and imperative that you are aware of the promises in Psalms 91. Remember this, Psalms 91 begins with the names of God in the Old Testament. "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty". We mentioned last week that the Most High, the secret place of the Most High, is Elyon and that name was first mentioned to us in the story of Abraham, okay? Abraham came back from the war with the kings. He actually entered the war to retrieve his nephew Lot who was taken away captive. But he came back with the spoils, because God gave him a great victory, he and his home-trained servants. And who met him? This persona, this person, called Melchizedek which later on, the Bible says he's our Lord Jesus Christ. He has no father, no mother, no earthly parents, that is. And no beginning, no ending, amen, like unto the Son of God.
So you can say that "he's not a preincarnate appearance, Pastor Prince. I believe he's a real person". Whatever the case is, the Bible says that this Melchizedek has no parents, no beginning, no ending, and he's our Lord Jesus Christ. The order, "You are a priest," God told Jesus after he rose from the dead. "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek". Now, that's a different order from Levitical priesthood which only Israel knew. Israel never knew the Melchizedek priesthood. The Levitical priesthood is when you do something, you obey God, God blesses you. When you keep the law, all right, the blessing comes. So it's blessing if you obey, cursing if you don't. Melchizedek's priesthood, when he first appeared to Abraham, his first word, the first word of this priest's mouth, this king priest, Melchizedek means king priest, all right? Literally, king of righteousness, and he was the priest.
So he's the king priest. And his first word was "Blessed, barucha. Blessed be Abram of the Most High God and blessed be the Most High God". So he blesses Abram, the believer, and he blesses God. And there is no curse. So when the Father said to Jesus, after his ascension, "You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek," that means it's blessing all the way and no curse. Can I have a good "Amen"? The Bible says Abraham responded. By the way, just to let you know that Melchizedek, in his hands were the bread and the wine. He brought the bread and the wine. Now why is this important? Because that's the first time Elyon appears. "Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, of El Elyon". First time. Anything, any subject, that's mentioned the first time in the Bible, there's something significant. How much more the name of God.
So the first time Elyon is mentioned, has got to do with the Lord's Supper, with the New Testament king priests, with Abram, a believer, a faith believer, all right? That's a misnomer, faith believer, okay, anyway. You're a believer, you're in faith, amen. I'm trying to say that all of us, New Covenant people. And then, he brought bread and wine which is the Lord's Supper, which you just partook just now, all right? That's health. And then Abraham responded with a tithe. That's wealth. Nobody told him to tithe. This is about 400-over years before the Ten Commandments was given and the 613 commandments which also includes tithing as a law. But here, Abram lived before the law, but he knew how to tithe. And it's tied up with the name, "El Elyon".
So I'm telling you, the secret place of the Most High, the Lord said to me, look at the next one, which is, "Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty". Literally, in Hebrew, "Shaddai". And Shaddai was first mentioned to Abraham also when he was 99 years old. Then God appeared to him and God says, "I am Almighty God," in Hebrew, El, all mighty. El is all mighty, Elohim, el mighty God. But here it's Shaddai, amen? Almighty God. The all-supplying one, the all-giving one, the all-resourcing one, amen. El Shaddai. And he was 99 years old. And there's a reason why God appeared to him, finally, as El Shaddai after 13 years. He actually tried to produce results by the law, by Hagar, and God waited until... because he knew that God was mighty but not all mighty. God waited until all his bodily functions were dead, in terms of producing a child. Then God says, "You know me as Mighty, now know me as Almighty".
So the first mention is in Abraham's life. So the Lord told me this: The first mention of Most High and the first mention of Almighty Shaddai, all right, God says, "What is in between"? So, first time, El Elyon is mentioned, we have Genesis 14. Then 15, 16, 17, God appears as Almighty God, El Shaddai. So, God says, "Find out what happened in these two chapters and you will know the secret place of the Most High: He who abides in the secret place of Elyon shall abide under the shadow (chapter 17) of Shaddai". So this is the shadow here. And we saw last week that the first chapter, 15, talks about righteousness by faith. You look at the stars and God says, "Seek and tell the story," and he believed in the gospel story, the same gospel you and I believe, and the Lord imputed to him for righteousness.
So that's chapter 15. Chapter 16 is the story of Hagar, amen. Remember the story of Hagar? And she's a picture of the covenant that comes from Mount Sinai. So, in other words, after you're justified by faith, deal with Hagar. There is no such thing as your maid being the one to raise your child. Your wife should be the one raising your child. We don't need the law to raise your child. The boy needs his mama. We don't need, all right, the maid to raise your husband also. Can I have a good "Amen"? So, church, many, many believers are only stuck in 15. They can't even arrive to El Shaddai yet because they... now there's a big, big, big quarrel about the law, which is resolved in Jerusalem's council in Acts 15, they resolved it 2000 years ago and today, the case is reopened and people are still asking, "Are we under the law as a rule of life"? Read the book of Galatians, amen?
So, there we are, all right? Just to recap on what we've learned. Today we go farther, all right? "I will say of the Lord," the Lord there is Yahweh. We touched on Yahweh last week. "He is my refuge and my fortress; my Elohim," all right? My God is my Elohim. "In Him I will trust". I will trust, batach, trust. Verse 3: "Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler". Very interesting. The snare of the fowler is a picture of a bird trap, okay, and we are likened like birds. In fact, the analogy and the picture of birds are used often in this Psalm of protection. God says, "Surely God will deliver you from any trap the devil lays up for you". Can I have a good "Amen"?
And that's why if something is attractive by itself, you don't need to... if something is so beautiful that you don't need a trap. You need a trap when you want someone to believe that the thing that he wants is there but try to distract him from the fact that this box will come crashing on him, for the bird. You know what I'm saying? So the devil is out to trap people. Many a times, we've gotta have compassion on people who are trapped. You know, we are very bad about shooting our wounded, we Christians. When someone fall into sin, they are wounded, we say, "Oh, you are wounded now... one problem less". No, they were caught in a trap. Remember when you were caught in a trap, we've gotta help people who are caught in the snare of the fowler.
So, "Surely", aren't you glad for the "Surely"? "He shall deliver you and surely he shall deliver you from the perilous pestilence". Perilous, dangerous, calamitous. Do not live life like a, you know, the devil wants you to be focused on evil in life. Trust me, thousands and thousands of airplanes landed well yesterday. And today, there'll be thousands and thousands more landing okay, fine, no problem. But when something happens, the devil love to bring attention to it and say, "It might be you". Are you listening, people?
So I have a word for people like you, okay? Do you remember early this year I prayed Psalms 91 over you? Why do I pray that? Every year, when I have a team from the Lord, I don't pray Psalms 91, all right? But when I begin my first sermon this year, I prayed Psalms 91 over you, and I mentioned to you to especially focus on Israel. Do you remember that, those who were with me? When I proclaimed about the year of greater glory? Now you might say, "Well, Pastor Price, Israel always have trouble". But not like the trouble they have now. If I said that last year, for the team for last year, it will not be applicable because the whole year of last year Israel was relatively peaceful, all right? The year before that, also peaceful. The year before that was also peaceful. But I made mention for the first time, specifically, you know what? Let's watch this little excerpt.
Another thing I want you to know is this year, keep a lookout, a sharp lookout, like no other year, this year, keep a sharp lookout on Israel. Look at what will happen in Israel. Major things. I don't see this year, and I'm not here to discourage you, but let me just tell you this. I see a year where there's a lot of chaos, all right? A lot of mayhem this year.
You all know I preach faith, all right? You know that it's not common for me to be saying that kind of thing but I saw some things in the Spirit and that's what I always do, I always spend time with the Lord, you know, for the theme for the year, and when I see these things, I cannot but be honest to deliver what I see, all right? But the Lord always has the answer. At the end of that sermon, on 5 January, I prayed the Psalms 91 over all of you. It's time for us to study Psalms 91, amen? So God already prepared us, God already told us what's gonna happen. And we need to pray for Israel as well, amen, because things are not over yet and things, you know, things can... in fact, can start from new fronts.
So, we are right smack in the middle. Aren't you glad that there is a place of refuge during times like this, amen? A place of refuge where it is not, you know, use this product and it's a heavy promotion on the product, it's all about money, you know? Or use this cream or use this. I mean, there's one person who will never want to get anything out of you just for his benefit. He's out to love you and I mean love you and protect you and your family. He's the only one you can trust. He has no marketing ploy, amen? You know, what he says is what he says. He doesn't give empty guarantees. He backs up every promise, and he doesn't even have to promise and yet the Bible says he promises. His word alone is enough. So he is our God. Can I have a good "Amen"?
So we have sin. This God, one who delivers from the perilous pestilence. This pestilence here is open pestilence. You will see this word "pestilence" here, perilous pestilence, which means open pestilence like the ebola, like the SARS. "Well, God surely will deliver you," he says, right? So we are starting to see the promises of God of Psalms 91 and here, the next promise, "He will cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler".
Now, we have a picture of God as an eagle, which many other Scriptures talks about him as an eagle, all right? "He will cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall trust". And when you start thinking about it, we must use language of Scripture. If the Bible says that God wants to be an eagle for protection, we ask ourself Why? Why, why, why, why an eagle, okay? And the last line says, "His truth shall be your shield and buckler". Shield is a large shield that covers your front. But buckler is a very interesting shield that don't really, you know, fit the bill. Because shield is a large shield like the Romans would use, in the front. In fact, the first mention of that shield, the front shield, is in the story of David and Goliath where Goliath, when he went down the Valley of Elah, he had a man carrying his shield. That's how big it was.
Nothing was told about the man after Goliath died. He must have fled. That's a front shield, a large shield. But buckler, literally is a shield that goes around. It goes around the person, like in the ancient time, they have a fortress or a fort, you have walls that go around, it's a protection all around. Interesting, buckler. "His truth shall be your shield and buckler". Now, how many know that the Bible says the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ? And that's why to live in the promises of Psalms 91, you cannot be under the law, because all the names of God, of the first verse, Elyon, El Shaddai, was of Abraham's promise of people under Abraham's blessing who are not under the law. Are you listening, people, okay?
So here we have grace and truth because grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, and don't forget, grace and truth in the Greek came by Jesus Christ. It's, literally, the singular verb which means grace and truth is one, all right? It should be a plural verb, but it's not. Therefore, grace and truth is one, like water and wet is one. You cannot touch water without touching wet. You cannot touch grace without touching truth. It's amazing. I can't understand the body of Christ sometimes. Now we have a lot of preaching on favor, but favor is grace. "We are not for grace, we are for favor". Friend, charis is favor, amen. Favor and grace is the same. If you look at the Amplified translation, every time grace and peace be multiplied to you, bracket, unmerited favor. Unmerited favor, amen. It's favor. And you know what? In some places even preach, if they're not open yet, just preach favor. You still preach grace.
So the thing is this, all right? This analogy here of "God covering you with feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth," his grace and truth. I'm gonna prove to you this eagle wing's is a picture of grace, and then his truth. So here we have again, hesed ve emet. Grace and truth in the Old Testament, hesed. His hesed is new every morning, all right? The word "hesed" which is his mercies in some of your Bibles. In some translation, like NIV, his love is new every morning. So it's obvious that even the translators do not know how to deal with this word, which is very rich, "hesed," all right? So they say, in one place, "loving kindness," in another place, "mercy".
But I tell you what, in Israel today there is a New Testament in Hebrew, and I've looked at the New Testament. And I've asked my friend to turn to John 1 and verse 17 where it says the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth, and I looked at it, and I know how to read some, all right, and it says "Hesed ve emet," which is hesed, the hesed that is new every morning. The hesed that David says, "Your hesed is better than life". That hesed has come to Jesus Christ. And it's a true hesed. Hesed is a true hesed, okay, amen? So here again, we have hesed ve emet. How do I know? Because this word "feathers," is evra in Hebrew, and the word "under His wings" is kanaph.
Now kanaph is very interesting because in the last chapter, it says, "Unto you that fear my name," the last chapter of the entire Old Testament, Malachi, it says: "Unto you that fear my name shall the sun," S-U-N, "of righteousness arise with healing in his wings". Wings is kanaph, literally. So again, we have the picture there. Today, the rabbis tell you that the prayer shawl they wear is the kanaph, the wings, all right? Don't forget, Jesus says, "They make long their prayer shawl, but there's no power". So don't just buy a prayer shawl, thinking that it'll give you power, all right? It's what it symbolizes on the body of Jesus when that woman came and touched it, all right? Because she knew that the Messiah will be sun of righteousness. When righteousness is preached, like the sun, revealing the 7, and I'm telling you that's when people touch and they receive.
So, evra is feathers, kanaph is wings. We have one reference that takes in both, Deuteronomy 32. In Deuteronomy 32, it's the song of Moses. Moses was about to pass on to be with the Lord, and Israel has come to the end of their wandering. They're about to enter the promised land via the River Jordan, and God told Moses, "I'm going to give you a song, Moses. I want you to put this song in their mouths. In the days to come and to generation after generation, if something bad happens to them, they will sing this song, and they will remember me. They'll remember". So, the song for Israel... and one of the lyrics says this: "As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings", wings here is kanaph, "taking them up, carrying them on its wings," which is feathers, this evra.
So, again, you have two references in one verse. Now notice God is talking about the time he brought them out of Egypt. How did he bring them out? He brought them out on eagles' wings. I was preparing this, and the Lord says, "Tell them I will still carry them, my people, on eagles' wings when they fly". There's no way you can talk about eagles' wings flying with your mother eagle, all right, from the ground, on the ground only. There's no such eagle. So, don't be afraid of flying. The promise here is that you will fly, and you will not die, in Psalms 91. All right? And here, if that's not enough, it's talking about Israel's history, how it began. The next verse says, "The Lord alone led him," all right, "and there was no foreign god with him". And verse 13 says, "He made him ride in the heights of the earth".
Do you know what's riding? In those days, like riding a horse; but riding on the heights, I believe there is a hidden prophecy here, all right, that Moses, during Moses' time there was no planes, but, you know, our time, yes. God promises that his people will ride the heights of the earth. So, flying is a pleasure that we have that even if Solomon see what we have today, I'm telling you, Solomon would say, "I'm not the richest; you are". If Solomon look at your washing machine, if Solomon look at your color TV, if Solomon listen to your hi-fi set, if Solomon looks at your iPod, your iPad, your tablet, he looks at your iPhone, Solomon says, "I give up. I'm not the richest. And I feel stupid. I do not know about these things". But you see all these things, and you take your life for granted, and you say, "No, I want that bigger house".
You know, we always want something greater, bigger, stronger, you know, but somewhere along the way we need to stop and realize if we transfer you back to the time of Solomon, even, where everything was elaborate, big, and all that, I'm telling you, even for you, got running water. What will it take to make you happy? Amen? I'm not talking to you you all, you know, right? I'm talking to Singapore. Stop complaining and start living, start enjoying. Hallelujah. I'm speaking to the world, amen. Somewhere along the way, we've gotta stop complaining about our children and start enjoying them. Correct, yes, but correct, you know, correct is like withdrawal from the bank. Every time you withdraw, you know, your ATM, all right, lesser, lesser. Put more deposit. Deposit is good. Deposit is enjoying your time with them, amen? Saying good words, encouraging them, so that when the time comes, you need to withdraw, and we all need to withdraw as parents. It's not so hard. You won't run a credit.
All right. So, this is a beautiful song. And then watch this. I'm going to prove to you right now that eagles' wings is the period of grace. In Exodus 19, Exodus 19, do you remember Exodus 19? It's just before Exodus 20. Get that revelation. And Exodus 20 is where you find the Ten Commandments. It's where you find the Ten Commandments. Amen. It's where you find the Ten Commandments. Now, Exodus 19, God brought them, they just came out of Egypt weeks ago, and God brought them to Mount Sinai, and God told them, all right, God called Moses from the mountain, and God says, "This is what you will say to the children of Israel: 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself.'"
God wanted them to continue the covenant of Abraham, which is God brought them out, not because they were good, but because he is good. God didn't open up the Red Sea because they were faithful, but because he was faithful. They were complaining all the way. Every step of the way, they're complaining. God didn't bring them, God didn't sweeten the bitter waters of Mara, all right, because of their obedience, but because God was keeping his covenant with Abraham, which is unconditional covenant. And now God says, "Continue in that covenant. Grace brought you all this far. Grace will bring you home". And they said, after this, they said... so eagles' wings is this period. God is saying from Egypt all the way to Sinai is a period of eagles' wings.
So, in other words, the grace period is a period of eagles' wings. In other words, when I'm under grace, I walk a whole lot faster. I progress a whole lot faster, amen. I grow a whole lot faster. My blessings will help me, all right, facilitate things a whole lot faster. If you study carefully their journey from Egypt to Mount Sinai, there ain't no way they can make it in 50 days, no way. I'll tell you right now, no way, even when they walk. But the Bible says, "Even their legs did not swell during the 40 years". I don't know about this period, Egypt to Sinai. So, in other words, they didn't realize they walked, and walked, and walked. And all of a sudden, more mountains are past. It's a supernatural walk. It's like being borne on eagles' wings. So, God will bear you on eagles' wings. Are you listening, people? Are you glad for that? Amen?
So, it's a period of grace. "And the whole idea is to bring you to myself". The way God brings us to himself is that he reveals himself in all his goodness, in all his beauty. He's beautiful. He was the first one in the ark of Noah. He went in and said, "Come into the ark, your family. It's safe. Come into the ark, you and your family". Finally, after the flood subsided, what did God say? "Go forth from the ark". He's the first one in and the last one out. And I always say a hero does that. He's the first one in, and he's the last one out, making sure everybody is saved, not one left behind. That literally is what happened, by the way, when the children of Israel left Egypt, all right. This period, it's all before Sinai.
You must know the stories before Sinai. The Red Sea was opened before Sinai. The waters of Mara were sweetened before Sinai. The manna first came before Sinai. Water from the rock, Rephidim, the first one came before Sinai. The battle against the Amalekites, okay, and the enemies, that one is a different one. Okay? But God gave them the victory. It's a period of pure grace. Whether it's enemies coming against them, whether it's natural disasters, whatever, God provided for them. Do you think they were perfect during this time? No way. They were complaining, really, they were complaining. Every step of the way, they're complaining. Complaining is sin, but God says, "No, I bore you on eagles' wings, against all your enemies, against all the lack and all the necessities". Isn't God good? Hm? But I want to tell you this: that this period of pure grace is now ours permanently.
So, there was, the Bible said the law came in, in Romans chapter 5. The law came in, that the offense might abound. Study the word. Scholars study the word. The law came in. Literally says, "Para-site". It came on the site. It was never God's main agenda. God's main agenda was grace. The law came in not to make us righteous, that the offense might abound, so that men will see themselves as sinners. Hm? So, this is a time of eagles' wings. Finally, they said, they boasted. Kol ásher-DiBer Adonai naáseh: "Whatever you tell us, Lord..." At the foot of Mount Sinai, Exodus 19. Right after Moses says this, "Whatever God can command us..." They had not even heard the commandments, yet. "Whatever, we can do it".
Bang, the next thing you know, golden calf. Coming up from Egypt, no desire for golden calf, but had all the gold. Through the Red Sea, the other side, no desire for golden calf, had all the gold. After the bitter waters of Mara were sweetened, they still had the gold, but no golden calf. How come the golden calf finally? They put themselves under law. That's what's happening to people all over the world. That's my burden. I'm telling people that the strength of sin is the law. Grace is the power for holiness. For sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under law but under grace. It's time for us to preach the truth to the body of Christ, so the body of Christ might come up to the level where God wants them to be, amen.
Then when God gave them the law, God knew they would fail, so God told them, "Look, you know, there is a place I want to build in the mishkan, in the tabernacle". It's called the holy of holies, kodesh ha kodeshim, in the holy of holies. And this is the place. It's called the mercy seat. Look at the mercy seat. All right, the Ark of the Covenant. Now, this is what God says in Exodus 25, Exodus 25. "And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and the faces of the cherubim shall be towards the mercy seat". The word "wings," kanaph, again we have wings. All right? Verse 21. Put the mercy seat on top, "and there I will meet with you. There I will speak with you from above the mercy seat". Wow. Hello. Mercy seat, that's my ministry. I'm preaching from the mercy seat. Some are preaching from the judgment seat. I'm preaching from Mount Zion. Some are preaching from Mount Sinai. I want every pastor, every leader to start preaching from Mount Zion and from the mercy seat. Can I have a good amen?
The mercy seat, the place where the wings of the cherubim are. Like the picture again? All right. And David is saying that's where the blood is sprinkled in between the mercy seat. It's almost like David is saying, "I want to stay there under the shadow of your wings. I want to be under the shadow of your wings, the place of the blood. And I'm not perfect, but the blood is there". Amen? And your protection is there. Are you listening, people?
If we live in the Old Testament, and I ask you the question, all right, "Which is the holiest country in the world"? That's in the Old Testament. You will say Israel. I say, "Of all Israel, which is the holiest city"? You will say Jerusalem. If I say, "In Jerusalem itself, which is the holiest location," you will say the Temple Mount, where the temple is. If I tell you of all the parts of the temple: outer court, holy place, holy of holies, all right, which is the holiest of all? I just told you, holy of holies. Now this is the holy of holies. There's only one furniture in the holy of holies. And I tell you, in the holy of holies, where is the holiest of holiest, of holiest spot? It's the mercy seat. So, right in the heart of God, the holiest thing ever, his mercy. The kapporet, the covering of blood. Can you understand? It's not a matter of grace and holiness on one side. If you touch grace, you touch holiness. Amen.
Okay, now I want to share with you, in closing, you're, "Oh". Yeah. I'll tell you the names of God in a powerful way; but meanwhile, before I go to that, I want to share with you something that came in that I only read just now, or read yesterday, but read in full just now. This came from New York, USA. "A few nights ago, my husband, Casey, and I were stuck in a traffic jam for 5 hours. We couldn't move the car and did not know what had happened. So, we put on a sermon by Pastor Joseph Prince, titled, 'The Secret Place: Where You Find Protection and Long Life.' Later, we found out that a fatal accident took place just 5 seconds ahead of us". Five seconds.
"So, the Lord helped us, to protect us from the accident. We are so fully blessed and deeply loved by the Lord. Today, my husband, Casey, was again protected miraculously from another car accident. It appeared that a driver had a heart attack while driving and passed out. It led to a chain collision, and all the cars in front and behind Casey got hit, and the drivers were taken to the hospital. Despite all this, Casey's car was completely untouched. Though Casey had always been an excellent driver, he dared not claim the credit. Everything had happened so quickly that he could not react in time. In fact, we believe that it was the Lord who protected him, once again, because that very morning, Casey was reading a devotional by Pastor Prince that drew Bible references from Psalms 91. It touched on verse 2 and 4, which read, 'He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow. He shall cover you, and under his wings you shall take refuge.'"
Okay, you all know the verse. "Truly, there is no safer place in the universe than under the protective shelter of our Savior's wings. What blessed assurance we can have today, knowing that even if destruction rages around us, there is always a refuge and comfort in the Lord, our unfailing peace, protection, and supply". This lady didn't even know that I'm gonna preach on this series. Praise God. And she don't even know, and she's testifying about Psalms 91. I told you last week about the lady who was at Ritz Carlton Jakarta. That's where I would be. I'm always there when I preach at the church there in Jakarta. They always put me in the Ritz Carlton Jakarta. And in 2000...I forget 2009, or 8, or 7, one of them. There was a terrorist that walked into the restaurant during breakfast time, blew himself up, a suicide bomber.
One of our ladies in our church was there at the time. She walked exactly behind a huge pillar when the bomb went off. Now, she's confessing Psalms 91. She wrote to me, all right, her life is such that when she, you know, gets up in the morning, or whatever it is she confess, or claim Psalms 91. Talk about being at the right place, literally, at the right time. My wife and I... some of you heard this testimony. About 3 years ago, I was just about to preach on the vision of the year, and that week, we went for a very late dinner, so that the food court that we went to was quite deserted. So, many places to sit, actually.
So, we sat one particular place. Only a few stores were open. We ordered what we could. And while eating, there was this man that came to us. He walked to where Wendy and I were, grabbed a beer bottle that was left there, because it was quite late at night. The cleaners had all gone home. Took a beer bottle, came near us, all right. I could see him in the corner of my eye, but it was too late. I couldn't stop him. And there was a pillar near where Wendy and I were eating. All right. And he smashed the beer bottle against the pillar, sending shards all over the place. And I was so stunned. It was so near us that Wendy and I were stunned. And I was about to, like, you know, just backslide just a little while. I'm sure you'll forgive me, church, right? You know? Because if I'm alone, I understand, but my wife is there.
If my wife, my child, you know, amen. I've gotta be a man. "Sometimes you've gotta fight to be a man". No, no, I'm not encouraging you to fight. I'm just saying, you know, I came close. Can I be honest? You're all so religious. I was about, in fact, I stood up already. Okay? And then the guy looked at me, and he walked away real fast before I could catch him. But shards all over. And really, in my heart, I was thinking Wendy got it, I got it. I don't feel it now, because my adrenaline was like, you know, I was trying to go after him, but I was concerned about my wife. When I looked up, and we checked ourselves, there were glasses all over the place, but then we stopped and realized that immediately around our vicinity, all right, almost, Wendy will tell you, almost like a sphere. The glasses just stopped, just like there was like a sphere of saying, "Thus far and no more".
And I'm telling you, you all still remember I shared the theme of the year, 3 years ago, and this was one of the things we shared. The thing is this, church. We do not know. Sometimes, you know, you say that "I'm a very careful driver, Pastor Prince". Don't put your faith in that. You might be a careful driver, but there are drunk drivers. You know, there are teenage drivers. You know, there are people who are speeding. It's not your fault. I say it's not your fault. You understand? Many a times, things happen that's not your fault. Like, the guy smashed the thing. You think I want to go and take the glass and just smash, just to see whether God protects me? That's stupid. You understand?
All right, please don't be stupid with this sermon, okay? The Bible tells us that when Jesus, as a baby, was under threat, the parents obeyed the dream. The dream says, "Take the baby to Egypt". So, they brought baby Jesus to Alexandria in Egypt. I believe it was in Alexandria. So, that was where they stayed until Herod died. That's wisdom. You know, I believe that the Lord will protect baby Jesus, even in the last moment, but it's wisdom not to call attention. It's wisdom at the right time to keep yourself, you know, away from trouble. Now, if you go down there and put your hand in a bag full of snakes and say, "They shall take up serpents", all right? What do you want on your tombstone? What epithet do you want? "I was wrong".
Okay. Jesus... now, we touched on the names of God. This is how I'm going to close. We touched on the names of God, right? Didn't we? Okay, verse 1 again. We have Elyon. We have Shaddai. We have Yahweh. We have Elohim. All these names are very important because when God appeared to Moses God says that, "When I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by my name Yahweh was I not known to them but by my name El Shaddai". In other words, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob knew God more as El Shaddai than Yahweh. But if you study their lives, Yahweh was mentioned. They call upon the name of Yahweh, but yet the revelation of Yahweh was not strong with them. So studying the names is important. Every name has a significance. Can I have a good amen?
So we have most high, Almighty, Lord, and Elohim. And the last verse of Psalms 91, here is something that God gave me many years ago. Never heard anyone preach this, but I'm telling you that people will stop there and they say the names of God are in verse 1 and 2. But I tell you the Lord's name in the last verse. "With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation". The entire psalm ends with Jesus literally, my Yeshua in Hebrew. So that is the name Yeshua. Can you see that? So we have Elyon, we have Shaddai; and each name has a meaning. Like, for example, David told Goliath, all right, "Today the Lord will deliver you into my hand, that all the earth may know there is a God".
Now, we read it and we say, you know, there's nothing. I mean, for us it's just God, God, but no. In the Hebrew, all right, "Today Yahweh," the covenant-keeping God, "will deliver you into my hand, that all the earth may know that there is a Elohim in Israel. There's a hand of protection". Even though they are low army in the sense, they do not know God anymore. They're not his people in the sense that, you know, they are his people by covenant. They're still his people, but they do not know him. The story of Esther is like that. The name of God doesn't appear in the story of Esther, not one time. The name of God doesn't appear in the story of Esther, but yet God was working behind the scenes. Why? God cannot acknowledge himself because they were in a period of low army. "Not my people". Because of idolatry, they were taken into captivity.
That's why the story of Esther happened in Shushan, Persia, present-day Iran. They were taken into captivity because of their idolatry. Although it's not Mordecai or Esther's personal idolatry, the people were taken captive and yet God worked behind the scene. One day I'll do it. I'll teach and I'll show you how the name of God appeared acrostic at every major event of Esther's life. All right? So the names of God are important. We have Yeshua, the name of Jesus. But don't forget there's one more name that Jesus came to reveal, and this is all important. Inasmuch as you learn Psalms 91, all the Old Testament Scripture, whatever it is, it must be brought into the new covenant. If you want... you say, "Pastor Prince, I don't know the names of God as much". It's all right, child of God. There's only one name you need to know: Father, Father. And that name denotes what? Family.
The Bible says you cannot call God Father unless you have received the spirit of sonship. When you say Father, all fears go. You see (go back to verse) the feathers and the truth again. All right? Verse 4, verse 4, "He shall cover you with His feathers, under His wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be a shield and buckler". So now we can say grace, his wings is actually grace or that dispensation of grace and truth. So we have Chesed ve'emet. Now, how does he say he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow? Come here, bro. Stand down here. Yeah. Okay. You are now under my shadow. See, just now you're not under my shadow, you're under my sprinkling just now. But now you're under my shadow. You see? Because you came close. He came close. Thank you. All right?
Not only that, in verse 4 he shall cover you with his feathers. You know what they do with the chicken, the mother hen? I told you the story. One of the... I forgot sometimes which service I preach on this, but there's a true story of a farmer whose farm got burned down and he wept, and finally after the... it was all in smoldering and some smoke was still around and everything was blackened with soot and all that. He went up there with tears in his eyes, and then he passed by his chickens. They were all burned and all that. Then he saw one particular chicken. All right? And with his foot absentmindedly just moving the chicken and underneath the chicken came all the little chicks running out. What happened? They took refuge in the mother. The mother gave her life.
So running to be under his feathers speaks of what? Closeness. You cannot take something that you want and say, "I claim this promise. I claim this promise". That's not what God wants. God wants you to come close to him. Don't just, "I recite this five times. Five is the number of grace. Now you are obliged to protect me". Then something happens, you get angry. No, that's not the way it works, people. No, no, no. This whole thing is relationship. It talks about abiding under the shadow. It talks about under his wings, under his feathers.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem, and this is what he said in Matthew. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. See, your house is left". He did not say that, "I make your house". God didn't make the house, the temple desolate. You left the house desolate. "I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'" You know, all Israel today there's one thing that's growing, and Jesus promised that when Israel says, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," he will return. And in Hebrew it is Baruch haba blessed is he, b'shem Adonai. "Baruch haba b'shem Adonai".
Literally, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. When Israel says that, bang, he will return and her days of sorrow, tears will be no more. Then finally, Sar Shalom, the prince of peace will reign and peace will finally come to Israel. Israel cannot get peace with her own strength, her own weapons, her own defense by depending on other nations. The only way is Sar Shalom, and she will become, the world will get more and more, will ostracize her more and more until she's left all alone. Okay? It's prophesied in the Bible. Anyway, back to this again. It's about closeness. Remember when you were young and it was thundering at night and you were in your little toddler room and you were afraid? What do you do? Do you go to your toys and play? No. You ran to your parents' room and you jumped on the bed, and what do you do? You went under your mommy's wings. Right? You hide there. And for a while you fall into sound sleep.
You see, you don't have to learn the seven steps of overcoming fear. The presence of your loving parent. You got to be a loving parent. All right? The last thing a child wants is to run to a parent's room that's abusive. You'll get slapped, you know. So some of you are hurt because the name father brings up ideas of pain. All right? It reminds you of rejection, pain, abuse. So I'm here to tell you that this Father in heaven loves you and he wants to be like an eagle, like a mother hen. Jesus says, "How I wish I would gather you under my wings". And he wept. And I believe that he saw the Holocaust not just AD 70 when the Romans came in. He saw the future, and you are not willing.
So in other words you must be willing to come under his wings. I said you must be, "But you were not willing," the last part of verse 37. You must be willing. Are you willing to be protected? Are you willing to be close to him? Are you willing to have him as your refuge? I don't care about you. "Amen, Pastor Prince. For me and my house we say amen". Now, church, protection in the Father's name is amazing. Jesus himself said in the high priestly prayer, let's eavesdrop. Okay? Men, Adam drop. So as you listen to Jesus's high priestly prayer, that was bad. Anyway, look at John 17. Jesus prayed, "Now I'm no longer in the world, but these are in the world," his disciples, "and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are".
Keep through your name. The only name that Jesus came to reveal is Father, and it puzzled them. Even, he was first offered to the Jewish people. He says, "Hey, don't worry about what you shall eat, what you shall drink, what you shall wear. Your heavenly Father knows you have need of these things. If your Father clothed the lilies of the field which today is, tomorrow is burn up, how much more will he clothe you? Hey, you of little faith. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him". He kept on preaching your Father, your Father, your Father only to the land that... the nation of Israel in anticipation of them receiving him as a king, becoming God's children, but they rejected him. They only knew God as stern. They want to keep God in the holy of holies. They want to keep God in the temple so that they can do whatever they want. They don't want this closeness. It's amazing that Joseph after he reconciled with his brothers the first thing he said was this: "I am Joseph".
The next thing he said was, "Come near me". And these are the brothers that betrayed him, rejected him, caused him years of pain. All right? He says, "Come near me". And then he says, "I'll put you in the land, you and your little ones and your flock and all that you have in the land of Goshen". Read up the word Goshen. Everything has a meaning in the Bible. The word Goshen, all right, means drawing near. Goshen. "And in that place I'll provide for you". Draw near to God. Before you board a plane, have some time, say, "Father, we are getting on board together. Father, I'm your child". I don't know how to pray powerful prayers like Pastor Lawrence. He's so poetic when he prays. I can't sing as well as Bob Fitts. And for those who are watching, Bob Fitts for me is one of the best worship leaders ever and I'm so glad that God keep him young and strong because a new generation needs his ministry.
So for all those of you out there if you say, "Pastor Prince, what would you recommend songs of worship that give you a strong Jesus consciousness and the love of the Father"? All right. Besides Hillsong, I highly recommend Bob Fitts and his songs, his albums. All right? Let this be broadcasted. I'm telling you, I've been so blessed and you know that I know a lot of worship leaders, a lot of people and all that. But the thing is that... oh, man, to have the same tribe, same spirit. I forgot what I'm going to say. Yeah, closeness. So when you're about to board the plane, just say, "Father, Father in heaven, how we love you. Father, you are close to me and, Father, you are going on board this plane with me". You know how to pray. that's more important than say, "I claim this. I claim that," you know. Like you think that God works by you pushing button. "Now I push it here. Your turn now. Your turn now. Don't forget your turn," you know.
And sometimes we think that our confession, our this and our that, you know, friend, let's get real. Come on. This is not claiming promises without drawing near. You know, all this abide under the shadow, under his wings you will take refuge speaks of closeness, love, family. You know, the only little ones that can take refuge under... little eaglets under the mother eagle are her own. It's a family thing. It's a family thing. A puppy can't do that. All right. So the mother's love cannot... we think that mother's love is like God's love, but even then mother's love is... God's love is amazing. God loves the unlovable, even those who are not his. When he saved them, they were not his. A mother loves a child because he's hers. No one can compare the Father's love.
So Jesus says keep through your name. There's protection in the name of the Father. "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name". You know how Jesus kept them all from backsliding? Okay? It'd been worse for Peter, it'd been worse for others in terms of backsliding had Jesus not reminded them, "Your Father loves you. Your Father understands. Your Father knows what you need. Your Father, your Father". That's how he keeps them. Pastors and leaders, that's how we keep our people. All right? Your Father, heavenly Father. Don't just say God, God. There are times you say God, yes; but your Father. You meet someone who is backslidden, right, you just tell them, "I want to meet you today because the Father sent me". Better still, Jesus told the Jews, "Your Father knows what you need". Tell them, "Your Father sent me here". Amen?
In Israel they say, "How come you all so happy"? And they have said that of us, our people. "Why are you all so happy"? I say, "Your Father and your God sent us". You all seem to be all like... I think the idea is that we are wealthy. You all look wealthy. I think they got the idea because you all don't only eat one piece of St. Peter's fish. You all eat two, three. Right, Matthew? So it's best to always tell people, "Your Father". Even if they're not saved yet. Amen? There is a place where you can say, you know, if you're saved, "Your Father. He's now God, but he wants to be your Father". So in anticipation this is what Jesus did. So none of them, even during Jesus's time in the Gospels, none of them were born again. So he prayed generally for Israel. "Our Father". He says, "This is how you pray: Our Father in heaven". But no one can say my Father. But after they are saved, everyone can say, "My Father". You understand? Becomes individual. The spirit of sonship has come.
You drop down. "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one". Other translations says keep them from evil, the evil of this world. "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world". "Pastor Prince, he prayed for his disciples". Drop down. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who have believed in Me through their word". That's you. That's you. "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who have believed Me through their word". That's you. Say, "Amen". All right? And finally, the Lord wants us to enjoy the Father's love, enjoy the Father's love. And he all ends with these two verses. "O righteous Father, the world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You send Me".
Don't expect the world to understand your relationship with the Father. "And I have declared to them Your name". What's the name? What's the name? Father. "And will declare it," I'll keep on declaring, "that the love with which You love Me may be in them, and I in them". Beautiful. Beautiful. Genesis 22, "Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, 'Abraham.' And he said," hineni, "I am here". In Hebrew, hineni, "I am here". "Then he said, 'Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.'". Take now your son, your only son Isaac whom you love. You think about it. Abraham had two sons. One is Ishmael.
So why did God say, "Your only son"? 'Cause God was talking about his son, his only son, the son that he loved. And we all know that God didn't want a human offering. It was a test and a visual demonstration that'll be read for all time, for all generations to see the love of God. Because, friend, this is the first time in the Bible the word love, ahavah, is mentioned. The first mention is here, and the first mention tells you about the love of the Father for the son, the love of the Father for the son. Look up here, friend. Jesus says no man knows the Father except the son and whoever the son will reveal him. I want the son to reveal the Father to me. So the first mention of love in the Bible is the love of the Father for the Son. This is Genesis 22, the second mentioned is Genesis 24. Genesis 24 is the longest chapter in Genesis. Why? It's a story of the unnamed servant looking for a bride for the son of Abraham. And this story has been 2,000 years. God is preparing a bride for his Son. It's a lovely bride.
So the story of Rebekah in Genesis 24, the story of Rebekah is a story of the church. How, when the servant saw her, and she's, "Are you willing to follow me to marry a man you have never seen"? She says, "Yes". That's our journey. And then out from his bag came all the gold that he put on. Bracelet, gold bracelets, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of faith, working of miracles, healings. Then she put gold on her nose. In those days, it's a beautiful decoration. The nose is discernment, gift of discerning, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom. Finally, you know, she brought her bridesmaids with her. They traveled for days and days before she arrived. That's our journey now, the church. And, finally, when she saw Isaac, the Bible says, "She lighted off her camel," by the Hebrew there, and the Jewish rabbi says she fell off her camel right into the arms of Isaac, who came to visit.
That's gonna happen to the church. The church will be swept off her feet when we see our Heavenly Bridegroom. No more disease, no more sickness, no more poverty, no more death, no more separation, no more growing old, no more pains, no more boredom, no more falling asleep when the pastor is preaching; no more, no more, no more. The longest chapter. I'm sure that they have their fireside talks. Every night, they stop. She and her bridesmaids, you know, they'll sit down there, and Abraham's elderly servant will start sharing about Isaac, about how the father brought Isaac up to the mountain, the whole story. And she fell in love with someone she has never seen.
"Tell me the story of Jesus". Who is the unnamed servant? "He's the Holy Spirit, who's come to glorify the Son. Tell me the story of Jesus". And that's the story that... okay, anyway, I'm on Genesis 24. I'm on Genesis 22. So before, two chapters before, he looks for a bride. God says, "Take your son, the son you love". So the first mention of love is the love of the Father for the Son. The second mention is the love of the Son, the bridegroom, for his bride. And Isaac loved Rebecca or Rivkah. You will say that in Hebrew. Isaac loved Rebekah. Yitzhak "ahev" Rivkah, loved Rebekah.
Now look at this story. You all know the story, so I won't go into detail, all right? God says, "Take your son, your only son, the son that you love". You know, it's like God is really pushing it, leh? "Take your son. Only just take your son, Isaac. Take your son, your only son, the son that you love". God knew it was hard for Abraham, but he was a man of faith and offered him on Mount Moriah. So drop down. "So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering". Now we're jumping over because of time. He went three days' journey, the Bible says. Three days' journey, all right? If you're in Jerusalem, I can show you the path that they took, all right, all the way to Mount Moriah, which is the Temple Mount today.
Now, the Bible says there were two young men that followed them with a donkey and the wood. Abraham says, "You guys, stay here. We, my son and I, will go there and worship". It's the first mention of "worship" in English, but in Hebrew, it's the second time it appears. Worship involves the cross, involves redemption. When Jesus touched on worship with the woman at the well, he told her, "The Father seeketh such to worship him". Ooh, the Father is looking. The Father is looking for worshipers. That's what the Son said, and he's the Son that God loves. You see, you'll never know how much God loves you until you know how much God loves his Son because he gave up his Son for you. So they went. "Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, laid it on Isaac his son and took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together". Look at that: "The two of them went together".
Every time I read this story, I get new revelation. Yesterday I was reading this again, and I saw this: "And the two of them went together". You know, the story of Jesus, "took the wood and laid it on Isaac". That's the wood, Jesus carried the cross, and he fell. Took the cross. Now, in the movie "The Passion," you have the mother coming, but when I read this, when I read this, the Father was there. The two of them went together. "Son, just a little more, Son". Remember, he was still Father, not yet God. At the cross, when he became sin, then he says, "There's a distance, God, but you're still the Father". I believe it was the Father that picked him up, "Let's go, Son. Let's go". But Isaac spoke to Abraham, his father, and said, "Avi, my father". "Hineini, beni, beni. Here I am, son, my son". It's not just "ben," affection. His heart was full. He realized what's gonna happen, but his son doesn't know. Said, "Avi, my father". He says, "Hineini, beni. Here I am, my son".
"'Look,' Isaac said, 'the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?' And Abraham answered, 'My son, beni, God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering.'" Again, "The two of them went together". I read this so many times. Sometimes... the Bible is amazing. How many of you read the same passage again and again, and bang, you see something you never saw before? All the way to the cross, the Father suffered as much as Jesus, but it's gotta be done. Do you know, the answer is not really a answer? It's just, there's no identity here. "God will provide himself a lamb". No one knows who the lamb is. The son asked, "Where is the lamb"? The father says, "God will provide himself a lamb".
Finally, in the New Testament, John said, when Jesus walk in front of him, he told everyone, "Behold, look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". That's the lamb, Isaac. That's the one that you are typifying. So they went there. The son went up. Imagine, the son helped him with the wood and all that, just like Jesus carried the wood, his own execution, all right, instrument. And the son carried the wood, put it on there. It must be hard for Abraham. Probably covered the boy's eyes. Was about to plunge the knife, and the Bible says God said, "Abraham, Abraham". He says, "Yes, Lord"? "Don't lay your hand on your son. Now I know that you fear me because you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me".
See, the thing that... how do you and I know that God loves us? Because God has not withheld his Son, his only Son, from me, from us. The only difference is this: God spared Abraham's son. God spared this elderly man of the pang of his son's death, but God did not spare his own heart of that. No one would know how much it costs this love. Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, in anticipation of being made sin on the cross, sweat blood just in anticipation. What a shocking thought it must be for the Son of God, wholly perfectly Holy, Thrice holy to even have the thought to become our sin. It made him bleed, sweat of blood. The medical science says your capillaries burst under intense pressure. If that is so in the garden, how much more when literally he became sin? And God says, "Look behind you". And he looked behind. "Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it for a burnt offering instead of his son".
So God spared Abraham something he never spared himself. Again, I was reading this, and I always thought that the reason why the ram is caught... and it's true because God wants a offering without blemish, without lacerations and all that. If the ram was caught and it tears its fur and its skin, delicate skin, it would not be a perfect offering, but it was caught by his horns. It's not as if, rams are not stupid. Little lambs might be. Rams, you are mature. He walked right into it. He gave himself. I believe Jesus struggled to go to the cross when... laid on the cross on the ground. He stunned everyone. I believe he went not like the thief being dragged, kicking, all right? But Jesus went there and laid himself. And the word "thicket", Justinian's lexicon, all right? Justinian says this: The very first definition of the "thicket" is "branches interwoven". "Branches interwoven" is a "thicket".
You all know the story how it ends, right? Who came down the mountain? Father and son. I'm sure that he was holding his son, carrying his son. I'm sure that they're walking side by side. But look at how the story ends. The story ends like this: "Abraham returned to his young men, and they rose and went together". Wait a minute. "Abraham returned to his young men". What about Isaac? Not mentioned. In the mind of God, only one man walked down. The offering is done. It's a picture of Jesus Christ already being offered, and that's the reason why Jesus told the Pharisees, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day". "You are not yet 50 years old," they told him. "You've seen Abraham"? "It's not that I've seen Abraham. Abraham saw me".
Let's get this clear who's the greater one. "You've seen Abraham"? He says, "No, Abraham saw me. Abraham saw my day, and he rejoiced because, before Abraham was, I am". In other words, when Abraham looked back, he didn't just see the ram. He saw Mount Calvary, which is a highest peak of the range of Mount Moriah, and that's why God had this visual demonstration of what he's gonna do to save men with all our uncleanness. And, by the way, "Now it came to pass, after these things, it was told Abraham, saying, 'Indeed Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor".
Why does the chapter end with "Your brother has a son"? And that's how the chapter ends. You know why? You keep on reading. It's not down here. There are few more, about five more verses I didn't put down... four more verses, rather, all right? It says, "Nahor brought forth Bethuel". His son Bethuel brought forth Rebekah, the bride of Isaac. In other words, Abraham came down as if Isaac didn't come down. In reality, Isaac came down in the story, but in the Holy Spirit's eyes, it's the cross of Jesus Christ, and now the focus, the ending of the chapter is on the church.
Without the cross, there will be no church, and the church is not stained-glass windows or a building. The church is the most powerful, the most blessed, the most successful organization in the entire universe that God ever dreamed of. Going to sit back right now as the musicians come. You are about to experience the Father's love. If you can, no one moving around just for a while, after, we shall come back here and bless all of you and pray Psalms 91 for you and your families this week. I want you to sit back and experience the Father's love afresh.
It's beautiful. "For God so loved the world", that's you, "that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish..." "whosoever" includes everybody. No one is left out. No matter how far into sin you say you've gone into, his love reaches you further still. His love is greater than all your sins. His grace is greater than all your falling short. I'm not asking you to embrace a religion. This is not religion. This is love. I'm asking you to embrace a Savior who gave his life for you on the cross for all your sins. I'm asking you to embrace a Father who loves you even before you knew his name. If that is you, wherever you are, just pray this prayer from your heart right now. Say:
Heavenly Father, I put my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ. On that cross, Christ bore all my sins. He had no sins of his own. It was all my sins that he bore. It was my sins that he suffered for. Thank you, Father, that you raised him from the dead as a declaration that all my sins are put away. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior now and forevermore in Jesus's name. Thank you, Father. I am saved, eternally saved, greatly blessed, highly favored, and so loved, in Jesus's name, amen.
Stand to your feet. Enjoy the Father's love, amen? Don't let this, fires of that love, the sense of that love, grow cold, all right? That's why I'm saying, Psalms 91, it's not about a formula. It's about God's love.
This coming week, the Lord, God the Father, bless you and your families with the blessings of Abraham, the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, and the Father himself keep you, protect you and your little ones, protect you and your loved ones from all danger, from all harm, from all accidents, from every disease, from every sickness, from evil people, from all the powers of darkness, and from the power of the evil one. The Lord make his face shine on you. The Lord Jesus shines on you and grant you favor, an abundance of favor. The Lord, the Holy Spirit, lifts his countenance on you and your loved ones throughout this week, smiles on you, and grant you shalom well-being, health, and wholeness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And all the people said, "Amen". Hallelujah. God bless you, church. Remember, you don't leave this place alone. The Father is with you. God bless you.