Matt Hagee - The Lord Is My Keeper
How many of you know what it's like to have to do something? You have to pay taxes: right? The mindset of a watchman cannot be a "have to" mindset. The mindset of a watchman has got to be a "Get to" mindset where you consider it your privilege that you get to serve as a watchman in this generation. You get to be a watchman over your family. You get to be a watchman over your business. You get to be a watchman over the things that you love and the things that you want to protect. Because with watchmen, if they have a "have to" attitude, on days when it's 105 in the middle of the summer and they're looking out over the sands of the desert, they might stare more at those sitting in the shade, and wonder why they can't sit down like those, instead of saying, "I get to serve and no one will be harmed, not on my watch".
Or if they're standing in the debt of winter and it's the cold air that's blowing, and they're shivering cold while others are is sleeping next to the warm fire in their house. A watchman has to say, "I get to serve while others are sleeping in peace". We have to have a mindset that recognizes the role and responsibility that God has given to us play. It's too important for us to forfeit who we are and not do what God has required us to do. So the question is, "Where do you look in the day of trouble"? When you read Psalm 121, there are two different speakers in the Psalm. It's the same person, but he's got two different mindsets as the Psalm progresses.
Have you ever started a conversation with yourself, and then in the midst of the conversation you were having with yourself, became a different person while you were talking? Believe me: it's normal. The first person asks a question. The second person declares a truth. The first person wants to know: where is my help coming from? The second person knows exactly who to turn to in a day of trouble. It's the same person. The difference is not who the individual is. The difference is he was reminded of something whenever he realized that troubled times had come.
You see king Hezekiah in Jerusalem was living in troubled times. King Hezekiah had been a good king. When he came to power, he tore down all of the pagan altars to the false Gods that the children of Israel were worshiping. He reinstated the sabbath. The reinstated the reading of the Torah and the Word of God. You would have thought, for all of his good deeds, God would have given him a little bit of time off. Have you ever thought that the things you did here on earth bought you good graces up in heaven? I mean I've been so good for the last six months: God's going to give me the next 30 days free. That's not how it works. Hezekiah has ruled and been a righteous king. And he hears that the Assyrian army under the leadership of Sennacherib is coming to siege Jerusalem.
A hundred and eighty thousand warriors have been walking across the known world, spreading like a virus. It paints a different picture today: don't it? They've murdered tens of thousands of people. They've tortured hundreds of thousands of people. They've burned and pillaged and sieged cities. And they're coming for Jerusalem. Every child in Jerusalem is stricken with fear when they hear the word "Sennacherib" spoken, because they know that it means the most vicious and violent destruction that you could ask or think. But rather than peace and prosperity, Hezekiah says, "Shall I look to the hills"? Can I look to the mountains where I played as a child? Can I look to the hills that surround the City of Jerusalem? Can I look to the things of this earth and find anything that will help me? And he couldn't, because the places that he was familiar with in his childhood are now covered with 180.000 men of war who want him dead.
It's a very literal question, because the City of Jerusalem sits at 2550 feet above sea level. Just a few miles below it is the Dead Sea, 3800 feet below sea level, a significant transition in the topography there. And right in the middle of the mountain range is Jerusalem. Surrounding it, north, east, and west, is the Mount of Olives, mount Zion, and mount Scopus. And Hezekiah, the king of the city, is looking all around him. And everywhere he looks, he sees the campfires of warriors, who are waiting for the day that they can breach the wall and come and take him. The places where he played as a child have now become the terrifying forecast of his future.
And in verse 1, he says, "Shall I lift up my eyes to the hills? Where is my help"? And suddenly, a watchman walks into the throne room, by the name of Isaiah, a prophet of God sent with a word from heaven. And he speaks to king Hezekiah, and he changes Hezekiah's perspective. He makes Hezekiah stop looking to the things of this world and start looking to the things above. He let's Hezekiah know, if you want to find help, don't look to the hills: look to the God who holds the hills in the palm of his hand. You see sometimes it's wonderful when a watchman will look out and see danger, and give you warning. But it's even better when a watchman doesn't point to danger, but a watchman points to a Savior. The conversation that Isaiah had with king Hezekiah is recorded in Isaiah 40.
If you want to read one of the greatest chapters in all of the Bible, Isaiah 40 is a great place to start. Think about it. The prophet walks into the king's throne room, and he looks at Hezekiah, who's waiting for war. And here's what Isaiah says: he says, "Speak comfort to Jerusalem. Tell her that her warfare has ended". What? The fight hasn't even started. What do you mean it's ended? It's over when God says it's over. The prophet continues, "Don't doubt my word, because the grass may wither and the flower may fade, but the word of the Lord endures forever". He continues, "Behold, the Lord shall come with a strong hand, and his reward is with him".
Now understand this: if you're one of God's children, his reward is for your good. If you are an enemy of God's child, his reward is for your detriment. The prophet continues. He says, "What kind of God is this? This is the God, who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand". That means he holds all of the oceans in the palm of his hand. "The heaven's he's measured with the span of his fingers". That means from thumb to fingertip, he can measure all that you see in the skies above you. "He's weighed the mountains in a scale and the hills in a balance". He continues, "Behold, the nations are nothing but a drop in the bucket to him".
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told to you from the beginning from the foundations of the earth that the Lord we serve sits on the circle of the earth and uses this planet for his footstool? The prophet continues. He says "King, lift up your eyes and see who has created these things by his greatness, by his power, by his might, by his strength"? He is the God who gives power to the weak. He's the one who gives might to those who need it. Even the youth shall faint and the young shall fail. But those who wait upon the Lord, they shall renew their strength. They shall mount up on wings like eagles. They shall walk and not be weary. They shall run and not grow faint. Church, what a mighty God we serve! And Hezekiah goes from asking a question, "Where does my help come from"? He answers the question himself. He says, "My help comes from the Lord".
Where are you looking for help today? Many lives are in search of answers for the problems that they face. I believe that God sent me here to tell you, just like he sent Isaiah to Hezekiah in his day of trouble, don't lift your eyes to the things of this world. Lift your eyes to the God who sits upon the throne. Don't look to the bank to bail you out. Look to the God who can take not enough and make it more than enough, because he is the God who is your provider. Don't look to a political figure to lead you out. Look to God Almighty, who sits in heaven, who said, "I'll never leave you. I'll never forsake you". I'll walk beside you. That God is the God who is with you. That God is the Lord your helper. That God is the God who will keep you. He'll keep you all the days of your life, because he said he'd anoint your head with oil until your cup runs over, and his goodness and his mercy would follow you all the days of your life! Child of God, with a God like that, you cannot fail!
You see perspective changes everything. The way you see it determines how you feel about it. And how you feel about it determines what you do about it. Do you know the difference between a great sculptor and a stone mason? People say, "What's a stone mason"? A bricklayer. The difference between a sculptor and a bricklayer is perspective. A bricklayer looks at a piece of stone and he tries to stick it in a wall. A sculptor looks at a piece of stone and he carves out a masterpiece. You have to understand God has perspective for your life that you need. And the second that Hezekiah gets a heavenly perspective, he starts to speak the things of heaven down here on earth. What did Jesus teach his followers to do? He said, "Pray this way: thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven".
Do you want to change the world? Speak heavenly things down here on earth. Hezekiah goes from asking the question, "Where is my help coming from"? And he begins declaring, "The Lord is my keeper. The Lord is my shade". The Lord is my helper. And with this, he tells us exactly what God helps us with. The first thing that Hezekiah says is that God helps you with your confidence. Hezekiah says the Lord will not allow my foot to be moved. That's confidence. Why? Hezekiah's a leader. Hezekiah is the king. Here comes Sennacherib with 180.000 warriors. And people in the kingdom, "King, what do you want to do"? Political counselors have come in and said, I think the best thing for you to do is to compromise with Sennacherib.
Why don't we reach out to him and make a truce? Why don't we see if he can allow us to be a part of his regime, and that way he doesn't destroy us totally? Hezekiah says, we're not going to do that. Others say, king, what are we going to do? Hezekiah makes a decision. He said, either this is the city of God and God will protect it or it's not. And so he puts his foot down, we will not forfeit: we will fight. We don't have enough to fight Sennacherib, Hezekiah. If you fight him, you're going to kill us all, you fool. We're not giving in. When you take a stand, when you put your foot down upon God's word, when you take a stand upon his promises, others may doubt you, but God will not fail you. Others may try to intimidate you, slander you, accuse you, destroy you, but God will defend you. The earth may shake until the mountains fall and are cast into the midst of the sea, but Hezekiah says, "My foot shall not be moved".
I believe that God is asking many of you here today and thousands of you who are watching by television, "When are you going to take a stand"? When are you going to put your foot down upon my promises? When are you going to stop letting the enemy have control of your promises and your life? When are you going to push him out of your family with fasting and prayer? When are you going to take a stand against the Godless evil in our society today when the Bible tells us, "Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you"? When are you going to stand up for truth in a world that is filled with lies? When are you going to stand upon his promises? When are you going to stand up for the dreams he's poured in your heart? When are you going to stand up upon the vision that he's given you? When are you going to put your faith in God? Because with faith in God, all things are possible to them that believe!
Why don't most people take a stand? Because most of the time, the first thing that enters our mind after a bold decision is a second thought. I know what I'm going to do unless I've made up my mind. What do you think? Now I'm not talking about you, but maybe I'm talking about people you know. And something you need to understand, when you do something for God, second thoughts are not your best thoughts. If you can't remember that, write it down. When you do something for God, second thoughts are not your best thoughts. Why? Because you've asked God, "Reveal to me what I need to do". And your first thought is what he's telling you. And the more second thoughts you have, the more your reasons begin to peel his revelation to pieces. When you do something for God, don't hesitate to do it.
The Bible says, when David saw Goliath coming, he ran to him. Why? Because he knew that God was going to deliver that enemy into his hand. Don't hesitate to do something for God, but do it according to the Word of God. Do it with all of your heart. Do it with all of your soul. Do it with all of your mind. Do it with all of your strength. Do it with all that you've got, because if God be for you, who can be against you? How many million-dollar ideas and brilliant companies were forfeited to second thoughts? How many promises came from heaven above and were acted upon for nothing, because of second thoughts? Why didn't the children of Israel walk into the Promised Land the first time? Second thoughts. The Lord is your keeper. The Lord is your helper.
Put your foot down in faith believing today. Take a stand, because God will not fail you. God not only helps with your confidence, but God helps when you're weary. God helps when you're tired. Hezekiah says, "He who keeps Israel, he neither slumbers, nor he sleeps". "The Lord is your keeper. He who keeps you neither slumbers nor sleeps". God is saying to you, you can rest, because I will not. The first tendency of everyone who takes a stand for God is that they believe that everything is up to them. I have to keep going. I can't give up. I can't quit. I can't slow down. If I slow down, then something's going to go wrong. If I give up, then the enemy's going to take over. And I understand what it feels like to have the pressure of a battle in front of you.
There are times when your fortitude and your endurance are a measure of your faithfulness. But whenever you push yourself to physical exhaustion, you've turned your faithfulness into foolishness. Why? Because a lack of rest demonstrates your lack of trust in God. God said, "Six days you shall work". One day you shall rest. It's one thing for you to do your part in six days. But when you try to do God's part on the seventh day, you've put too much on yourself. What God is saying to you is you can rest because I neither slumber, nor do I sleep. You can rest, because I will not.
Mother, I want to tell you today, you can rest, because God's watching over your children. Businessman, I want you to know today, you can rest, because God's watching over your finances. Father, you can rest today, because God's watching over your home. You can rest today, because God's watching over your physical body. You can rest today, because God's watching over your church. You can rest today, because God's watching over your school. You can rest today, because God's watches over the whole world. Nothing has escaped his eye. Rest in his promises, because his promises are yes and amen in Christ Jesus! And God will not let you down! God helps you with rest. And then Hezekiah says that God keeps you from evil. "The Lord shall preserve you from all evil". How much evil? All.
Now understand that this word "Evil" that we read in Psalm 121, when you take the Hebrew word and you translate it to the modern language, this word literally means the destruction of all that is good. This is not people wanting to do bad things to you. This is people who want to destroy you and all that is good with you. And Hezekiah says, when that kind of evil shows up, God will preserve you. God won't let it come near you. He'll take care of you in your going out and your coming in from this time and forevermore. It's not a 30-day, money-back guarantee. It is a lifetime and eternal promise.
Now why is that important? Because, church, we live in an evil day. We live in a time when the world that we're in wants to destroy all that is good. It wants to destroy faith. It wants to take the Word of God and label it "Hate speech". Because while this word is inerrant, meaning that it is not wrong, it is not politically correct. But I promise you this: I'd rather be right with God and wrong with man, than right with man and wrong with God. So what does evil do whenever you have this battle going on between good and evil, light and darkness? The number one tactic of evil is that it hates anyone who takes a stand.
Why did Sennacherib want Hezekiah dead? Because Hezekiah took a stand. What did Jesus say? Jesus said, "The world hates me and the world will hate you". But then he said, "Be of good cheer: I've overcome the world". Why do they hate Bible-believing Christians in the world today? It's okay to call yourself a Christian. Christians, good. Bible-believing Christians? Oh, no, it's them again. Why? Because if you are a Bible-believer, sooner or later, you've got to take a stand. You've either got to stand upon what this book says or you've got to pretend like this book doesn't exist. You can't have it both ways. Think about where we see evil turning against good in the world that we live in today. Why do they hate Chick-fil-A? Because of a sandwich? No. Because they're not ashamed to take a stand for faith and family values. But I say, God bless the Cathy family and their organization.
Consider what you've seen recently in the resurgence of sports, as athletes are taking a knee to protest the United States. There are individuals who are choosing to take a stand. Why? Because they've said very clearly, we're Bible-believing Christians and we do not feel that you should kneel before anything except Jesus Christ, the Lord your God. Why are they being targeted? They're being targeted because they have what evil hates. Do you know what evil hates? Evil hates conviction. People who believe what they believe whether you like it or not. Consider a church that's willing to take a stand. You're not going to be loved by those who despise what you believe in. Jesus said, "Blessed are you when they speak evil and all take manner against you for my name sake. For great is your reward in heaven. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad".
Church, based on that promise, if the light of the world will shine, we can rejoice and be exceedingly glad, because our hope is not built on the approval ratings of the public. And our peace will not come with a compromise with the world, the flesh, and the devil. Our joy is not based on man's opinion. And our help does not come from a counsel chamber, a congressional district, or a government building. Our help comes from the Lord! Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. We dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground, all other ground is sinking sand! Give the Lord a handclap of praise in this house today!
Can we stand, as we bring this service to a close? God wants us to take a stand upon his promise and prove to the world that he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So what I want you to do with me now, as we close this service, is I want you to raise your hand and repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, we thank you that you are our help. You are our keeper. You are our provider. You are our protector. You are our confidence. You are our redeemer. You are our Savior. You are our victory. And so today, in Jesus' name, we declare that your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered, in Jesus' name. Amen.