Wednesday, February 22, 2012
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They call it the shark tunnel. Yeah, that has to make you think twice about going in. It's an attraction, if you want to call it an attraction, at some of the aquariums and theme parks in America.
The tourists walk through this tunnel that's surrounded by glass above them and on both sides there's water all around them. And on the other side in that water are huge sharks swimming menacingly in their tank, and occasionally bumping into the glass. I think just about everyone has this primeval fear of sharks. Now I can't speak for everyone, but I do. And suddenly there they were all around me, and I was paying to see them - one wall between me and those monsters! But it made all the difference.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "One Wall That Keeps the Sharks Away."
When David writes his seventeenth Psalm, he is under attack; or so it feels as you begin to read it. He's asking for safety, for protection for his reputation, and you can tell as you read this psalm that he's feeling the urge to strike back. In a sense, the sharks are circling around him.
Now we go to our word for today from the word of God in Psalm 17, and I'll begin reading at verse 3. He says to the Lord, "Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me you'll find nothing. I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept myself from the ways of the violent." Now, David's saying here, "I feel like responding in the same way I've been treated, lashing out, striking back. And all that's keeping me from responding sinfully is," what he calls, "the word from your lips, Lord." Well, I can relate to that.
We don't just have sharks around us; we've got sharks inside us. You know what yours is. Maybe it's that temper that seldom if ever does anything that's really right. Maybe its wrong thoughts about the opposite sex that keep trying to take over your mind, or the capacity you have for put downs, for criticism, negativity, for cutting sarcasm. Maybe it's that dark feeling of depression that you know very easily could win in your life.
Oh, we've got different sharks, but we all have them. And there's one wall that holds them back, that keeps the evil from winning, and it's the words that come from God. When a sinful response wells up inside, you've got to have something supernatural to suppress it with like that glass wall that holds back the sharks. That's the gut-level, practical reason why we must not start a day without taking a bath in God's Word. During the day I know that my wall between the sharks that swim around inside me - that sin that wants to take over - and the guy that I want to be and that God wants me to be, that wall starts to crack.
So as each new day begins, you open God's Word and you apply it to your struggles, your weaknesses, your failures. I need to rebuild my biblical wall every new day. It's also vital that key verses become a part of you; part of your personality. That means committing to memory verses that directly address your shark. For example, if you struggle with your temper winning, then you memorize Ephesians 4:26-27 about not letting the sun go down on your anger. And James 1:20 - "The wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God."
So many days my time in the Word, and the Word that I've put in me, have literally been the margin of difference. You read it to get it "from His lips" as if God is sitting in the chair across from you, saying it to you directly. That's what David said.
So, when you feel the sharks inside you starting to attack, you use the wall of God's words to hold them back.