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East Lincoln Alliance Church

Immovable Anchor

Immovable Anchor
Psalm 102:25-28

I bought my dad’s old fishing boat this past summer and it’s really a nice boat – big enough for us to fit our entire family. When we got the boat I had euphoric visions of us enjoying the lake and fishing together as a family – laughing, smiling, catching fish and making wonderful family memories. But then we went fishing for the first time – all 6 of us…

We went fishing for panfish near shore on a lake lined with cabins, so I was trying to navigate around the docks and boat lifts with the trolling motor to get close enough to where the fish were. One of the first things I realized was any thought of actually doing any fishing myself had to get thrown out the window. I was constantly busy getting the lines ready, baiting hooks, and helping Ayla cast and try to hook a fish. Then came the barrage of tangles and snags – it got to the point where when I heard, “Dad…” I started to cringe because I knew what it meant and I was still stuck trying to get the last tangle out. All this time I was also trying to run the trolling motor with a remote, which I wasn’t familiar with yet, and try not to run into anything. To make things worse, there was a pretty good breeze blowing and it seemed like in less than two seconds the boat would spin and we’d be facing the opposite direction than I wanted to go.

At one point a pontoon with about 5 middle aged guys who probably left their kids at home pulled up to a dock near us, and upon seeing us started to chuckle and one guy said, “You’re brave,” by which I think he actually meant, “You’re out of your mind.” I could feel my blood pressure rising and I was just about ready to lose it and give up and leave, when I think Amy brought up an idea, that made all the difference in the world: “Don’t we have an anchor?” And we did. I dropped the anchor and all of a sudden the whole experience changed. The wind didn’t push us around anymore; the boat wasn’t spinning; I didn’t have to worry about the trolling motor or running into any docks. I could focus on helping the kids and eventually I was even able to do some fishing myself. My euphoric vision came to pass!… for a few minutes anyways, until the kids got tired of fishing and wanted to go home.

Because that boat was anchored, I was able to function in a busy and chaotic situation without going crazy and heading to shore. Instead we were able to enjoy some time on the lake. Having an anchor to keep us secure was a life saver.

In a way I think that story is an example of what life is like for most of us. We’re a week away from Christmas and things are getting a little crazy. We’re making plans and preparations and trying to remember all the activities we’re supposed to be at and the things we need to get ready for and it can be overwhelming. But it’s not just like this at Christmas – it’s getting to be where all of life can be busy and overwhelming no matter what time of year it is. That’s the way I often feel – so many things going on, so many things to keep track of, so much to do, so many problems to address. Life feels like you’re in a boat floating around in a thunderstorm. How do we survive and stay afloat in the wind and waves without going crazy?

We need an anchor. We need something that is strong and secure that can hold us steady and that we can keep coming back to for rest and stability. The chaos of life is going to keep raging on and if we’re going to keep from sinking, we need an anchor. This morning I want us to think about why we need God to be our anchor instead of other things, and how to do that. The main passage I want us to look at is Psalm 102:25-28. These are the last few verses of this Psalm and come after the writer talks about the chaos of life and how he’s crying out to God for help. He is turning to the Lord in his distress and these verses tell us why.

Read Psalm 102:25.
25 Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

To begin, he says that in ancient times beyond what any of us can imagine, God laid the foundation of the earth and set the heavens in their place. He’s talking about the material universe that we talked about last week. These are things we take for granted as being permanent in our lives. The earth and sun were here long before we began and will be here long after we’re gone. We see these things as the most stable and secure. How many of you worried about whether the earth would come to an end today or the sun would explode? That would mean total and instant annihilation for all of us, yet we don’t worry about it because these things seem so permanent, so secure.

These can also represent other things in our lives that we think are solid and secure – things that we use as anchors in life – things like our family, our health, our homes, our jobs, and bank accounts. These are things we commonly turn to as anchors in our lives – things that will always be there and provide us with a foundation to stand on. But the reality is that these things, as important as they are in our lives, and as stable as they can be, do not make good anchors. Because, just like the heavens and the earth, they will not last forever. The Psalmist speaks of that next…

Read Psalm 102:26.
26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away…

Remember, he’s talking about the things in life that are the most permanent – far more permanent than family, health, homes and money. He’s talking about the heavens and the earth. Yet even these are going to pass away. They are not permanent – not even the heavens and earth – and neither are the anchors we often depend on in this life.

We become more aware of that at Christmas time. Because Christmas comes once every year and always on December 25th it serves as a reference point for us to be able to notice how much things change. Think about what Christmas was like 5 years ago… How different are things now? People usually remember what Christmas was like when they were a kid – for some of you, that’s 10 years ago; for me it’s 30; and for some of you it’s 80 or 90 years ago! I remember going to Grandpa Irv and Grandma Doris’ house every Christmas Eve for a big family celebration. Christmas morning was at home with mom and dad and my brothers. Then we always went to Grandpa Don and Grandma Lorraine’s in the afternoon. None of that is the same anymore. It’s all changed.

Even if you only look at the difference in one year. Some of you, when you get together next week will have new faces at your table that weren’t there last year – children are born, new boyfriends, girlfriends or in-laws get added to the mix. Some of you will be missing people who were there last year – loved ones have moved away, children have grown up, maybe there’s family division, divorce, or even death. Some of you may be celebrating in a new location because for some reason it doesn’t work at mom and dads’ or grandpa and grandmas’. Some of you are dealing with health problems this year or financial problems that you weren’t last year. Things are always changing in this world and those things that we often depend on as the anchors in our lives eventually break loose and leave you drifting. And without an anchor, things can quickly spin out of control.

I remember one time when that happened at the end of my Jr. year in college. I had just spent 4 months in a van on a music tour with 4 other guys. The only thing keeping me grounded during that time was the van and those guys. Everything else was constantly changing. But when the tour was over and everybody went their separate ways, I had nothing to stand on. I had nowhere that felt like home and the friends that gave me my stability were hundreds of miles away and I was spinning out of control. I had no anchor to hold on to. I had been depending on things that seemed stable, but then they were gone.

Things like that happen to every one of us because we turn to the things in this world to be our anchors. As permanent as they may seem, things are always changing and they won’t last forever. Therefore, we need to find our anchor in something else and that’s where the Psalmist goes next. Even though the heavens and earth will perish, wear out, and change, he says in verse 26 “but you will remain.” And then in verse 27 he says this…

Read Psalm 102:27.
but you are the same, and your years have no end.

In light of the context, he says a lot in this little verse – “you are the same.” Though even the heavens and earth will change, God remains the same. And in a world where things are constantly changing, only one thing remains the same and that is God. As we’ve seen in previous weeks, he is unaffected by the limitations of space and matter; he’s unaffected by the passing of time, or by any unmet need or deficiency in himself. Today we see that he is unaffected by change. He is “immutable.” The Lord our God is constant, unchanging, always stable, always secure, always the same. He is the one we need to be our anchor.

There’s a great old hymn I was thinking about this week whose words are so precious and true… “Great Is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father! There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.” Aren’t you glad that’s true? In Malachi 3:6 the Lord declares: “I the Lord do not change.” James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” Hebrews 13:8 declares, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”

God stands unmoved above his creation that is constantly changing. He acts within it and uses change to bring about good things in our lives – things like repentance, reconciliation, and transformation – but he is not bound or affected by change like we are. Therefore, he is able to be a strong, stable, and eternal anchor for us to stand on amidst the changes and chaos of this life. Therefore, the Psalmist concludes with a statement of great hope…

Read Psalm 102:28.
28 The children of your servants shall dwell secure; their offspring shall be established before you.

The Lord is an anchor that holds firm from generation to generation and in him we can stand secure. People of faith have always found this to be true. King David expresses this in many of the Psalms. One of them is Psalm 61:2-4: “from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, 3 for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. 4 Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!” In Psalm 62:5-7 he says: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.”

We need to turn to God to be our anchor in life. He is the only one who can give security and stability that will never fail. Even this week I had days where I felt like things were spinning out of control – my spirit was overwhelmed within me. But the Lord drew me in and put my feet on solid ground and reminded me once again how he is my rock in an ever changing world.

How do we turn to God as our anchor? It comes through daily faith in him – taking the time to rest in and connect with him throughout your busy schedule. He’s there. He always will be. And in order to be secure in him, we need to go to him in the same way that we’ve gone to other things in life – lesser anchors that will never hold us secure. 

 

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