“This is a wise, sane Christian faith: that a man commit himself, his life, and his hopes to God; that God undertakes the special protection of that man; that therefore that man ought not to be afraid of anything” (George MacDonald 1824–1905)
In these difficult times of a global nature it would not be unreasonable for some to doubt that God is our protector. Daily we are bombarded by dire news of financial disaster, civil unrest. pandemics, continuing conflict in many places and the serious question of climate change. For many these concerns may not only be global but of a personal nature. Some are facing homelessness, unemployment or ruin; people are threatened by rising sea levels engulfing their island homes; others will be affected by wars, health, drought, floods or famine. George MacDonald suggests that man should not be afraid of anything.
Is that a reasonable attitude? In human terms, fear is natural, so is it presumptuous to assume that God will protect us? Will that protection shield us from these global and personal threats? The Bible nowhere indicates that God withdraws us from the troubles of life. In fact, we become more involved in life’s troubles when we come to Christ. But He gives us power to go on with the battle. Rather, Jesus said that none of his followers would suffer spiritual or eternal loss. It is reassuring to know that even when we feel completely abandoned, the Holy Spirit will stay with us. My message last week, the heroism of ‘Going On’ had an amazing response. It struck a cord with many readers, some who shared their innermost thoughts and fears.
In other words, we can only claim God’s protection with assurance when we are in the centre of God’s will. Psalm 91 opens with the verse “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” and continues in verses 9 and 10: “If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the Lord who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.” We are reminded in this Psalm of the devil tempting Jesus to throw himself off the temple pinnacle because God’s angels would protect him (Luke 4:9-12). But such an action would have been rash and out of God’s will, so Jesus refused to take it. In the same way it would be presumptuous to claim God’s protection if we are not spending time with the Lord, neglecting Christian fellowship or ignoring the principles of spiritual warfare.
Knowing God means knowing His nature, and Psalm 91 is full of images and descriptions of God. For instance, He is the ‘Most High’. As we are in His shelter (verse 1) we can, with Him, look down on our earthly problems. God waits for us to call, and when we call in prayer God says “I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation” (verses 15,16).
Fear not, and have a good week, Pastor Ron.
Optional Bible reading: Psalm 91.
This is one of a series of weekly messages of encouragement, now in its twenty-fifth year, originating from Gympie, Fraser Coast, Queensland, Australia. A companion Bible study page is available each week. To subscribe via email send to [email protected] with the words ‘Subscribe Word (or) Subscribe Word & Study’. Our ministry is free and emailing lists are confidential. Tell a friend or why not put a note in your church newsletter or pew sheet about this ministry – we welcome new subscriptions.
Pastor Ron Clarke OAM
Word for the Week
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