Friday, March 27, 2009

Coping with Social Collapse (2) - Protection

God Protects in Many Ways
Our immediate response to thoughts of social crisis is that God will protect us. This is true. The scriptures are full of promises that God will protect his children.

God is our refuge and strength,an ever-present help in trouble (Ps 46:1).

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust." (Ps 91:2)
Every Christian should meditate on these promises.

We should also be careful, because saying that “God is our defence” is a bit like saying “God will provide”. We need to put some content around these statements, or they just become wishful thinking. God sometimes works miracles, but he mostly provides and protects us through other people. To obtain his full protection, we must understand how he protects his people. The scriptures show a number of ways that this will work in practice.

Prayer is essential for protection from evil. When Peter was thrown into prison, the church prayed all night.
So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him (Acts 12:5).
When Paul and Barnabas were in prison, they spent the night praying.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:25).
In times of chaos and crisis prayer is our best weapon.

God will sometimes work a miracle to protect his people. He parted the Red Sea to protect the children of Israel (Ex 14). This option will be relatively rare. We cannot just assume that God will send a miracle, but should understand the full range of ways that God works.

Angels sometimes provide protection for God’s people. Elisha opened the eyes of his servant to see the multitude of angels that were protecting them.
Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha (2 Kings 6:17).
Peter was released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:6-10).

Natural Events
God can manipulate natural events to protect his people. He sent a plague to destroy Sennacherib’s army.
That night the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! 36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there (2 Kings 19:35-36).
When Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippi, an earthquake shook open the doors of the prison. They did not take the opportunity to escape, but God used the earthquake to get them set free (Acts 16:25-28).

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