In our missionary work in the Philippines, there has been a lot of talk of terrorism. Of course, this certainly isn’t limited to the Philippines. Nevertheless, it was time to have that talk with our children. So we discussed what we’d do if we were held at gunpoint and given the choice to deny Jesus Christ and live. It wasn’t as fun as, say, the topic of the goodness of God or maybe the excitement of Jesus being a healer of sickness and disease. But it ended up being a very intimate and meaningful time of fellowship. And as we shared the Scriptures on the subject, we came away with a different take than what we’ve generally thought. We came away with a sense of empowerment, a sense of invisible protection surrounding us.
I noticed in Psalm 91 how the whole thing speaks particularly about protection from evil and terrorism. I wonder what would happen if we’d actually believe these promises. I know of a man that simply came to believe verse 10, which says that no plague would come near your dwelling place. His name was John G. Lake, one of my heroes. While everyone around him was scared of the Bubonic plague, he was not. He even had scientists take some of the foam off of a man’s mouth that was infected. They put it under the microscope and when he put his finger right smack in the middle of it, every cell responded! He never caught that horrible plague! As we read that wonderful 91st Psalm, we recognized its potency, its certainty. Verse 5 says that you shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day. Towards the end, it speaks of deliverance and promises long life. Faith was beginning to rise.
In Psalm 105:14-15, it talks about how God permitted no man to do the seed of Abraham wrong; yes, He reproved kings for their sakes; saying, “Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm”. Can He protect His seed, those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, today, seeing that they are heirs according to His promise? (Galatians 3:29) I mean, is He able? Absolutely! Ephesians 3:20-21 seemed to drive this point home. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above whatever we could ask or think, according to the power working in us!
We began to look at Jesus, how no one actually took His life from Him. He willingly laid it down. I realize there’s still a big argument over who actually killed Jesus today, but the greater truth is that no one did. He had to submit to death. (John 10:10) I love how Pilate thought he was leveling with Jesus when He asked Him, “Don’t you know that I have the power to crucify you or release you?” Oh, but Jesus responded, “You could have no power at all against me, except it were given to you from above…” (John 19:10-11)
You might be thinking, “Scott, this is crazy! If your orphanage got infiltrated, you’d have no chance!” I thought about that, too. But then we saw in Matthew 26:52-54 how when Jesus was infiltrated by a great multitude of armed people, He had this to say: “Do you think that I couldn’t pray right now to my Father, and He shall send me more than twelve legions of angels?” But of course, He didn’t do that because in His situation, He had a job to do which had been prophesied. Couldn’t we pray in a situation like that? Then I remembered a story of a friend who had a whole football team about to jump him and beat him up. He prayed and they all fell backwards…much like when Jesus spoke and all of those armed people just fell backwards, to the ground! (John 18:6) Jesus never feared what man could do to him, and neither should we. (Psalm 27)
I began to recall several incidents of when folks picked up stones to kill Jesus, but He just passed through their midst somehow. He had the protection and favor of God on His life. And so do we! (Psalm 5:11) We are surrounded with favor like a shield. We can take up that shield of faith, which is able to quench every one of those fiery darts the enemy throws at us. (Ephesians 6:16) Oh, that men would believe these Scriptures!
Recently I watched a movie called London Has Fallen. It was interesting to me how much goes into the security of our president. I mean he has trained bodyguards that are willing to give up their lives for him. His automobile is completely bullet proof. He can’t just show up to a football game or his granddaughter’s piano recital without having security go all out, and yet he is still very vulnerable. But Jesus, when He was told that Herod would kill Him, replied, “You go and tell that fox that I cast out devils and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected” (Luke 13:31-32). When He was engulfed by an armed crowd of people that wanted him dead, his bodyguards (or disciples) all left the scene instantly! It was the supernatural favor and protection of God upon His life, the sense of purpose He had, and the faith and boldness of those facts in which He walked in that kept Him unscathed.
You say that this is all spiritual safety and we are in a material world. So did Sting, by the way. But that unseen world is the one that the natural world always responds to. That unseen realm is the one that takes precedence over all. It’s the one that matters. And the Bible gives us eternal and spiritual truths. So then faith is that thing that links the two worlds together, and then we get to actually see the Word come to pass in our lives. We can see it manifest. (Hebrews 11:1-3) It’s in believing these words and promises that we get to actually see them profit us. (Hebrews 4:2) How sad it would be to let those powerful promises just lie there in print. A sword in its sheath does the warrior no good. The Word is meant to be believed and spoken and come to pass. That Word is sharper than any sword man could make. (Hebrews 4:12)
I think the key is two-fold. First, it’s not being caught by surprise. Jesus said that the day would come when whosoever kills you will think that He is doing God a service (John 16:2). My, how we are living in that day today! The other is that since people hated Jesus, they would hate us too. (John 15:18-21) We shouldn’t take any persecution personal, from martyrdom all the way down to the smallest insult. If you’re living a godly life, persecution will come. That’s not my favorite promise, but it’s a promise, nonetheless. (2 Timothy 3:12) Persecution comes because of the Word (Mark 4:17). The world doesn’t want anything to do with God, with the Word, and especially with Jesus. The world hates Jesus because He testified of it, that its works are evil (John 7:7). So when dealing with any type of persecution, consider Jesus, who endured such hostility from sinners, so that you won’t grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:3). Consider what He has done, how His love was on full display on that cross when the very people who crucified Him were the objects of His love.
What I want you to know is that if you believe these promises from the tried and tested words of the Bible by faith, then fear begins to disintegrate. I have come to believe and see that remaining calm in a situation when everyone else is freaking out around me is a powerful witness. You walk and talk different…much like Jesus Himself when He was threatened by Herod. There was zero fear in His response. So, at the very least, we have no business walking around being fearful of terrorism. If the aim of terrorism is fear, then Christians possess the antidote. If death really is man’s greatest fear, and yet Jesus pulled out it’s stinger and defeated it, then what do we have to fear? Thanks be to God, which ALWAYS causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place. (2 Corinthians 2:14) Let’s walk like Jesus, a man on a mission, without fear holding us back from our purpose. The fear of man brings a snare but whoever puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe. (Proverbs 29:25)
The Lord is your light and your salvation; whom shall you fear? The Lord is the strength of your life; of home shall you be afraid? When the wicked, even your enemies and foes, come upon you to eat up your flesh, they will stumble and fall. Though a host should encamp against you, your heart shall not fear: though war should rise against you, in this will you be confident. (Psalm 27:1-3)
In righteousness you shall be established: you shall be far from oppression; for you shall not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near you. (Isaiah 54:14) It’s time to rise up and believe these promises!
by Scott Boyer