Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How to Defend Yourself

Enterprise = you. Shield = Psalm 91.
Sell your cloak. Buy a sword.

Last night, I wrote a Twitter thread about how the Democrats and the mainstream media are stoking fear and hopelessness during this season of rest.
I don’t think I conveyed how much it infuriated me, but instead of simmering in anger, I’d like to provide a counterpoint.

While everyone else talks about the China Virus/Wuhan Flu/coronavirus/COVID-19 and its effects on the world, I’ve been trying to keep my mind focused on Jesus the Christ, as has been so for the last 20+ years and specifically so since about 2008. Looking back to that year, I’d say that God has been drawing me closer to Him through personal tribulation.

I began calling myself a Christian in the mid-1990s but during the time period mentioned, God has been using tough times and tears to shape me and mold me; to change me into something that I was not prior to that (borrowing a concept from my pastor).

And that’s what He always does for those who He draws to Himself. Jesus the Christ said that no one is drawn to Christ unless the Father flips the drawing switch. However, I submit that this drawing business isn’t a one-time good deal, but something that happens continually throughout the life of the believer.

Trouble is a primary tool for the drawing, especially trouble of the seemingly insurmountable variety. But the thing is that God provides solutions to all problems. Sometimes the solution consists of only one thing, the assurance that He is God. That’s always the starting point, and, ultimately, the end point. But, more often than not, there is a lot of action between the beginning and the end.

I’ve faced permanent loss – of persons and things. I’ve felt like a trapped animal before. I’ve had radically reduced circumstances before. And then I remembered that God was with me and that He kept me. Each situation was a drawing to Him.

And now …

The fear of pestilence and the shadow of death – that’s what we all are facing.

God is drawing this world to Himself.

Several years ago, my pastor preached a series of sermons on Psalm 91. Simply, it is a prayer composed by David requesting protection from God. At the time of the composition, David was on the run from King Saul. I made it my business to memorize the psalm and after I did that, I personalized it.

Here’s the King James version.
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation
And here’s my personalized version.
When I dwell in the secret place of you, Most High
I will abide under the shadow of you, Almighty.
I will say of you, Lord, you are my refuge and my fortress. My God.
In you will I trust.
Surely, you will deliver me from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence.
You will cover me with your feathers and under your wing will I trust.
Your truth is my shield and my buckler.
I will not be afraid for the terror by night,
Nor for the arrow that flies by day,
Nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor for the destruction that wastes at noon day.
A thousand shall fall at my side and 10,000 at my right hand, but it shall not come nigh me.
Only with my eyes will I behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because I have made you, Lord, you who is my refuge, even you, Most High, my habitation.
There shall no evil befall me, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling.
For you have given your angels charge over me to keep me in all my ways.
They shall bear me up in their hands, lest I dash my foot against the stone.
I will tread on the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon will I trample under feet.
Because I have set my love upon you, therefore you will deliver me.
You have set me on high because I have known your name.
I will call upon you and you will answer me.
You will be with me in trouble. You will deliver me and honor me.
With long life will you satisfy me and show me your salvation.
I’ve been praying this to God almost every day since I memorized it. While doing so, I try to keep in mind that I’m talking to a person and when I find myself merely reciting the psalm, I stop and begin again.

Notice that the request has conditions; notice that pestilence and deliverance are mentioned twice and plague once. And be advised that dwelling has many connotations. Your body, your house/apartment and your country are all dwellings.

And note the exhortations about fear.

The psalm can be dissected much more, but that's not my purpose here.

This is: to go on spiritual offense against the forces of fear and darkness and the human agents thereof.

I've used these weapons and God's other weapons before; they work. But only if you pick them up.

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Ruth H said...

I've used these weapons before and they work. But only if you pick them up.
I love this reminder.

og said...

Well said.

Unknown Soldier said...

Matthew 17 [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

Revelation 17 [15] And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. [16] And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

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Rockport Conservative said...

So today, I will add this. I cannot understand people who seem/appear/claim to be Christian who tremble in fear of a virus and death. In death we have victory, not that I seek it, but I know it is coming for me and every human on this earth. I have reason to not fear death. It will be a reunion of me with God and my people.

Kevin McClain said...

Well said. I am glad too that my Pastor never bowed down to pressure from the state and the neighbors to shut down the church. Assembling together in the House of God with His people gives strength to fight off the agents of the devil.

Rockport Conservative said...

Today, on re-reading this I think to applaud those Christians in Islamic lands who are facing so much more than we as Christians in America. My heart goes out to them, and I wish to hold them as examples to Christians in America. They are under extreme pressures, torture and death. May God protect and preserve them, and take them unto Himself on high as they are slaughtered.