The prophet Jeremiah spoke these words to the people of Judah, who had rebelled against and rejected the Lord.
1 “If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord,
“Return to Me;
And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight,
Then you shall not be moved. Jeremiah 4:1 NKJV
As believers, we are entitled to call upon the blessing and protection of the Lord wherever we are, such as on the highway, in the jail house, or wherever we may go. I frequently ask for and claim this blessing whenever I start up my car or enter a ministry opportunity. (I also sometimes ask Him to rise up and let His enemies be scattered).
The psalmist has recorded some of the blessings that we are promised and entitled to receive if we call upon the name of the Lord.
5 You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5 NKJV
9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone. Psalm 91:9-12 NKJV
It is the Lord’s will to protect us, and unless there is something else going on behind the spiritual curtain that only He sees, He will. But He does not guarantee that we will avoid all suffering. Far from it. At this time of our lives, we live on earth in a fallen world, and sometimes we suffer the consequences of its fallout.
God permits suffering to come into the lives of all believers. But even this is only permitted in the context of His great love for us. Some people experience more pain than others, such as with the loss of a child or a loved one or going through a serious illness. Several of the best and kindest believers I know have gone through such personal agonies. Yet most of them remained strong in their faith as they also went on to experience the deep compassion, healing touch, and comfort of the Lord Jesus Christ, who became very present in their broken and hurting lives.
The apostle Paul also suffered greatly as he devoted the rest of his life after his encounter with Jesus to spreading the gospel throughout the known world. He was beaten, whipped, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and even brought to the point of death by stoning. Very early in his calling, Jesus had warned him of how much he must suffer for the gospel.
The Biblical Job, who was tormented by the evil one because of his great faith, ended up losing his family and wealth with God’s permission. But remarkably, he stayed true to God, and was rewarded with greater blessings in his later years than in all his former ones. Few of us could survive the testing that he was allowed to experience at the hands of Satan, but he will go through eternity as a shining example of remarkable faith.
As the Lord told Judah through the prophet Jeremiah: “Return to me, put away your abominations, and you shall not be moved.” In Christ, we are given the same opportunity. He has promised to never leave us nor forsake us, especially in our times of trial. And He will hold us firm in our faith and in our heavenly position in Him no matter what may oppose us. He is our strength, our shield, our Rock, and our salvation. We shall not be moved.
Lord, as believers in Christ, we claim Your blessing and protection today. Help us to draw closer to You and to weed out all the things in our life that do not bring honor to You. If I do not yet know You, open my eyes and heart to see Your glory, wonder, presence, and great love for me, as demonstrated by Jesus on the cross at Calvary. In His name we pray, Amen.