Note: The original writing of this piece took place as we faced the threat of Hurricane Charley.  Immediate family and close friends and loved ones on the West coast of Florida were wrapping up preparations on the morning of Friday, August 13, 2004.  That morning, the storm was just West of Key West, FL after having crossed the island of Cuba during the night.

The Believer's Response to Threats of Harm

Photo: Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico, August 28, 2005 Credit: NOAA

Whether facing threats of natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and the like, or dealing with threats like potential acts of terrorism, the Believer has the right to safety.  Further, the Believer has the right to freedom from fear.  Armed with the knowledge and assurance that absolute reliance upon the Word of Almighty God brings, the Believer experiences peace of mind and rest of soul that are simply not available to those that are not in Covenant relationship with God.My prayer is that as you read and meditate on the following concepts, you too will experience relief from the dread of any threat that you may be facing in your life.

Covenant Provisions

There are many provisions in our Covenant with Almighty God that the vast majority of Believers in today’s world do not realize are available to them.  The unfortunate result is that Believers do not experience the benefits of the Covenant due to this lack of awareness.

This is no different than what happens to high school graduates in Florida.  The State of Florida has a scholarship program that is available to any student graduating from high school that meets a basic set of requirements.  This scholarship is almost automatic.  It merely requires that the student complete some paperwork.  Family income levels, race, color, creed, national origin, religious beliefs, height, weight, athletic achievement and other similar characteristics do not factor into the requirements for this scholarship whatsoever.  If a student has the required Grade Point Average and has completed a certain list of high school courses, that student qualifies . . . if that student fills out the paperwork and applies.

Receiving the benefits of our Covenant with God is very similar.  It doesn’t matter where you were born or what family you were born into.  Your current financial status doesn’t factor in – you could even be deeply in debt.  Your IQ, your level of education, what language(s) you speak . . . none of this matters.  In fact, the Covenant benefits are even available if you have not been on your best behavior!  The only requirements for receiving the benefits provided by our Covenant with God are that:

  • you are in covenant with God.  This means that you have received Jesus Christ as your savior, and have allowed the blood that He shed on your behalf to pay the penalty for your sin.
  • you know about and appropriate the benefits that you need.

It is this second factor that is the focus of this writing.  Much like the scholarship, if you are unaware that something is available to you, you will never do what it takes to get it.  God said to the nation ofIsrael through the prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . . .” (Hosea 4:6)

Many times, Believers have heard rumors of some blessing that might be available.  If students hear rumors that a scholarship is available, but never inquire at the source, they will never get copies of the paperwork that must be completed.  Consequently, when scholarships are distributed, their names will not be among the recipients.  Believers have similar results.  Many times, they toss up half-hearted prayers to God without understanding what is even available.  Consequently, they fall into the category that James wrote about, “Yet you do not have because you do not ask.  You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss . . . .” (James 4:2-3a)

Under our covenant, the impetus is on us to go to the source of information about our Covenant – the Word of God – and obtain direct information regarding its benefits.  It is much like reading the provisions of an insurance policy.  A friend of mine was struck in an automobile accident, for example, and never knew that his insurance company would pay for a car rental.  When he read his policy, he was no longer stranded!  He rented a car at his insurance company’s expense while his own vehicle was being repaired.  Had he never read his policy or never asked for it, he would have never gotten it!

God does not purposely attempt to withhold benefits from His people, but we must understand that we live in a hostile world that is dominated by our adversary.  He (Satan) is, according to 1 Corinthians 4:4, the “god of this world.”  Satan does not want any child of God receiving any blessing if he can prevent it.  He does this in many ways, not the least of which is by preventing you from knowing about what’s available to you.

But, thank God!  We can read for ourselves what is available to us if we’ll take the time to do so.  Furthermore, we are under no obligation to be dominated by the “god of this world” and we can instead dominate Him!  (See Romans 16:20 and Luke 10:19)

There is an abundance of evidence in scripture regarding these concepts, but there isn’t room enough here to print all of it.  For now, the benefit of focus is that of protection.  Whether you call it safety, deliverance, soundness, or protection, the benefit is still there.  In fact, all of these concepts are implied by a single Greek word that is usually translated “salvation.”

In fact, in the notes of his famous Scofield Study Bible, Dr. C.I. Scofield says, “The Hebrew and Greek words for ‘salvation’ imply the ideas of deliverance, safety, preservation, healing, and soundness . . . .”  When we quote the grand scriptures that talk about this concept of ‘salvation,’ we typically think of only the eternal benefits.  But this begs the question:  from what will we need to be protected in heaven?  From what will we need safety or preservation when walking on streets of gold?  Clearly, God intends these benefits for us here and now – on earth.  It is here that we need to receive the benefits of safety from perils that might come our way.

In fact, the nation of Israel, under the Old Covenant experienced these benefits of safety and preservation.  When God was in the process of delivering them (in itself a ‘salvation’) fromEgypt, God’s people were protected from all the plagues.  Reading the account in the Book of Exodus will clearly demonstrate to even the most casual reader that there was no darkness in theland ofGoshen, no plague, no frogs, no locusts.  Their water supply was not turned to blood, as was the water supply of the Egyptians.

In fact, this Covenant provision stuck to them as long as they maintained right relationship with God as a nation.  Even individuals under the Old Covenant could experience this protection whether or not the nation as a whole did so.  Numerous accounts fill the records in the books of Judges, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.  It was only when the nation or certain ones refused to maintain their Covenant with God that they did not experience this protection.  It was even available moments after they wholeheartedly returned to God.

There are numerous examples in Scripture of the promises of this sort of protection, but perhaps one chapter contains the most numerous, clear examples.  Psalm 91 is a “gold mine” when it comes to seeing and understanding the protection that God makes available to His people.  Whether it’s some peril of nature such as a hurricane or tornado, or whether you face the threat of terrorist activity, this protection applies.

Psalm 91 NKJV

1He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

3Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

7A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

9Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Simply pointing out the presence of words like “shelter,” “shield,” “refuge,” and “salvation” give the reader a feel of the intent of this passage.  Clearly God is communicating to His people that His protection is both very real and very available to His people.

A few older-English words bear defining.  A “fowler” is one that traps fowl.  This is one that sets snares and traps in order to catch birds that would otherwise fly away.  A “pestilence” is not something we ordinarily refer to in everyday conversation, but it is historically “the plague” or some other epidemic disease, but can also refer to just about any type of evil.  Similarly, language referring to young lions, cobras, and serpents simply tells us that this protection extends to just about any form of danger.

The Apostle Paul clearly understood the principles of appropriating the blessings of this protection.  His survival of a deadly snakebite in Acts 28 provides us a clear example.  In addition, Paul understood how to extend the benefits of his Covenant relationship with God to those around him, as he saved the lives of all of his shipmates in Acts 27 – understanding with information from God that danger was on its way before it came.

Paul gave us some direct instruction about how to appropriate this salvation for ourselves:

“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:10)

Paul taught that faith for salvation (including safety, protection, deliverance, etc) had to operate in two places:  the heart, and the mouth.  He taught that faith, “ . . . comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17).  This means that having faith will require that we meditate on the Word of God, and that we speak it out, echoing the teachings of Jesus in Mark 11:20-24.

So, from the Scriptures we can see that we have a provision for safety, for deliverance, for preservation, for soundness.  That it can apply in the midst of danger all around us is also clear – both by the example of the Israelites inside the borders of Egypt, and by the teaching of Psalm 91, “A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.”

But there is an additional provision that merits discussion.  “You shall be saved, and your house.”  These are the words that Paul and Silas spoke to their jailer in Philippi, as recorded in Acts 16.  Paul and Silas were more than likely referring to the other members of the jailers household.  But Psalm 91 is much more specific, “No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”  In the case of terrorist activity or even natural disasters, possessions such as our homes, vehicles and other property are clearly provided for in our Covenant.  If we understand and apply what both the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus taught us about using our faith with both hearts and mouths, we can and will be protected: spirit, soul, body, family, and property.

There is no magic prayer.  Even speaking words must also be connected with real faith in our hearts.  However, if we are to follow the instruction of Scripture, then we are to speak out loud the benefits that we desire to obtain.  In the face of threat, we must first meditate on the Scriptures.  There are many, but even simply reading and re-reading Psalm 91 will help us to understand and allow faith to come into our hearts.

Then, once we have meditated on the Word, we are to speak it out.  Here is an example of something you might speak and proclaim over yourself, your family, and your property:

“I am in Covenant with God.  The Blood of Jesus has paid the price for me to be in right relationship with God.  Because of that, I am entitled to every protection and every benefit of this Covenant.  I am safe and sound from all harm.  My family is safe and sound from all harm.  My pet(s), my home(s), my vehicle(s), my investment(s), my bank account(s), are safe from any and all form of danger.  Even if a thousand fall at my left and ten thousand at my right, it will not come near me.  I, my family and my property are all preserved and protected from danger.  We will not be afraid of terror nor of destruction.  No evil shall befall us, nor shall it come near our dwelling.  I believe that I receive safety, preservation, soundness, and protection, both today and from this day forward, according to the Word of God.”

After you have made your proclamation, don’t stop.  Remember to meditate regularly and consistently on the Word.  Study the Scriptures for yourself to find other promises similar to these.  Meditate on them.  Study them.  Speak them out just as you have done just now.  Your words carry power because Jesus gave you authority in the earth.

If, after reading this, you have any question as to whether or not you are in Covenant relationship with God, you can rectify that today as well.  John 3:16 clearly states that God gave His Son, Jesus, to you to give you eternal life.  Jesus paid the penalty (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23) for your sins.  You can believe and receive His free gift of eternal life using the same principles we just discussed.  It is much like applying for a scholarship.  Just do what the instructions say:  believe and receive.

You will not fail to experience the blessings of this Covenant.

© Copyright 2004 David G. Johnson. All Rights Reserved

“When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more,
But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.” Proverbs 10:25 (NKJV)

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