05192021 – John 11. 6-19 “Protect Them”

 

Jesus prayed “protect them from the evil one.”  Once upon a time there was a man who was AFRAID of everything. EVERYTHING!

He decided that, in order to be really SAFE, he would purchase for himself a complete SUIT OF ARMOR.

When he put on the armor, he felt safe, secure, and relieved. “Now I feel really PROTECTED,” he thought to himself.

But then a-little-tin-mosquito came along and began to circle around his NOSE.

Waving the mosquito away violently with his arm, he lost his balance and FELL to the ground.

He could NOT get up. You know, the old line, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”  He was trapped in his own defense system.

There have ALWAYS been INDIVIDUALS and indeed, NATIONS, who have sought protection IN God.

The Bible “gives us some examples:” of individuals – who have sought their security through God.

There is the Bible account of almost 300 people lost at sea, drifting 14 days during a raging storm.  The Apostle PAUL prayed to God, and they were ALL saved.

And there is the story about young DAVID, who later became King of Israel.

As you may remember, David fought an enemy soldier named GOLIATH.

Goliath had made fun of ALL the soldiers every-single-day, boasting that none of them would DARE to fight him.

He had reason to BOAST: He was a HUGE man, and impressively armed. EVERYONE was AFRAID of him.  Only a-young-shepherd-boy-David, accepted the challenge.

The King put a suit of armor on David, but then the boy could not move because of the ENORMOUS weight of the metal.

But David did not need any armor TO FEEL protected.  He trusted IN GOD.

He reasoned like this: “The lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, will deliver me out of the hand of this PHILISTINE.”

SO, he took off the USELESS armor and went to meet “his Goliath.”

With only the-simple-sling-of-a-shepherd-boy, David faced Goliath who had TERRIFIED a “professional, well-equipped army.”

By trusting in God, he easily overcame the Philistine soldier.

Jesus too, wrestled with the question of can/DOES God protect us.  CAN God keep us safe.

It was during a time of temptation, when the thought came to Jesus to throw himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple.

Would God protect him then?  Would God send legions of angels to save him?  To hold him up, lest he dash his foot against a stone.  Is the promise of the Scriptures true?  Is it sure?

That Yahweh PROVIDES…and Yahweh PROTECTS?  Jesus decided we have to do OUR PART.  YOU have to BE smart.

DO NOT throw yourself off the pinnacle of the Temple.  DO NOT push it.  DO NOT test God.  DO NOT put yourself needlessly in harm’s way!  Duh!  DO NOT walk in front of a city bus and expect God to save you!  DO NOT attempt a spacewalk in outer space without first being tethered to the ship or space station.

Use common sense!

And Jesus called his tempter, Satan or the Evil One.

God seeks ONLY our GOOD…our well-being.  God is a God of Love.  He does not want to see us hurt or hurting…And when we do, he hurts right along with us.  But USE your HEAD.  God loves you!

And so, the psalmist of old wrote: “If I ascend up into heaven, you are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there, your hand will lead me, and your right hand will hold me tight.”

God watches over.  He cares.  He is concerned.  But help him out.  Using Jesus’ own words…you shall not tempt the Lord your God.  TRUST.  HAVE FAITH.  But do YOUR PART, too!

 

Jesus prayed that God, the Father, continue to PROTECT US.  HELP HIM OUT!  Do not be foolish.

 

The Book of Deuteronomy says, “Be strong and be courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” –

 

Isaiah wrote: “So do not fear, for I am with you…I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

And the Psalmist wrote: “Have mercy on me, my God…for in you I take REFUGE. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings UNTIL the disaster has passed.” 

 

Be wise like serpents, Jesus said…until the disaster has passed.  Amen.