Analogies

Under the Shadow of the Almighty: An Analogy

This is a picture of a burn barrel to represent the idea that when Christians go through hardship, it is under God's strict hand of control.

Before last week, I would have never thought I would actually come down with the Coronavirus. After all, I live a devout Christian life devoid of the kinds of things that open doors for the enemy. I pray prayers of protection every day over my family and myself, and I stand on Psalm 91:10. That’s the verse promises that for those who put their whole trust in God, “no plague shall come nigh thy dwelling.” Like a lot of Christians, I thought I was pretty much “off-limits” to the dratted bug. But that’s not how this works, and that’s not what that verse means. As I prayed through my symptoms for God to give me my blog this week, I believe He gave me an analogy that explains what it actually means to abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

“There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”

Psalm 91:10

“Plague” is Not What You Think

According to Studylight.org, the word “plague” here (nega in Hebrew) is not the same as the word for “pestilence” or disease like we think of it. Instead, it’s more about anything that would be a punishment because God is angry (think of the plagues of Egypt). This is a general promise that when we are living in right relationship with God, the mark of God’s displeasure will not enter our homes.

“No Evil Shall Befall Thee” Really Is About Evil

Puritan preacher Thomas Watson once said, “God doth not say no afflictions shall befall us, but no evil.” This part is about how God keeps us and protects us from the evil that would take us off the path and out of His perfect will. It doesn’t mean we won’t have trouble. In fact, Jesus Himself pretty much promises that we will. John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

What, Then, Is the Difference?

So what does it mean to abide under the shadow of the Almighty? What is the difference between believers and unbelievers who live in the same fallen world? We all get the same illnesses and have the same aches and pains. We all have the same struggles and expenses, and we all experience our good and bad days. 

When I prayed about it, I got the analogy of lighting a match in the forest versus burning trash in a barrel. For the unbeliever, like lighting a match in a forest, the fire may or may not leave devastation in its wake. There is no one necessarily controlling the burn, and there is a real possibility that only pain and destruction will come from it.

For the believer, though, like burning trash in a barrel, there is a definite purpose for good (cleaning out the refuse that might be in the way). There is also complete control as the Person who is doing it stays with it and watches the whole time. This is how God can use the negative things of this world (illness, pain, etc.) to clean out some of the hardness that might have been creeping up on us during the times when everything seems to be going well. It’s not for our harm (though it doesn’t feel nice at the time). It’s for our good. If we will but look to Him and trust Him, He can use any situation (even the painful ones) to bring us closer to Him and make us more capable of doing the job He has for us.

Overruled For Good

Charles Spurgeon once said, “It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die.” (See the quote in context here: Psalm 91 Bible Commentary.)

We may not understand why God allows the things He does, but we know that can always trust Him. Not only that, but He will be with us the whole time, comforting us through our trials and always minding the flames.

Enjoy looking at scripture? Try Twinkly Trash: A Closer Look at Job 28 Like analogies? Try Staying Connected to God: Oxygen Mask Analogy. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email in-box. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.

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