If I Love God am I Protected from everything? You know, some people think this is true. It’s certainly possible to read parts of the Bible and get that impression. However, the key word there is “parts”. There are verses that make it feel like God will protect us from everyone and everything. The thing is though, if we read anything but those particular verses, we find out that thought is way too “Old Testament”. And even for the Old Testament way too out of context.
Psalm 27 Of David. Ps 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? Ps 27:2 When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Ps 27:3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident. Ps 27:4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Ps 27:5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. Ps 27:6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD. Ps 27:7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. Ps 27:8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Ps 27:9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior. Ps 27:10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Ps 27:11 Teach me your way, O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Ps 27:12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. Ps 27:13 I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Ps 27:14 Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Background on Psalm 27
I’m going to break up the commentary on this one. I pretty much agree with it. However, I want to point out some things as we go through it. Why? Because the words from the commentary author take twists and turns, necessarily, that align with the apparent flip in David’s words.
The adjacent image shows what an old song says about God. “He’s got the whole world in His hands”. Therefore, we think, all will go well. Especially if we love Him. But then, does that match with the realities of what we see in the world and in our lives?
So, with that introduction, let’s take a look.
Psalm 27 is one of the best-known and most comforting psalms in the Psalter. But it is hard to know whether it is chiefly a psalm of confidence, written against the dark background of David’s many enemies, or chiefly a lament in which David cries out for help against implacable foes. The reason for the confusion is obvious. The first half of the psalm (vv. 1–6) exudes confidence. The second half (vv. 7–14) is a very moving prayer.
But isn’t that indicative of life in general? In our heads, we know things. But in our hearts, we have trouble with those very things that our head knows about. Is this rapid change in the tone of the Psalm confusing? Or is it just life?
It is no surprise to anyone acquainted with critical scholarship to learn that these two moods, reflected in the two parts of the psalm, have led some writers to argue that these are actually two psalms awkwardly put together. They point to the change in mood, plus some corresponding differences in structure. In the first part God is referred to in the third person. In the second he is addressed directly. But there is another side to this argument, since there are links between the psalm’s two halves. The enemies whom David fears in part two are also present in part one (vv. 2–3), and the desire to dwell in God’s house in order to “gaze upon the beauty of the LORD” in the first half (v. 4) finds a natural sequel in the later determination to seek God’s face (v. 8). What is even more significant, the two chief themes of part one, confidence in God before enemies and the desire to seek God’s face, are also the two chief themes of part two, though they occur there in inverse order: first the desire to seek God’s face, then confidence. An arrangement like this points not only to both parts having been composed by the same author but to both halves being parts of a single composition.
Ah yes, “critical scholarship“. Sometimes I find critical scholarship too much about being critical and not enough about the lives and feelings of real people. Which of us hasn’t felt two different emotions, in rapid succession, on the exact same event/circumstance/etc.? If someone was watching us, would even a critical scholar think we were two different people, or that we somehow instantly changed from one scene in our heads to a different one?
I think that’s the point the author tries to make when he concludes, “An arrangement like this points not only to both parts having been composed by the same author but to both halves being parts of a single composition”.
It’s the same with his final thoughts on the background of Psalm 27.
What we have here is an unfolding of two closely related moods by the same inspired author, put together like two movements of a symphony. And the point is that these two apparently opposing moods are also often in us, frequently at the same time or at nearly the same time. Don’t you find that you are often both confident and anxious, trusting and fearful, or at least that your mood swings easily from one to the other? I do. It is part of what it means to be a weak human being.
Since that is true of us, it should be a comfort to realize that it was also true of David. We can be instructed by what he did at such times. 1
If I love God am I protected from everything?
Our question for this Psalm is whether David is telling us that if we love God, we will be protected from everything.
It’s not that hard, especially in the Old Testament to think God will protect us from everything. After all, rewards and punishments were very much in “in this life”.
One huge problem is the entire book of Job. Job didn’t do anything wrong. Not throughout the entire book. But look what happened to him!
We forget about things like the segment from the passage below in Ezekiel.
A Prophecy to the Mountains of Israel
Eze 36:22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am going to do these things, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. 23 I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
Eze 36:24 “ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. 29 I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you. 30 I will increase the fruit of the trees and the crops of the field, so that you will no longer suffer disgrace among the nations because of famine. 31 Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices. 32 I want you to know that I am not doing this for your sake, declares the Sovereign LORD. Be ashamed and disgraced for your conduct, O house of Israel!
Eze 36:33 “ ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. 34 The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. 35 They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” 36 Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’
Eze 36:37 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep, 38 as numerous as the flocks for offerings at Jerusalem during her appointed feasts. So will the ruined cities be filled with flocks of people. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”
There’s a lot in there. And much of it has to do with the people, including us since this is a prophecy, not following God. And one of the keys is: you will be my people, and I will be your God. Given the overall context of the Bible, including this passage, we must recognize that we do turn away from God. In New Testament terms, we leave the narrow path that Jesus spoke of.
So sometimes, things happen that God does not protect us from. Maybe it’s to teach us. Maybe it’s a consequence of our actions. Sometimes it’s because we live in a fallen world and things happen, even natural disasters that kill people. And there is evil, where people do things to each other, even to the point of mass killings and wars.
If I love God am I not protected from anything?
Does that mean I flipped the narrative to If I love God am I not protected from anything?
No! Not at all.
But, we have to realize what it is that we are, most importantly, protected from. Here’s something from Jesus that tells us what our protection really is. As you read it, keep in mind, those of us who truly love Jesus are His disciples.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
Jn 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
Jn 17:13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
Conclusion – Psalm 27 – If I love God am I protected from everything?
Notice especially: 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
That is the one thing from which we are protected from if we truly love Jesus. Our eternal soul, no matter what happens to us, is protected. We will spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven.
Ultimately then, our eternal salvation is protected from evil. I’d much rather be protected from that than from everything that can possibly go wrong in this life. Remember what Jesus said below:
Peter’s Confession of Christ – Luke
9:18-20 pp — Mt 16:13-16; Mk 8:27-29
9:22-27 pp — Mt 16:21-28; Mk 8:31—9:1
Lk 9:18 Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”
Lk 9:19 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
Lk 9:20 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
Lk 9:21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
Lk 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. 27 I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”
Yes – 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
Even if we’re protected from literally everything else in the world, but we don’t follow Jesus, and therefore aren’t saved by Him, then what do we really have? Nothing.
So, no, we aren’t protected from everything. But we are protected from the one thing that matters the most. As for everything else, if we do follow Jesus, then whatever does happen to us will be for God’s glory. So it’s all good. If you have trouble with that last part – it’s all good – I invite you to check out the series below.
Image by Mystic Art Design from Pixabay
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