2ND JUNE 2022
THE JOY OF DIVINE PROTECTION
ACTS 22:30; 23:6-11
The response to today’s Psalm is: Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. Other Bible translations use the following words: Protect me, O God; I trust in you for safety or keep me safe, O God in you I take refuge.
The words protect, preserve and keep safe all have a range of translations related to the act of keeping watch over someone or something and keeping them safe. These words reveal the fundamental understanding of the nature of divine protection.
For the Psalmist to be safe means that God’s attention must remain fixed on the Psalmist. Without this attention there is no guarantee of divine preservation or protection.
The Psalmist has a role to play in getting God’s attention first by calling out to God for help, claiming the status of a refugee, a status that we may not like because of its vulnerability but we all know that a refugee is safe not in his or her chaotic country but in another peaceful country.
Secondly, the Psalmist proclaims complete dependence on God. The Psalmist narrates a confession of faith as a way to underscore it by saying,” I say to the Lord,” “You are my Lord. You are my portion and cup.”
Psalm 16 therefore is considered a song of trust and confidence that desires a continuing protection. What type of protection is being considered here? Is it a physical protection?
A deeper analysis will show us that the Psalmist is not just seeking the normal physical and social protection which we know can bring happiness. Listen keenly to the Psalmist words,” I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, who even at night directs my heart.”
As you listen to the Psalmist’s words, bear in mind that the heart is a place of deliberation for emotional, intellectual and moral activities. A place where we make our decisions. If God directs the Psalmist’s heart at night it means that the Psalmist will wake up in the morning under God’s guidance.
The Psalmist is seeking teaching, counselling, guidance and revelation. How safe are we from issues that are a threat to a clean and contrite heart? How safe are we from factors that are detrimental to our faith? How safe are we from disunity, from unbelief, from lack of knowledge and from the effects of all these?
If you listen to the words of Jesus in today’s Gospel reading which is continuation of yesterday’s Gospel passage, it is clear that it is a protection prayer for His disciples whom He is about to leave.
Before He leaves them, He prays that God may protect them from the evil one so that they may remain consecrated in truth that He taught them.
We invest a lot of time and resources when it comes to our physical and social security and even when it comes to health it is the same cases and there is nothing wrong with this. How will our lives be if we put an icing of love, concern, truth, unity, courage and wisdom on top of them? Won’t it be a total sweet divine protection?
What is good apart from God’s protection against threats to our faith in Him? There isn’t and the Psalmist realizes the goodness by saying,” And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; even my faith will rest in hope” or do you rejoice when your heart goes astray?