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His Only Gift

The Gift Of His Security


"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you." (Luke 10:19.) It would be well to notice, first of all, that Jesus said these things. The temptation is to spiritualize away the plain meaning, thus becoming something of a spiritualist. A good question to bring up is, "Did Jesus tell the truth?" If He taught the same things today would you argue with Him or try to correct Him? "The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil." (Pr. 19:23.) Solomon wrote these words of wisdom. Was he not so wise on this point? Can the Bible be trusted only when it agrees with some of our own notions, or can it be trusted at all times? I take the latter position.

The Cause

Causes for our disasters are numerous. The love of this world, lust of the flesh, anger, hatred, strife, doubt, unbelief, anxiety, depression, gluttony, impatience, and a host of other unpleasant causes, can all bring disaster. These are not the gift of God. Some who see themselves as believers, yet cherish these traits of character, find that, by and by, the laws of cause and effect make an adjustment. When one reaps what he sows he is often tempted to blame the devil or an accident for it, rather than come to an understanding in his own life how such a thing could have transpired. We can be certain according to Scripture that God gives us according to our ways. "Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts...." (Jer. 6:19.)

The question is sometimes asked, "What about when we receive what others sow?" This, too, we have sown. When we sow friendships with those who sow disaster and we make alliances with evil, we, in effect, are in agreement with the effect. We are held responsible in this world even for the relationships we form. "For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment." (Job 34:11-12.) If from time to time we received an accident we did not play a part in receiving, then the judgment of God could not stand. How would these plain statements of Scripture be true if they were not true? "While we should be keenly alive to our exposure to the assaults of unseen and invisible foes, we are to be sure that they cannot harm us without gaining our consent." (AH 405.)

While we have been dwelling somewhat on the negative, this law works also in the positive. If a man or woman will consent to the laws of God and bring themselves into harmony with them they will receive the gift of security. The promises that guarantee harm when the laws of life are transgressed, also guarantee safety when they are obeyed.

The Daniel Effect

We have heard, "What about all those who were good Christians and they died?" Let us look at Daniel or his three friends. Daniel was cast into a den of lions. The king's question to Daniel the next morning was, "...O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?" (Dan. 6:20.) Notice that this Daniel served God continually. There is no record of this man falling on occasion. What was the answer of this man who served God continually? "Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt." (Dan. 6:21-22.) Notice that this man gives a reason that he was not hurt. His reason was that he did not hurt anyone: "Innocency was found in me." This example is perfect.

Three Who Would Not Burn

We can find another example of those who served God continually. Their names were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Here were three friends of Daniel who would not bow down to the image the king had set up. They would not bow down to the customs and traditions of men. They firmly refused to accept the command of an earthly king but, instead, obeyed the command of a heavenly God that they should "have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20:3.) The king made his decree and challenged these men. "...If ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands"? (Dan. 3:15.)

Many are willing to let go of their convictions for something far less than the burning fiery furnace. Many are willing to make an outward conformity so that the fury of others will not come to them, but these men were willing to be true openly in the face of the king and the nation looking on. They answered the king respectfully but full of faith. "...O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so (that you cast us into the furnace), our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king." (Dan. 3:16-17.) These men had no fears in regards to the Lord's ability and willingness to save them. These men were likely familiar with the promise, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." (Isa. 43:2.) These were perfect examples of the promise. Their plain statement to the king was that "God will deliver us out of thine hand." Their faith was firm and they did not waver. These men served God continually.

There are some who see themselves serving God except for times of great temptation when they slip. These do not see that that idea is not serving God at all. The three friends of Daniel continued their discussion with the king. "But if not (that you don't cast us into the furnace), be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Dan. 3:18.) The men did not serve other gods. They had full faith in the God of heaven and, whether or not the king made a decree in front of everyone, they were not going to serve his gods. Further- more, their God would deliver them.

The king was so enraged that he had the oven heated up seven times hotter than normal and ordered the guards to cast them into the fire. The order was carried out and the fire was so hot the guards all burned to death in the process. The king was amazed as he looked into the furnace. "...Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them." (Dan. 3:25-27.) We might learn much from those powerful, positive, accounts in Scripture of God's strong power to save.

God Is Not Arbitrary

The question we can ask is, is God a respecter of persons? Does He favor some and let others go to the flames arbitrarily? Does He pick and choose? I would rather suggest that God's promises are sure for all and we must look elsewhere for the cause of martyrdom than the arbitrariness of God.

Nothing ever "just happens." Every effect has its cause. The protection of God is well known in Scripture. The facts remain that in Scripture the idea that God occasionally fails you is unknown. Over and over again the proclamation that God delivers is seen. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation." (Ps. 91.)

If one looks at this chapter for a moment, he cannot help but view the tender protection of his heavenly Father. If one will but look a little further he can see clearly the cause of that protection. "Because he hath set his love upon me" and "because he hath known my name." The first verse is especially meaningful. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." What promises and they are true!

No Fiction

What are these scriptures quoted for throughout the land if they are fiction? It is as if there were some strange agreement between religious people that it's fine to quote these things on the holy day, but in real, practical, down-to-earth living one cannot believe these things. Who has made this agreement to which all seem to bow the knee? Yes, these things are true and they are true all the time for those who live continually in the conditions of these promises. God is not arbitrary, but all things continue perfectly in the perfect judgments of God.

"I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." (Jer. 17:10.) We have already spoken of this basic law of the universe. We may well concede that evil things happen to evil people, but why do bad things happen to good people?

What of the man who is doing all that he knows and performs good and loving deeds and finds himself involved in very hard circumstances? Is this sin? When one comes to know the laws of cause and effect, he oftentimes assumes that if disaster strikes the person must have sinned. Sometimes this is true, but sin is not necessarily the case. If a man ignorantly errs, sin is not imputed to him but the effects are nonetheless apparent. We shall see how it benefits us all to investigate the circumstances of our lives and discover the path for peace. We would all do this if we were needing the answer to some mechanical problem. How much more important are the ways of life.

When Good People Hurt

One case in point we might look at is Job. The record states that Job was perfect in his ways. "And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" (Job 1:8.) Here was a good man who feared God and hated evil. God called him a perfect man. Yet the record shows that this good man suffered severely during a serious tragedy that came to his house. Satan charged God with protecting Job from being touched. God then withheld His protection and Satan attacked all that Job had. Some would say that God had a bet with the devil and since Job was so good he was picked by God to win His bet. What kind of a god would that be? Do you serve a god that would use you to win a bet? I think a little investigation will prove that there was more here than a bet.

Let us examine this good man's beliefs. Job was like many modern-day Christians who do the best they know, but still find themselves perplexed and in great difficulty. One major difference is that modern-day Christians have the Scriptures which would enlighten them if they would only spend time in these words. One may do well to examine his own beliefs and see if they are preparing themselves to experience the Job experience.

The record shows that Job suffered great loss. It also shows that Job was expecting to suffer great loss even before it came. "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." (Job 3:25.) Here, Job experienced what many experience today. He had forebodings for the future. He wrestled with the thoughts that something was going to happen to him. It is as if he were saying, "I knew this was going to happen." Fear for the future is expressing faith that some terrible thing will come to pass. We believe it will happen. By faith one can virtually guarantee it happening. Although Job was doing all that he knew, thus perfect in his ways, he nonetheless was creating something to repent of. The process that Job must now go through was a process which was designed to put Job on the path of peace.

A Path To Discovery

Job was now to discover that man need never fear. He was on a path to learn that God can always be trusted. When the process began and Job received what he believed in, he said things that many today say. "...What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" (Job 2:10.) Job was not here making a statement of cause and effect, but rather his idea of God. If good can come of God, then does it not stand to reason that evil will come too? Doesn't that make sense? He was not yet ready to look and see the relationship of cause and effect and the perfect law of God. Indeed, he was still working from the premise that God is in charge of this thing, so who can figure it out?

Another idea Job had, related to this understanding of the character of God. This idea is found in chapter 9, verse 17. "For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause." In Job's mind there was no law of nature that designed all things to work in perfection. Many today are in the same place Job was. These believe that things just happen; there is no cause. Some pervert this even further by blaming others for their experiences. Job spent much time on the ash heap defending himself. His arguments were met by three of his friends. These fellows continued to tell Job they knew he must have committed some great sin for God to do this to him. "Bad things do not happen to good people," they were saying. They had missed that Job was in his integrity. Job was living up to all the light he had, therefore he did not sin with his lips in defending himself. His friends believed that every disaster was caused by one's willful sin. Since Job knew he had no willful sin and he knew he was righteous in his intentions, the only answer was that God simply did these things on occasion. After all, who can figure out God? The idea of cause and effect did not seem to enter into the mind of either Job or his three friends.

Elihu Understands

There was one friend, however, that did understand and that was Elihu. Elihu was not of the same mind about God. He understood something of the character of God. "For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment." (Job 34:11-12.) He was saying, God is a just God and does not do things from injustice. Things don't just happen. Immediately after the sermon by this fourth friend God speaks with Job and Elihu's message goes to the conscience. "Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding." (Job 38:1-4.) The Lord challenged Job's complaints that he did not have anything to do with this trial. He saw himself as an innocent bystander. God brought Job to a knowledge of the laws in existence from the foundation of the world. The Lord also revealed to Job the nature of his argument. "Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" (Job 40:7-8.) When one defends himself and sees his difficult circumstances as the arbitrary hand of God, rather than the just meeting out of what he has made, he condemns God. We say, "He is not fair." These arguments are all designed to make us look righteous.

Job now sees what he has been doing. He understands that God set the heavens in motion and created every just law. Job had not sinned with his lips. His error came from ignorance. As with many Christians today there is ignorance to the law of God. These bring suffering on themselves ignorantly. These do not sin with their lips since they truly believe their false ideas. Even so, this will not release them from the consequences. Job repented. "I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. ...I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye seeth thee." (Job 42:2,3,5.)

Christian Repentance

Job said, "I didn't know what I was talking about; I now see the mysteries. All of these things were too wonderful for me but now I see them." After Job was enlightened, he released the old causes of his misfortune and received the effects of new causes which gave him the effects of twice as much as he had before.

God is bringing all His children to perfection through this very process. A man makes a profession that he is a child of God. Evil forces see areas in the life that they should be able to touch. God lets down the hedge and the forces of evil bring the thorn to the area of our agreement. This area is then cleansed from the Christian life as we see the relationship between the thorn and our ideas and beliefs. When we repent, and our ways are cleansed, the cause is changed and Satan has no more access to us.

Job was a righteous man and by no means a second-class Christian because he suffered. This experience proved that he was faithful. He would not curse God and die. Even so, there were things he needed to understand that would cause him to appreciate the character of God. There were things he lacked. This trial brought him into agreement with God and removed the need of a hedge to protect him from his own ways. In all this the righteous man, Job, was not hurt. The false ideas were hurt beyond repair. These ideas were destroyed by the cleansing fire. Job came away victor.

Jesus Himself was perfected by the things which He suffered. So it is with martyrs and all who suffer for Christ's sake. These do not sin less and less. They understand more perfectly.

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