Welcome back, everybody. Good to have you here for session eight of our series on. All right. In our last few sessions, we’ve been talking about the characteristics of God that are mentioned in scripture as the source of our overcoming fear in our lives. Uh, we’ve looked at four reasons. Certainly God is stronger than anything you might face.
God is sweeter than anything you might lose. God is sovereign over any situation you might be in, and God is standing with you. Any place where you might go today, we’re going to see a fifth characteristic of God that is designed to help us in our daily lives to replace fear with love. And that is that God is surrounding you against any danger you might encounter.
God is our. Protector. There are four principal metaphors in the scripture that talk about God being a protector. We’re going to talk about what he’s protecting us from in a minute, but those four things are, um, have some real commonality in what they are presenting, but I’d like to just present them really quickly.
The four metaphors are, first of all, the shield that God has a shield around us. Psalm chapter three, verse three says, but you all Lord are a shield. Around me. The second one is found in Psalm one 25, verse one and two, where it talks about the Hills around Jerusalem. It says those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken as the mountains surround Jerusalem.
So the Lord surrounds his people. Both now and forevermore third one is Jesus. As the gate. He’s talking in John chapter 10, about how, where they would have the sheep fold out in the field, who would be a, an enclosure that had only one entrance or exit, they would put the sheep at night. Jesus would actually sit in or the shepherd would sit in the opening.
And so the only way that a Wolf or a predator would have access to the sheep would be through the gate and the shepherd himself would be the gate. Uh, he would sit there and Jesus said, I am the gate. And in other words, nothing gets to me to my sheep, except through me. The fourth metaphor is found in job chapter one, where Satan is complaining to God.
And he says, uh, in chapter one, verse nine, he says, does job fear you for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has on every side, all four of these metaphors of God’s protection are arguing for the fact that God surrounds us and that he has determined what will be allowed to come into our lives and what will not.
So what I’d like to think tonight about, or whenever you’re watching this, what does it mean if God is surrounding you? With protection. What does it mean? And I’d suggest a couple of things. First of all, it means it means that you need protection. Um, let me think. Well, I don’t really feel in danger. I mean, uh, things are okay, but all of these pictures remind us that the people that are involved in these metaphors are, are under attack.
Uh, in the gate, Jesus is protecting as the shepherd from wolves and predators that might try to get to the sheep or seize that would come to steal them the Hills around Jerusalem or picturing the fact that this is natural, uh, protective Hills and around the city from enemies, the heads around. Job. Of course, Satan is saying, you won’t let me out him.
You won’t let me get to him. You’ve built this, this hedge of protection. Of course the shield is protecting us from our enemies in battle. In Ephesians chapter six, verse 16, this shield is described as having a real part in our spiritual warfare. It is the shield of faith and it says, God is encouraging us to take up the shoe.
Well, the faith with which you can, yeah. Extinguish the fiery arrows of the enemy. If any of you have ever seen the movie, the gladiator, you know, this great battle scene where the fiery arrows are unleashed, uh, by the Romans on the, uh, the, uh, Germanic, uh, tribes in that great battle. And it shows the havoc that fiery arrows can have on a battlefield flaming arrows, actually.
And this is a really important passage and understanding God’s protection. Fire arrows actually were. Those that had, um, the end of the arrow would be dipped in pitch and then it would be set a flame. And now you have a lot of weight on the front of your arrow, so you can imagine how floppy it was. And it was not something that helped you with accuracy.
You would not put flaming. Uh, pitch on the end of your arrow in order to kill somebody, because you’re going to have very hard time hitting anybody. You don’t know where your out is going. The design of flaming arrows was to create chaos. You just launched him in mortar to man and they, they, they caused, uh, confusion.
Basically flaming arrows were designed to terrorize, uh, in the movie gladiator, you have the scene of when the flaming arrows come in. Uh, they, they hit some of the, the, uh, carts that are the wooden carts and things are catching on fire. Uh, guys are catching on fire tents are catching on fire and the equipment and the confusion, and it’s terrifying.
And people are, are, are not sure where to go. They don’t know where the fires are coming in. The entire scene of one of chaos and the intention of the fire was to spread fear and panic among the enemy. It’s interesting in that scene, when the Roman general turns to his archers and commands them to fire the arrows, he says, unleash hell, it’s a perfect.
An app description of the fiery arrows, that the enemy sins, he doesn’t shoot arrows to, to kill you. He shoots arrows to terrify you. Now, what are some of these fiery arrows while I would suggest it’s anything that causes you to feel overwhelmed with fear, confusion, dread. It can be verbal attacks.
Accusation or condemnation, it can be rumors or slanders or lies that people are saying about you. It can be personal conflict with, with other people. Um, it can be anger and rejection that you feel in those relationships that just feel like, uh, a storm of, of, of casts in your life and pain. It can be bad news, whether it’s financial or relational or medical.
And the interesting thing about all of these fiery arrows is that what they do is make us feel life is unsafe. It’s dangerous. We feel threatened. We feel, uh, just things are, are exploding in chaos. One of the confusing things about those moments is when you’re a Christian, it’s hard to know exactly.
What’s God, and what’s the devil and what what’s just me, because we know the Lord allows things in our lives that he is sovereign over our lives and is my financial pressure. Um, is this medical report? Is this a conflict in my life? Is this God? Or is this the devil or is it just me and screwing up? And we, we find that God and the devil sometimes have their fingerprints on the same action.
The devil always using it to terrorize to do spiritual harm. God always intending even those same trials. To enable us to grow and to bring forth the good, but these trials, these fiery arrow attacks, the seasons where we feel threat and danger. Sure. Often, uh, related to people it’s often individuals who bring accusation and condemnation, right.
It’s often people who belittle us or distain us mock us or humiliate us. And usually that comes through people that we’re doing life with. It hurts most when it’s a spouse can be powerful. Also when it’s a former spouse, when it’s children or. When it’s parents, when it’s a boss or a coworker or a competitor or another student or a group of students,
what happens when we are feeling the fiery arrows is often people feel justified. Maybe they even think they’re doing the right thing and, and bringing those attacks or, or spreading those messages that are of harm to us. But it sure feels like far fiery arrows to us. It’s important in those moments to remember usually those people are not the enemy they are being used by the enemy.
But they are not the enemy, but there is one who is using attacks, accusation, rumors, chaos, bad news, to a sail and assault you and those moments can feel very frightening. They are fiery arrows of Satan and they are meant to stir you up with fear or wary or despair. Or anger and much of cultural anger today is really just, just the result of fear.
You can be consumed by it. If you don’t recognize what God is saying to us in this study tonight. And the second. So the first thing we find is, um, if we are ones who are surrounded with God’s protection, the first thing that tells us is w. We need protection. The second thing is that nothing will get to you, but what comes through God, this of course is what made the devil ticked off with job.
Sometimes God lets through more than normal. And I think he does that intentionally to teach us. There was a season in my life and ministry. When I experienced the, the fiery darts of Satan, when any other time in my life, it was the saddest, most painful, most confusing season of my life. And in that season of what felt like relentless attacks, lies, slanders, um, darkness, I felt.
Beseeched by the enemy in a way. I, I never, never had experienced before. I remember one time I was riding in my car and the, the, the, the attack was so real to me and I was all alone. It was an evening. I remember exactly where I was that I just began to out loud talk. I mean, it was so real to me that I was under demonic attack in that time.
Through things that have been going on and voices, I was hearing of, of just what was true, what was not true. And I actually was speaking to the demons that were there and I basically just said, look, I can’t fight you. I don’t have it. I don’t have the strength. I don’t have the power, but I know the one who does.
And he’s with me and I’m right now leaning into him to fight you off. Cause the only verse that could go through my mind in that time, which just felt so dark and sparing was in James four, which says draw near to God and the devil will flee from you. And I just said, he’s going to fight you. I can’t. And I did find incredible relief.
The truth that God is my shield has become overwhelmingly meaningful to me. One of the reasons of that is to realize a season in where life, where I saw. What it was like when the hedge or the shield, uh, or the, the gate was opened a little bit more than I had ever experienced before for attack. And it made me realize how much we are protected from every single day, you know, at a time after that.
Over the next weeks and months, it was not that the devil hated me any less. I knew that God had protected. I, I believe. God sometimes allows us to experience more, more than we would wish he might crack the shield for only to heighten our awareness of how much he is protecting us every single day. It has enabled me to just see the love of God in a way.
I had never seen it before. I have come to love God as my protector in a way I never had in the past. So, how should we behave if God is surrounding us with protection, what does it mean? How do we, how do we put shoes to this truth? Well, four quick things, number one, we need to choose to trust someone 15 verse nine through 11 says trust in the Lord.
He is your help and shield. Here in Ephesians six 16, it says it is the shield of faith or the shield activated by faith. You put your hands into the shield, you hide behind it because as the arrows on unleashed upon you, you, you, you sorta leaned down into this big shield. And the word shield actually is the word that is translated door and other passages.
It was a two foot wide by over four foot high thing. It was like a door that you, you hid behind, you put your arm into the, into the, uh, the handle and inside, and you just, as the, as the fuselage of the arrows came over, you, you hit and you leaned into it. Whatever is going on in your life right now that God has allowed in, he says lean into me, Joe, when he was facing the.
Astonishing sorrows and pains and assaults or allowed to come to him and his family and his life. He put his hands into the shield and lean there as the assaults came and swept upon him. And he says, though, he slays me yet. I will trust him. No seasons. We are called to. We choose to trust. Secondly, we need to be listening to God’s voice.
Romans 10 17 says, so faith comes from hearing and hearing through the word of God. We’ve got to hear the right messaging. We’ve got to hear the right voice speaking into us. One of the reasons a lot of you are scared right now is because you’re listening to wrong voices, man. I can’t tell you how many people have told me.
And I’m sure you hear this all the time as well. They’re just so upset watching the news or being on social media. Well then stop. If those are the loudest voices in your life, you have every reason to get upset and troubled and fearful. And the very purpose of sane is to stir us up. Listen to the still small voice, the quiet voice of God.
Be still and know that he’s God, listen to him. Third, hold on to love Galatians five, six says this. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. Well, Joe was in that season of incredible suffering. He wasn’t making his Mark culturally, like he had before and he would, again, it was a season to just hold on.
And in that season, when he was assaulted, as maybe some of you are feeling right now, job, wasn’t being a leader in his community, building a state change in the world. But he honored God in the shadows. He chose practical ways to love and look out for others. I think that’s exactly what God would say. He wants us to do to choose love over fear.
And the fourth thing is March with other soldiers. I mentioned the Roman shield is big. Um, through Moss is the, it’s a Greek word, which means the door and, uh, the. The Roman soldiers would take their big shields together. And, and, uh, they had a formation that they would use when they were being attacked by the fiery arrows.
They would actually gather together. And what was known as the tortoise shell and their, their shields were usually, um, a little bit concave. They look like this. Um, if, if you looked at it sideways, so they, they took the shield and it sort of went around them a little bit. And so what some of them would do is the ones in the middle part of the formation would put this above their heads and the ones on the sides would put it outside and the ones in the back.
And basically it looked like a giant tortoise shell as they were on the field. And they could even learn to be able to March like this. So the fire arrows would come and they just bounce off the shields. The idea is that the shield of protection of God. Is usually done in tandem with other believers.
Then you need to have others praying with you. You need to have others in your life that are supporting, and we’re not wired. Usually to handle the fiery arrows, all alone. Things may be very scary for you right now. But you are not alone. God will likely bring others to sand stand with you if the assault continues.
But most of all. He invites you to be awed and stilled by the reality that he’s surrounding you against any danger you might encounter, whatever he lets through, he will give the grid.