Victoria Fellowship Church
International & Interdenominational
Bible Study Worksheet – August 28th, 2016
Theme: Standing on God’s Promises
Topic: I Will Protect You
Main Texts: Psalm 91:1-16; John 17:6-18
Key Verse: Psalm 91:14: “”Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” (NIV)
Last Sunday, in discussing God’s promise “I Will Guide You”, we saw that God has always guided His people even if the mode of guidance has varied over time. Our learning from the study include the following:
- Over time God has guided His people in various ways; mostly by visible and physical indicators and prophets in the Old Testament, but more by His Word, the Holy Spirit and His manifestations in the New Testament.
- When we genuinely seek God for guidance on specific issues, we must, in the spirit of Isaiah 30:21, then move by faith, listening to Him to tell us “whether to turn to the right or the left”. This requires the Christian to walk with God as it is only in so doing that we can recognise Hos voice.
- Our being guided by God does not mean that all would be easy and pleasant, and as such we must avoid judging guidance by immediate outcomes. God can indeed guide us into and through difficult paths as part of His overall plan. He guided Paul in His missionary journeys, but that did not stop Paul from being persecuted and imprisoned!
This Sunday, we will consider God’s promise “I Will Protect You”. Many are drawn to evangelistic meetings by the promise of protection, especially, physical protection from perceived enemies. In this study, we will see some of the key aspects of the protection God promises, and the part the Christian must play to benefit from the promise. Our key learning should include:
- God’s promise of protection is not only for the physical protection – even though that is included, but also from all that threatens the personal spiritual well-being, and that of His Church. This is clearly seen in the prayer Jesus prayed for His disciples in John 17
- The Christian needs protection from the increasing hostility to God’s point of view on issues of life – the hostility that pressures the Christian into replacing God’s standards with the world’s corrupted standards.
- As stated in It is only by staying under God’s canopy all the time that we can be protected from all attacks; the promises in Psalm 91 start with this condition.
When we hear news of natural disasters such as earthquakes, extreme weather and pestilence, and man-made disasters such as disease epidemic, wars, terrorism, armed robberies, kidnappings, and personal accidents, most people – Christians included – are naturally struck with fear and apprehension. The unspoken question in many minds is, “Will I be the next victim?” In some societies, the promise of protection against these tragedies has become the cardinal point in evangelistic messages, sometimes to the point that the real message of the Gospel is hardly delivered. Those who believe such messages quickly profess faith in Christ and from that point onwards, hold Him accountable for whatever befalls them – even when they do not live for Him. For those that truly live for Christ, physical protection is considered a right, and when one falls victim of any of these tragedies, the immediate question is, “why me, Lord?” It was for this reason Job was so upset with God in his travails – he felt God had let Him down and he sought to know why.
1. (a) What do you consider to be the legitimate expectation of a true Christian as regards God’s protection for him or her against physical calamities?
(b) Would you say God fulfilled His promise of protection in Job’s life?
Speaking about the signs of the end, Jesus said: “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:9-11 NIV). In our second text, we see Jesus praying for all believers asking that they be protected “from the evil one”. The harm He had in mind from which He prayed for protection from the evil one was not just physical harm. In fact, if it were just physical harm, then we could say that His prayer was not answered at all because as soon as Jesus left this world and the disciples started to spread the Gospel, they began to suffer bodily harm.
2. What kinds of harm did Jesus have in mind when He prayed for protection for Christians?
3. What are your personal expectations of God’s protection from the evil one as regards the pervasive evil in the society and the barrage of messages and “respected” opinions that challenge fundamental Biblical positions?
There is a real danger of Christians seeing the enemy against which God promises protection in only physical terms. Such a narrow view of the enemy leaves the Christian vulnerable to the enemies of the soul – attacks on our thoughts, value system, sense of right and wrong, acceptance of Scripture as the final authority on all matters, etc. While God promises the Christian protection against these influences, the Christian does have responsibilities for appropriating the promise. Psalm 91 which states God’s promise of protection starts with the precondition: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” When we fail to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we fail to play our part and we could suffer physical harm outside God’s plan for us, or fall victim of other ills. Then it seems that God has failed to keep His promise.
4. Discuss practical ways the Christian must “dwell under the shadow of the Most High”
Father, thank You for Your promise of protection against all that threaten our well-being, physically, and spiritually. Teach us to play our part so that we experience Your protection, in Jesus’ name, Amen.