Handbook to God's Promises

Promises about God’s Protection

God is more than able to protect every aspect of your life. He not only protects you physically, but He also will guard you against whatever tries to steal your faith, joy, and peace. The Scripture passages and accompanying meditations in this section will help you rest assured in God’s sovereignty and protection.

Protection from Calamities in Life

Exodus 15:26: The Only Healer

In this verse God emphasizes that He, not the pagan gods whose worshipers they encountered in Egypt and will encounter on their travels, is the One who heals the Israelites. He especially wants His people to understand this as they journey through the challenging desert environment. No matter what the danger, God will watch over and heal them if they “listen to His commandments, and keep all His statutes.”

Today we consult doctors and try natural remedies to cure what ails us, and well we should. But God still wants us to remember that, ultimately, He is our healer. Whatever method He uses to heal us, we are still to obey His commands to promote divine health. Both body and soul affect wellness, and healing progresses from the inside out.

Exodus 23:31: Purposeful Borders

God establishes Israel’s borders by telling the people where to live and where not to live. These boundaries keep them safe and in God’s will, learning and growing in Him.

Within what borders do we live? Our borders may be comprised of a residence, a job, a family, talents, or specific relationships. As He did with His people in the desert, God establishes our borders—anything that defines our territory or hems us in—so that we will depend on and learn from Him. As we obey within these borders, learning the lessons He assigns to us, He may eventually decide to increase our sphere of influence. But before He enlarges our borders, we are to live well within the “limitations” we experience now. Expanding too soon could lead to the misfortune of plunging ahead without the necessary preparation.

Leviticus 8:36: Do Everything

Aaron and his sons understand the importance of full obedience to God. In the centuries to come, disobedience will get the Israelites into trouble again and again. They could avoid many hardships if they would follow all that God commands. Instead, they do what feels right to them and forget the rest, missing out on the Lord’s complete blessing. When we fully obey God, we receive His full blessing.

Esther 9:18: The First Feast

Overjoyed by their escape from death, the Jews initiate days of feasting that become an annual tradition called Purim. Today, thousands of years after the first celebration, their descendants still celebrate this holiday, giving gifts to the needy and enjoying food and drink. But most important, they retell the story of Esther and the Jews’ deliverance. It is a story that is passed from generation to generation, reminding them of God’s power and generosity.

“We will tell the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His power and His wondrous works that He has done . . . so that the generation to come would know, the children yet to be born, that they would arise and tell them to their children” (Psalm 78:4, 6). God wants us to remember His promise to defend, protect, and deliver us. And when we celebrate His power to accomplish these things, we honor Him.

Psalm 40:3: New Song

It’s exciting to hear the new work of a composer. What fresh melody or lyrics will inspire or invigorate us? What will we learn or ponder? David declares that the Lord places a new song in his mouth, a hymn that applauds God for rescuing and reestablishing him.

When God reaches into the depths and pulls us up (Psalm 40:2), praise and song may erupt from our spirits. We don’t need the lyrics of an established song—we can create original “music,” either literally or in the form of other praise expressions, giving voice to whatever wells up from within. God delights in any sound that praises Him. “Sing for joy in the Lord, you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright” (Psalm 33:1).

Psalm 54:4: Daily Sustenance

When all the usual “props” fall out from under us, God catches us in His hand. Although the Lord always sustains us, during those times when we are tumbling downward, flailing helpless arms, we especially notice and appreciate His watchful care. Yet we needn’t wait until difficulty comes our way to accept God’s sustenance. When we daily feast on His Word and draw from the living water (John 7:38), we build up strength for those unexpected circumstances.

The Lord promises, “Even to your old age I will be the same, and even to your graying years I will carry you! I have done it, and I will bear you; and I will carry you and I will save you” (Isaiah 46:4).

Psalm 121:5: Made in the Shade

In the blistering Middle Eastern sunlight, shade becomes a luxury. The metaphor of God as shade and the promise that “the sun will not beat down on you” (Psalm 121:6) comforts the psalmist. This writer knows firsthand the dangers of living and traveling in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit; he knows that dehydration, delirium, and even death are possible if water and shade are not readily available.

God wants to be our shade when circumstances bear down on us, threatening to overcome us and halt our spiritual journey. In this shade we can relax, refuel, and refresh ourselves, safely relying on God to restore our strength.

Proverbs 3:25–26: Don’t Worry

How much time do we waste worrying about things that might never happen? Even if sudden disaster should strike—cancer, unemployment, displacement, or the physical or emotional loss of a child—God promises to be our strength, to be a rock we can depend on in the midst of trouble. If we put our confidence in Him, He “will keep [our feet] from being caught.”

Isaiah 14:30: Trustful Sleep

Although the Philistines will be destroyed, God will protect the humble, the poor, and the needy, allowing them to lie down and sleep. Sleeping more than any other activity truly expresses trust. God promises His protection to those no one else will defend. Destruction comes and calamities occur, but God always protects His own.

Jeremiah 20:13: Not Abandoning God’s Calling

Jeremiah considers giving up his prophetic ministry but attests that God’s words burn like a fire in his bones, so much so that he cannot hold them in. Jeremiah 20 describes Jeremiah’s inner turmoil and frustration, but also his compulsion to serve God and obey his prophetic calling.

Some commentators conjecture that Jeremiah penned verse 13—one moment of assurance inserted into a catalog of woes—when his enemies released him from the stocks. Interestingly, at the time of his release, Jeremiah prophesies against his captors. Despite the persecution, Jeremiah declines to abandon his ministry, trusting in God’s protection despite the difficulties and mistreatment. His heroic example can inspire each of us to persevere.

Ezekiel 5:13: No More Anger

The Israelites refuse to heed God’s words, so they are compelled to learn discipline through His actions. Even though the Lord’s disciplinary measures may be painful, He promises that they will not last forever, that His righteous anger will subside.

We often resist believing God’s words of warning and consequently must be taught by other means. Sometimes God acts directly to discipline us, while at other times the consequences of our own sinful choices bring reproach. Either way, God’s anger and His seemingly unforgiving actions can in reality protect us from further harm.

Zechariah 10:10–11: Arms of Rescue

We may sometimes feel as though God has forgotten us and that we are drowning in a sea of trouble, but this perception is never valid. Every “sea” has a purpose that God intends to work in our lives. The challenge for us is to allow Him to keep us afloat according to His will rather than to thrash around in a desperate attempt to save ourselves. Just as an individual in danger in a literal sea must relax and allow a rescuer to work, so we must fall back, totally yielded, into God’s arms.

John 16:33: The Overcomer

In John 16:32 Jesus predicts that when the temple police seize Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples will scatter. But the Savior does not berate His followers. Instead, He instills hope and courage in them by declaring His ultimate power to overcome the world.

Jesus’ once-for-all sacrifice forever conquered death, Satan, and evil. As our victorious warrior He now offers peace in the face of the troubles we will inevitably encounter in this world. He brings courage to the discouraged heart and instills His peace in the restless soul. He is our all-powerful Overcomer.

Hebrews 6:19: Only One Anchor

When life’s storms buffet our frail boats, only one anchor can keep us steadfast—Jesus Christ and the hope that springs from His salvation. While we may be tempted to search for other anchors for our security, the poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson reminds us, “Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds.”[1]

2 Peter 2:9: God Knows How

Our ever-merciful God willingly and lovingly delivers us out of difficulties. No situation is too complex, no circumstance too perplexing for Him. And our part is to hang on to hope as He works out His plan in and through us.

In this context we can remember Lot’s rescue (2 Peter 2:7)—and, by way of contrast, we can also remember Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:26; Luke 17:32). Which of the two would you rather have been?

Protection from Inadequacies

Judges 4:14: Go for It

Here Deborah reassures Barak that the Lord promises the Israelites victory in battle. If God travels ahead of him, preparing the way for success, this military leader only needs to follow.

This approach sounds easy enough, but when God calls us to a task and promises us His presence, sometimes we still balk. From our perspective it is difficult to follow what we cannot see in the physical realm, or what may not yield results for many years. We need to pray for spiritual eyes to see what’s ahead and then go for it, “look[ing] not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).

Psalm 18:33: Sure-Footed Heights

God sculpts deer hooves to navigate rocky and perilous mountain terrain. Deer are surefooted and secure while climbing craggy cliffs, exploring new territory and foraging for food. If we stake our trust in God, we will safely and confidently manage our “high places” of fear, suffering, responsibility, and challenging uncertainties. He will remold and strengthen us with hinds’ feet on high places.

Ecclesiastes 7:5: A Good Rebuke

What is so good about a rebuke? If it comes from a wise person, a criticism can steer us back in the right direction. If we listen to and follow the advice, we in turn become wiser (see Proverbs 15:31). “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool” (Proverbs 17:10). When we accept reproof, we are receiving correction from the Lord’s hand, because He is the source of all true judgment (Proverbs 8:14), and with the Spirit He dispenses to us an ability to change from the inside out.

Isaiah 42:3: Much Mercy

Have you ever seen a plant stem that looks ready to break but still somehow holds together? Ever felt like one—bent by circumstances, or perhaps beaten down by failures or perceived inadequacies, almost to the breaking point? This promise reminds us that God’s mercy covers it all. He will never kick us when we are down. Paul may be thinking of this promise when he pens a letter to the Corinthians: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing” (2 Corinthians 4:8). We may feel incapable of overcoming our difficulties and weaknesses, but God can protect, forgive, and deliver us.

Jeremiah 49:11: Rich in Mercy

As God declares the coming destruction and wrath against Edom (one of several nations condemned in the closing chapters of Jeremiah), His mercy emerges. God will defend the innocent ones, the widows and orphans, because they are incapable of protecting themselves.

Throughout Scripture God clearly states His concern for widows and orphans (see James 1:27); perhaps because these two groups are disenfranchised, painfully aware of their own neediness. Widows and orphans have no one but God to care for them. When we acknowledge our own inadequacies, our neediness, God is quick to shows us mercy as well.

Zechariah 8:8: Covenant Faithfulness

We may think that salvation and restoration depend solely on our own ability to be faithful and obedient. Praise God that such could never be true! We are utterly incapable of the kind of obedience required to become right with God. It is only through His faithfulness and righteousness that we can be His people. Regardless of our iniquity, He is faithful to keep His covenant, the chief provision of which is salvation through the shed blood of Jesus. Were it not for Christ’s faithfulness, we would be lost. In Him we find all that matters.

Matthew 17:20: Just a Little

With adequate soil, sunshine, and water a tiny mustard seed can blossom into an enormous plant. Likewise, a little faith can produce abundant results. If we feel weak or immobilized, God wants us to ask Him for spiritual sustenance. If we are willing to trust God with just a kernel of faith, He promises to unleash His mighty power within us.

1 Corinthians 1:27: God’s Order

Although the Corinthians place a high value on earthly wisdom, Paul tells them that God, not people, produces competence and success. Still today, centuries after Paul wrote his letter, social order still dictates that the strong and smart will rise to the top. But what appears foolish and weak to the world is of priceless value in God’s kingdom.

When we are weak, God has an opportunity to demonstrate His limitless strength through us (2 Corinthians 12:10).

2 Corinthians 12:9: Sufficient Strength

Paul has every earthly reason to boast. The apostle is intelligent, educated, able to boast the proper credentials, and a leader in the synagogue.

And yet the redeemed Paul surprises us by declaring that he is proud of his weaknesses. He testifies that the glory and power of God is most evident in his life when he is weak: “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Philippians 4:13: Can-Do Attitude

When God gives us a demanding assignment or places us in a seemingly adverse set of circumstances, He also grants us the power to complete or endure the task or difficulty. We can “do” beyond what we might think to ask of Him or expect we can accomplish because the power source lies in Him, not us (Ephesians 3:20–21).

At times the only thing we are called to do is to wait patiently and contentedly through our current situation. That “action” (and the deliberate curtailing of our penchant for reaction) can be the hardest of all, but God is faithful to meet our every need.

1 Thessalonians 3:13: Strong Hearts

The world says we need a tough exterior and a “never say die” spirit. But as Paul prays for his beloved friends, he asks God to strengthen their hearts. He knows a strong heart, not a tough outer shell, is most critical to their spiritual growth. The exterior functions as a veneer covering, while the heart permeates and influences the whole person.

When God works on us, He begins from within. He strengthens us from the inside out, so we possess spiritual health and endurance. Then we can claim with Paul, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

James 3:8: Taming the Tongue

At first glance this verse strikes us as terrible news. If nobody can tame the tongue, and we continuously need and use it for communication, then we are in deep trouble. According to James’s description the tongue’s serpentine qualities of “restless evil” and “deadly poison” dwell within us, poised to strike without warning. Even believers employ their tongues both to praise the Father and to curse His children (James 3:9). Is there no hope?

With Jesus Christ we always have reason to hope. James states that no person can tame the tongue. But the Holy Spirit can. The last, and arguably one of the most important, fruits of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:23), and that quality covers the tongue and all the words that issue from it. We can call on God’s Spirit to tame, guide, and engage the tongue for good.

Protection from Fear

Numbers 33:53: Settle In

God commands the Jews not only to conquer the Promised Land, but also to settle in. They are to build homes, plant crops, raise livestock—all the activities related to long-term living in a particular place. They are to be homesteaders—people who establish roots—as opposed to conquerors who win a battle and move on. As they move forward in battle against the fortified cities of the Canaanites (which for some was undoubtedly a frightening prospect), they will see God’s promises to their ancestors fulfilled.

After God answers our prayers and leads us into new spiritual or geographic territory, we, like the Israelites, sometimes cower from taking what God longs to so generously supply. We wonder if we can manage it and wait for the proverbial “other shoe” to drop. But God lovingly nudges us along, helping us grow into the new situation, reassuring us of His power and presence. Physically we may be settling into a new location, but spiritually we’re nestling in His familiar arms.

Job 3:25: What We Fear Most

Even though words and thoughts are powerful and affect our mindset, Job’s story reveals that God’s decisions supersede anything we may think, feel, say, or do. Job is in trouble because the Lord allows Satan to afflict him (Job 2:1–10), not because he privately fears calamity. Job has no part in the agreement forged in heaven.

Sometimes difficulty pummels us for no apparent reason, and trying to concoct an explanation only exposes how little we understand about God and how much we are like Job’s frustrating friends (Job 3–37). However, when the very thing we fear most happens, God promises, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isaiah 43:1–3). We may not know the why, but we do know the Who. We can cast our fear on God.

Psalm 56:11: Fearless Faith

If we desire to please the Lord through our daily actions and activities, why do we care about what other people think? When we are walking in obedience to God, He alone is our security and our source of approval. A reluctance to risk can indicate that we are afraid of the opinions of others. We may fear possible rejection from others and feel insecure about God’s acceptance of us. But in God’s kingdom, success in the world’s eyes is not what counts. What does matter is whether or not we do what He asks of us.

Isaiah 8:13–14: Fearless Sanctuary

God counsels His people not to fear anything except His holiness. We are not to buy into the mob mentality, fearing whatever, or whomever, unsaved people dread. By biblical definition fearing the Lord means respecting Him and holding Him in awe. And when we do, He becomes our safe place, our sanctuary from all that would otherwise induce fright in us.

Jeremiah 1:8: Overcoming Fear

God calls Jeremiah to be a prophet, but Jeremiah feels inadequate to the task. “I can’t do it,” he hedges. But the Lord encourages him, “Don’t be afraid because I am with you.” God is able even if Jeremiah is afraid that he himself is not. The prophet’s authority will derive not from his own abilities but from his calling by God.

When God directs us to do something, we too may feel inadequate and respond with an anxious “I don’t know how.” We may even imply that God has chosen the wrong person for the task. But God knows our deficiencies and offers His presence and protection to help us fulfill His plan.

Matthew 14:23–32: Steady in a Storm

Peter’s experience in this episode demonstrates that it is possible to begin a venture in faith but then to falter when circumstances disrupt or distort our view of God’s presence and provision. But Jesus wants to strengthen our wavering faith when the wind begins to whip us about. Even in the darkness, He extends His hand to us, offering us the grace and courage we need to stay steady through the storm.

John 14:27: The Peacemaker

Jesus promises us His lasting peace. The world interprets peace as life without conflict, a state of being during our earthly life that is tenuous and temporary at best.

As the Holy Spirit begins to work in our lives, He transforms our fears and restlessness into a deep-seated and unshakeable peace from above. God’s gift of peace can cause us to be fearless in a fear-filled world. Psalm 119:165 assures us that God offers “great peace” to those who love His Word and that “nothing causes them stumble.”

Acts 18:9–10: Speak Out

On some occasions, keeping silent seems like the prudent course of action. What we are thinking may be unpopular, even offensive to others, and we may feel that speaking our mind at such a time would be inappropriate. Yet at other times a small voice inside prompts us to speak the truth, regardless of the outcome. From obedience we respond to that nudge; by faith we speak without fear.

God promises that He will accompany us in every circumstance, from passing through flood and fire (Isaiah 43:2) to traversing the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4). He will also be with us when we are called to speak His words, no matter who is listening.

2 Timothy 1:7: No Fear

When we decide to use our gifts for God (2 Timothy 1:6), we first need to face and conquer our fear. Paul understands this, probably by experience, and explains that fear isn’t from God. The Lord fills us with power, love, and self-discipline. These qualities enable us to obey our Master and serve a hurting world. They also infuriate Satan, and he tries to obliterate them with fear. But we serve and suffer with God’s empowerment.

1 John 4:18: Perfect Love

When fear badgers us, we can recognize that it comes from the enemy and rebuke him for it (James 4:7). God banishes fear and replaces it with love. As God’s children we are not to fear judgment for sin or the uncertainties of life. A fearful heart needs reassurance of God’s presence and care. When we are “fear-full,” we can ask God instead to fill us with Himself. His flawless love produces perfect peace.

Revelation 1:17: First and Last

Jesus Christ states that He is “the first and the last,” the same designation God gives Himself in the book of Isaiah (44:6; 48:12). This description reinforces Christ’s equality with the Father as a member of the Trinity. Christ lives outside the confines of time, having neither beginning nor end.

If our Lord exists beyond anything or anyone else in the universe except the Trinity, then we have no reason to fear. He supersedes everything and controls it all. We can depend on His ultimate victory in our lives, in the world, and in eternity.

Protection from Negative Emotions

Joshua 22:3: Mission Accomplished

Joshua’s “mission accomplished” speech attaches a happy ending to a long ordeal. The Gadites, Reubenites, and half-tribe of Manasseh have faithfully fulfilled God’s mission. Now Joshua releases them to live across the Jordan, blessing them and commanding them to be faithful to God always. When one tribe builds an altar to the Lord, however, the tribes on the other side of the Jordan misinterpret their intentions, nearly resulting in a war.

The upshot for us? We must be careful not to draw negative conclusions about someone else’s actions. We may not know all the facts, and we certainly can’t judge the motives behind their actions. The conflict resolution techniques that Jesus outlines for us in Matthew 18:15–17 provide a much better pattern for dealing with such situations.

Proverbs 14:26: Fortress of Security

Security—isn’t this what we primarily crave in an uncertain world? The message of our culture says that a bank account, adequate insurance, and a well-maintained home provide security. Yet people who possess these things can still feel apprehensive and uncertain. But God’s economy works differently. When we admit that His power is infinitely greater than our own, and greater than anything at all in this world, we discover that this awesome power works for us, not against us.

When we attribute to God the reverence due Him, acknowledging His might, He ushers us into a safe place. Secure in His care, we can rest assured of His sheltering presence.

Romans 5:1: Peace with God

A guilty conscience seldom finds rest. But those who accept God’s forgiving grace are liberated to live and die in peace. This peace dwells deep within the heart, and it is available even during troubling times—even when death confronts us.

The hymn writer Horatio G. Spafford reminds us, “When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well, it is well with my soul.’” Our souls know this incredible serenity because our Savior banishes guilt and fear, filling in the void with His comforting Spirit. Real, pervasive peace is by definition the very presence of God.

Protection from My Enemies

Genesis 15:1: Our Shield

In battle the shield, thrust out in front of the warrior, protects him from the enemy’s arrows, spears, swords, and fists. The image of God as protector or sovereign must have been a great comfort to Abram. And we can take comfort in this promise today as well. No matter how the devil, our great adversary, approaches us, God is in control and will shield us from his deathblows. If we rely on God’s protection and keep our Shield in place—directly in front of us and over the heart—He will cast out our fears.

Joshua 20:1–6: Cities of Refuge

Once again God exhibits grace by asking Joshua to set up six cities of refuge. These cities are spread throughout Canaan so they are accessible (no more than a day’s journey) for everyone. When one person accidentally kills another, fleeing to a city of refuge ensures protection from avengers until trial. Levites rule these cities and diligently guard against injustices.

Sometimes both earthly and spiritual avengers stalk us unjustly for our mistakes. But “as for God, His way is blameless; the word of the Lord is refined; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him” (Psalm 18:30). God knows the circumstances of our lives and stands nearby to help at all times. We can run to Him for refuge.

Judges 7:19: Noisemakers

In essence the Israelites win their battle by doing what they do best: making lots of noise. In the past they’ve made noisy complaints. Now they shout in the Lord’s name. Ironically, what once enslaved the Jews now ensures their freedom.

How like God! He turns our habits and mistakes into “noisemakers” that glorify Him and free people from bondage. When we sing, praise, and shout to the Lord, we’re wielding weapons in the spiritual realm. And like Gideon’s troops, with God’s blessing, we’ll tear down enemy strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4).

Judges 20:28: Hope for Tomorrow

The Lord calms His people with the promise of victory in battle. They can rest peacefully tonight because tomorrow God will deliver the enemy into their hands.

In the spiritual realm the Lord offers that reassurance to us. Through the Holy Spirit He instills the power to overcome the devil and demons. How much better we would rest if we agreed with the psalmist, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, have me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8). He protects us from the enemy, both seen and unseen.

1 Chronicles 5:20: Battle Cry

The armies of Gad, Rueben, and Manasseh contain “valiant men,” fully trained and equipped to wage war (1 Chronicles 5:18). Yet their successful warfare is the direct result of their dependence upon God. In the thick of battle these warriors cry out to the Lord and He delivers the enemy into their hands. He rewards them for their faith.

No matter what our training or resources, we need God’s help in the spiritual battle. He wants us to cry out to Him, for when we are weak, we allow Him to demonstrate His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). The Lord is indeed mighty in battle (Psalm 24:8).

2 Chronicles 20:22: Warfare Praise

God instructs Jehoshaphat in unusual warfare, just as He did Joshua prior to the collapse of Jericho (Joshua 6). As singers march in front of the army, praising the Lord, God organizes ambushes that defeat the enemy. In both episodes (Joshua and Jehoshaphat), God teaches His warriors that the battle is won not by human might but by His Spirit.

This message applies to us as well as we face spiritual battles. The battle is the Lord’s, and so is the victory. As we offer praises to God, He waylays our spiritual enemies and defeats them.

Job 27:6: Clinging to Righteousness

Sometimes when trials and temptations surround us, clinging to godliness is our only defense. If like Job we maintain our righteousness, we can silence our accusers. We expect accusations from demonic and human enemies, but when the arrows of criticism fly from our friends, family, associates, or even bystanders, it is harder for us to stand firm.

When this happens, aligning ourselves with God’s Word is especially crucial (Psalm 119:23). It functions as our sword and shield (Psalm 18:30; Ephesians 6:17) and as our comfort. “The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Your Law,” writes David. “I have remembered Your judgments from of old, Lord, and comfort myself” (Psalm 119:51–52).

Psalm 17:8: Under His Wings

A baby bird looks up and sees darkness, but he doesn’t need to fear. His mother’s wings cast the shadow over him. A mother bird hides her young beneath her wings for warmth and protection from predators. When babies are too young to fend for themselves, they instinctively run to their mothers for shelter.

When we look up and only darkness stares back, we could be sitting under the shadow of God’s wings. Oftentimes He places us there for protection from the enemy, giving us time to grow up spiritually. We are not to fear a shadow cast by God.

Psalm 58:10: The Avenger

After someone treats us cruelly our instincts tempt us to take revenge. Our seething anger demands “eye for eye, and tooth for tooth” (Matthew 5:38). But Jesus teaches us not to resist an evil person but, rather, to pray for him or her (vv. 39, 44). Praying for someone else keeps our hearts tender and free from bitterness. We also become willing to wait for God to work, to avenge the wrong for us. “The righteous will rejoice when he sees [the] vengeance” that will come upon the wicked (Psalm 58:10), but the righting of wrongs must take place through God’s righteousness, not our own sinful impulses and inclinations.

Psalm 109:4: Man of Prayer

David’s friends attack and accuse him, but his response is, “I am a man of prayer.” Instead of fighting back physically he does battle in the spiritual realm, most likely praying for his safety and God’s justice in this situation. Nothing David can do will remedy the problem, but he staunchly believes that nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26) and that prayer moves the Lord to action. Jesus later adds another dimension to prayer, instructing us to love and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44). While praying for those who cherish us comes naturally, kind intercession for those who don’t like us (or who even mistreat us) catches the attention of nonbelievers.

Often when trouble abounds and we are powerless in our own strength to alter the circumstances, we can claim, “All I can do is pray.” But in reality, prayer is the first and best action we can take. Prayer changes everything.

Psalm 129:3: Cut Free

The wicked aren’t satisfied just to go their own way. They crave taking others down the road with them, delighting to focus especially on the godly. They want nothing more than to rope and drag believers down the broad road of destruction (Matthew 7:13). If we find ourselves getting “roped in” by their demands, we are to call on the Lord. He will arrive immediately, cut the cords, and accompany us back to the narrow but unfettered path of righteousness. Road service doesn’t get any better than that.

Proverbs 20:22: Waiting on God

Payback belongs to God, not to us. In a litigious society like ours, waiting for divine justice requires patience. When we are being unfairly treated or feel stuck in an uncomfortable situation that is not of our own making, our instincts lean toward retaliation. We want to take matters into our own hands. Even if we say we are willing to wait on God, we want Him to act quickly. “Look what he did!” we cry indignantly about our neighbor. We pray for, or at any rate about, our enemies, but not as we ought. All too frequently we grit our teeth and seethe, “Go get him, God!”

But God exhorts us to wait for His deliverance. Perhaps His plan is for evildoers to suffer the natural consequences of their actions. Or it may be that He intends to deliver us from our perceived need to be right and to be treated fairly by others.

Isaiah 10:25: Momentary Anger

Just before this promise God tells His people not to be afraid of the Assyrians. Interestingly, God does allow the Assyrians to attack and conquer His people. They act as His instrument to mete out divine justice. But God also promises that His use of this “tool” will soon end. Once again He will protect His people and crush enemy armies. This assurance echoes David’s joyful proclamation: “His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for a lifetime” (Psalm 30:5). We can rejoice not only in God’s protection, but also in His mercy.

Isaiah 31:5: God Is Greater

God’s power is infinitely greater than the military might of Egypt or of any other nation. Our modern-day enemies may not wage war with swords, but perhaps they launch their attacks with threats or persecution or in a variety of more subtle ways.

Our most vicious enemy, Satan, is ultimately responsible for every spiritual assault, whether it manifests itself physically, emotionally, or through seemingly coincidental circumstances. When it seems that a political, social, or spiritual enemy is stronger than we are, we can remember that God’s promise of safety and protection is absolutely trustworthy.

Jeremiah 42:11: Ears to Hear

The first part of this verse directs the people in no uncertain terms: “Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon.” In the midst of political chaos, God plans deliverance and protection. The remnant of God’s people asks Jeremiah to pray and then reveal God’s word for their situation. God promises protection if the people will stay in the land. But unfortunately, they refuse to listen to God through Jeremiah and accuse the prophet of lying.

What lesson can we learn from this today? When we ask for God’s assistance, we need to listen for His voice and obey it so that we can enjoy the fulfillment of His promise of protection.

Daniel 6:27: He Makes a Way

Daniel’s amazing story reminds us that there is no salvation apart from God. He alone provides a means to sustain a life—whether physically or spiritually—when it seems that all hope has vanished. We can trust Him unreservedly with our soul, spirit, and body, knowing that His love always acts in our best interest. Even though enemies may seek to destroy us, our salvation rests securely with God.

Hosea 4:16: Follow His Voice

A shepherd tends, feeds, and guards his sheep, but in order to benefit from this constant care the sheep must recognize their master’s voice and follow him. The Israelites rebel against God, refusing to allow the Lord to pasture them or to lead them to a safe place of refuge. If we exhibit a rebellious spirit, we will have a similar experience. We need to follow the Lord’s voice in order to appropriate the blessings of His care and protection.

Joel 3:16: A Roaring Lion

How can a lion be a symbol of refuge? Typically, these ferocious beasts are feared by humans and lesser animals alike. But think about this image from the perspective of a lion cub. These same savage beasts protect and care for their own young with the utmost tenderness.

And so it is with God. To His children He presents Himself as a loving parent, satisfying all of our needs, sheltering us in storms, and offering Himself as a high tower of refuge. Yet to His enemies, and especially to those who would harm His own, He displays His fearsome anger. God is indeed our ultimate protection from harm.

John 10:11: Our Good Shepherd

Jesus fulfills the Old Testament description of the Lord as our Shepherd. In Psalm 23 God is depicted as our Shepherd who leads us safely into green pastures. In Isaiah 40:11 our gentle Shepherd “[gathers] the lambs and [carries] them in the fold of His robe.”

When daily pressures and trying circumstances assault us like ravenous wolves, we can run to the safety of our good Shepherd who cradles us close to His heart.

Protection from the Devil and Demons

Joshua 1:3: Every Footstep

The Lord assures Joshua that everywhere he steps, that land will belong to His people. This promise gives Joshua the confidence and vigor he needs to fight upcoming battles. And this assurance is not just a rallying cry for the troops; it’s a covenant guaranteed by the most reliable source possible, the heavenly King Himself. Who wouldn’t feel bolstered by such a promise?

God wants us to carry the same confidence into the battles we fight in the spiritual realm. He has armed us with impenetrable spiritual armor so we can stand our ground against Satan (Ephesians 6:13). As with Joshua He desires that with every step, we plunder the enemy and “claim the land” for God’s kingdom. In the battle we can ask, “Establish my footsteps in Your word; and do not let any wrongdoing have power over me” (Psalm 119:133). It’s a request God wants to fulfill.

1 Chronicles 21:1: Attack at the Top

When Satan attacks, he often goes straight to the top. Who is the person of influence, the one whose behavior and decisions affect the most people? The devil likes toppling that individual because of the spiritual domino effect: Lots of people fall with him. This is Satan’s strategy for attacking Israel as he tempts David to take a census of the people. Read on in the chapter to discover the results of David’s prideful act.

If we are in a position of influence over other people, we must stand our guard. Satan wants to overthrow us. Remember always that “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Esther 7:6: Naming the Enemy

Esther’s desire to save the Jews depends on her willingness to identify and stand up against the nation’s enemy. Risking her royal position, perhaps even her life, the queen designates Haman as the vile adversary. This ushers in the king’s decision to hang the perpetrator on the gallows and to allow the Jews to defend themselves (Esther 8:11).

This pattern of naming the enemy first, then destroying him, resembles our battle in the spiritual realm. We need to identify Satan and his strategies before we can defeat him. Just as Xerxes enables the Jews to fight and defend themselves, so God equips us with spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:13–18) to enable us to “stand firm” against the enemy. The Bible assures us of the power of God over anything in this world (1 John 4:4). And Jesus declares, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33), and that includes the devil, “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 16:11).

Mark 3:11: True Power

Jesus never flinches in the presence of demons. Their limited power pales in contrast to God’s dominion. Even these evil messengers respect the One whom they recognize as the Son of God.

Jesus possesses all power and authority to heal and change lives, and assaults by the enemy and his minions cannot daunt Him. When we recognize and trust the Son of God as Savior and Lord, He promises to protect us from the forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:11; 1 John 4:4).

Luke 4:1: Power Source

Jesus knows that He cannot resist Satan’s malevolent tactics without drawing sustenance and strength from the Holy Spirit.

Are we allowing the Spirit to control us, to lead us in all our ways? As long as we stay plugged in to Him, He will remain our unfailing power source, our sure protection against every evil.

James 4:7: Resist the Devil

Fighting the devil requires an active, not a passive, approach to spiritual warfare. Although we are to pray for God’s protection from the enemy (passive approach), we are at the same time to face down the devil and order him to leave us (active approach). When we invoke the name of Jesus (Acts 16:18) and quote God’s Word to Satan (Matthew 4:10), he flees. We are never powerless against the devil; instead, the Spirit instills within us the strength to resist him and be at peace.

Revelation 12:11: By the Blood

Jesus’ shed blood erases our sins, eradicates our guilt, and silences Satan’s accusations against us. The tempter despises the blood of the Lamb because it disarms even the most effective of his evil strategies. He also flees from the Word of God; his whispered nudges are totally ineffectual in terms of overcoming the everlasting truth. There is incalculable power available in the blood and the Word.

Protection from Death

Genesis 4:13–15: Marked for Life

Cain feels his punishment is more than he can bear. Although he deserves death, the Lord shows mercy and places a mark on him. What that mark is we don’t know, but it keeps Cain’s enemies from killing him. Likewise, God doesn’t assign us the death we deserve. Instead, in His infinite mercy He marks us with His forgiveness and hands us the gift of eternal life (John 3:16).

Even when God disciplines us, He is merciful. He remembers that we are created from dust (Psalm 103:14) and doesn’t give us what we deserve (Psalm 103:10). Thank God that, from the earliest days of creation until today, He never changes.

Numbers 24:21–22: Safe Nest

The Kenites think they dwell in safety, but their solid homes cannot shelter them from God’s wrath. Through Assyria, His chosen instrument of judgment, God will scoop out their nest and scatter it to the winds, leaving the occupants exposed, afraid, and dying.

No matter how secure the world’s structures may look, God is the only rock we can depend on for security. “The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and just is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4). God sees and will deal with injustice in His own time.

Psalm 86:13: Out of the Depths

David’s prayer of faith anticipates God’s answer. Even in the midst of grave physical danger, David reflects on God’s past goodness and trusts in His future protection. Regardless of any escape from physical death we may have had, as God’s chosen ones we’ve all been spared the horrible throes and consequences of spiritual death. As did David, we live and breathe, both physically and spiritually, in Him. When was the last time we thanked Him for that?

[1] Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Enoch Arden (1864),
http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Tennyson/tennyson_contents_enoch_arden.htm.