Shelter in the Storm

mannaEver since the inception of sin into our world, the issue of safety has been of paramount importance to all living creatures. God had created in the Garden of Eden a place of contentment, beauty and peace, and a home where man could live securely without fear of danger or loss. Not a thought of harm crossed the minds of the happy pair until the serpent beguiled Adam and Eve to succumb to the temptation to experiment with evil.

From that moment on, fear took the place of faith, suspicion crowded out love, and danger became an ever-present source of anxiety. The human race was introduced to the fruit of disobedience, and the need for safety on all levels - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Heathen gods were often contrived from the crucible of fear, and although the God of heaven is the only true source of safety, He was largely forgotten in the desperate search for ways to placate the hostility of nature, man and beast. The world was no longer a safe place. The first indication of this took place in the garden itself.

The friendship between God and His created beings was broken by their fear of His disapproval and retribution, and they hid themselves away from His loving presence. What a change from their former delight in the coming of their heavenly Guest!

Six thousand years later, we are in the throes of the culmination of our long journey away from our original home, and every conceivable form of fear is rampant on all levels of society. Crime, disease, war, broken homes, disasters, violence and death rack the planet with untold misery and an epidemic of anxiety and stress.

There is a thin facade of normalcy, and people strive to go on with life as we know it should be. But there is a growing edge of concern that we are on the verge of a stupendous crisis, and perhaps the end of all things, as is prophesied in the Scriptures.

But there is still one clear space of safety in this world. God has not abandoned us to the capricious forces of evil. He is yet the God of love that He always was, and for those who believe in Him and have accepted Jesus as their Friend and Savior, there is peace, joy, love - and yes, safety in an otherwise hostile environment.

His voice has been heard for centuries through the Scriptures and chosen spokesmen even before there was a written Word; through nature He still speaks to those who are willing to listen; in these latter days He speaks through His Son, working in the hearts of men and women by His Spirit; and His providential workings in each life often call us to know that God is ever-present, and that He cares even for the lowliest of His creatures. To know Him is to love Him; and to get even a glimpse of Him causes our hearts to leap with joy as He touches our lives with His healing grace.

Those times of intimacy with Him in the early morning hours before sunrise is a special place of communion that prepares us for the day. It is the still small voice of the Spirit, and those who have learned to hear it cherish those moments of interaction with God. It reminds us that the secret place of our tryst with Him is also a place of safety and protection. The manna falls gently upon our souls, and we are fed with peace and confidence for the challenges of our journey.

But there is another voice of God that we do not generally hear about. It is called, “His majestic voice.” Isa. 30:30. It is the voice with which He spoke to the children of Israel at Sinai - the voice of “thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud…and a very loud trumpet blast.” Ex. 19:16. It sounds frightening, and indeed, it was; so much so that the people asked that God would not speak to them anymore. Ex. 20:19. For this reason, God does not usually speak to people in this manner. However, when it is necessary to get people’s attention, His majestic voice is still used.

Let’s go back to Isa. 30, and see that in the beginning of the chapter, God is using His chosen method of communication, the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to the conscience: “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden not more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’” V. 20, 21.

But as we go on through the chapter, we find that God uses “His majestic voice” to get men’s attention: “See, the Name of the Lord comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke;…He shakes the nations in a sieve of destruction;…The LORD will cause men to hear His majestic voice and will make them see His arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail. The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with His scepter He will strike them down.” Isa. 30:27-31.

And why does God do this? First of all, it is to protect His people from their enemies:

“Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down; touch the mountains with smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemies; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.” Ps. 144:5-8.

Next, it is to free those who have become a part of the nations around them, but are still really God’s people at heart, and bring them back: “The LORD will roar like a lion. When He roars, His children will come trembling.” Hos. 11:10.

“In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem.” Isa 27:12, 13.

Isn’t God good to not allow us to go on in our own ways without speaking to us in whatever way we will hear His voice calling us to prepare for the things that are just ahead? Even now, we are hearing His majestic voice, His trumpet calls to our generation.

“God is speaking to us in these last days. We hear His voice in the storm, in the rolling thunder. We hear of the calamities He permits in the earthquakes, the breaking forth of waters, and the destructive elements sweeping all before them…. God speaks to families who have refused to recognize Him, sometimes in the whirlwind and storm, sometimes face to face as He talked with Moses…. When the still small voice which succeeds the whirlwind and tempest…is heard, let all cover their faces, for God is very near. Let them hide themselves in Jesus Christ, for He is their hiding place.” 2 SM 315, 316.

Don’t you want you and your family to be in that safe hiding place when the calamities of the last days come? I know you do, and you can! We can come to Him just as we are, and He will joyfully welcome and receive us into His place of safety and protection under His angels’ wings.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge;

“His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.

“If you make the Most High you dwelling–even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Ps. 91:1-12.

“Angels are commissioned to watch in every family. Each one has the watchcare of a holy angel…. When you search the Scriptures, trying to be right and do right, the angels who attend your footsteps are rejoiced. The great trouble with all is that we do not take time to think that heavenly beings are near us, to help us in our every desire to do right.” TD 160.

“A guardian angel is appointed to every follower of Christ. These heavenly watchers shield the righteous from the power of the wicked one…. Thus God’s people, exposed to the deceptive power and unsleeping malice of the prince of darkness, and in conflict with all the forces of evil, are assured of the unceasing guardianship of heavenly angels.” GC 512, 513.

“None of finite judgment and foresight can have any power to conceive of the care God has exercised through His angels over the children of men in their travels, in their own houses, in their eating and drinking. Wherever they are, His eye is upon them. They are preserved from a thousand dangers, all to them unseen. Satan has laid snares, but the Lord is constantly at work to save His people from them.” 14 MR p. 2.

“The LORD is my light and my salvation–whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life–of whom shall I be afraid?…. When my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident…. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” Ps. 27:1-5.

“Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Ps. 32:6, 7.

What hope we have for the days ahead! We need never give way to fear, for we have the assurance that we are not alone. We have a compassionate and loving Savior who will watch over us each step of the way, and we can go on our way with joy and peace!