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[Home]>[How to Measure Your Beliefs]>[1. Introduction]
by Frank L. Preuss
This is the 1. chapter of
by Frank L. Preuss
Protection or salvation from trouble is a matter of experience. If we want God's salvation from trouble - if we want God to protect us - then we have to act in faith and believe that God is protecting us and we have to speak accordingly. Especially, we have to speak when we find ourselves in a troublesome situation. Then is the time to confess, "The Lord saves me from this trouble". And when I consequently experience God's salvation - when I look back afterwards and realise that God has saved me out of this troublesome situation - then my faith will be strengthened. I have experienced it: my own faith and God's protection. My faith brought me liberty and power.
But let us look at some examples in everyday life to find out more about a way - God's way - to enjoy the Lord's salvation from all trouble.
In Psalm 25:3, David says that no one who trusts God will be ashamed. This sounds very good, and many people like the Psalms, and many people get a good feeling when they read something like this. But they might also think that such a statement from the Bible is just a nice religious expression that bears no relevance to the problems we face in daily life.
Underlying this statement of David, however, was a lifelong experience of God's protection. David had so many experiences where God saved him, that for him it was not a matter of faith any more, but it had become a matter of knowledge. He knew that God would save him when he was in trouble. He knew that he could rely on God; that he could trust God.
In 1 Samuel 17:37 we hear David say, "The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." David was in a dangerous situation. He was to fight a man very much superior to him: Goliath. But he knew that no one who trusts God will be disgraced. David had practised his faith in God from when he was a child. And when he was keeping his father's sheep, his faith was already fully developed and strong. He did not start to become a faith person when the lion was approaching: no, he had practised his trust in God with small things, and whenever there was a need. His walk with God was a constant one. We will not become faith people when we remember God only in a crisis and then try to become a person full of faith. It is difficult to become a strong believer when a person is dying of cancer. So let us start now and whenever there is a small problem, let us remember God and let us call on his name and say: "God saves me from this trouble". Let us learn from these examples in the Bible, and let us do the same thing. Let us simply follow the example of a successful person like David and act and speak and believe as he did.
David was saved from trouble when he was young, because he said that he would be saved and he was saved from trouble when he was old, because also then he still confessed that God would save him. He did not change his method. He did not become more sophisticated. He simply still spoke with his mouth and he believed in his heart and he received from God what he desired. He knew how to receive from God. It should be a major concern of ours to learn how to receive from God. If we have learned this, then we will know God. How can someone say that he knows God when he does not know how to receive from God? How can a person that does not know how to receive something from God really say that he knows God? Only when I have prayed to God - when I have asked God to give something to me and when I then have received this thing I asked for - will I really know God. Only when my relationship with God has some practical results, when I start to bear fruit, will I be convinced that I know God and that he knows me. Only then will I become a real believer.
When David was old and when he again, as so frequently in his life, found himself in a troublesome situation, he did one thing first: he confessed, "The Lord has saved me from all trouble." At the end of his reign as the most famous of all the kings of Israel, David had to face a situation where the message was brought to him that somebody had become king whom he had not appointed; that as soon as David would die, the person who should have become king - Solomon - and his mother, Bathsheba, would be treated as criminals. And David himself would be pushed aside while he was still alive. The message was that he would be disgraced.
And what was David's reaction to this message of trouble? His reaction was that he confesses that God saves him from all trouble. That is the point we should come to in our lives when we face trouble, big trouble: to speak out and say, "The Lord has saved me from all trouble". Bathsheba was the first person who reported the uprising to him, and after her Nathan the prophet arrived and he also reported this coup d'état. Now watch David's reaction to these messages of big trouble. How did he face situations like this?
David gave instructions to bring Bathsheba to him. After she came in, and when she stood before him, he said, "The Lord has saved me from all trouble." These were his first words. The first words that came out of his mouth were words confessing the fact that God saves him from all trouble. We must come to such a trust in the Lord that these will be the first words that come out of our mouths when we face big trouble: the Lord has saved me from all trouble.
The first thing we have to do when we find ourselves in big trouble is to acknowledge God. This will be easy when we practice the presence of God. Let us make a quality decision to practice the presence of God. This will be easy when we are busy with God's word every day - busy with spiritual things. What we are discussing here emphasises the importance of feeding on spiritual things every day. To read and study, in order to grow inside, is not a religious duty we fulfil religiously, it is an act of receiving life and has very practical implications. If we want to rule in life like kings, then we have to do what kings are supposed to do. God gives one main rule for kings. And that command is, "And it shall be with him and he shall read therein all the days of his life" (Deuteronomy 17:19). That we must not let the word of God out of our sight, especially as regards safety, is best described in Proverbs 3:21-26. "My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion: So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble. When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet. Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken."
The Holy Spirit can't bring to mind something which has not been put into our memory. If we feed our mind with the things of God, then the first thing the Holy Spirit will bring to our attention in a critical situation will be God. The picture of God will be much bigger than the picture of the problem.
David remembered the past. In the past God had always saved him. We need to have the same experience. When we are confronted with trouble our mind must go back to all the instances in which God helped us to overcome these troubles. Faith very much grows by experience; by experiencing miracles from God, by experiencing God's hand in everything. David said: "The Lord has saved me from all trouble." He acknowledged God's saving power in all his previous troubles, and that was enough to convince him that he would do so now as well.
God is pleased when we believe (Hebrews 11:6). God liked to honour David's faith confessions. When David said, "Surely he will save me from all trouble," God was very pleased with David and pleased with the fact that David put his trust in God. And God did what David said; he saved him from all trouble. God kept his word. Let us think of all the trouble David was in. The Bible records quite a number of instances. But David was always saved from these troubling circumstances. He was never injured; he was not killed by the sword despite the fact that he was very much a warrior; he was never captured; he never suffered starvation or lack of funds; he never lost a battle or a war; he was never sick. God honoured his faith, particularly his faith regarding being saved from trouble.
Even when David did not walk in the will of God; when he had made a mistake - even during the time when David had strayed from the way and before he had decided to return to the way he knew was his right way, God honoured his faith. God punished David's children and David's people, but he never touched David himself. God kept his word. David said that the Lord would save him from all trouble and David believed it. David believed in his heart and David spoke with his mouth and he got exactly what he said and what he believed: the Lord saved him from all trouble.
Now how important these confessions of David are in the eyes of God, we can see from the fact that the Bible records them in four instances. Four times, it is reported that David stated his trust in God - that God saves him from trouble. I think that this fourfold occurrence in scripture is not accidental, but highlights the importance of this to God. God wants to teach us to believe in his salvation in every situation here on earth. David is just a type of Jesus Christ. David was just a very successful man of God. But Jesus Christ was successful in everything he did, he is our real model. Jesus walked on this earth as a man and he overcame. Jesus will reign as king when he comes back. But he proved that a man already can be successful without having this authority of an almighty king. We will also be able to rule as kings with Jesus after His second coming, when we learn in this life to be overcomers and when we learn in this life to be successful. Let us reflect on how Jesus was successful. He was never sick, he was never poor, he was never captured, he was never injured. He was always independent; nobody could harm him; when people wanted to throw him down the cliff, he just walked through them; they could not harm him. Jesus only started to suffer when he decided to go to the cross in order to save us from suffering; only then could people harm him.
Nobody could harm David because God protected David. But God protected David because David received this protection from God through faith. How often do Christians fail to receive God's protection because of unbelief? They not only often do not confess that the Lord saves them from all trouble, they very often confess the opposite; they confess a lot of trouble over themselves. So to start a religious habit of confessing, "The Lord saves me from all trouble" and in between confessing completely contrary things, will bring only negative results. When the real critical situation arrives and out of the mouth comes something like this: "They are going to get me," or "I lost everything," or "I will never make it," then a person will just get trouble; but he will not be saved from it. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
And David always made this faith confession when other people were around; when others could hear it. He dared to step out and confess publicly that he relied on God's word. He did not just say that his trust was in God. He was specific. His trust was for salvation out of trouble. Let us look at the four occasions on which he made this statement.
The first time, the Bible records David stating his trust in God for salvation from trouble was when he spoke to King Saul (1 Samuel 17:37). "The Lord will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine" said David. David's faith must have been very strong already to say something like this to the ruler of the country.
The second time is recorded in 1 Samuel 26:24, when David speaks to Saul again, but this time he speaks to the king, to the commander of the king's army and to all the army around the king. David says: "Let the Lord deliver me out of all tribulation." If God protects me, then even the whole world cannot harm me. They were all out to get him, King Saul, Abner and the 3000 chosen men of Israel, but they could do nothing to harm David.
The successor of King Saul was his son Ish-Bosheth. He was killed by two men who were captains in Saul's army. They brought Ish-Bosheth's head to David. David answered Recab and his brother Baanah sons of Rimmon of Beeroth. David said, "As the Lord liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity." (2 Samuel 4:9). David did not need these two men to murder their king to help David to become king of all Israel; God would have done this anyhow. We do not have to fall back upon evil acts to achieve something, and we do not have to get the help of evil deeds of evil people to get out of a situation.
The fourth time David says "As the Lord liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress:" is in 1 Kings 1:29, when he speaks to Bathsheba. The Bible records four times that David referred to the Lord as his saviour from all trouble, but he probably confessed this good confession a lot more often than it is recorded in the Bible. So let us start doing the same.
David made these declarations to the people around him and to the records of history. And with making these statements, he risked people laughing at him if trouble were to overtake him. This attitude to declare in words to other people that God will always save me - save me from all trouble, from sickness, from poverty - is it what makes the difference. If I were just to believe it and thank God for this salvation, but never confessing it to other people, then I would always be keeping a door open in case it does not work and trouble overtakes me and people say to me: "You always said that God will save you from all trouble, and now see in what mess you are in." When I decide to declare to people around me that God saves me from all trouble, then the devil comes to me and says, "Don't be stupid and say something like this. Be clever and don't say it and when you then end up in trouble, nobody can say that you always claimed to have God as your rescuer and nobody will laugh at you." And that is why so many end up in trouble: because they listen to the devil. The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. They are deceived by the great deceiver. And they have to suffer. One of the reasons why people suffer is unbelief. So many people are in trouble because they do not really believe in God's protection. If they really believed they would say so. They would be like David and say, "The Lord saves me from all trouble." The Lord protects those who truly believe (Psalms 31:23).
One of the best-known parts of the Bible related to the subject "Protection," is Psalm 91: "Safe in the Lord". We often overlook an important detail in this Psalm. We find this important detail in the second verse. The second verse starts with these words: "I will say of the Lord". This is the important detail in this Psalm: "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."
It is important to do this one thing: to say to the Lord, that he is our place of safety and protection and to say that he is our God, and that we trust him. The saying is the important act. The saying was the important detail in David's life. It is one of the conditions of receiving God's protection: we have to open our mouths and say it.
The fundamental conditions to receive God's protection are, first of all, that we love God. Now how do I know if I love God? I know that I love God when I know his commands and when I obey them (John 14:21). Secondly I have to know God. I know God when he shows himself to me. "And he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him" (also John 14:21). Jesus will show himself to us. A simple way to experience this, is to ask him for something and to receive it afterwards. When we receive something from God, then we know that he is. And with that we arrive at the third condition: the asking. We also can describe it the following way: calling on the name of the Lord.
The title of Psalm 91 is: "Safe in the Lord." It is good and important to study this Psalm and to absorb it. The conditions for God's protection are recorded in verses 14 and 15: The Lord says, "Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him." I know him when I have set my love upon him. And when I love God then I am a child of God and a brother of Jesus - I am saved. And when I am saved, then I am also saved from all troubles here on this earth. "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him." The calling to God is important. We have to call on the name of the Lord. David always did this when he faced trouble. He then said, "The Lord saves me from all trouble". He called on the name of the Lord. He acknowledged God in that situation. He acted from experience. "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him."
And the last verse in Psalm 91, verse 16, sums it all up: "With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation."
This is the end of the 1. Chapter of "How to Measure Your Believes."
Next chapter: 2. Faith Principles in Creation
Contents see "How to Measure Your Believes"
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