Protection Under God’s
By Tom Brown
I remember as a child how safe I felt when there was a storm raging and yet
I was at home protected under a sturdy roof. This is the picture that David
gives us in Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will
rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Do you remember what you used to do as a
youngster when you were in bed and heard scary noises? If you were like most
kids, you pulled the covers over your head. This is a natural response to
fear and shows our craving for protection. Psalm 91:4 expresses this hunger,
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find
refuge…” This is a picture of a baby chick frighten, so she find shelter
under momma’s wings.
God has a plan of protection when the
storms of life come against you. The Palmist mentions protection from war,
diseases, calamities, and the like. There is a condition however: “If
you make the Most High your dwelling—even the LORD, who is my refuge” (Psalm
91:9). If is a small word with big consequences. This is a
stipulation. You must make the Most High your dwelling. How do you do that?
Notice that God is called the Most High.
The Psalmist is trying to point out the most obvious truth about God—that he
is the Sovereign God who has authority over our lives. We often mistakenly
expect God’s protection when we are in rebellion to His will for our lives.
We can’t expect God to protect us when we do not submit to Him.
One of the things that had puzzled me for
years about this passage was the statement: will rest in the shadow of
the Almighty. I know that God is light and in Him there is no darkness
and God is the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting
shadows (see 1 John 1:5 and James 1:17J). How could God cast a shadow? He is
light. Then it hit me. God’s authority extends past His direct Sovereign
authority to his indirect, delegated authorities in the earth.
Paul mentions this in Romans 13:1-2:
Everyone must submit
himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that
which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established
by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling
against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on
Paul makes it clear that the delegated authorities
which are the government, church, family and social departments are
established by God. They are not a product of societal evolution but
institutions that God made to protect us from harm.
People complain, “But there
are so many crooked leaders, so how could God delegate His authority to
them?” The truth is: all authorities are in some way imperfect with flawed
and sometimes, down right, dishonest people ruling them. These are the
shadows of God’s protecting arm. God is perfect but governing institutions
are not. They are shadows while God is light, but they are extensions of
I am aware that the concept of submission
is not very popular. It never has been, because the spirit of anti-Christ
has been ruling the world from the beginning of the fall. The anti-Christ is
called the “man of lawlessness.” His objective is to create rebellion
against God’s sovereign and delegated authority. Look at the devil’s sin: he
rebelled against the authority of God by declaring: “I will ascend above the
tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (ISA 14:14). He
rebelled against God’s authority.
Think also about man’s first sin. The
original couple ate the fruit that God commanded them not to eat of. Try
not to overly diagnose the sin. Look at what is obvious. Don’t spiritualize
or conceptualize the meaning of the fruit. It doesn’t matter. The point is
the couple disobeyed God’s command. That was their sin! Their sin was
disobedience. If God had told them not to chop down the cherry tree, then to
do that would have been a sin. The sin was in disobeying God. This is what
Paul taught: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many
were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many
will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Adam’s transgression was
Think about what this means. Sin is always
disobedience. Disobedience can only exist when someone is under authority.
For example, I cannot disobey my wife, children or church members because
they do not have authority over me. The worse I can do is disappoint them,
but I cannot disobey them. On the other hand, they can disobey me because
they are under my authority. Of course I can disobey God’s direct authority
and other authorities that I am under. I still have authorities that I am
Again, as an employee, your
boss can disappoint you but he cannot disobey you, because you cannot give
orders to him. When we really dig deep into what real sin is we cannot come
to any other conclusion but that it is disobedience either to God or to His
You see people make excuses
for not following orders. A teenager might say, after breaking their curfew,
“But Dad, I know I am late in coming home, but I didn’t do anything wrong
staying out late.” They think because they did not do some immoral
thing—like sex or drugs—that they have not sinned. Little do they know that
disobeying their parent’s instruction was sin.
You cannot justify
disobedience because you supposedly did not do anything wrong—instead you
believed you did right. This is often why people disobey. They think they
have the right to alter the instructions of those in authority because they
believe the leader is wrong in their instruction. Even if they are wrong,
you are wrong in disobeying their directive. God will deal with the leaders
directly or will use other leaders over them to bring them discipline, but
it is not for those in submission to take it upon themselves to disobey.
When you disobey, you
bring judgment on yourself. You lose the protection of Psalm 91. You
have rejected God’s shadow.
This teaching may feel as good to
you as a vaccine shot. I remember as a little boy ready for kindergarten
that my grandmother took me to the health clinic to get my vaccine shot. I
was not aware of what that meant. So I got in line and proceeded as a “sheep
to the slaughter”. When I finally got to the end of the line I realized what
was happening. A doctor wore a mask holding a huge needle. Back in those
days the needles were attached to a gun looking apparatus. My eyes bulged.
Then tears began to stream down my little chubby cheeks. I screamed for my
life. I tried to run but the authorities grabbed me with my grandmother’s
help. They tried to hush me but finally realized it was useless. They
just grabbed me and pinned me to the table and gave me my shot.
Afterward I felt so disappointed in my
grandmother. I felt that she did not love me. How could she allow and
even aid those people in shooting me?! Of course we know they did that
for my good.
This teaching may cause you to scream, cry,
whimper and complain that no one understands the intolerable situation you
are under. Perhaps you think you have a horrible husband, or idiotic
parents, or a stingy, angry boss, or an uncaring, selfish pastor. I know
that many people feel this way, but God has put them in authority over your
life for a reason. Satan even made Adam and Eve question God’s motives. “Why
doesn’t God want you to be wise?” was Satan’s argument. And when they
finally ate the fruit, they did grow wise, but they realized they lost their
covering of protection. The sewed fig leaves to cover their nakedness.
is the sin of Witchcraft
There is a tragic story in the Bible
that powerfully illustrates rebellion and the awful consequences of it. King
Saul was told by God through the prophet Samuel to make war against the
enemies and to slaughter every one of them—people and animals alike. (This
instruction belonged only to a special dispensation, but is now replaced
with the law of love.)
Saul partially obeyed. He defeated the
enemies but allowed the men to keep the best animals. Samuel confronted him:
Why did you not obey the
LORD? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the
LORD?" (1 Sam 15:19)
"But I did obey the LORD,"
Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely
destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. The soldiers took
sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in
order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” (1 Sam 15:20-21)
Saul honestly believed that he had obeyed. He felt that
partial obedience was still obedience. But it is not! It is still
disobedience. Don’t rationalize your disobedience.
“Well, I did most of what my pastor
told me to do!”
“Okay, I know my husband told me not to buy
anything, but there was a big sale on!”
“I felt I knew a better way to do it than
Saul gave his reason for keeping the sheep.
He felt it was smarter financially to keep them than to destroy them. But
the prophet explains:
"Does the LORD delight
in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the
LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat
of rams. (1 Sam 15:22)
God does not need the money. He would rather you obey
than earn Him cash. The most powerful statement is yet to come:
For rebellion is like the
sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. (1 Sam 15:23)
What! Rebellion is like divination and
witchcraft. You cannot mention a worse sin than witchcraft. Yet you don’t
need to look for a woman flying a broom. She may just be in the church
sweeping the floor. Don’t look for a witch stirring a cauldron; she may be
in her own kitchen cooking for her husband. A witch is not one who vanishes
in thin air; but one who promises to help the pastor but disappears from his
Witchcraft also opens doors to evil
spirits. It should not surprise us to find King Saul being attacked by evil
spirits after this bout with disobedience.
Many who are reading this article cannot
explain the attack of evil spirits upon their lives. They are depressed,
fearful, filled with anxiety. Demons have come and now they want the demons
to leave. They won’t leave until you submit to authority.
Ever since God launched my ministry of
deliverance on a national scale, I have received many calls from people
asking for deliverance. They often have serious mental and emotional
problems. I have learned to ask one question: “Are you submitted to a
pastor?” I would guess about eighty percent of the people answer, “No.” Then
they give their excuses.
“My pastor doesn’t
“There are no pastors that
drive out demons.”
“I have been asked to leave
the church because they say I won’t obey.”
They are hoping that I could
drive out the demons from their lives even when they are in disobedience. I
can pray a long prayer for deliverance over them, but the demons will not
leave until they submit to authority. James says, “Submit yourselves, then,
to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). You cannot
successful resist the devil until you first submit to God. To
submit is to joyfully obey God’s sovereign and delegated authorities. When
you do, then you are under God’s covering of protection.
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