Encouragement and protection from heaven

animal-life-marine-animals-sea-turtle-underwater-life-imagesDaniel 11:1: in the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.

The above words were credited to Angel Gabriel, who said that he encouraged and protected a king. But Gabriel will not bring encouragement and protection if that is not what heaven can supply.

Encouragement

Heaven does not have discouragement but encouragement. The encouragement that heaven brings is more than mere words, but an injection of courage.

Twice, angelic personages encouraged Jesus, strengthened him, and infused courage into him (Matthew 4:11, Mark 1:13, Luke 22:43). The first time was in the wilderness after his temptation by the devil; and also in the Garden of Gethsemane, when his soul was tormented beyond measure, angels came and ministered to him.

For Joshua, facing Jericho was a daunting task, but he knows that is a task that must be done. Seeing an Angel was a huge encouragement for him. From then on, he ceased to see the inexperienced army of Israel he was leading. He was encouraged to go on no matter what, believing he has heavenly assistance (Joshua 5:13-15).

When Moses died, and the baton of leadership was given to Joshua, God repeatedly told him to not be afraid, to be encouraged; God doesn’t want a chicken-hearted leader on his hands. He took the time to strengthen him. God was his greatest cheerleader. He kept telling him, “be strong and of good courage (Joshua 1:1-9).”

The word of God infuses strength. Jeremiah said he ate the word of God and it became joy and rejoicing in his heart (Jeremiah 15:16). God had told him that he should not be afraid of the people He is sending him to with His word. Their face may be hard, they may look menacing and formidable, but he was told to declare God’s word anyway, with the assurance that God will be with him (Jeremiah 1:1-12).

There is a gift of prophecy which the bible says is about speaking exhortation, encouragement and edification to others. The gift is an operation of the Holy Spirit; it is an operation of heaven through individuals on earth to infuse encouragement into others (1Corinthians 14:3).

One thing that God uses to encourage is his promised rewards. In the letters of Jesus to the seven churches of Asia that he sent through John, each had rewards promised for those who overcome, it is to encourage the individuals involved in the various contentions for their faith, to wade through the difficulty because great glory awaits them eventually when they overcome (Revelation 2-3).

Paul said that the present difficulty is not to be compared with the glory that will come afterwards (Romans 8:18). Jesus was encouraged to go through the difficulty of the cross because of the glory that awaits him (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Protection

Heaven offers protection. David wrote that though a thousand falls at his right hand and ten thousands at his left, no evil shall befall him because he dwells in the secret place of the most high and abides under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91).

For a period of forty years the children of Israel were protected in the wilderness from the harshness of the weather. Under the cloud of glory they were preserved from the heat in the day and the unimaginable cold in at night in the extreme weather changes in the wilderness (Exodus 13:21).

While Paul was being moved as a prisoner from Jerusalem from Rome, a severe storm arose and made a wreck of the ship he was in. But he was saved together with everyone with him (Acts 27:23-25).

Jesus experience protection in his time. Before the time of his crucifixion, there was an occasion people wanted to push him over a cliff, but he supernaturally walked pass them (Luke 4:28-30).

Psalm 23 also teaches on how the Lord as our shepherd protects us the sheep, from want, from confusion and from enemies.

From want

The first thing that we see in that psalm is how the shepherd protects the sheep from wants. It says the Lord is my shepherd I shall wants. That is also reflected in the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples that we should ask our heavenly father for our daily bread (Matthew 6:11).

From confusion

The shepherd also offers protection from confusion. The sheep does not have any agenda for himself except that which comes from the shepherd. David wrote: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name sake. In another place he prayed to God: lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3).

The sheep feels secure when the shepherd is around, because then he is on the right path. In a parable of the lost sheep given by Jesus, one sheep of the 100 went missing. This was because sometimes along the way confusion sets in for that sheep, because it was not in sync with the shepherd (Luke 15:1-7).

While protection from want takes care of all the physical necessities like food, water, shelter; protection from confusion is more internal dealing, more about the soul. When God infuses his peace in your soul, and that protects us from confusion and disorientation, which can lead to depression and unnecessary agitation.

From evil

Towards the end of Psalm 23, David wrote about being protected from evil attacks through the shepherd. He said: though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (influence of death), I fear no evil, because the shepherd is with me.

He added that his enemies, who want to harm him in any way, don’t have a choice but to look on as the shepherd anoints his head with oil and his cup runs over with blessing, because they are paralysed.

In another place in the book of psalms, David said that God has broken the teeth of his enemies, i.e. their ability to sting, to make effect, to cause harm, their potency have been taken away (Psalm 3:7). Jesus said that he has given us authority to trample upon snakes and scorpions and all the powers of the enemy, and we would not be harmed at all (Luke 10:19).

Our shepherd, Jesus came to destroy the one who has the power/sting/potency of death, the devil (Hebrews 2:14). So, even if this world is as dangerous as the shadow of death, we fear no evil, because we are protected from evil on all fronts; the evil of accidents, sicknesses, financial lack, mental sufferings, marital dysfunction, by our shepherd.

In Christ we have victory over death. He is the resurrection and life. He said that anyone who believes in him will not taste death (John 11:25-26). The psalmist says that no evil shall befall you neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.

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