It is normal human behaviour to run away from danger and go towards a place of security. For example, people finding themselves in the middle of a war will try to escape that place and travel to another country where there is peace and safety. However, real peace and security is not found where there are gates, walls, guards and guns. Real peace and security can only come from God.
Security in the times of Jeremiah
Jeremiah was a prophet who lived around the year 600 A.D. At this time, the world was becoming increasingly dangerous. The Assyrian empire was declining and this was creating political instability in the Middle East region. The armies of Egypt were staging offensive campaigns from the south. At the same time, Babylon was growing into a powerful nation. In the middle of all this turmoil there was the nation of Israel.
As the threat of war loomed over many people, there were false prophets who were wrongly comforting the Israelites with words of peace.
For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.Jeremiah Ch.8:11
As a result of these misleading words the Israelites felt comfortable and safe in their walled cities. They assumed that the defenses of their cities would be a safe haven against hostile forces.
“ Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter the fortified cities, and let us be silent there. For the LORD our God has put us to silence and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.Jeremiah Ch.8:14
But they were only denying their true condition. The biggest threat to these people was a condition they created themselves – they had turned their backs on God.
Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return.Jeremiah Ch.8:5 NIV
The people faced big security problems because they had turned away from God.
Security and pride
The people of Edom faced security problems around 840 BC so they built houses in places which they thought were secure.
You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains.
‘Who can ever reach us way up here?’ you ask boastfully.Obadiah Ch.1:3
The Edomites felt secure, and the boasted of their self-sufficiency. But they were deceiving themselves as God is the only one who can offer lasting security. Do we do the same? Put our trust in objects or people to give us protection. Possessions and people can disappear very quickly, whereas God is always there. Only he can give true security.
The Edomites had built a city carved into the cliff rock face and they were proud of it. Yet the Bible warns that pride is a quick way to self-destruction.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.Proverbs Ch.16:18
A humble person is more secure than a proud person – this is due to humility giving a more accurate view of oneself and the world.
In the cities we live in today people still feel the same security problems that they did back in the time of Jeremiah. Except the threat usually is not a invading army but rather it is crime.
In many cities across the world the crime is focused more in the inner areas of the city close to, and in, the central city area (downtown). To escape this, people are moving out into the suburbs so that they can feel a sense of security. But the seeking of a sense of security and safety is taken even further where some new developments have built gated communities with walls around the community of people. We can all understand these attempts to protect themselves from violent crime but unfortunately evil is not so easily pushed away.
“ We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and there was trouble! Jeremiah Ch.8:15
Just because someone attempts to control the environment does not necessarily mean that evil will be stopped. The only true way that evil can be controlled is by addressing sin. This sin can relate to you or someone else. It requires us to repent and turn towards our God.
And the LORD has sent to you all His servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, but you have not listened nor inclined your ear to hear. They said, ‘Repent now everyone of his evil way and his evil doings, and dwell in the land that the LORD has given to you and your fathers forever and ever. Do not go after other gods to serve them and worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands; and I will not harm you.’ Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the LORD, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.Jeremiah Ch.25:4-7
God is a place where we can get peace from the problems we face.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew Ch.11:28
God offers security
One thing is certain – God will apply his justice against a society that will not follow his laws. His judgment will be like a plague of devouring locusts.
At the thunder of your voice, the peoples flee; when you rise up, the nations scatter. Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts; like a swarm of locusts men pounce on it.Isaiah Ch.33:3-4 NIV
People who complacently go about their business will be surprised when God executes his judgement. He will declare Himself among those who thought he either didn’t care about their sin or would not act.
"Now will I arise," says the LORD. "Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up. You conceive chaff, you give birth to straw; your breath is a fire that consumes you. The peoples will be burned as if to lime; like cut thornbushes they will be set ablaze." You who are far away, hear what I have done; you who are near, acknowledge my power!Isaiah Ch.33:10-13 NIV
So there is the potential for great judgement by God on those who continue to disregard God and his laws.
Yet despite the judgement, there is also hope for the people who are righteous (obedient to God). The righteous will escape punishment and dwell with the Lord in Safety.
He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil-Isaiah 33:15 NIV
The people who are righteous are the ones who:
1. their behaviour during their life is righteous.
2. when they talk they only say things which are right and true
3. don’t let greed govern their actions – for example oppressing powerless people in order to make money (extortion).
4. maintain their integrity no matter how tempting the wrong action might be. For example, being offered a bribe.
5. won’t resort to violence to achieve their aims
6. won’t allow evil to be in their presence.
If a man upholds righteousness and attempts to have a godly character then he will be eligible for the protection of God.
this is the [righteous] man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him. Isaiah Ch.33:16
God is there to protect and offer security to those who are obedient to him. These are the ones who base their character around that of his son, Jesus Christ.
The protection of Christ
Jesus said that he would not lose even one person that his Father had given him.
This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.John Ch.6:39
So if we make a sincere commitment to believe in Jesus Christ as our savior will be secure in the God’s promise of eternal life.
Security in the future
War and crime today are the biggest threat to people’s security across the world. However the prophet Micah offered words of hope to the frightened people of Judah and to us as well. He saw a time in the future without war or the weapons of war.
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.Micah Ch.4:3
This will be a time of peace and security. There will be plenty of food for everyone.
Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken.Micah Ch.4:4
God had always wanted it to be this way but it was man’s sinful rebellion that led to the struggle for material well-being. This struggle leads to armed conflict and crime.
To Adam he said, "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it,' "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."Genesis 3:17-19
However, in the future according to Micah’s prophecy, God will resolve the issues of war. He will also make correct the access to adequate resources. It will be at this time that the people of the earth will live in peace and abundance and in the joy of God.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."Revelation Ch.21:1-5
The vision of Micah from chapter 4 (see quotes above), gives a vision of hope to the people of God as they journey through life.
We can gain true security in this world we live in by seeking the protection of God. His protection is much better than building walls around your house. So we need to give God our full trust.
In the future, when Jesus Christ returns to the earth to establish the future kingdom he will reside in and rule in Jerusalem. From this place he will make the righteous men and women’s lives secure. In the kingdom he will ensure there is justice and righteousness.
Look upon Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. Isaiah Ch.33:20
Many people will seek refuge there.
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Last Updated: Sunday, 08 March 2015