God, our refuge and strength – Part 4
The Place Of God In Our Fears Today
Certainly, “the earth is giving way; the mountains are falling into the heart of the sea; sea water is roaring and foaming; and the mountains quake with their surging….” Where is security to be found? At this juncture, philosophy of religion challenges our theodicy rhetorically, thus: “If God is good, why is evil prevalent in the world? If God is indeed good, is it that He is powerless over the evils?” These and similar questions bug man’s mind, whenever evil problems in the world are being considered.
Psalm 46 confidently directs us to God where, despite outward threats, or even in actual danger, we can find security, because God can never be overwhelmed. Nations, misguided as they are, put their trust in “chariots, some in horses” (Ps 20:7), military hardware: Tanks, artillery pieces, bombers and fighter planes, nuclear submarines, missiles, aircraft carriers, etc. But these do not give security; rather, they destroy even the concept of peace. God is our refuge, our protection, our castle, our nuclear bunker, our gas mask, our counter missiles, etc. from all attacks from huge natural forces and man-made death bearers. Nations spend fortunes constructing fortresses, nuclear shields and bunkers, but “A mighty fortress is our God.”
Covenant of Divine Security: Divine security from physical and spiritual assaults is God’s promise to His children. The Psalmist in Psalm 91 presents it as a covenant promise in which “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Hence, those to enjoy divine security have the duty of dwelling in the secret place of the Most High, while God has the obligation of ensuring that they abide under the shadow of the Almighty wherein is true security. He is able to counter terror, arrows, pestilence and destructive plagues. John 16:33 gives us two sides to this reality. In the world, there is undeniable presence of tribulations, but there is also security in Christ, Who has overcome the world, with all its troubles.
In our country, the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, has reduced the North Eastern axis to a shadow of its old self, just as kidnapping has done to the Southeast and South-south. The economic and social life of the people has virtually been ruined. Terror is reported in the city, as well as in the remotest village. Surely, the waves are roaring and sending great fear down the spines of mariners. But the Psalmist assures us that “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God; the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall.”
Someone has commented: “many great cities have rivers flowing through them, sustaining people’s lives by making agriculture possible and facilitating trade with other cities. Jerusalem had no river, but it had God, Who, like a river, sustained the people’s lives. As long as God lived among the people, the city was invincible. But when the people abandoned Him, God no longer protected them, and Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army.” God’s presence is the security of the land.
We should not worry too much about the presence of evildoers, but be seriously concerned whether the citizens, the church and the government have alienated themselves from God by forsaking Him, and seeking solutions in political cults, man-made gods and godfatherism. The security of our country is assured, because “God is within the city… she will not fall.” Nigeria will not fall, in spite of Boko Haram’s menace, killer herdsmen, kidnappers and armed robbers. “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mountain Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” (Psalm 125:1)
(Culled from THE OPENING ADDRESS by His Grace, The Most Revd. Nicholas D. Okoh, MA, Fss, Mss, LLD, DD.; Archbishop, Metropolitan and Primate Of All Nigeria to The Standing Committee of the Church Of Nigeria held in the Cathedral Church of St Peter Minna from September 17 to 21, 2018)
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