Devotional: November 17, 2020
A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks; a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.
Proverbs 27: 12 The Message
Safety first: Quarrying stones is dangerous. Be alert: Felling trees is hazardous.
Ecclesiastes 10: 9 The Message
Safety is very much on our minds these days. We keep our children safe from water, fire, and moving cars. We keep our valuables in a safe place. We are cautious when walking on ice. We make all of these judgments each and every day. Safety is also a topic of concern because of newly imposed restrictions in our state, all designed to keep us safe during the pandemic.
The whole subject of safety and risk sometimes becomes politicized. Heated arguments can occur between those with different views.
These verses from the Book of Proverbs and the Book of Ecclesiastes seem to endorse the concept of making wise and safe choices. In other words, the viewpoint of the authors is that following wise and safe procedures might be the best plan of action.
Unfortunately, we are watching some people of faith approach the virus in a way which is less than optimal. Under the banner of Christ’s protection, they seem to possess almost a willful ignorance of, and a deliberate flaunting of safety procedures. Apparently, they believe that God will protect them in all circumstances. They cling to the idea that their “bold faith” means they do not have to exercise common sense, or follow the most basic guidelines from health districts.
It can be debated whether or not certain safety procedures are justified and needed. However, the perception that if you should not take safety measures because your faith will protect you is tempting fate. Some people apparently view a defiance to following any safety guidelines as a way to show their faith. I believe airbags are a good thing in vehicles. Yet using a seatbelt as well is certainly going to add more protection in the event of a collision.
In truth, scriptural guidance and safety precautions are often not opposites. No! In truth, safety and scripture largely reinforce one another.
One of the greatest examples of this parallel track is found in the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness by the devil, as told in Matthew 4: 5-7. Here is that passage:
5-6 For the second test the Devil took him to the Holy City. He sat him on top of the Temple and said, “Since you are God’s Son, jump.” The Devil goaded him by quoting Psalm 91: “He has placed you in the care of angels. They will catch you so that you won’t so much as stub your toe on a stone.”
7 Jesus countered with another citation from Deuteronomy: “Don’t you dare test the Lord your God.”
Matthew 4: 5-7 The Message
For the second temptation, the devil takes Jesus to Jerusalem, the Holy City. He then takes Him to the tallest point on the massive temple, and challenges Jesus to jump off. Sure, it is a very risky move. But if anyone can do it, Jesus can. The devil even quotes scripture to try to reassure Jesus that he will not be harmed.
Blessedly, Jesus does not equate faith with foolhardiness. He declines the devil’s invitation, quoting another scripture back to the evil one: “You shall not put your Lord God to the test.”
As we seek to navigate a faithful and not fear-oriented response to safety regulations, perhaps we can learn from Jesus. Jesus did not jump off so he could claim to all how the Lord had saved him because of His faith. Jesus used scriptural wisdom against the evil testing of Satan.
Sometimes the most faithful course of action is the safest one. This is a viewpoint we all should seriously consider…
God our refuge and strength,
You are the great protector of all. I know that You are with me through each step of life. Sometimes, you carry me. You have given me wisdom to see what is brought before me, and discernment to choose what You would have for me to do to glorify You, and not myself. Thank you for caring deeply for me, and for those whom I love.
I pray this prayer in Your strength, and in the name of Your son, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen