God’s Care for You Part 1
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
God’s Care for You
The Bible contains the record of many great men, and because this morning’s message is about how God cares for us, how He watches over us, I would like to look first at one of those great men, who had God’s constant care; his name is Jacob. If you are familiar with his story, then you are aware that He was a great man of God, and that he had twelve sons, who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. But as a young man, he was not so great; he was a scoundrel, a swindler, a con artist. He was not the kind of person that I would call friend or would want as a neighbor. Jacob had a brother, whose name was Esau.
In Genesis, we can locate the account of the conflict between Jacob and Esau; two brothers as different as night and day. Esau was a rugged man, an outdoorsman and a hunter, and he was his father’s favorite. Jacob was a mama’s boy, who hung around the house and managed the family farm. The two brothers never got along. You might recall how Jacob obtained the family inheritance, from Esau. How Esau returned from a hunting trip so hungry, that he was willing to give the inheritance to Jacob, in exchange for a meal. And later on, he deceived his father, Isaac, who was blind, into giving him the traditional family blessing, which by all rights also belonged to Esau. That was the last straw for Esau, who now wanted to kill Jacob. So Jacob, when his mother told him that he was in danger, ran away from home, and set off for his uncle Laban’s house, where he hoped that he would be safe. That first night, he stopped at a place called Bethel. He had a long journey ahead of him; he had to travel alone, down an unfamiliar road, and into an unknown country. He could not perceive of all the adversity, that lay ahead for him, as he would toil in his uncle’s service, but God foresaw all those hardships, and that night He appeared to Jacob in a dream, where he heard God say, “And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:15)
Later on, Jacob would learn that wherever we are, we are safe, if we have God’s favorable presence with us. Jacob was at this time going as an exile to a land that was faraway, but God promised to bring him back home. All of his friends appear to have deserted him, but God assured him, “I will never leave thee.” God kept His promise to Jacob, and 21 years later, he returned home; his father was still alive, he was at peace with his brother, and he was wealthy, due to God blessing everything that he put his hand to. God never left Jacob alone, and He has promised that He will not leave us alone either, for we read in Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5) Those who God loves, He never leaves.
Psalm 121:4, speaks of God’s care for Israel, but we can also take hold of this verse, for it says that God never is negligent about His watchfulness over His people; “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalms 121:4) God never slumbers or sleeps. He is called in this verse, the “Keeper of Israel.” It is wonderful to know that no unconsciousness ever steals over Him; neither deep slumber, nor light sleep. Israel fell asleep, and you and I fall asleep, but God never does. Jacob was all alone, and pursued by Esau, who wanted to kill him, but the Lord was with him, so he was as safe as a king in his castle. He cares for us today, like a rich man guards his treasure. The gist of this verse is this: because God never slumbers, even in the smallest amount, we don’t need to be afraid of any harm coming to us, while He is asleep. Men and women sleep, a guard on duty may fall asleep, a ship’s pilot may slumber at the helm, even a mother may fall asleep by the side of a sick child; but God is never exhausted, never weary, and He is never inattentive. He never closes His eyes on the needs of His people, or on the needs of the world.
A number of years ago, Captain D. (I don’t know his last name.), commanded a ship, sailing from Liverpool, England to New York, and on one particular voyage he had all his family with him on board the ship. One night, when they were quietly asleep, there arose a sudden squall of wind, which came sweeping over the waters, until it struck the vessel, and instantly threw her on her side, tumbling and crashing everything that was moveable, and awakening the passengers to a realization that they were in imminent danger. Everyone on board was alarmed, and on edge, and some leaped from their births, and began to dress, so that they would be ready for the worst. Captain D. had his little girl on board, just eight years old, who of course, woke up with the rest. “What’s the matter?” said the frightened child. They told her that a squall had struck the ship. “Is father on deck?” she said. “Yes: father’s on deck.” The little girl laid herself on her pillow once more, without a fear, and in a few moments, was sleeping sweetly, in spite of winds and waves.
There is a little four line poem that goes:
Fear not the windy tempests wild,
Thy bark they shall not wreck,
Lie down and sleep, O helpless child!
Thy Father’s on the deck.
You need not fear, because your Heavenly Father is at all times on deck; He is forever watching over you. God, who is the guardian of the church in general, is also engaged in the safeguarding of every individual believer. He that Keepeth Israel also keeps you and me. The shepherd that takes care of the flock is the shepherd of every sheep, and He will make sure that not one of even the littlest will perish.
The Apostle Paul wrote this concerning his faith in God’s ability to care for us, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12) It is amazing to me that he was able to say this since at the point in time that he wrote this letter to Timothy, he was in prison, and while in prison, he experienced humiliation, criticism, suffering, and mistreatment. The Jews detested him because he was a preacher of the Gospel and above all because he was preaching to the Gentiles. The unbelieving Gentiles were stirred up against him because he had introduced a new religion among them that went against their idolatry and traditions. Paul had to endure many sufferings, yet he could say, “Nevertheless I am not ashamed”. He was not ashamed of the Gospel, or that he suffered because of it. Instead, he continued to preach boldly; none of these things moved him. He had no reason to be ashamed because his cause was good; he was not being mistreated because he was a murderer or thief, but for the preaching of the Gospel. He was so far from being ashamed of his sufferings, that he took pleasure in them. Nor was he ashamed of Christ, whose Gospel he preached. He was not ashamed of his faith, or of the hope that he had in Jesus Christ.
There is a reason why he could rejoice in suffering, and that was because he could say, “for I know whom I have believed.” An unknown Christ cannot be the object of faith, but a personal knowledge of Christ is necessary to faith in Him. Knowledge and faith go together. Those who truly know Christ believe in Him, and the more they know of Him, the more strongly they believe in Him. Those that believe in Him, and put their trust in Him, come to know Him as their Savior and that He is an able, willing, suitable, and complete Savior. It is humbling to learn of Him, for as John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) The notion is that we acknowledge the great thing that Christ has done for us, and how undeserving we are of God’s grace. I am glad today, that even a feeble faith can embrace a strong Savior. He is not only able to save us, but He is able to keep us saved for eternity, because as Paul said, “And I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”