God's Restraining Order
Just when you think the world has gone mad… You find out the world has gone well past mad to stark raving LUNACY!!!
Man seeks restraining order against God
Haifa resident asks court to keep the Almighty away,
claiming He is being mean to him
~The Times of Israel, May 4, 2016
I kid you not…this is a real story. Some guy actually petitioned a court to issue a restraining order against God! What do you do with that?!! I mean, a blog on this craziness could go in so many directions. Oh the possibilities…
But today I want to zero in on the topic of “restraining orders.” It just so happens that God has been teaching me A LOT on the subject lately. Someone I love has recently had to petition a court for an order of protection. It is a terrifying process. First, you have to stand before a judge and recount the trauma that prompted your petition. Next you have to come face to face with the person who filled your life with terror. And then, if (and that’s a big IF) a judge grants your request, you are handed a piece of paper stating that the person in question—the one who has rocked your world with fear—has to stay 100 feet away from you. That’s it. No bodyguard. No round-the-clock surveillance. No assurance that this person will never hurt you again. Just a piece of paper that you are supposed to hand to the police if/when the most wicked person you know comes near. Not exactly comforting is it? And yet, it’s all we have to give us peace.
Or is it?
Come to find out, God issues restraining orders as well. But the Lord’s orders of protection aren’t written on paper and they don’t come from the hand of a human judge. They are written in the Book of Life. They are offered by the pierced and bloodied hands of the One who has claimed victory over death. And they extend well beyond 100 feet…into eternity.
And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)–when you believed in Christ–you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, (Eph 1:13; NET)
That seal—the Holy Spirit—is our living, breathing divine order of protection who boldly proclaims to the enemy, “She is MINE! You cannot have her!”
So does that mean there is some sort of supernatural force field around us that keeps the enemy at bay? Sometimes...
... Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell into the furnace of blazing fire while still securely bound. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was startled and quickly got up. He said to his ministers, "Wasn't it three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?" They replied to the king, "For sure, O king." He answered, "But I see four men, untied and walking around in the midst of the fire! No harm has come to them! And the appearance of the fourth is like that of a god!"... Nebuchadnezzar exclaimed, "Praised be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent forth his angel and has rescued his servants who trusted in him”...
(Dan 3:23-28; NET)
But the stories of God’s deliverance out of Satan’s clutches have to be considered alongside the stories of God’s deliverance into suffering at the hands of Satan.
So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. (Job 2:4-7, NASB)
Consequently, one might argue that divine orders of protection are about as trustworthy as human restraining orders. But that is short-sighted. Yes, the earthly realm is penetrable by the enemy. But the heavenly realm is out of his reach.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, that is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you…
(1 Peter 1:3-4,NET)
And that hope—God’s promise of eternal life with Him—should empower us in this life to stare down an assailant, or a persecutor, or an illness, or grief, or poverty, or disaster, or whatever threatens our security and say, “You don’t scare me! I am HIS!!!”
Does that mean we should passively accept threats on our lives and well-being? Absolutely not. Life is a precious gift from God and we should earnestly seek to protect it. But it is foolish to put our full confidence in the world when the prince of this world is on the prowl, seeking to strike terror in our hearts and minds. This world can offer some protection (though sometimes it is as flimsy as the paper it is written on) but only the Lord can offer lasting security and peace.
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
(1 Peter 5:8-11, NASB)
And all the people said… Amen.