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September 20, 2019

The God Hunt – A 40 Day Soul Safari, Day 26

“…Do not be afraid. For I have bought you and made you free. I have called you by name. You are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not flow over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned….”  Isaiah 43:1-2 (NLV)

If you’ve ever watched the Discovery Channel, you’ve probably seen the gruesome scenes of animals attacking their prey in the wild. They’re chances of survival are much greater if they are with their group when they are attacked? We saw a herd of Cape Buffalo that came to the defense of a young calf when it was attacked by a pride of lions near a water hole. To compound the poor calf’s dilemma, it slipped into the water where a crocodile took hold of it from one end while the lions pulled from the other. Just as all hope was gone, the herd of Buffalo ran to the rescue and set the young calf free.  They chased away the pride of lions and surrounded the young calf. Wow!  What a picture of the benefit of belonging!

When we risk rejection and pursue connection, we will experience protection! In Isaiah 43:1-2, God says,

“…Do not be afraid. For I have bought you and made you free. I have called you by name. You are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not flow over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned….”

When you belong to God, you do not have to be afraid. He purchased our redemption from sin and judgment through the shed blood of His own dear Son, Jesus Christ.  I love the way The Message paraphrases Ephesians 1:7,

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!”       

That is eternal protection!  This doesn’t mean we won’t ever feel the heat of trials and tribulations.  This isn’t heaven. Our world is like a wild Serengeti with predators and poachers seeking to steal, to kill, and to destroy our lives.  Our three biggest predators are this world’s system, our own sinful flesh, and the devil, who the Bible describes as a roaring lion roaming throughout the earth seeking whom he may devour! (1 Peter 5:8) Given the dangers we are surrounded by, we can take comfort in knowing whose we are.  We belong to God.  He purchased us with His Son’s blood and set us free! We are free to live for Him! We are free to be all that God wants us to be, to live from our true identity in Christ!  He knows us fully and loves us completely!  The Bible says that God calls us by name!  We are called Christians because Christ lives in us! Even when we pass through deep waters, or flames of fiery trials we can have peace in knowing that He is with us! 

We feel His presence best through the love and acceptance of fellow Christ followers in the church.  In Ecclesiastes the Bible describes the benefit of belonging with other Christians:

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT2)

When we belong to God and to one another we find protection from predators. Belonging also protects us in our personal battle with sin. In Galatians the Bible says,

“Dear brothers, if a Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help him back onto the right path, remembering that next time it might be one of you who is in the wrong. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and so obey our Lord’s command.” Galatians 6:1-2 (TLB) Whether it’s defense from outside predators or the snare of sin, belonging provides us with protection. Don’t isolate yourself. Join or host a life group where you can experience the benefits of belonging to a local church and serve one another.