The year was 1984, a young woman of 20 in her 2nd year of bible college, kneels while the men of God lay their hands gently on her head. Through prayer they speak words of promise, hope and declarations of spiritual potential in her life. With anointing, they install a teaching mantle* along with… a warning. “You will protect yourself…”
That 20-year-old is now 53, that was me 32 years ago, (Gasp!) A lot has transpired in the last 32 years. Hours and hours of study and not to mention (in detail) the stupid mistakes, which held hands with frequent lapses of judgment. I see the ever-increasing need to protect. What am I protecting? I am guarding the God in me. Guarding what He entrusted to me, and in me. Most importantly, my relationship with my God.
“You will protect yourself,” a note to us all.
Danger, in the spiritual realm, does not generally stand up and yell, while waving its arms, “Over here, yep, HERE! I am coming to get you!’ It is subtle, watching for an opportunity to ensnare. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9 Paul strongly urges, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” Eph 6:11
Proverbs 22:3 “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.” “The prudent foresees…” this conveys the idea of watchman or guard, one who is prepared. In 2 Kings 11, it speaks of the guard, those who set themselves in a position to see the enemy approaching. Gathering in tight formation; “Keep your weapons in hand, be armed and stay armed.”
Interesting, in the original Hebrew, hide is repeated, emphasizing the action, the “prudent… hides hides himself.” Using the context, a prudent man sees the evil and ‘in hiding, he will hide.’ Meaning it is active and progressive. You do, so you stay … doing. We keep on hiding. We are proactive in our stance to guard ourselves against evil. Way to go prudent guys and gals!
Taking precautions for many of us is defined differently due to the ever large number of entangling stuff, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles…” Heb. 12:1 What hinders and causes me to be all entangled up with the wrong stuff may be different for you. We need to become aware of the things that entangle, snare and entice us. It is a good thing to identify the snake charmer from a distance then run and hide. Where do we hide? “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Pro 18:10 Our hiding ourselves is not a game of ‘peek-a-boo,’ thinking we are hid by merely covering our eyes and peeking out through our fingers. I’ve tried that, doesn’t work, we can still be enticed. It is a case of running AWAY (run FAST!) and hiding in God’s presence. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Ps 91:1 Protection. We do this by staying in His word, staying in fellowship with strong believers, staying under good biblical teaching. (You do, so you stay … doing)
Protecting and hiding. Liken to a football game. Those who carry the prized possession … the ball, hold that puppy tucked up tight against them as humanly possible. While the other arm is strongly flexed, ready to push away with force. Why? Because the opposing team wants the ball, they will do whatever it takes to get it, including (and not limited to) grabbing violently, pushing, pulling, shoving, knocking down, and hurting to steal it. So it is with us, what is the most prized possession we have? Our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ! And you can count on the opposing team to do whatever it takes to cause us to fumble, hurt us, and steal from us! I am not talking about losing our salvation, or hording the God things, and not giving it out. There is an enemy out there who wants to destroy us. He (little ‘h’) is constantly reaching in (Foul!) and trying to grab our joy, our contentment in Christ, our peace, our strength, even our confidence. Before we know it, we stutter step, get our feet all tangled up and … fall.
The word picture offered “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on …” the simple, or naïve, is one who opens their arms wide willingly accepting what comes their way, and walks into the embrace. They don’t hold their convictions, their love of God in tight around them. He/she is naïve, lacking insight, wisdom, making them easily distracted, and easily seduced. As if a tourist in a foreign country, walking through the dangerous part of town, with backpack freely slung over their shoulder, all pockets are unzipped, passport dangling out with all their traveling money visible for the taking. They are unwise, over-confident and almost inviting trouble.
“Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.” Pro 4:23 one resource explains it: ‘Guard the affections of your heart; the emotional attachments you make determine the course of your life.’ Those things, and people I attach myself to determine which way I go. May I just say “OUCH!” Oswald Chambers strongly adds: “Never become attached to anything that continues to hurt God. For you to be free of it, God must be allowed to hurt whatever it may be.” What is the prevention from the hurt? We ‘guard against’ it in the first place.
Precautions, positioning, boundaries and accountability, these are our defense (along with the armor of God, standing strong with the sword and behind the shield of faith) We know our weaknesses; with the help of the Holy Spirit we set guidelines in place, we mark a perimeter against the evil stuff and hide and hide in Him. The God-loving, God-living life is one of consecration, set apart for Him, we take careful notice of what we read, see and listen to. Doing whatever it takes to guard the God in us, the most prized possession we have.
Are we the wise prudent guard or the simple naive, wandering aimlessly into the mess? (Just hand them the football already!)
You will protect yourself.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
*In Bible days, a Mantle (as mentioned above in the first paragraph) was an outer cloak used for additional covering and warmth, especially at night, like that of a blanket. From the idea of something that “covers” in the natural, a mantle represents spiritual covering as well. It usually refers to spiritual authority and anointing, we can see this in the story of Elijah & Elisha found in 2 Kings 2.
A spiritual mantle can be wrapped as a scriptural metaphor (symbol) holding elements of: calling, gift, passion, ability, anointing, skill set, or level of authority that God has given a specific person. God determines the mantle – we do not select it; it is established, destined and imparted by God. It is more than gifting, it is an anointing, to serve God in the capacity of spiritual DNA, destiny and calling of God. It always has a cost. It always demands great responsibility.
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