By Denzil Holman
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 (II Timothy 1:12).
The words “preserve” and “preservatives” are common in our language. These terms illustrate to us the concept of saving things for another day or because of calamities either expected or unexpected. We have nature preserves for the protection of wildlife so that future generations can enjoy them. The armed forces and National Guard are to help preserve our freedoms and liberty. We wear life preservers while in boats to protect us from drowning if we fall overboard or a boat capsizes.
There are various ways to keep something. We can place it in a vault or in a secured museum with security and guards to keep intruders away. We can isolate it from outside exposure so that the elements cannot corrode or rust it. Sometimes people will cover new furniture with plastic or a throw to protect the fabric, but at the same time, they are cheating themselves of seeing the beauty of the fabric they chose when it was in the showroom.
Others will try to keep something by not using it. The man with one talent buried it instead of using it, and God called him a wicked and slothful servant (Matthew 25:26). To keep muscle mass, we must use it or lose it to atrophy. Faith, too, becomes stronger when exercised.
God has always preserved the righteous by either protecting them from the evil or giving them the strength and grace to go through the fire victoriously. Life is filled with storms, and He can choose to deliver us from the storm or go through it with us. The beautiful promise of God is that we are never alone.
A few years ago, I had an experience that I recall clearly. I was walking through my home one day when the Lord spoke to me unmistakably, “The Lord is with you.” It was sweet and comforting, but at the time I lacked understanding of the purpose of it. Shortly afterward, the Lord spoke a second time and told me, “I’ll be your friend.” I pondered these things and kept them in my heart. A few short months later, I went through a severe trial of betrayal and intense emotional hurt. In the midst of the trial, the Lord reassured me of His presence and reminded me of what He had spoken to me earlier. I realized that He was telling me, “I’m going to keep you and bring you safely through this trial.” From that trial, a book was birthed, entitled Look for a Window, which has sold for many years and has blessed those who were going through times of distress.
There are many examples in the Scriptures of those who were kept by the power of God. When Noah and his family were in the ark, the storm was raging and the rains were pouring to the accompaniment of the cries of the perishing. The promise, “God remembered Noah,” is a testimony to the faithfulness of our God. He didn’t exempt them from going through the flood, but it never engulfed them. They floated upon the surface of the water. The same water that brought destruction to others provided them with a means to float above the chaos.
The dreams of Joseph seemed farfetched to his jealous brothers, but their plans and schemes were foiled by the providence of God. When they sold him and watched his figure recede in the distance, they didn’t imagine that they would ever cross paths with him again. For Joseph it must have been a weary and lonesome ride toward Egypt. His heart ached with loneliness and concern for his aging father, Jacob, but he was helpless to do anything about it. He had a good attitude, and through slavery, false accusations, and imprisonment, he didn’t lose faith in the keeping power of God. The Lord didn’t prevent him from going through the fiery trials but was always there to preserve him.
A famine was looming a few years in the future, and the Lord remembered His covenant with Abraham. When there was no corn or wheat in Canaan, He already had Joseph in charge of the storehouses in Egypt to preserve the lives of his father’s family. When they came for food and Joseph revealed himself as then brother, he told them, “You meant it for evil, but God meant for good.” He was their keeper. The long line of people kept by the power of God is a powerful reminder that our God is our Keeper.
He fought for Israel at the crossing of the Red Sea and when the walls of Jericho crumbled. He protected David from the javelins of the jealous Saul, and the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. He gave the lions lockjaw when Daniel spent the night with them, and foiled wicked Haman’s plans to eradicate the Jews. God doesn’t always keep His people from tribulation but He is able to insulate and to protect them if they must go through it. He doesn’t always place us in isolation, but He can do so if He chooses to keep us in that manner.
Ingredients are added to food products that are preservatives to safeguard our health and to increase the shelf life. Many things we purchase have a date stamped on them, advising the consumer to use the items before that date or to dispose of them
Jesus told us, Without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5). Just as a tree cannot survive without a flow of nutrients providing the life for it, we will not survive spiritually without the Spirit of God residing within us. He is the preservative that keeps us spiritually alive. Furthermore, the Word of God, the Bread of Life, preserves and keeps us. The precepts and promises of God give us direction and strength for this journey.
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8).
He places us in a world surrounded by evil but has promised to keep us. It didn’t sound like a rose garden or paradisiacal existence when He said, Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves (Luke 10:3).
Throughout the Scriptures, we are referred to as sheep, and the vulnerability of sheep is well known. They have no natural defense mechanisms and are easily the victims of predators without the constant care of a shepherd. This is illustrating our reliance on the Lord as our shepherd and preserver because we cannot spiritually survive without the Spirit of God. When we begin living for God, we are at odds with the adversary of our souls. Scripture implied that we are living in a war zone when Paul said, Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (II Timothy 2:3).
We are admonished to fight the good fight of faith, and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. This is not a defensive strategy alone, but we are on the offense also, resisting the enemy. The promise of the Scriptures is that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds (II Corinthians 10:4).
We are supplied with weaponry to use for both offense and defense. He is our shield and buckler. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11).
When Jesus prayed for His disciples shortly before leaving for Gethsemane, He didn’t pray for their isolation from society but for several other things. He prayed that: They would not be taken out of the world (John 17:15), they would be sanctified through the truth (verse 17), they would be one (verse 21), they would be kept from the evil (verse 15), and they would have tribulation but could overcome the world (John 16:33).
To keep is “to: secure, sustain, brace, nourish, support, shelter, protect, shield, and safeguard.” To not keep is to “discard, throw away, lose, give away, turn loose of, misplace, and not preserve.” There are many different ways in which He will keep us. We have confidence that He will keep His promises because God is faithful and will not fail us.
He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail (I Samuel 2:9).
Our feet are our stability. They give us direction in the sense that they take us wherever we desire to go. Many times it is not our feet that are the problem but the conditions we stand upon, such as ice, snow, mud, sand, or shale. God has placed us upon a rock. We are standing on a firm foundation.
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity (II Timothy 2:19).
He has a vested interest in us and wants us to make it. We belong to Him and are dependent on Him to keep us, and He will finish what He started in us.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24).
He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places (Psalm 18:33).
The hind is an animal that dwells in high, rocky areas, where one misstep can plunge it to its death, but its feet are sure. Asaph spoke of when his steps had well nigh slipped, but then he went to the house of the Lord and realized that the wicked travel in slippery places. We read in the Scriptures how He has kept others, and we know that He is the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8).
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:3-4).
The Lord is always on the job. His eyes go to and fro throughout the earth, watching out for the welfare of His children. One person described it this way: When I can’t sleep, I remind myself that the Lord is awake and there is no reason for me to lose sleep. Since He is going to watch out for me anyway, I’m going to sleep. There isn’t any reason for both of us to stay awake. He will keep us with a shield and hedge around us. Satan complained that God had a hedge around Job.
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them (Psalm 34:7).
The angel of the Lord is not just occasionally passing by but is camped around us. He is watching over us. We are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ and living under the protection of the same. The blood of the Lamb of God has been sprinkled on the doorposts of our hearts, and the enemy can do us no harm. We are sealed unto the day of redemption as long as we live an overcoming life.
Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings (Psalm 17:8).
He has promised that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) and that nothing shall pluck us out of His hands (John 10:29). David requested that the Lord would assist him in keeping his tongue from evil.
Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).
Temptation is an ever present war that we must fight to overcome our fleshly tendencies. The Lord promised to the church in Philadelphia, Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth (Revelation 3:10).
If we were to ask the average individual on the street what he would like to have, many of them would answer that they would like to have peace. One of the fruits of the Spirit is peace, and when we received the Holy Ghost, we received the peace of God. This is not a spasmodic, inconsistent peace and contentment but is an abiding peace within our souls by the keeping power of God.
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).
He is our Keeper. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift a standard against him. I have learned, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Philippians 4:13).
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).
This article “The Keeper” by Denzil Holman was excerpted from the book Hot Coals from the Altar. It may be used for study & research purposes only.