Pastor, broadcaster, and author Dr. David Jeremiah believes reassurance can be found throughout the Bibleespecially in the book of Psalmsboth now during the coronavirus pandemic and during all of life’s greatest challenges.
What are some examples in the Bible where God sheltered people in times of distress?
Dr. David Jeremiah: All throughout the Bible, we find examples of God sheltering his people.
God sheltered Noah and his family for one year in the ark until Noah emerged to become the father of all the nations of the world.
God sheltered Moses in a remote desert for 40 years, but Moses came forth to liberate the Jewish people from Egypt.
God sheltered David for 15 years after hed been anointed king of Israel. When David finally assumed the throne, he was a man after Gods own heart and gave us many of the Psalms.
What Psalms did you select to feature in this book and why did you choose those in particular?
Dr. David Jeremiah: In the book, we look at several key examples from the book of Psalms in order to discover comfort, inspiration, and hope as we deal with the unknown of this moment. For instance, Psalm 18, written by David, declares: The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (NIV). We also explore Psalm 121, in which we learn that God never sleeps or slumbers, and watches over us always. Through these Psalms and others, we learn that there is hope even in the darkest of nights. Why? Because God is our shelter, and he will not fail.
Why do we have a tendency to let fear control us? And what does the Bible say about that?
Dr. David Jeremiah: This is an important question as we move through the pandemic and think of its impact and effect on the world. Many people are asking what’s going to happen now. When some people face trouble, they come to the irrational conclusion that God is absent and that thought strikes their hearts with fear and despair. A greater mistake cannot be imagined. For all of us who’ve struggled or been struck by fear, the message is this: God is great. Psalm 121 teaches us that The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Life More Abundant: An Interview with David Jeremiah]
Why does God allow suffering?
Dr. David Jeremiah: The Bible never lies to us by claiming that life is easy. Christianity is no free pass; there are no shortcuts to bypass the essential human experience. Gods Word reminds us that we’re pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land whose roads are filled with hazards.
Some Christians have the odd impression that being a believer will exempt them from all problems. Somehow they feel that, upon conversion, theyre issued the spiritual equivalent of ID cards that say, This absolves the holder from any kind of pain or trouble while living on this planet. It simply doesnt work that way.
Christians have no immunity to pain or suffering. It matters not whether youre a new convert or a wise spiritual giant; youre still an imperfect human creature living in a fallen world; you struggle with all the blessings and burdens that being a member of humanity entails.
When we become part of Gods family, what sets us apart is not any difference is not any difference in the sin environment around us, but in how we deal with it.
Peter wrote, Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you (1 Pet. 4:12). In other words, dont be surprised if you give your life to Jesus Christ and you still stumble and take a fall the next day. Youve gained no special right to bypass the human condition of suffering.
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How does the Bible tell us that God doesnt give up on us?
Dr. David Jeremiah: Whenever we face trials, we need to remember who God is. Sometimes we get so focused on our trials that we forget to focus on him. God doesnt give up on us because he’s faithful, righteous, and does not change.
In Psalm 71, youll see that throughout his prayer David made references to Gods character:
- He remembers Gods glory in verse 8.
- He acknowledges Gods power and strength in verse 18.
- He remembers Gods faithfulness in verse 22.
Five times in Psalm 71verses 2, 15, 16, 19, and 24David mentions the righteousness of God. David understood there was one thing he must do when trials were swirling around his head, when his own children were not honoring him. He must never forget that God is righteous and gooda God who can be trusted.
Things may be bad, and they can always be worse, but God never changes. He’s never any less in control. He never has a smaller portion of love for us, and his plan for us does not deviate in the tiniest detail. All else changes but God.
How should we worship in times of despair?
Dr. David Jeremiah: In Psalm 71 we learn that worship is not based on circumstances, but that it is due to God no matter what. In hard times, we all come to the point where we have to push aside our pride, fall on our knees to say, My Lord and my God, my hope is in you. All the rest is too much for my limited and distressed mind, and it amounts to little account anyway. I look to no one and nothing but you, and I await your guidance.
David said, Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth. By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mothers womb. My praise shall be continually of You (vv._46).
What did David do in his moment of despair? He journeyed back into his memory and reviewed the wisdom about God he had learned over time. He reminded himself that God had proved faithful to him all his life. The Lord had brought him through. What was true for David has been true for me.
What does it mean to observe that God never says Oops?
Dr. David Jeremiah: It simply means God makes no mistakes. You never find yourself in a place thats not exactly where God expected you to be. David could never find a cave where God wasnt waiting for him, just as Jonah could never charter a boat capable of cruising outside the Lords jurisdiction.
Why did you write Shelter in God?
Dr. David Jeremiah: I want everyone to know we can find refuge from the threat of any disasterincluding coronaviruswhen we turn to God and seek his presence. Thats because God is with us. He’s supporting us. He’s equipping us and empowering us with everything we need to endure not only this disaster, but any situation or circumstance we may face. Thats why I’ve been so eager to prepare this book. Because even as I’m sheltering in place, Im also sheltering in God. Im allowing myself to be surrounded by his presence and power and peace. I want the same for you. I want the same for anyone who feels frightened and abandoned and uncertain about the future.
Shelter in God is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Dr. David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point, an international ministry committed to providing Christians with sound Bible teaching through radio and television, the Internet, live events, and resource materials and books. He is the author of more than 50 books, including Is This the End?, The Spiritual Warfare Answer Book, David Jeremiah Morning and Evening Devotions, and Airship Genesis Kids Study Bible. Dr. Jeremiah serves as the senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego, California, where he resides with his wife, Donna. They have four grown children and 12 grandchildren.
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