He will never leave us nor forsake us

John Plunkett
July 27, 2013

How many of you have ever read the book, “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe? 

I strongly recommend it, even though it was written a long time ago, in the 18th Century.  I read it many, many years ago when I was a schoolboy.  I decided to read it again more recently; and to my amazement, I found it to be very inspiring.

Although it is a work of pure fiction, published way back in 1719, almost three hundred years ago, if the author were alive today, I would write to him and I would tell him that his famous novel helped me through some of the greatest trial periods of my life.

How could a fictional book be so inspiring?  For those who are not familiar with the story, poor Robinson – a young man – was in one of the most dreadful predicaments imaginable.  He was shipwrecked on a desert island.  He was the sole survivor of the wreck, and he literally doesn’t know where on earth he is!  He faces years of the most terrible dangers and trials: loneliness, tropical heat, storms, disease and fever.  To add to all of these problems, wild animals and cannibals want to have him over for lunch!

During the course of the story, young Robinson, writing in the first person singular in a diary format, goes through a very deep and meaningful self-examination and repentance.  He begins to study his Bible, which he salvaged from the wrecked ship.  He studies that Bible every day and he quotes it very often in his diary – not in a sugary or over-emotional way; but always very accurately and meaningfully. 

He talks to God in prayer – not just once a day in a sleepy-time prayer at bed-time; but constantly.  He learns to depend on God for his spiritual deliverance, as well as for his physical deliverance from all the tremendous dangers and problems that beset him. 

Two of the many scriptures that Robinson quotes in the story, which affected and inspired me the most, are these:

Psalms 50:15:
And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

Hebrews 13:5:
Let your conversation
{NKJV: conduct} be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Are you like the fictional Robinson Crusoe in some ways?  Have you learnt to trust in God for deliverance from dangers and trials, both physical and spiritual? 

I know that many of you are young; and if you haven’t experienced trials or dangers in your past already, then I can almost guarantee that at some time in the future, you will. 

Again, have you learned to trust in God for deliverance from dangers and trials.  Or do you perhaps think something like "Yes, but that was then; this is now"?  Do you perhaps think that God’s miraculous protection somehow ceased after the death of the last New Testament personality? 

In this message, I would like to show you that God is just as capable today of miraculously protecting His people as He ever was.

Wonderful Promises

Thousands of years ago, God made some great promises to Abram – promises of wealth, blessings, greatness, and protection:

Genesis 12:
1: Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee. 
2: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.
3: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Later, the Eternal (YHWH) contacted Abram again; this time in human form as a King and Priest by the name of Melchizedek, King of Salem:

Genesis 14:
18: And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
19: And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
20: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.  And he gave him tithes of all.

As we go through the book of Genesis, we find that the LORD repeated His promises of blessings to Abram, over and over again.  This time, after God had changed Abram's name to Abraham:

Genesis 22:
17:  In blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is upon the seashore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.
18:  And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed My voice.

Please remember why God said that He would bless Abraham.  It was because Abraham obeyed His voice.

These blessings were passed down from Abraham through his descendants: Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s sons – especially Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh, and on down to the nation of Israel.  Now let us move on now a few hundred years. 

During the Feast of Unleavened Bread every year, we read about the great miracles God performed in Egypt and at the Red Sea, in order to rescue His people from the Egyptians.  We all know the story, and we have probably all seen the movie!  Let us take another quick look at the Red Sea account in the context of God’s physical protection and rescue:

Exodus 14:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
2:  Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal-zephon; before it shall ye encamp by the sea.

We believe that God had actually led them into something of a box canyon.

3:  For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in...
9:  But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.
10:  And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
13:  And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not.  Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.
14:  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
15:  And the LORD said unto Moses, Why criest thou unto Me?  Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.
16:  But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17:  And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them; and I will get myself honour above Pharaoh and above all his host, above his chariots and above his horsemen.
18:  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD when I have gotten myself honour above Pharaoh, above his chariots, and above his horsemen.
19:  And the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face and stood behind them.
20:  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them
{the Egyptians}, but it gave light by night to these {the Israelites}, so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21:  And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22:  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground, and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.
23:  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24:  And it came to pass that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.
25:  And He took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily, so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

These were fantastic miracles, to be sure.  But do we sometimes look at it and say, "Yes, but that was more than 3,500 years ago – way back in Old Testament times.  We find it hard to identify with that."

Can God still perform such miracles of physical protection in modern times?  Does God still perform such wonderful miracles in modern times? 

Yes.  He can and He certainly does!  I have had my own experiences in this regard; and I have heard or read wonderful first or second hand accounts of miraculous deliverances during World War I, World War II, the Zulu wars in South Africa, and more recent conflicts in which God obviously stepped in to change the course of history.  Today, time limits me to just a few examples that I personally find very inspiring:

The Miracle at Dunkirk

After a long deferral since His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph due to the great sins of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, God eventually began to fulfill those promises.  He began to shower His wonderful blessings on their descendants.  This began in earnest around the start of the nineteenth century.  There certainly were blessings on modern Israel before that; but He really started to pour them out in a major way at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

We will fast-forward now to the late spring of 1940, when it appears that God had not yet finished with His blessings and His miraculous protection on the descendants of Israel.

The 1940 evacuation of the allied forces from Dunkirk in northern France is still looked upon as a great miracle, even by secular historians.  Britain's new Prime Minster, Winston Churchill, called what happened here "a miracle of deliverance."  The account contains some striking parallels with what we just read about God’s evacuation of the Israelites through the Red Sea.

Her follows an admittedly long – but very worthwhile – quote from a sub-chapter called “The Miracle at Dunkirk” – from “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by William Shirer.  (This is another strongly-recommended book).

Ever since May 20, 1940 when {German General} Guderian's tanks broke through to Abbeville on the sea, the British Admiralty, on the personal orders of Churchill, had been rounding up shipping for a possible evacuation of the B.E.F. {British Expeditionary Force} and other Allied forces from the Channel ports.  Noncombatant personnel began to be ferried across the narrow sea to England at once. 

By May 24th, the German armor, striking up the coast from Abbeville, after taking Boulogne and enveloping Calais, had reached the Aa Canal only twenty miles from Dunkirk.  In between were caught the Belgian army, the nine divisions of the B.E.F. and ten divisions of the French First Army. 

Though the terrain on the southern end of the pocket was bad tank country, being crisscrossed with canals, ditches and flooded areas, Guderian's and Reinhardt's panzer corps already had five bridgeheads across the main barrier, the Aa Canal, between Gravelines on the sea and St. Omer, and were poised for the knockout blow which would hammer the Allied armies against the anvil of the advancing German Sixth and Eighteenth armies pushing down from the northeast and utterly destroy them.

Suddenly on the evening of May 24 came the peremptory order from the High Command, issued at the insistence of Hitler with the prompting of Rundstedt and Goering, but over the violent objections of Brauchitsch and Halder, that the tank forces should halt on the canal line and attempt no further advance. 

So Hitler commanded the tanks to stop when they were on the very edge of victory!

This furnished Lord Gort {Commander of the Allied forces} an unexpected and vital reprieve which he and the British Navy and Air Force made the most of and which, as Rundstedt later perceived and said, led "to one of the great turning points in the war."

How did this inexplicable stop order on the threshold of what seemed certain to be the greatest German victory of the campaign come about? What were the reasons for it?  And who was responsible?  These questions have provoked one of the greatest arguments of the war, among the German generals involved and among the historians.

Goering had intervened with Hitler.  He offered to liquidate the entrapped enemy troops with his Air Force alone!  The reasons for his ambitious and vain proposal were given the writer
{William Shirer} in a letter from Halder.

Finally, on the evening of May 26, Hitler rescinded the stop order and... the armored forces could resume their advance on Dunkirk. 

By then it was late; the cornered enemy had had time to strengthen his defenses and behind them was beginning to slip away to sea.

No more now than in all the years before did he
{Hitler} comprehend the character of the British nation.  Nor did he and his generals, ignorant of the sea as they were and remained dream that the sea-minded British could evacuate a third of a million men from a small battered port, and from the exposed beaches right under their noses.

At three minutes before seven on the evening of May 26, shortly after Hitler's stop order had been canceled, the British Admiralty signaled the beginning of "Operation Dynamo," as the Dunkirk evacuation was called.  That night the German armor resumed its attack on the port from the west and south, but now the panzers found it hard going.  The tanks made little progress... 

How reminiscent of what we read in Exodus 14:24-25:  And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.

Lord Gort had had time to deploy against them three infantry divisions with heavy artillery support.  In the meantime the evacuation began.  An armada of 850 vessels of all sizes, shapes and methods of propulsion, from cruisers and destroyers to small sailboats and Dutch skoots, many of them manned by civilian volunteers from the English coastal towns, converged on Dunkirk. 

The first day, May 27, they took off 7,669 troops; the next day, 17,804; the following day, 47,310; and on May 30, 53,823, for a total of 126,606 during the first four days.  This was far more than the Admiralty had hoped to get out.  When the operation began it counted on evacuating only about 45,000 men in the two days' time it then thought it would have.

It was not until this fourth day of Operation Dynamo, on May 30, that the German High Command woke up to what was happening.  For four days the communiqués of the OKW had been reiterating that the encircled enemy armies were doomed.  A communiqué of May 29 stated flatly: "The British army, which has been compressed into the territory around Dunkirk is going to its destruction before our concentric attack."

But it wasn't; it was going to sea... with the certainty that the men would live to fight another day...

Again, how reminiscent of Exodus 14:1-3:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.  For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.  Continuing with Shirer's account:

The next day, May 31, was the biggest day of all.  Some 68,000 men were embarked for England, a third of them from the beaches, the rest from the Dunkirk harbor.  A total of 194,620 men had now been taken out, more than four times the number originally hoped for.

Where was the famed Luftwaffe?  Part of the time it was grounded by bad weather.  The rest of the time it encountered unexpected opposition from the Royal Air Force, which from bases just across the Channel successfully challenged it for the first time.  Though outnumbered, the new British Spitfires proved more than a match for the Messerschmitts.  
It {the Luftwaffe} failed to achieve what Goering had promised Hitler: the annihilation of the B.E.F. 

On June 1 the second-highest day's total was evacuated
64,429 men.  By dawn of the next day, only 4,000 British troops remained in the perimeter, protected by 100,000 French who now manned the defenses.  The Luftwaffe at that time did not operate after dark and during the nights of June 2 and 3 the remainder of the B.E.F. and 60,000 French troops were successfully brought out.  Dunkirk, still defended stubbornly by 40,000 French soldiers, held out until the morning of June 4.  By that day 338,226 British and French soldiers had escaped the German clutches.

A deliverance Dunkirk was to the British.

Who stopped Guderian's tanks?  The author, William Shirer, after weighing the evidence, felt that the stop order originated with Hitler himself, influenced by Herman Goering who, in his vanity, wanted the Luftwaffe (of which he was the head) to have the glory of the victory rather than sharing it with the German army. 

Just like Israel's exodus from Egypt, the course of history was mightily changed through a colossal miracle by God – as well through human vanity!  Did God harden Hitler's heart as He did Pharaoh's?  One day we will find out.

Falklands Miracles

Some might say, "Yes. But that Dunkirk episode was fifty years ago.  I wasn't even born then!  My grandparents weren't even born then!"

Has God protected or delivered the descendants of Israel in more recent years?  Or has He now cut our nations off from His protection because of our national sins?

Deuteronomy 7:
17:  If you should say in your heart, These nations are greater than I; how can I dispossess them?
18:  You shall not be afraid of them, but you shall remember well what the LORD your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt...

Coming closer to our time, thirty-eight years after World War II, Britain found it necessary back in 1983 to do some military "dispossessing" of their own after Argentina invaded the British-owned Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic Ocean. 

If God was able to deliver the British from a type of modern Egypt, and if God had been able to deliver Britain from a major power like Nazi Germany, could He deliver them from a relatively minor power like Argentina?   Continuing in Deuteronomy 7:

19:  The great trials which your eyes saw, the signs and the wonders, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out.  So shall the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.
20:  Moreover the LORD your God will send the hornet among them until those who are left, who hide themselves from you, are destroyed.
21:  Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.
22: And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee...

For God’s own good reasons, He says that He will make the physical Israelites work a little bit for some of their victories; and this is exactly what happened.

23:  But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.
24:  And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them.

Britain’s short war with Argentina captured the attention of the whole world, and much has been written about it.  There is, in fact, a whole book, "The Falklands Miracle," which deals with the "incredibly good luck" that Britain experienced at so many different times during the short conflict.

One example is that, at the very time the Argentine army surrendered the battle for the island's capital, Port Stanley, the British were almost completely out of ammunition!  If the Argentineans hadn't surrendered at precisely that time, the British army would have had to retreat, thus prolonging the conflict and the further loss of life, and possibly even reversing the final outcome of that war!

A second Falklands story comes, not from the aforementioned book; but rather from a cousin of mine who lives in Liverpool, England.  He was serving in the British army at the time and, after some special training was, along with thousands of his comrades, put aboard the luxury P&O liner "Canberra" (which had been hurriedly converted into a troop-ship).

As they steamed into the South Atlantic, their floating home came under severe attack by Argentinean jet fighters.  These planes attacked one side of the ship with their missiles, peeled off and came back again, concentrating their fire on the same side of the ship.  Although the missiles did explode, strangely, their explosions did not penetrate the hull of the ship.  The soldiers watching (somewhat fearfully, no doubt) reported that the explosions seemed to merely bounce off the hull, and that they inflicted very little damage. 

Why was that?  On investigation, it was discovered that, when the Canberra was first built (at Harland and Wolff's shipyard in Belfast) back in the 1960's, there was an unacceptable twist in the hull, which threw off the whole balance and design of the ship.  To correct this twist, more weight was required in one side of the hull.  The necessary weight was provided by lining that side of the hull with a couple of inches of reinforced concrete!  So, at least twenty years before that conflict, God knew the fine details of what was going to happen!

What about Spiritual Israel?

Many such accounts could be told of God's miraculous deliverance of modern physical Israelites; but time does not allow today.  Despite many national and personal sins, the physical descendants of Israel have been miraculously protected and delivered, again by God’s mercy as well as in order to fulfill His promises to Abraham. 

We do know, however, that one day – and possibly soon – just like ancient Israel, the blessing of protection and deliverance will be taken away from our beloved nations; and probably, according to end-time prophecies, for the same reasons as was the case with ancient Israel and Judah – due to the disobedience, idolatry and Sabbath breaking of our nations.

But what about spiritual Israel?  What about God's church?  What about you; and what about me?  Does God protect us?  Do His promises of deliverance and protection, both physical and spiritual, apply to us too?  We can have confidence that, yes, they do.

One instance that comes immediately to mind takes me back to a cold winter's night in Ontario, some years ago.  One of our Canadian ministers fell asleep at the wheel of his car while driving home after a particularly exhausting day.  His wife was also dozing in the car.  All of a sudden, they both heard a loud, clear voice shout, "John!" which woke them both instantly, thus averting a possibly fatal crash.  The minister stopped the car and got out to clear his head with some fresh air.  He retraced the car's tyre tracks in the snow for a short distance and found that the tracks disappeared as they approached the side of the road, then reappeared again a few yards further on.  The car should have crashed into a deep, roadside ditch!  Who prevented it from doing so?

I hadn’t planned to tell you about this one; but it came to my mind as I was reading over my notes this morning.  I used to work for BC Telephone Company (now Telus).  One winter's day, after I had been working in Port Hardy (a town on the northern tip of Vancouver Island), I had to drive south to Campbell River.  As the highway between the two towns traverses a small mountain range, I checked the weather forecasts on the Internet.  Rain for Port Hardy.  Rain for Campbell River.  But the in-between was an unknown.  

Assuming that all would be fine, I started driving south in my work van; but as soon as I started going uphill, I saw that the rain was starting to change to sleet and then to snow.  Ever the optimist, I kept on, climbing and climbing; the snow getting thicker and thicker.  The state of the road was pretty horrible with ice under the surface snow.  When I got to the top of the ridge, crawling ever so slowly and carefully, but worrying about the journey downhill journey and the real possibility of some logging truck appearing around the next bend!  

With the mountain peak to my right and a deep valley to my left, I felt the rear end of the truck start to fish-tail.  The next thing I knew, the van was going around in circles, and then suddenly, off the road, backwards down into the valley.  In dire emergencies only the briefest prayers are possible:  "Dear Father.  Please help!" 

I was speeding backwards down that mountain-side and I admit that I thought it was "game over."  Then suddenly the van arrive at a tiny plateau, it straightened out, slowed and came to an abrupt stop as its back-end collided with a large tree stump.  

Although extremely thankful that I had not died in a severe crash, my emergency was not quite over.  Sitting there, trying to collect my thoughts, I started to wonder how I was going to get out of this ravine.  Yes, of course; I would phone for a tow truck!  But then I  realized there was no cell phone signal up there in the midst of those remote mountains.  

Although I had more time for a longer prayer, it was still snowing; and really needed to get out of there!  So I started to pray.  Here I am down here near the bottom of this ravine and here is the road way up there; and everything is covered in snow.  What to do?  

I could hike back up to the highway and try and get a ride into town.  But it wasn't safe for any driver to stop to pick me up on that treacherous, narrow, bendy section of road?  

What then?  Attempt the impossible?  Yes.  I thought I would just give it a try and see if I could get the van out of there, even though I really didn’t think there was any chance of being successful.  Again, I prayed about it, restarted the van and put it in low gear.  It started to move.  Ever so slowly up that hill, but not slipping as much as I expected it to.  

After what seemed like an eternity, my trusty old van and I made it back up onto the road and eventually down to the safety of relatively warm an rainy Campbell River, which never looked so good to me!  I can only give the credit to God the Father and Jesus Christ.  I sincerely believe that this was a true miracle that I was able to get out of there and that I survived. 

Why Surprised?

Many of you can recount similar stories. They are always inspiring to read about or to listen to.  But why should we be surprised at these things?  God has given us a solid –  although conditional – promise of protection.

Conditional?  Yes, conditional.  The words that God spoke to Joshua, before he led the Israelites into the Promised Land, also apply to you and me:

Joshua 1:
1:  Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying...
5:  There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
6:  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give them...

Do you want God to be with you?  Do you want God not to fail you, leave you or forsake you?  Times will come when you will experience trials and/or dangers.  At those times you most certainly will be wanting God to be there for you.

They were the promises in verses 5 and 6.  Now, here are God's conditions:

7: Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
8: This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Do you want to be prosperous and to have good success?  Of course you do!  We all do!  Then please heed the conditions that God gives.

9: Have not I commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Do we say, "Yes.  But all of these verses that we have read so far are Old Testament promises and commands?"  Well, yes they are; still, many of these words are repeated in the New Testament for you and me.  Some of God's words recorded in Joshua 1 are repeated in the epistle to the Hebrews:

Hebrews 13:5:
Let your conversation
{NKJV: conduct} be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee...

Again, the related Old Testament commands and promises are reapplied right here to New Testament Christians.  Yes, to us today.

6:  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
7:  Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end
{end-product or end-result} of their conversation {conduct}...

It is right and good to follow the examples of God's true ministers... but only as long as their examples are good ones; only as long as they preach God’s Word faithfully and accurately; only as long as they are faithful to God and to His Word.

And again, as we begin to conclude: Are the LORD’s promises and commands so very different between the Old Testament and the New Testament?

8: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

Please do not forget this verse.  It is very important.

In our previous scriptures, God gave us His promises, then His conditions.  Now, in our final scripture, He gives us His conditions, then His promises:

Revelation 3:10:
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 

If we emulate this obedient and persevering attitude of the Philadelphia church, as is being described here, God promises protection from a future time of severe, global trial.  If you think you have trials now, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

We can have the fullest confidence that God will give us His divine protection when we need it.  Like Joshua, the ancient Israelites and the members of the early church, we too should be strong and of good courage. 

Please remember this, no matter what you go through:  Be strong and of good courage!

If we will follow the good examples of God’s true and faithful servants, both past and present; if we will remain content with the blessings that God has given us; and if we will  worship Him, obey Him and serve Him as He commands us to, He will never leave us, nor forsake us.