By Sara Stoner
Moses sang of Israel, “For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness, He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye” (Deut. 32:9-10). The nation of Israel is the apple of His eye. To this day He has kept them and preserved them and will yet graft them in again into their own olive tree. “He that scattered Israel will gather him and keep him as a shepherd doth his flock”(Isa. 31:10). The nation itself is a testimony to God’s love and ability to keep; yet there are greater testimonies than these.
Moses and the prophets are replete with examples of men and women of faith whom God guarded, protected and delivered. During times of famine God preserved Jacob and his sons in Canaan and Elijah in Ahab’s day. God kept David from all his enemies that he might retain kingship over Israel, and fulfill the type of Christ’s throne. Hannah knew the Lord keeps the feet of his saints. Daniel was preserved through two world empires, four world rulers, and a den of lions. He did not deny His faith and trust in God and God kept him. Not all of those who trusted in God were kept from physical harm or hardships. These are the ‘and others’ of Hebrews 11 of whom the world was not worthy, who left this world destitute, afflicted and tormented. Nevertheless, they were kept. Their faith did not fail. They are in that city whose builder and maker is God.
When God sent His own Son into the world, He kept Him. From Ps. 89:26-29, God is speaking: “He shall cry unto Me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. Also I will make Him My firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. My mercy will I keep for Him for evermore, and My covenant shall stand fast with Him. His seed also will I make to endure forever, and His throne as the days of heaven.” The Father speaking to the Son in Isa. 42:6-7 said: “I the LORD have called Thee in righteousness, and will hold Thine hand, and will keep Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” Ps. 91:11-12: “For He (God the Father) shall give His angels charge over Thee (the Son) to keep Thee in all Thy ways. They shall bear Thee up in their hands, lest Thou dash Thy foot against a stone.” Although Satan used this scripture to tempt the Lord to test God, that doesn’t make it any less true. How many times did Jesus escape from the midst of those who would kill Him? The Psalmist gives us a reason for God’s tender care in verse 14: “Because He has set His love upon Me, therefore will I deliver Him. I will set Him on high because He hath known My name.” When Christ was suffering in the garden, angels were sent by the Father to strengthen Him. Here was the Lamb of God, ‘kept up’ so to speak, as the Passover lamb was kept up (Ex. 12:6), until the time when he was to be offered up.
Jesus kept His own disciples when He was here. In His prayer in John 17, He passed the keeping of their souls unto His heavenly Father. “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom thou hast given me that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” And in v.15 Jesus prayed: “I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil,” (or rather from the evil one). God did keep them from the evil one. Though they fled from His Son in the garden and Peter denied Him, they recovered themselves. None of them were ‘lost’, as was Judas. These were the men who after Pentecost, after the filling of the Holy Spirit, were the ones who turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Scriptures declare that God has the power to keep us by working certain things in us. His Holy Spirit, of course is His primary worker. Without His working we have no life toward God. We are kept from doing evil and from a great many fiery darts of the wicked one by us keeping God’s word in our hearts. “Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119:11). In John 17, Jesus noted in His prayer to the Father that His disciples had kept the word He gave to them. He asked the Father, “Sanctify them through Thy truth, Thy word is truth”. Love for and a biblical fear of God, of His word, and of His Son are meant to keep us in this world. And faith works by love. We are commanded to keep ourselves. “But ye beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20). “Keep yourselves unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). Remember John’s words, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21).
Underneath God’s keeping power is the foundation of God’s faithfulness. “But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from the evil (one)” (II Thess. 3:3). Paul wrote to Timothy of his assurance of God’s power to keep. “But 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 Tim. 1:12). Paul, being a faithful and prodigious worker, had much committed to God’s trust, but He was assured in His heart that God would preserve these things until the Day of Judgment. Peter, also, assured the scattered saints throughout Asia of the inheritance reserved in heaven for those “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:5). At the close of His epistle, he sought to comfort the saints who were partakers of Christ’s sufferings. “Let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (I Peter 4:19). ESV: …”Let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” AMP: …”commit their souls to the One Who created them and will never fail [them]”.
So I ask you, do you have a God who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy? He is well able.