Whilst in the States recently I managed to get in a few runs before we started our adventures of the day. One of these runs was probably the quietest and most beautiful runs that I have ever done. It was through a secluded forested area – not another person in sight. Yet…. a little fear, called Bear, kept me on high alert and increased my heart rate substantially throughout the run. At every twig break or grass rustle I wished that I had bought that “bear spray” displayed in most shops that we visited – a defence against bears….
Bears are not quite as cute and cuddly as Winnie or Paddington – they are fierce and ferocious! And they live in wooded areas…..!
Prov 28:15 speaks of “Ruthless leaders can only be compared to raging lions and roaming bears.”
Daniel 7:1-8 describes a vision with lions and bears representing the world’s ruthless leaders.
Today, in RSA, it sometimes feels like we live on high alert. Running through life in the beauty of our nation yet with a fear, a trepidation of the roaming bear.
There are days when a news story breaks and I can sense that a raging lion has been let loose and people are scattering and running for cover.
We seem to be a nation in terror of those “bears”, ruthless leaders, that roam freely.
Fear lurks in our psyche and footsteps.
How do we combat this? How do we live successfully in our worlds with these dangerous creatures (ruthless leaders) whom we have no power over? How do we reduce our heart rates and live in peace? What are our protection mechanisms? Where’s the bear spray?
God gave us this book of Proverbs – His “bear spray” that quiets the raging lions and stills the roaming bears!
Throughout the book we have seen many ways to use the “spray” and it’s usually in the way we live out our lives.
There are a few puffs of spray in chapter 28 –
- Despise corruption – enjoy a long life (vs 16)
- Be pure – be rescued from failure (vs 18)
- Be honest and faithful – blessings will drench you (vs 20)
- Lean on wisdom from above – you will escape trouble (vs 26)
- Give to the poor – you will never go without (vs 27)
But for me, the most effective and and infallible of all of the protection mechanisms against the raging lions and roaming bears that God highlights is found in verse 13
“But if you confess your sins and forsake them,
You will be kissed by mercy.”
Kissed by mercy – why should that be the best way to combat the fear of ruthless leaders?
In order to be kissed one has to be brought close, brought into intimacy.
God does that for us – as we confess our sins (and not cover them up) He pulls us into His embrace and kisses us! Smooches us!
“His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you.
You can run under His covering of majesty and hide.
His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.” Psalm 91:4 (TPT)
Now – that is effective “bear spray”!
Intimacy with the God of the heavens, our great protector, our shield, Lord of all the armies of heaven – He is able. Read the whole of Psalm 91 – it brings peace, it brings my heart rate down…
No matter how scary the raging lion, no matter how frightening the roaming bear in our nation today – our God and Saviour holds us.
It is time to run with joy and delight, savouring the goodness that He prepares for us, confess and forsake our sins and be embraced by His massive arms and kissed by mercy!