“Lay down now a pledge, be thou surety for me with thyself: who is he that striketh hands with me?” (Job 17:3)
The September 11th 2001 terrorist events in the United States, then in Spain and later in the United Kingdom have made visible, in an intense and directly evident way, the insecurity in which humanity lives! All humanity understood that disaster may occur from ‘everywhere’, and that no one is in security. And what could we say about the terrorist attacks “kamikaze” by which are assassinated, unexpectedly, innocent men, women and children by their tens, even by their hundreds in buses, restaurants, public markets etc.? In addition, too many people are wounded; some of them remain handicapped for all their lives! These terrorist attacks had, as a result, to see some airlines pass through serious economic crisis, people fired, the tourist sector perturbed and people who travel on mission wonder if they would arrive safely at their destination… What is worst in all this is that man’s life has no value in the terrorist’s eyes! Men are killed as if they were flies or chickens brought to be slaughtered!
The sensation of insecurity exists in all of us. In certain cases, we consider happiness and security as synonymous or identical. The same holds good for insecurity and fear. He who is insecure is afraid and he who is or feels secure has no reason to fear. Man’s misery is that he has lost his right orientation and looks for security where there is no security and he is afraid where there is no real danger or fear!
What we are looking for is but our happiness, which is interwoven with our security. In our days, one great source of concern and of insecurity is the problem of a stable job and consequently of a stable and of a just income. Even for those who have this privilege, there is no true security: “For we are strangers before you, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.” (Gr: permanence) (1Chr.29:15). How many people are fired, how many want to find a job and do not achieve it? The great majority of the population does not feel secure. Housebreaking, gangsterism, troubles in the football stadiums, anti-Christian movements that go on increasing etc., create a generalized feeling of insecurity and great psychological problems such as depression and psychoses that result, in certain cases, in suicide. Let us mention certain points that men consider as sources of security and happiness:
The first thing to which man takes refuge in order to feel secure is money. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit (Prov.18:11). That is what the rich man of Jesus’ parable believed: He was saying, «And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, which you have provided? So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.» (Lu.12:19-21). The man who has made gold or the abundance of his goods his hope has committed a “crime”, because, in reality, he denies or despises God the Highest (Job 31:24-28). He forgets Him who governs everything and who is the provider of every good thing! (De.8:13-14). To rest on money is a form of idolatry, because man replaces God in his heart by an idol: Money! The Lord Jesus Christ said: «For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.» (Mat.6:21). This is exactly the reason why it is so difficult for those who trust in their money to enter the Kingdom of God (Mark 10:24 and Mat.19:23). Not those who have money but those who have put their trust in money! Yes, those who have not put God as their “all” but money and their properties (Ps.52:5)! Love for money puts men under extremely serious temptations and hurtful lusts. This love endangers man’s integrity, leads to an unfruitful life and can lead “in destruction and perdition” (1Tim.6:9; Pr.22:20 and Mark.4:18-19).
Can money be useful at the moment of calamity or can it finally save from death? (Ps.49:6-7; 52:1; Pr.11:4; 20:14; Ecc.6:2 and Zeph.1:18). Many of those who were buried under the ruins of the twin New York towers were very rich men! Were they saved because of their money or were they spared from the testings that followed their lives? In addition, do riches remain always? (Pr.23:5; 27:24; 1Tim.6:7). We have seen that many rich people have died in poverty! All rich people, without any exception, have never been able to take their riches with them! They have left them behind to people who, in certain cases, were unworthy; who ignored not only how to deal with them but not even to enjoy them!
Does money mean happiness? How many people have confessed that in spite of their riches they were most miserable? Either many of them have committed suicide because of boredom or because of bad health; man’s soul can neither be satisfied neither with material goods nor with money (Ps.39:6 and Ecc.2:26). Sicknesses make no distinction between rich and poor people!
We, then, conclude that riches are not only uncertain but they are also vain, and dangerous and destructive! This is why we should not fool ourselves and put our trust in riches. What has been said is not valid only for rich people or for those who want to become rich but also for poor people who consider that money is their source of happiness and security!
Man that trusts in man and makes flesh his arm
The second man’s refuge in order to feel safe is to rely on his fellowman! Is not his fellowman vulnerable as he himself whose breath is “in his nostrils”? «Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?» (Isa.2:22). Is he not insecure? Man in his wickedness and blindness that prevail in the world and that keep increasing commits the most serious, destructive and sinful mistake to take refuge in another man, even if that man is a Governor, a Deputy, a Minister or a Prime Minister or even a Pastor or a Priest! Man who relies on another man is cursed: “Thus says the LORD; cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD.” (Jer.17:5). We find the same spirit in Psalms and Isaiah: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Ps.118:8-9; Ps.146:3-5 and Isa.30.1-3). How foolish it is to trust in man’s power! Every man is feeble and imperfect. Is it ever possible… not to be disappointed? He who is equipped with this knowledge saves his soul from a lot of disappointments and troubles. Many people, and especially women, consider marriage as a safety net and believe that they are safe… If one takes a look at the divorce statistics one will soon be convinced that the blessing of marriage that God has instituted has become a source of wickedness and insecurity. Many are those who would have wished that they were not married! Moreover, what should we say about the couples that are unofficially divorced?
Trusting in his own heart
If man cannot rely on his neighbour, let him not think that he can trust in himself or in his heart. The Word of God says: “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool; but whoever walks wisely, he shall be delivered.” (Pr.28:26). It is wisdom not to trust your own wisdom and the so-called constancy of your heart. Many were the “guarantees” that the apostle Peter gave to Christ but he finally denied Him when he risked to be seized. “So let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor.10:12). Whatever has been said is also valid for all those who trust their own wisdom and their methods (Pr.3:7; 3:5; 26:5; 26:12; Isa.5:21; Hos.10:13; Ob.3; Lu.18:19; Rom.12:16; 1Co.8:2; Gal.6:3). Man should not rely on his heart, which is “…deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jer.17:9) nor on his good works, which are “…as filthy rags…” (Isa.64:6), nor in his goodness, which is as a morning cloud and as the early dew that goes away (Hos.6:4).
Boast on the morrow
Equally, if not more foolish are those who rely and boast on the “morrow”, as if the next day depended on them! Τheir life is ‘a vapor, which appears for a little time, and then disappears’! They should rather say, “… If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (Jas.4:14-15).
God is the only support; the only security
Therefore, we conclude “…all is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ec.1:14). Everything and particularly our security and happiness depend on Him who governs all things! Yes, all things depend on Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will (Eph.1:11) and renders to each man according to the choices of his heart, upsetting man’s plans and supports! There is only one thing that remains: To cling to God and commit oneself and whatever he has to Jesus Christ and count on the loving-kindness and mercies of God who wants to give him eternal life! If man believed that it is God who reigns and that He does not want but his good (1Jo.4:18 and Jer.29:11), then his fears and insecurity would have disappeared.
Our safety is the love of God for us and the eternal protection of those that belong to Him. God said: “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for he has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me?” (Heb.13:5-6). And, if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom.8:31). “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” (Ps.37:25). Our safety depends on our attachment to Him, our faith in His words and our confidence in His character. Here is the reason for which it is written: … If you do not believe, you shall not survive (Esa.7:9) and you shall not be established (2Chr.20:20). The best way of being protected is to humble ourselves before God, to ask Him from the depths of our hearts to forgive us and to adopt us… Under His wings, we can be and we can feel protected…
Man becomes conscious of his situation, of his real needs as well as of the true source of his security and happiness:
· when he repents sincerely and commits his life to God;
· when he receives the forgiveness of his sins through Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the certainty of the salvation of his soul and eternal life;
· when Christ constitutes the delight of his heart and his support, He is his treasure and the source of his riches;
· when he depends on God and waits from Him for his material and spiritual blessings and recognizes that whatever he has, whatever he will have and whatever is going to happen will be for his good (Isa.48:17);
THEN AND ONLY THEN
is secure, irrespective of the hard times and testings of life! Then, there is nothing that will be lacking in his life because Christ has satisfied his hunger and has quenched his soul’s thirst. “He (God) shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall trust. His truth shall be your shield, and buckler.” (Ps.91:4). Then, “odd and even things are his”! Then he himself, in his turn, will be able to help others with the light and the consolations that he will have received from Christ. Then, God will not permit his child to be deprived of any true good thing (Ps.84:11). Then, God will protect him from all evil things and will preserve him for his heavenly kingdom! If man honours God by his faith in His Word and his confidence in His character, then God will honour him with his protection and his blessings. Our true security and our true happiness are only in God who loved so much the world “…that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:16-19). Amen!