There are many promises and examples of physical protection in the Word of God, both the Old Testament and New Testament. God promised protection to the Israelites against the nations who would come against them as they entered the Promised Land. “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you” (Exodus 23:27). Here we see God protecting those whose actions were in accordance to His foreordained plans and purpose.
The Psalms of David are filled with praise for God as He protected His chosen one against his enemies (Psalm 18:3, 54:7, 138:7). No matter the amount of power or wrath that David’s enemies brought against him, they were no match for the protection of God. God’s protection in Job’s life was evident as well. Even though Job suffered through many trials as a result of the attacks of Satan, it was God who drew the line in the sand, over which Satan could not cross. Satan was limited to doing exactly what God allowed him to do, and nothing more (Job 1–3). Even through all the misery and afflictions Job endured, God was protecting him from greater harm. God also protected Job’s faith, allowing Job to be tested only so far before He stepped in and spoke to Job (Job 38–42). Even though Job could not see God working behind the scenes, he came to understand that God’s protection is sure and faithful because He promises to His people: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:5; 1 Chronicles 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).
Understand, however, that although God has the ability to deliver us out of every physical calamity or trouble, it may not be His will to do so. Sometimes He uses these trials to purify us. At these times, we should “count it pure joy” because by allowing such trials, God tests our faith to develop more faith so that we persevere and grow to maturity and Christ-likeness (James 1:2-3). Protecting us from such trials would not be beneficial to us.
We may think that if God really wanted to protect us, He would provide wealth and ease in this life. But God does not always protect us from generally bad economic conditions, the consequences of bad financial decisions or management on our part or that of others, or the consequences of our own lack of diligence in working. “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you” (1 Thessalonians 4:11). God made Solomon extremely wealthy because his attitude toward wealth was much less than his desire for God’s wisdom and knowledge. As Solomon walked in sin and adultery, his wealth was destroyed. Ultimately, God uses wealth to lift up some and bring down others, all of which is part of His protection of His own.
“Praise the LORD. Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who finds great delight in his commands. Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever” (Psalm 112:1, 3). “The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts” (1 Samuel 2:7)
The true essence of God’s protection is the eternal indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:21-22). The believer is sealed for the day of final glorification (Ephesians 1:13-14). We are protected in all things. We have the ability, though, by allowing our sin nature to rule us, to depart from the will of God. A shield can only protect if it is picked up and used. We cannot sit back and say, “God will protect me!” if we have not done the things we ought to be doing. It is only through prayer and the study of God’s Word that we are assured of God’s protection in our lives.