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Guard Me When I Am Off My Guard
"None are so safe as those whom God keeps; none so much in danger as the self secure." - Charles Spurgeon
"Those must needs be well kept that have the Lord for their keeper." - Matthew Henry
"Soul-keeping is the soul of keeping. If the soul be kept, all is kept...God is the sole keeper of the soul."
- Charles Spurgeon
One of the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ is found in Revelation 1:18 which says - "I am He that liveth..." These are the very words of our Lord proclaiming that He "was dead and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." He was put to death and then rose from the dead. He continues to live forevermore as the source of Life to all. Because of His resurrection, He can claim power over the invisible world - "hell and death." The very gates of death and Hades are under His control. Resultantly, He can destroy the living and raise whom He will.
Hence, because of His resurrection, He has also gained another title that is so applicable to us today in our uncertain and evil world. That title is "Keeper." Psalm 121 describes Him as One Who "neither slumbers nor sleeps"(Psalm 121:4). Only Someone Who Is Immortal can go without necessary sleep.
There we have it - a "Keeper" Who is "alive for evermore" and Who "neither slumbers nor sleeps."
You may not have gotten the full impact of Christ's description as "Keeper" yet, so let's delve into the Scriptures to find out all that is behind this title and how it applies to us as Christians.
First of all, what is a "Keeper"? And what does He do? A "Keeper" is a guard, protector, preserver, or defender. He "preserves...from all evil"(Psalm 121:7).
The Lord Jesus - the One Who "liveth" and "neither slumbers not sleeps" - "preserves...from all evil"(Psalm 121:7) - that which is both spiritual and physical...natural and moral. He keeps His people from all evil in all evil times. He keeps them from all evil influences and operations - from the Evil One (Satan) and wicked men under his control. He keeps them from the dominion and damning power of sin as well as the evil of the world - its wickedness and lusts. He also keeps them from doing evil and falling away by it.
This word "preserve" is a far-reaching word of covering - including everything and excluding nothing. Hence, when the Scripture says that the Lord is the "Keeper" of His people, it includes the idea that they are kept from the infection of error...the crush of despondency...the puffing up of pride...and the evil influence of the world, the flesh, and the devil.
This Mighty "Keeper" is the Only One Who is capable of "preserving their soul." In other words, He is able to preserve the spiritual life of His followers.
Psalm 121 goes on to say that the Lord Jesus as the "Keeper" Who "liveth" and "neither slumbers not sleeps" is exceedingly able to "preserve their going out and their coming in"(Psalm 121:8). That means that night and day...in all of their business and undertakings... and throughout the course of their life, He keeps them. Their exits and entrances are under His protection. In all their ways, works, and conversation...in journeyings and travelings...and in all affairs - they are under His protective watchcare.
His protection for their life never runs out of date.
Let's stop here a minute and examine this truth further. You may be experiencing "evil" in some form of "guise" and wondering why you were not kept from it by the "Great Keeper" of your soul. Perhaps this will help you understand. The Israelites considered "going out" as being synonymous with sorrow - simply because it reflected back to the time when they went out to the dreary and dreadful exile. "Coming in" - on the other hand - was synonymous with being full of joy because it represented the time when they came back from exile.
When we think of "evil," we automatically think of it being that which injuriously affects our circumstances. God sees "evil" differently. He sees "evil" as that which injuriously affects us - our "soul."
With this reasoning in mind, we can see that God sometimes allows "bad" things to happen to "good" people because its ultimate influence will be for good and not for evil. God is a good God and always desires good for His children. Sometimes that "good" comes through the hands of something "bad" or what we would call "evil."
Don't misunderstand what is being said here. The Lord Jesus is the One and Only Keeper of His people. They have a guarantee of deliverance from all "evil." Nothing can come into their life apart from His permissive will. He is not the author of sickness, suffering, or death. However, at times, for His greater glory and honor, He does overrule and harness these for the accomplishment of His good purpose.
"He that liveth" and "neither slumbers not sleeps" has promised to preserve His people in their "going out" times - their times of sorrow - as well as in their "coming in" times - their times of great joy and freedom from captivity. No real "evil" - no mere "evil" - shall ever happen to them - except that which He sees will do them good in the long run.
How does God "keep" his children? He "keeps" them "as the apple of His eye"(Deuteronomy 32:10; Psalm 17:8). Nothing can exceed the force and delicacy of this expression. "The apple of the eye" is called "the little man of the eye." This expression is gotten from the idea that when looking into another person's eyes, you can see in miniature a picture of yourself. Taking this concept a step further, when you look into God's eyes, you see your image mirrored there. There is not a part of the body more precious, tender, or carefully guarded as "the apple of the eye." There is no portion more protected than the central eye or pupil.
How does God "keep" His children? In the most careful and tender manner - with singular care and diligence, the Lord Jesus watches over His own and preserves them on ever side.
You may try to "keep" yourself from "evil" as best as possible. But failures come in the most unexpected places. Before you know it, your own weakness comes in to betray you and you fall short.
You need someone bigger than yourself to keep you at all times in the right train of thought...having the right object of sympathy...and walking in the right course of action. One wrong thought...one wrong affection...or one wrong step out of place can prove in the end to be detrimental.
We all need a "Keeper" - One Who can "keep" us from all "evil" - 24/7.
There is Only One Who is able to guard us even when we get off guard. That "Keeper" is the One Who "liveth" and "is alive for evermore" and "neither slumbers nor sleeps."
His Name is Jesus!
We close with our opening quotes -
"None are so safe as those whom God keeps; none so much in danger as the self secure."
"Those must needs be well kept that have the Lord for their keeper."
And all God's people said - AMEN!
May God Bless His Word.