War, Terrorism, & Psalm 34

 By Monk Preston                                                      (Co-Founder & President, The Prayer Foundation )


 

Image: The Prayer Foundation logo (white Celtic cross on a green shield).

 


 

Photo: of a lit candle.

 

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."Photo: Columbia Icefields, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Photo Copyright 2006 S.G.P.  All Rights Reserved.

The Letter we Received:

(3/19/03) To The Prayer Foundation ,

It looks like this country is going to go to war.  I'm curious...are you and the other monks out there as scared as I am?
 
I used to want to live in the Washington D.C. area because it was
strategic.  Now with all this talk about war and terrorist attacks
I wish I was on a little farm in Iowa somewhere.
Adrienne (Washington, D.C.)

______________________________________________

Monk Preston's Reply:

In time of war, our Lord Jesus and God's Word, especially Psalm 34, Offer Hope

Psalm 34: The Lord Helps Us in Times of Trouble

     Psalm 34, a Psalm that tells us that the Lord helps us in times of trouble, seems to be written just for you and me and many others in this time of war and terrorism.  

     The third Chapter of Daniel also seems very relevant today.  It's the chapter about King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (modern-day Iraq) three Jewish captives (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), a pagan idol, and a fiery furnace.  

Satan Is In Iowa, Also

     By God's grace we here are not scared, but then, compared to where you are, perhaps Portland, Oregon is somewhat more equivalent to a little farm in Iowa.  (I actually spent childhood summers at my Uncle's Dairy Farm outside of Strawberry point, Iowa.  One year a neighbor poisoned their wonderful black Collie named "Prince."  Satan is in Iowa, also.)  However, we also must remember that six of the 9/11 affiliated terrorists had been living in Portland, Oregon.

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (I Peter 5:8,9)

Perfect Love Casts Out Fear

Of course, each of us has his or her own reaction to all of these things.  As a monastic prayer group, we just feel that we need to pray for God's Will to be done in all aspects of it.  

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment .  He that fears is not made perfect in love." (I John 4:18)  

     We do not have perfect love, but our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ does.  

God is Able to Protect us From All Harm, but if He Does Not, We Will Still Serve Him

     (Note: The following passages of Scripture from the third Chapter of the Book of Daniel came to mind because of their spiritual teaching: that we serve God no matter what happens.  It is ironic that it includes Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, who, along with Joseph Stalin, is Saddam Hussein's hero.  The country once known as ancient Babylon, of course, is currently known today by the name of Iraq.  

     Thousands of years ago in Babylon, three Jewish captives named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were commanded by King Nebuchadnezzar to either bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's pagan Idol, or be thrown into a fiery furnace and be burned to death.  They replied:

"If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O King.  But if not, be it known to you, O King, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up."                  (Daniel 3:17,18)

     That is, God is able to protect us from all harm, but if He does not, we will still serve Him.

I See Four Men Loose, Walking in the Midst of the Fire, and They Have No Hurt; and the Form of the Fourth is Like the Son of God

     Of course, the Bible goes on to say that Nebuchadnezzar went into a rage, had the furnace heated seven times hotter, and had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thrown into the fire.  

"Then Nebuchadnezzar the King was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke to his counselors, 'Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?'  They answered and said unto the King, 'True, O King.'  He answered and said, 'Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.'" (Daniel 3:24,25)

Many Are the Afflictions of the Righteous: but the Lord Delivers Him Out of Them All

    Other verses of Scripture (in Psalm 34 and elsewhere) also teach that God will help us in our times of trouble:

"This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles." (Psalm 34:6)

"The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.  The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near unto them that are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivers him out of them all." (Psalm 34:15-19)

Go to Jesus

     Fear is a normal human reaction.  What does God tell us to do when we have fears?  God's Word, the Bible, has one message throughout: go to Jesus.

"Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you." (I Peter 5:7)

"I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears." (Psalm 34:4)                 __________________________________________________

(I recommend that you take some time out now to go to your Bible and read the entirety of Psalm 34 and Daniel Chapter 3.  Both together are only about 1 1/2 pages long.  You'll be blessed!) ___________________________________________________

See Also:

___________________________________________________

Copyright 2003 S.G.P. All rights reserved. 

Photo: a lone monk of The Prayer Foundation in a wooded area.