Dec
06

Jehovah-Magen (God is our Shield) by Randy Rowley 12/5/17 ©

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As every sportsman and shooter knows, hunting, fishing and shooting can be hazardous to our health. Almost all of us have experienced scratches, cuts, scrapes, punctures, bruises and burns while participating in our favorite pastimes. Fortunately, fewer of us have broken bones or experienced other injuries that required ER visits while doing what we love. And even fewer of us have almost met our maker while pursuing our passions. Perhaps it’s because I hunt, fish and shoot more often than most sportsmen do or perhaps I’m just in the wrong place at the wrong time, but I’ve experienced what could have resulted in serious injuries or death on more than my fair share of occasions.

The first situation occurred when I worked at the YMCA while in college. During summer break, I took a group of youth to a Y property near Buffalo Gap along with a couple shotguns, some shells, a clay target thrower and a box of clays. I spent the first few minutes thoroughly explaining the fundamentals of gun safety and shooting. Then we started shooting. Everything was going fine. The kids were hitting enough targets to make them happy and there were no mechanical problems with either gun. Then the unexpected happened. A young lady took her turn at the firing line. She said, “Pull” and I let a clay fly. But the gun didn’t go “Boom.” Suddenly, she swung 180 degrees with the gun pointed right at my stomach saying, “It didn’t fire.” Fortunately, she had neglected to take the safety off but if it had been a hang fire I might not be here to tell the story.

The next potential deadly situation occurred on the way to Somerville Lake for a November duck hunt. At around 3:30 AM Tim Price, Ken Miller and I were heading south on Highway 79 between Thorndale and Rockdale. I saw that a fast moving vehicle was about to merge onto the highway. I slowed down and moved to the left lane to give them the right lane. Then things happened very quickly. The vehicle (a big truck – the size of a F250 or F350) was going way too fast to merge onto the highway. He hit his brakes, fishtailed, looked like he might flip, smashed into the concrete dividing wall, bounced off and headed back towards me. My truck and boat missed him by inches. If we had been there a second earlier he would have creamed us between him and the wall.

The next potential near death experience occurred on the way to Lake Fayette for a July bass fishing trip. About 5:30 AM I stopped at the stop sign at Hwy 71 and Hwy 159. I looked both ways, saw that no one was coming, and took a left turn onto 159. As I made the turn a truck whizzed by the Peterson’s and me, missing us by inches. It was pitch black and he did not have his headlights on. If I had pulled out a second earlier it probably would have been Adiós Amigos.

The hopefully last potentially deadly experience occurred on a December duck hunt on Granger Lake with Ryan Rowley, Ken Miller and Binh Chu. Three teal came in to the right side of the dekes. I got a shot off but when I squeezed the trigger for a follow-up shot nothing happened. Also, the shot didn’t sound right; sounding like “Puff” rather than “Boom.” I looked at my gun and saw that the fired shell had failed to eject. Not only that but the brass of the shell had split and the plastic was folded in on itself. It was crumpled up. It took a couple minutes but I got it out of the breech. I then had the foresight to check my barrel. As I suspected, it was plugged with the wad. And it was stuck like Chuck. (I had soaked the brass end of the shell in solvent to get the rust off; the solvent must have leaked into the powder). I used my cleaning rod that I kept in my blind bag and tried to push it out, to no avail. Later at home I unscrewed the head off of my fireplace poker and after about 10 tries finally knocked it out. If I had chambered another round and then shot the gun with that wad stuck in the barrel, it could have ended very badly for me.

One of the things that the people who go hunting and fishing with me always do on our early morning duck hunts or fishing trips is to stop by Whataburger on the way to whichever lake we’re going to. And we always say a prayer of thanksgiving for the food and ask for protection while we travel and hunt or fish. I’m firmly convinced that God answered our prayers for the above hunts and fishing trip.

Genesis 15:1 states, “After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” This aspect of God’s character is known as Jehovah-Magen – God is our shield and protector. Jehovah-Magen protected us on those trips.

As scary as my experiences might be to some, they pale in comparison to what Paul went through to spread the Good News. He stated in 2 Corinthians 11:24-26, “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.”

Paul could have easily died from the lashes, beatings, stoning, shipwrecks, and other dangers, but God protected him and did not take him to Glory because Paul had not yet accomplished all that God had set out for him to do.

As Christians, we will face trials that can range from stressful to dreadful. Jesus promised his disciples that they would experience troubles in John 16:33. He said, ““I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”” But these trials can be fruitful and bring glory to God, if we deal with them with the right attitude.

If we look at trials from the perspective of the natural man, we’ll become anxious and fearful and will think that life is unfair and God has abandoned us, like Job did when he experienced his great trials. But if we see the hand of God in all of our circumstances, then we can rest in his perfect peace, knowing that he will work all things together for good. Paul told the Roman Christians in Romans 8:28 (NASB), “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

The Psalms have a lot to say about God’s protection, but the foremost is Psalm 91, especially verses 3-4, 9-12 and 14-15 (NLT), which state, “For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them.””

So if you find yourself like I did, with the business end of a 12 gauge pointed at you, or a second from death on a highway, or with the possibility of your shotgun blowing up in your face or something similar, remember that God will protect His servants and use the circumstances to work together for good, according to his purpose. And how well he will be able to use us depends in large part on how we respond.

Categories : Bible Studies

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