‘Nothing shall by any means hurt you.’—Luke X. 19.
IS not this one of those very strong promises which we are apt to think are worded a little too strongly, and off which we ‘ take a great discount’? Now, instead of daring a ‘Yea, hath God said ‘ ?l let us just take all the comfort and rest and gladness of it for ourselves. Let us believe every word, just as our beloved Master uttered it to the simplehearted seventy who were so surprised to find His name so much more powerful than they expected.
Nothing! If He said ‘nothing,’ have we any right to add, ‘Yes, but except . . . ‘? Nothing can hurt those who are joined to Christ, ‘for with me thou shalt be in safeguard,’2 unless anything could be found which should separate us from Him. And ‘who shall separate us ?’3 Earthly tribulations, even the most terrible, shall not do it, for ‘in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.’ * Yet a farther reaching and,
1 Gen. iii. i. 2 j Sam. xxii. 23.
3 Rom. viii. 35. * Rom. viii, 37.
indeed, entirely exhaustive list is given, none of which, ‘nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us.’ Let us take everything that possibly could hurt us to that list, and see for ourselves if it is not included, and then rejoice in the conclusion, based and built upon Christ’s bare word, but buttressed and battlemented by this splendid utterance of His inspired apostle that it is indeed so—’ nothing shall by any means hurt you.’
But He who knows our little faith never gives an isolated promise. He leaves us no chance of overlooking or misunderstanding any one, except by wilful neglect, because it is always confirmed in other parts of His word. So He has given the same strong consolation in other terms. ‘The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil’ (do you believe that?’). ‘There shall no evil happen to the just.’1 ‘In seven (troubles) there shall no evil touch thee.” Then see how He individualized it to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, even in the burning fiery furnace, ‘They have no hurt;’ to Daniel among the lions, ‘They have not hurt me ;’ to St. Paul among turbulent men with a care-nought governor, ‘No man shall set on thee to hurt thee.’3 We are not likely to be more exposed to ‘ hurt’ than these, and we have the same God, ‘who keepeth His promise for ever.’* He is the ‘wall of fire round about5 us; and what fortification so impenetrable— nay, so unapproachable! And ‘He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of His eye’6—the very least touch is felt by the Lord, who loves us and is mighty to save! Well may He say, ‘And who is he that will harm you?’
1 Prov. xii. 21. 2 Job v. 19. 3 Acts xviii. 10.
4 Ps. cxlvi. 6. 5 Zech. ii. 5. 6 Zech. ii. 8.
‘Nothing shall by any means hurt you,’ for ‘ no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; u man’s curse shall be turned into God’s blessing. Jehovah Himself, watering His vineyard every moment, says: ‘Lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.’2 Again, the promise, with a solemn condition, takes an even stronger form: ‘Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing.’3
Is not all this enough? It might well be, but His wonderful love has yet more to say—not only that nothing shall hurt us, but that all things work together for our good ;* not merely shall work, but actually are working. All things, if it means all things, must include exactly those very things, whatever they may be, which you and I are tempted to think will hurt us, or, at least, may hurt us. Now will we this evening trust our own ideas, or Christ’s word? One or other must be mistaken. Which is it? Christ, my own Master, my Lord and my God, has given a promise which meets every fear; therefore, ‘I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for Thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in safety,’5 and ‘ nothing shall by any means hurt ‘ me.
1 Isa. liv. 17, 2 Isa. xxvii. 3. ^ Eccles. viii. 5.
4 Rom. viii. 28. 5 Ps. iv. 8.