Our “Preventer” God
Talking about the different names of God is ‘old school’ because it’s Old Testament. Unless the preacher is pulling out a story to make a point, we don’t hear many pure theology sermons these days… at least not in seeker church. That’s not criticism - it’s just a fact.
Dan DeHaan was a mentor to Andy Stanley when he was young. Dan’s book, The God You Can Know, goes deep on the names of God and what they tell us about Him. He says, “The names of God are not names men have chosen about Him. They are names given to us by God about Himself.” “Elohim”- God, the Lord mighty and powerful. “El Shaddai”– God’s power is unlimited and personal. “Jehovah”- The self-existing, unchanging God. “Jehovah-Rapha”- God is our healer. “Jehovah- Shammah”- God is there… He is present always. There’s a long list, all taken directly from Scripture.
But there’s one that really strikes me… “Jehovah-Jireh”- God is our provider. DeHahn expands this to say that a part of providing is protecting. We’ve heard Psalm 28:7 where David names God, “Jehovah… my strength and my shield”. The Aramaic Bible translates, “Lord Jehovah is my helper and my protector, for my heart is confident in him and my flesh flourishes, and with glory I shall praise him.” Here’s what DeHaan says…
God has unchanging rules for us that are for our own good. He desires the best possible life for us, and that includes preventing us from doing certain things. God can restore a person who has fallen, but blessed is the person who has God as his preventer more than restorer.
On a group retreat a few years ago, we were talking about being broken. One of the guys said, “I want that! I want to be broken.” He didn’t mean it. None of us want to be broken. We want the humble heart of gratitude God creates in us through brokenness. We’re drawn to the transparent guy who lost his way, royally screwed up, turned to Jesus, was redeemed and restored, and now walks closely with God out of gratitude for His redemption and his new life in Christ. The church dude with the pithy testimony who never did anything worse than get a speeding ticket… well, his story isn’t usually all that interesting.
But that guy’s story is interesting if he’s astute enough to realize God has been his “preventer” God. That he’s been shielded from the people, situations, and temptations that bring failure. That he was given extraordinary parents, or grandparents, or ministers, or mentors… people God used to take care of him. That it’s been God’s prevention and protection, not his righteousness, that’s allowed him to avoid big-time sin and the need for restoration. He can choose gratitude. He can choose humility. He can choose to give God the credit for everything good that’s in him. Or he can stay silent and smug, looking down his nose at weaker men who didn’t keep it together and do the right thing.
There is nothing righteous in us apart from Jesus. If God has been your “restorer God,” thank Him and give Him all the credit. If He’s been your “preventer God,” do the same. Either way, it’s Him. It’s all Him.
Question: Have you thanked God for preventing sin in your life?
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