“May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.” Psalm 20:1
“…the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3
I don’t think there could be a better time to talk about “PPE” than the state the world is in under the coronavirus, COVID-19. To begin, let’s break it down. PPE stands for “Personal Protective Equipment.” Also implied is that only the “Proper” PPE is effective, so we add this important distinction, (P)PPE.
Proper: “Correct; just; fit; suitable…A thin dress is not proper for clothing in a cold climate.” Webster’s 1828
Personal: “Relating to an individual; affecting individuals.” Webster’s 1828
Protect: “To cover or shield from danger or injury; to defend; to guard; to preserve in safety” Webster’s 1828
Equipment: “the set of articles or physical resources serving to equip a person or thing” Merriam-Webster
What then is (P)PPE? “Resources, correct and suitable, to shield, defend and guard an individual from danger preserving their safety.”
PPE is not new to our family. Having both a Registered Nurse and a Cell & Molecular biologist in the family has made the term quite commonplace. As a matter of fact, if I even so much as think of grabbing a saw without also grabbing safety glasses, look out! My wife, an RN for 30+ years, received her license when another frightening transferable disease popped onto the scene… HIV/Aids. Every day she puts herself at risk to this and many other “communicable diseases.” What stands between her and them? PPE!
What I want to talk to you about today, however, is an impenetrable PPE. A PPE not of this world but of a world “higher.” But just like the PPE just discussed, you must “know” what it is in order to benefit from its protection.
“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know (yâda‛) Your name trust in You, for You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:9,10
“Because he loves Me, I will deliver him; because he knows (yâda‛) My name, I will protect him.” Psalm 91:14
yâda‛ yaw-dah’ “to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), be aware, [un-] awares, comprehend, consider, familiar friend, kinsfolk, kinsman, (cause to, let, make) know, (come to give, have, take) knowledge, have [knowledge], (be, make, make to be, make self) known.” (Strong’s)
This seems like a good time to add a little clarity to what “to know” means in application, e.g. to “know God’s name.” From the time when God had Moses document His words through at least the time when Christ and the Apostles make the reference, a person’s Name is intrinsically connected to their Character. So, when the Manual uses this wording, as we have just referenced, it is saying, “Those who know Your Character trust in You” or “because he knows My Character, I will protect him.”
The original Greek and Hebrew say to “know” God’s name is not to simply “be aware” of the name God, but to “comprehend” its meaning. To truly know God’s name we must “consider” all that He says He is. To know His name is to become so “familiar” with Him that we become “friends” even “kinsfolk” (means: family). So, to “know” God’s name is to stand Confident in the Truth that He Exists exactly as He says He Exists.
Let’s tie what we have learned from Psalm 91, “Because he loves me…because he knows My name…,” together with what Christ says in John 14:23: “Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.’” Sounds like kinsman to me! Any P.O.C. reader knows by now that to “Love” God is to keep His commandments, to obey. Now we know that to “Know” God’s name is to believe in and trust in His Character, resulting in loving obedience to His commands.
Only in this place of Loving God and Knowing His name will we be part of His family, find His protection, acquire His PPE.
“Because he loves Me, I will deliver him; because he knows My name, I will protect (śâgab) him.” Psalm 91:14
We looked up how Webster defined Protect, but how is it defined in the Manual?
Protect: śâgab saw-gab’ “A primitive root; to be (causatively make) lofty, especially inaccessible; by implication safe, strong; used literally and figuratively: – defend, exalt, be excellent, (be, set on) high, lofty, be safe, set up (on high), be too strong.”
Many translations don’t actually use the word Protect, but instead, “set on high,” and from Strong’s we see why. God’s Protection is not limited by this Physical world. When God Protects us, He “defends” us, keeps us “safe,” by lifting us, or “setting” us “high” above the forces of this world, “safely” of and in the Spiritual world. In this sheepfold we are “especially inaccessible” to the attacks of the Adversary and the dangers of the Physical world.
Now that we understand the superiority of God’s PPE, let’s get a little instruction from Christ Himself.
John 17 “Jesus… lifted up His eyes to heaven and said…”
Christ the Son looked up to the Father in prayer saying, “Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent… I have revealed Your name to those You have given Me out of the world… they know that everything You have given Me comes from You… They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.”
“I ask on their behalf. I do not ask on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those You have given Me; for they are Yours… Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one. While I was with them, I protected and preserved them by Your name, the name You gave Me. Not one of them has been lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.”
“I have given them Your word and the world has hated them; for they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not asking that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one… Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth… For them I sanctify Myself, so that they too may be sanctified by the truth.”
“Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, although the world has not known You, I know You, and they know that You sent Me. And I have made Your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love You have for Me may be in them, and I in them.” (v:1,3,6-8,9,11,12,14,15,17,19,24-26)
We know, and Christ confirms, that to Know God is to confidently stand “…strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) Let’s look at the first two pieces of PPE Christ refers to: Truth and God’s Word. “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (v:14) “and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (v:17) While Paul separates these by a couple of verses, together they are our most powerful PPE. The “Belt” supports and carries the “Sword,” keeping it ever ready and at hand to Protect us. Vocab-Refresh, Truth, alétheia, or “Divine Truth, Reality. So, our first piece of PPE is God’s Divine Truth. As we have discussed before, this Truth is communicated to us through the Manual (His Word) and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, i.e. our second PPE, The Sword. Now, with the Belt of Truth around our waste and the Sword of the Spirit in one hand, we hold our next PPE in our other hand, our third PPE: the “Shield of Faith” (v:16). Our Shield, a Confident Walk in our first two PPE, Truth and the Spirit of God. Holding this PPE out in front of us Protects us from all the Adversary can throw at us, “all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (v:16)
But how can we stand strong if our feet are vulnerable? I had a friend who was in the marines. He was known to lecture on the vital importance of his boots. Yes, his boots. In short, he was taught, as gently as marines are, that his boots could mean his survival or the first step (pun intended) to his death. If he kept his boots clean, sealed, and dry he could march into battle strong. If, on the other hand, his feet got wet, his feet would shrivel, crack, and blister allowing infection to set in and, eventually, gangrene. A soldier without good boots would lose the battle and likely his life. Which brings us to our next PPE: “…feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace.” (v:15) The KJV offers some important clarity, it uses “…shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Preparation: “The act or operation of preparing or fitting for a particular purpose, Previous measures of adaptation.” (Webster’s 1828) So, like my friend, we are not to ignore or neglect our boots, only acknowledging their value as we throw them on on the way out the door to battle. We are to care for, know, and adapt them for that very purpose. Through the “Gospel of Peace” “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27), we stand strong with Proper PPE on our feet and we are not afraid. (see: Where Do You Live?)
The last two pieces of PPE, like the Belt and the Sword, are also tied together: “The Breastplate of Righteousness” (v:14) and the “Helmet of Salvation” (v:17). This PPE Protects our most vital and our weakest points, our Hearts and our Minds. We discussed both in The “Salvation” Myth. Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might have a way to be “made Righteous.” (Romans 10:10) “…with your heart you believe and are justified (made righteous), and with your mouth you confess and are saved.” As sons and daughters of Adam, we cannot satisfy what the Law demands. Christ, having been born a Man yet never breaking the Law, fulfilled the Law. Then, unstained, only He was worthy to stand in, or as Hebrews 7:22 says, to be a “surety” for us. (surety- “one who is recognized to answer for another… to pay their debt.”) “God presented Him (Christ) as an atoning sacrifice…” (Romans 3:25) to bring us from “death to life” (John 5:24). It is through Christ that we are given the Breastplate of Righteousness. Then this PPE, which is Christ, Protects our Hearts (New Spiritual Self) from the trials and temptations of the Adversary. Only after having accepted and put on this PPE do we receive the Promise, the final PPE: the Helmet of Salvation.
This final PPE is “guaranteed” impenetrable. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10:28,29) As long as we maintain and wear the Full Armor of God, His Helmet is securely fitted upon our head. But, like any PPE, we can choose to throw it off and, with it, our safety and our Salvation. “Therefore, beloved, since you already know these things, be on your guard so that you will not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure standing.” (2 Peter 3:17) “…fall from our secure standing” means “throw your Helmet away.”
Interesting note: The order in which the Armor is put on. First, we must accept the Belt of Truth. Next, we study the Gospel of Peace, lacing up our boots. In so doing we Embrace the Offer and Sacrifice Christ made on our behalf through which we put on the Breastplate of (His) Righteousness. As we walk in the Truth and Peace as defined, we hold up the Shield of Faith. Then, as Christ went to sit at the right hand of God and “sent back the Holy Spirit to teach us and protect us,” we now hold our one offensive weapon, The Sword of The Spirit. (John 14:16) Now, all suited up and able to withstand the Adversary’s attacks, we put on the Helmet of Salvation awaiting the day when He will exchange it all for a Garment of Light (Christ, the Light of the Temple, Revelation 21:23, Daniel 7:27, Luke 21:27,28, Mark 13:26,27).
So, there you have it. Your complete and Proper Personal Protective Equipment. “Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness arrayed, and with your feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
© Scott A Caughel 5/5/2020