Proverbs 24:11-12 God Guards Your Life

Proverbs 24:11-12

Sermon preached on August 26, 2018 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

When I was dating Marg on one of my trips to see her I was offered a drive by an older friend. I think he had just started a teaching job and his girlfriend went to the same university as Marg. His father had just bought a new car and had given him his old one. So late Friday afternoon we started out on the 250 mile trip. The last part of our route took us on an old, windy country road. We were both in a hurry to get to see our girlfriends, so he was driving a little fast, not recklessly or anything, but I remember it seemed to be fun going around all the turns with a little more speed than normal. I remember one sharp turn that was particularly bad. Right after that turn we came into a little straight section of the road where there was an old gas station and a few houses. There was a speed zone, I think it was 30 or 40 miles an hour. So he slowed down to the speed limit and just when we got on the section where the road straightened out we heard a big bang. He lost control of the car and it went sliding off the road, just missing a big concrete or steel post of the gas station sign and then slowly came to a stop in a cleared area without us hitting anything. Neither one of us was hurt. One of the axles on his car broke, just snapped in two. It was no wonder he couldn't control the car.

If that axle had broken going around any of those tight turns at the speed we were going we would have been in a ditch or into some trees. It could have been very bad. Even where it happened it was scary. I still have the picture in my mind of us sliding and just missing that big gas station post. God protected us that night.

Our text says that God guards your life. Literally the writer says that God watches or keeps your 'soul'. But that Hebrew word has a wide range of meanings and here it can encompass many of them. God guards your actual life, He guards the events that happen in your life, He also guards your soul.

The fact that God guards your life is a wonderful concept that has great practical applications. One the one hand it can be a great comfort to Christians. On the other hand it's also a great encouragement to live a life that's pleasing to God. And for those who aren't Christians, it's an incentive to go to Jesus so that your soul will be safe.

So let's look at this concept.

First of all,

God guards your life.

This is a concept that we see throughout Scripture. For example, Psalm 121 says,

"I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over
your coming and going
both now and forevermore."

Psalm 23 tells us that the Lord is our Shepherd. In John 10 Jesus told us that He is the Good Shepherd and that He loves us so much that He would lay down His life for us. In Hebrews 13 God promises us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. In Psalm 27 the Psalmist said,

"The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident."

He ended the psalm with this encouragement for the people of God, (verse 14)

"Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord."

Why did he say that? Because God guards His people.

Do you know how many times in the Bible God tells His people not to be afraid? It's ubiquitous. In Psalm 46 we read,

"God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
though the earth give way
and the mountains fall
into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake
with their surging.
There is a river whose streams
make glad the city of God,
the holy place where
the Most High dwells.
God is within her,
she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar,
kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice,
the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see the works of the Lord,
the desolations he has brought
on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow
and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with fire.'
Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.'
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.  

In Isaiah 43 God says,

"But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
'Fear not,
for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord,
your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
your Savior…
Since you are precious and honored
in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for you,
and people in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid,
for I am with you;' "

I could go on and on. But the truth is that it is a great truth that God guards the lives of His people. He is with them every moment, watching over them. He protects, guides, saves, and rescues.

In one of the chapters of his great book,
The Mystery of Providence, the Puritan John Flavel undertook to prove,

"the great truth that the affairs of the saints in this world are certainly conducted by the wisdom and care of special Providence."

What a masterful job he did. He was able to do that because there is an overwhelming abundance of Scripture verses and passages that prove his point. Christian, God guards your life. Elsewhere Flavel says that God's providential care is universal,

"in and upon all the concerns and interests of the saints. It not only has its hand in this or that, but in all that concerns them. It has its eye upon every thing that relates to them throughout their lives, from first to last. Not only the great and more important, but the most minute and ordinary affairs of our lives are transacted and managed by it. It touches all things that touch us, whether more nearly or remotely."

God guards the lives of His people in many ways. One way that God guards your life is that at times He will prosper you. We see this in the life of Joseph. Genesis 39:2–3 tells us,

"The LORD was with Joseph
so that he prospered,
and he lived in the house
of his Egyptian master.
When his master saw that the LORD
was with him and that the LORD
gave him success in everything he did…"

Sometimes God guards the lives of his servants from harm by giving them peace. In 1 Chronicles 22:9 God said to David about his future son, Solomon,

"But you will have a son
who will be a man of peace and rest,
and I will give him rest
from all his enemies on every side."

And Proverbs 16:7 adds,

"When a man's ways
are pleasing to the LORD,
he makes even his enemies
live at peace with him."

Sometimes God guards his people by warning others not to harm them and keeping them from doing so. In Genesis 31:29 Laban said to Jacob,

"I have the power to harm you;
but last night the God
of your father said to me,
'Be careful not to say anything to Jacob,
either good or bad.' "

Laban thought he had power to harm Jacob but he really didn't. God prevented that.

Actually saving the lives of His people is another way God guards them. Esther and Mordecai were saved from death at the hands of evil Haman by Esther's intervention. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were protected even while they were in the fiery furnace. God's angel in the lion's den closed the mouths of the lions and saved Daniel. Herod had Peter arrested and put in prison. He was intending to execute him. But God sent His angel and delivered Peter from prison.

God guards the lives, the souls of His people.

The second great principle we see in our text is that

if you ignore evil, God will stop guarding your life.

We have to be careful here. In a certain sense God never stops guarding the souls of His people. Even when we go astray Jesus is still the Good Shepherd. He goes and finds the sheep that goes astray. In John 10 Jesus said that He gives His people eternal life and they will never perish. God never stops guarding the souls of His elect.

Some professing Christians sin and persist in it and thereby prove they never were in Christ. They perish. They will be among the ones on the last day who will hear Jesus say to them, (Matthew 7:23)

"I never knew you.
Away from me, you evildoers!"

Some Christians sin and suffer greatly because of it, because, to a certain extent, God stops guarding their lives. We see this with King David. Because of his adultery with Bathsheba and his having Uriah killed, Nathan the prophet said to him, (2 Samuel 12:10)

"the sword will never depart
from your house,
because you despised me and took
the wife of Uriah the Hittite
to be your own."

In a certain sense God stopped protecting David's life, not that he would be killed, but that his life would be filled with trouble, with even Absalom his son seeking to destroy him.

In Acts 5, when Ananias and Sapphira sinned by lying to the Holy Spirit, God struck them dead. He took their lives away. He punished their sin by killing them. There are two possibilities with them. It could be that they weren't really believers in Jesus and they not only were killed, but they perished eternally. Or they could have been true believers who were killed, but whose souls were saved. We don't know for sure.

We see the same thing in 1 Corinthians 11 where some Christians abused the Lord's supper and God put some of them to death. Their sin was so bad that they forfeited their lives. In that same chapter we read of others who were inflicted by sickness. They didn't die, but God punished their sin by allowing them to become sick.

What does all this mean for us?

First for Christians, it is a great comfort.

God guards your life. You are living your life in the hand of God.

This doesn't mean that nothing bad is going to happen to you. Jesus told us not to fear those who can kill the body and do no more. (Matthew 10:28) But it does mean that whatever you go through, Jesus will be with you to help you and get you through it. In that same chapter Jesus told us that the very hairs of your head are all numbered. He also said, (Matthew 10:29,31)

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?
Yet not one of them will fall
to the ground apart from
the will of your Father."

"So don't be afraid;
you are worth more
than many sparrows."

Isaiah 40:11 says of Jesus,

"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;"

That's what we have in Jesus.

Secondly, for Christians, this is

a great incentive not to sin, to stand up against the evil in our society.

Our text is in the context of standing up to evil, standing up to injustice. It says,

"Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering
toward slaughter.
If you say,
'But we knew nothing about this',
does not he
who weighs the heart perceive it?"

Our society has both evil and injustice in abundance. Abortion. What an evil. Our society tries to hide it to hide the horrors that it involves. Have you heard about the videos and pictures they're trying to suppress? They speak about it in terms of a woman's right to choose. They don't want to speak about 'killing unborn babies'. The number of legal abortions in our country since 1973 is somewhere around 60 million. Do you just accept it? Rescue those being led away to death.

Tremper Longman III quote Murphy who says, , Proverbs, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms; ed. Tremper Longman III; p. 438)

"cowardice in the face of injustice is reprehensible,"

Eli and his family were punished because Eli ignored the sins of his sons. God said, (1 Samuel 3:13–14)

"For I told him that I would judge
his family forever
because of the sin he knew about;
his sons made themselves contemptible,
and he failed to restrain them.
Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli,
'The guilt of Eli's house
will never be atoned for
by sacrifice or offering."

Bruce K. Waltke sums up our passage this way, (The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15–31, NICOT; p.278)

"In sum, the omnscient and omnipotent Sovereign will act justly, unlike the passive coward. If the son turns a blind eye to helping victims and does nothing to help them, the Protector of Life will turn a blind eye to him in his crisis. Count on it!"

Lastly, if you're not a Christian, you should

know that no one is guarding your life nor your soul.

The only thing between you and eternal punishment is…?

What is the answer to that?

The only thing between you and eternal punishment is…nothing. Or you could say, The only thing between you and eternal punishment is…time.

You're hurtling, faster and faster, toward hell with nothing to stop you. The only one that can save you is Jesus. Call out to Him to save you. Do it now.