Theme: Where True Security Is Found
In this week’s lessons, we see the results that trusting in the Lord brings.
Scripture: Psalm 125:1-5
Early in this week’s study I mentioned Thomas Cahill and his study of the role of the Irish in preserving learning during the dark ages. I return to him here because of what he has to say about St. Patrick, the young Roman who brought Christianity to Ireland. Patrick had been captured in England by Irish pirates when he was only sixteen years old and had been put to work as a slave for an Irish chieftain. He escaped after six years, returned to his family, but was then called by God to return to Ireland as a missionary.
What a task Patrick faced! Behind him lay the collapsed wreck of Roman civilization. Before him were the fierce, wild natives of Ireland. Patrick had no outward security. He was in constant danger. But he persevered at his calling, dying at last at the age of seventy-six. In thirty years of active ministry, Patrick changed Ireland so thoroughly that, as Thomas Cahill reports in his study, “As the Roman lands went from peace to chaos, the land of Ireland was rushing even more rapidly from chaos to peace.”1 Patrick evangelized Ireland because, instead of viewing the collapse of his culture as an unmitigated tragedy, he seized it as an unprecedented opportunity to propagate Christ’s gospel.
Where did Patrick find stability in his turbulent times? It was in God and in Jesus Christ. Here is how he expresses it in one of the few surviving pieces of his writing, a prayer known as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate.”
I arise today through God’s strength to pilot me: God’s might to uphold me, God’s wisdom to guide me, God’s eye to look before me, God’s ear to hear me, God’s word to speak for me, God’s hand to guard me, God’s way to lie before me, God’s shield to protect me, God’s host to save me from snares of devils, from temptations of vices, from everyone who shall wish me ill….
Christ to shield me today against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, so that there may come to be abundance of reward. Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise…. I arise today through a mighty strength….2
That is true security, a security we need. But it is the same security that has been given to the people of God throughout the ages. The psalmist expressed it well when he said, “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”
1Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (New York: Doubleday, 1995), p. 124.
2Ibid., pp. 117-119.
Identify the example St. Patrick sets for us.
What reduced the chaos in Ireland, even as Roman civilization was collapsing? What can be done to reduce the chaos today?
Reflection: Do you rest upon Christ as St. Patrick did? How can you use St. Patrick’s prayer to help you in whatever difficulty you may be going through?
Prayer: Pray for the kind of trust needed to endure forever.
For Further Study: One application of enjoying the security and peace that only the Lord can give is living at peace with others. Download and listen for free to James Boice’s message, “Keeping the Peace.” (Discount will be applied at checkout.)