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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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ARE YOU COVERED?

In recent months, several natural and unnatural calamities have struck our country and community. Terrorists destroy buildings and lives; planes fall from the sky; evil people have given "hate mail" a new meaning. Periodically, hurricanes "huff, and puff, and blow our East Coast houses down" and earthquakes "shake, rattle, and roll" our, West Coast structures. A little closer to home, fires often destroy neighborhood houses, storms "leave us in the dark," and auto accidents injure those we know.

Usually, upon finding out that no one was injured, we immediately ask "Were they covered?" We are interested in whether victims had insurance and sympathize the more with those who did not. It multiplies the sorrow of misfortune if there is no "starting over" check.

Insurance companies provide a valuable service and most of us have been wisely counseled by informed agents. They always advise to "take out some coverage, you never know when you might need it." Though we do not like to pay the premiums, most of us realize that the potential benefits are worth the price to be "covered." We often advise our children to take out a policy "just in case."

There is a spiritual angle to the "insurance business."

GOD IS IN THE INSURANCE BUSINESS.

There is a sense in which God is in the insurance business. He promised Moses that He would "cover" him as He passed by (Ex. 33:22) and Moses promised the tribe ofBenjamin. the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders" (Deut. 33:12). In a beautiful word picture, the Psalmist describes God's protection: "Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust:  his truth shall be thy shield and buckler" (Psa. 91:3,4).

From His vantage point, God can see an impending disaster worse than any hurricane or earthquake. It will not destroy just one town but the whole earth (2 Pet. 3:10). It will not involve only a few thousand people, but all the people of the whole earth (2 Cor. 5: 10). God is providing coverage for those willing to "pay the premiums" (Lk. 14:28-33) so that we can "rebuild" in a better place (Heb. 11: 10).

CHRISTIANS ARE INSURANCE AGENTS.

If God is in the insurance business, then we are His agents. We seek to "cover" our friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, fellow citizens, and, actually, all our "brothers come down from Adam." Love motivates us. Gratitude sends us. When Noah was uncovered in his tent, Shem and Japheth took a garment and went backwards to cover their

father's shame (Gen. 9:23). They did what love always does-cover the shame of sinners. The Bible teaches us to do just that: "Hatred stirreth up strifes; but love covereth all sins" (Prov. 10: 12).  "A fool's wrath is presently known; but a prudent man covered shame" (Prov. 12:16).

"He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends" (Prov. 17:9).

"And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins" (I Pet. 4:8).

Love does not "sweep sin under the rug." In younger days, our older brothers or buddies from school occasionally pressed us to "cover for them" to keep them from the wrath of parents or teachers. It never worked. The truth came out and then we looked as bad as they did. Sin is like a rubber tire-it won't stay buried  (Num. 32:23; 1 Tim. 5:24,25). So, then, what does it mean to that "love covereth all sins?" We- cover sins by assisting -sinners in getting rid of them. James wrote: "Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" (5:20).

ARE YOU COVERED?

It does no good to cover one's sins so that others do not know  of them. Children may hide things from their parents; husbands and wives may hide things from each other; and, workers may hide things from their employers, but no one hides anything from God (Heb. 4:13). "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).

The only way to cover one's sins is to have them erased from the mind of God (Heb. 8:12). For sinners this is done through faith in His Son (Jn. 3:16), repentance (turning from sinful behavior) (Lk. 13:3), confession of faith (Rm.  10:9,10), and immersion in water to have sins blotted out (Acts 2:38). For erring Christians, sins are covered by repentance, confession, and prayer (Acts 8:22).

"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered" (Psa. 32: 1).

Alan Webster
Jacksonville church of Christ
Jacksonville, AL