Reading the Word
Psalm 91:5–13 (ESV)
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— 10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Understanding and Applying the Word
The words of these verses can be, and have been, misunderstood. If we do not read them carefully we may think that they teach us that nothing bad will ever happen to the people of God. This is how Satan tried to deceive Christ when he quoted verses 11-12 (cf. Matthew 4:5-6). This is how Satan has always tried to deceive mankind.
In the garden of Eden, Satan deceived the woman and the man by convincing them that God was not good. God was holding something good back from them (i.e. wisdom). The first man and woman fell for it and ate of the tree that was forbidden. Likewise, we are often tempted to believe that if God is good then nothing bad should ever happen to his good people. We might ask, “If God is good why do bad things happen to good or innocent people?” After all, the verses of this psalm teach that evil is reserved for the enemies of God, right?
Well, not really. As we will read tomorrow, in verse 15 God promises to be with his people in the time of trouble and to rescue them. These verses do not promise freedom from trouble, only that God will be with us in those times and will ultimately deliver us. For some, that might mean he will heal our sickness. For others, he may give us victory over our enemies. But for many, it will mean that our victory does not come in this life, but in the next. God promises us that he will give us the ultimate victory. We will be victorious over sin and death because of what he has done for us through his Son, Jesus Christ. We will have eternal life and the joy of eternity with God as our Father. Nothing in this world can ever take that away!
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