Psalm 91 is among one of those feel-good psalms. I remember my parents reciting them with us by heart in my childhood each time we’re facing some panic. It makes you feel real good. It has the exact opposite effect on our minds when compared to someone’s cursing words.
It’s a very beautiful psalm. I think that if you have any worries of some kind, just reading or hearing would put all of your worries at bay mentally.
However beautiful Psalm 91 sounds, regardless of how much we would love for the words of this Psalm to be applicable to us today, reality speaks something different.
Satan once quoted this Psalm to Jesus in trying to lure Jesus into throwing himself down a cliff with the assurance that these words provide, “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91:12)
Satan knows that these written words concern the Son of God, Jesus. But the issue is that the timing for the angels to come and assist Jesus wasn’t at Satan’s demand or advising, but at God’s command following the burial of Jesus to bring forth Jesus’s resurrection. Timing is key here. Satan was trying to rush Jesus into doing something outside of its timing, God’s timing.
Going back to the Psalm itself, we worship the words of this Psalm because nobody, I mean nobody wants to have anything to do with contagious diseases, and everyone wants protection from any sort of harm.
The Psalm, however, depicts a conference between the Spirit, the Son, and the Father:
The Holy Spirit: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Jesus, the Son of God: I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
The Holy Spirit to Jesus: “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”
The Holy Spirit to Jesus:” If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”
God the Father, concerning Jesus: ““Because he loves me,” , “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91 satisfies us even when it doesn’t apply to us physically. Jesus is the one and only person to have ever walked this earth and not suffer any contagious diseases as far as we know. The Bible bears no record of Jesus undergoing any type of fever or infection at any moment in his lifetime simply because such never happens for him. But for us, we’ve been through sickness and illnesses even before we were born.
The assurance we have today is not the one found in Psalm 91 because such only belongs to Jesus.
The assurance we have today instead is this:
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
Do we not face death all day long? Can you identify the countless ways death comes? Yet, our hope is not to be from the preservation of this body we have, but from its regeneration.
As one who was shown grace once said,
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:1-7)
The assurance we have today is not the one found in Psalm 91 because such only belongs to Jesus who lives in us by the presence of the Holy Spirit within.
We may get sick with a virus here and there. We may get into car crashes here and there. We may die however death comes. Since Christ has the key, we will have known that it was at his command and to our benefit.
As the Spirit once said through Isaiah:
“The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” (Isaiah 57:1-2)
Jesus once said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26)
Whoever lives by believing in Jesus will never be found without what hope leads to. He or she will never be found without what faith allows him or her to be assured of. He or she will will never be found without eternal life.
Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life.” (John 6:47)
The Holy Spirit dwelling within is our deposit.
“Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Corinthians 5:5)
What is to come is a new body to never ill again, to never die again. At the proper time, we’ll have to be unclothed with this dying body, to be clothed with the new and better body.