Today’s post seems to be a reinvention of every sermon, post, blog, article and quote circling us today. Any Believer whose been in this Christian life very long has been told to memorize Psalm 91 and recite it in the midst of trouble. I don’t dispute that for a second. However, I think those of us who were born and raised in a Christian home and stayed the course for a long time tend to take these familiar verses less seriously. Most people, believers and non-believers are quick to quote a PORTION of a verse they’ve heard. I’ve been learning that my favorite promise verses usually have a condition or request attached to them. If I memorized the verse, I tend to read through it quickly, throw out a quick, “yes, Lord, let it be!” We all want the “no plague” coming near our house.
We don’t the luxury today of hearing portions of what God says. We need to hear from God. We need to not only hear verse 1-8 but also verses 9-16. In this turmoil, I need to hear and heed His words. Psalm 91 is indeed a mainstay of promises from the Lord but a careful read will yield much more. There are promises and commands within the 16 verses:
Psalm 91 NLT
1Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Right off the bat, there’s a small stipulation: you must live in the shelter of the most high. and the shadow of the Almighty. We know God does not force himself on anyone, so immediately, before I can “find rest”, I’ve got to move close enough to God for His shadow to fall on me. Think about shadows. Think about how far from the solid object they cast their shadow. In order to be in that shadow and benefit from it, I’ve got to be close to God. That will preach for another 1500 words but I move on.
2This I declare about the LORD:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
No free verse here, I have to admit, these things about the Lord. And I have to let go of any trust that is not Him, alone. Then I have to declare that He is my God and I have to be confident in His abilities. Entertaining doubt is in direct conflict to this declaration.
3For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
These are the verse we love to quote, especially these days. And rightly so, for they are the promises of the God who loves us.
9If you make the LORD your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
All of us are praying verse 10 over our homes and families. However, verse 9 starts with the word, “If”. That little two letter word prefaces a multitude of thoughts. No plague is coming IF I have made the Lord my refuge. If The Most High is my shelter.
11For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet.
Yes, I like those promises!
14The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
And here we have the final terms: you must love me. Reminds me of a commandment, “ Love the Lord with all your heart and all your mind.” You must trust in my Name. You must call on me.
16I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Notice that the requirements are far less than the promises and not all that difficult. They are quite simply the very things He asked of us when we chose to believe.
When we lament that God didn’t answer a prayer, dig deeper. Did you do your part?
Thinkin’ what my part is today.