Josh Hossler | 08/23/2023
Someone recently told me about a survival show where contestants are dropped of in the wilderness by themselves, miles from civilization, and with minimal gear. The winner of the show is one who can survive the longest. The threats to survival are numerous: starvation, dehydration, hypothermia, sickness, injury, and even being killed by one of many predatory animals (bears, wolves, cougars, etc.). Sounds like fun ; )
If we’re paying attention, there are some real parallels to life. We have an enemy that “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). We have many things that would seek to destroy us and take us out of life and our walk with God. We have many adversaries and if we’re honest, we are powerless against many of them.
This is where Psalm 91 comes in and teaches us some crucial things about God that we must pay attention to.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” (Ps 91:1–2)
It’s important for us to realize, this is part of God’s nature, part of His character. God is a protector. He desires to be, is willing to be, and will be protector of all those who want Him to be. If you say, “He is my refuge!” He will protect you.
On the other hand, if you do not want Him to be, He will not force you.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Mt 23:37)
“Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
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 observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.” (Ps 91:3-8)
Some might argue and say, “Well, God doesn’t protect us from ALL harm!” That’s true. We are not promised no harm. Jesus said in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world.”
For God to protect us from all harm would mean He would need to take us out of this world (which may be part of what the later verse in Psalm 91 are talking about). However, this does not mean that God does not protect us at all. We have no idea the great many things God protects us from. Consider the state of things if God completely withdrew His hand of protection and presence from the earth!
As you trust in Him…
God protects you from being ensnared and destroyed (v3).
God protects you from fear and anxiety (v5).
God protects you from sickness and disease (v6).
God protects you from punishment (v8).
Elsewhere in Scripture we learn that those who trust in Him…
He gives long life.
He gives health.
He gives protection.
He gives honor and favor.
He gives wisdom and knowledge.
For those love Him and trust in Him, He is our protector and protects us from harm!
One of the things that is powerful to do when appropriate is personalize parts of God’s word by inserting your name. A personalized version of Psalm 91:5 would read, “He will cover [Josh] with his feathers, and under his wings [Josh] will find refuge; his faithfulness will be [Josh’s] shield and rampart.”
That’s powerful! God is my refuge and strength!
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.” (Ps 91:9–16)
There is one sense in which we have to consider these verses are about Jesus and not about us. In fact, Satan quotes Psalm 91:11-12 in reference to Jesus when he is tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Mt 4:6-7; Lk 4:9-10) and Jesus doesn’t deny it. Even though these verses seem to indicate one will not experience harm, Jesus does experience harm. At the same time however, Jesus experiences ultimate victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. He does tread on the “lion” and trample the “serpent”. As John 16:33 says, “Take heart, I [Jesus] have overcome the world.” These things are all prophetic and all point to Jesus!
In that sense, all who call on His name, repent of their sin, and put their trust in Him, they too will experience the rescuing response of God in verses 14-16. If we trust in Him, God will rescue, protect, answer, be with, deliver, honor, satisfy, and show His salvation.
In heaven, with God, there will be no more tears or pain or sickness or disease. We will be once and for all redeemed and with our rescuing protecting God. This protection is whole, complete, and forever for those who love Him!
“When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” a but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Pe 2:23–25)
God protects us ultimately through His Son Jesus Christ!
Josh Hossler | Lead PastorJosh is the founding and Lead Pastor of Evident Church. He is passionate about helping people find their purpose and follow Jesus. Josh enjoys his family, preaching, leadership, writing, and is also is an adjunct professor of philosophy at Rochester University in Rochester Hills, MI. He and his wife Raelyn, have three daughters, AvaRae, AdaLyn, and AnaBel.
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