Psalms 91 – How to Understand and Trust the Promises of God
It is imperative to a life of victory that we learn how to properly understand and then trust the promises of God. I’ve told you before about the time I found myself so buried in despair it felt like God was a liar. My circumstances seemed to contradict passages like Psalms 91. I didn’t feel like God was protecting me. It felt like the evils He promised wouldn’t touch me were actually consuming me!
What I’ve learned in the years since that time is this: I have to allow God to give me a proper understanding of His promises. I need eyes to see and ears to hear what He’s teaching me. When Scripture seems to contradict reality, I have to first allow the Word of God to interpret the Word of God. Then, I have to choose to believe it. Whether it seems true or not.
The fact is, my perception of reality just isn’t as trustworthy as the Bible. What seems so obvious to me today will often look totally different down the road. Hindsight has almost always revealed the promises of the Bible as true, and my understanding flawed. At this point I’m confident the small percentage that still confuses me will become clear in time as well.
So, I ask you to join me in tackling this beautiful Psalm, full of promises that might sometimes seem untrue. Let’s open our Bibles together and allow Scripture to interpret Scripture. May we find renewed hope in these precious promises and find the faith to fully trust the One who made them!
Let’s use these first few verses to start our Bible study out with a prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we come into your presence seeking to understand what You have promised us, give us wisdom! Reveal to us Your truth so that we will have the confidence to live in the shelter of Your shadow. You are the Most High God. The Almighty One. Give us rest as we seek to make You alone our refuge. Be our place of safety! Lord, as we move forward give us ears to hear, eyes to see, hearts to understand and feet that are quick to obey! Prove Your faithful love to us and show us that You are trustworthy so that we will be able to declare with confidence that YOU ARE OUR GOD AND WE TRUST YOU!
In Jesus’s Name Amen.
For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
So often I interpret Scripture through my exceedingly temporal perspective. But that just isn’t the perspective from which it is written. We want promises like this one to mean we’ll never have to suffer the sting of betrayal or endure a terminal disease. We want to believe God is promising to make our life easy or pain free.
But our God is eternal. His promises are too. 1 Thessalonians 5 lends some perspective to this promise of protection.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 – Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for He who calls us is faithful.
You see, it’s not literal, temporal traps and diseases we need protection from. What we need is for our whole spirit, soul, and body to be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. We need to be holy. Set apart for God so that when the end comes we will be granted eternal life with Him.
From where we stand, eternity seems so far away, but the Bible promises again and again that there will be a day when this reality will be revealed for what it is – short. Temporary. But a breath!
As Psalms 91 assures us, God’s faithful promises become our armor and protection. But not for this short life, from this short life! He has called us to an eternal relationship with Him and He is faithful to keep us; spirit, soul, and body, protected from this corrupt world so that we can stand before Him blameless for all eternity!Psalms 91 assures us, God's faithful promises become our armor and protection. But not FOR this short life, FROM this short life! Click To Tweet
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in the darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes and see how the wicked are punished.
Like I said before, this promise doesn’t always feel true. But when we use Scripture to interpret Scripture, we see we’re not promised a lack of trouble. We’re simply told we don’t have to fear those troubles because the One who holds us has overcome.
John 16:33 – I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Friends, we don’t have to be afraid of the sorrows and the trials that are sure to come our way. Though these terrors and disasters stalk us, and though we see them destroying so many around us, we can live in peace. True, all-consuming peace!
Because our God has overcome this world and we are living for something greater. So, we find the evils indeed cannot touch us because as 1 John 4:4 promises, through Him we too have overcome this world! We are His and according to John 10:28-30, no one can snatch us out of His hand.
It may sometimes look like those who live to indulge their flesh are winning. Every now and then it may seem like they’re not miserable, but we need only open our eyes to see the delusion shattered. Those whose hope is in anything less than the One True God are headed for destruction. Their lives are miserable. Their insatiable thirst for more consumes them, leaving them empty and unsatisfied. That is not our destiny!We don't have to be afraid of the sorrows and the trials sure to come our way. Though these terrors and disasters stalk us, though we see them destroying so many around us, we can live in peace. Because our God has overcome this… Click To Tweet
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter,
No evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
Real quick, let’s remember a few ways the enemy shows up in Scripture:
In Genesis 3, he appears to Eve as a serpent. In fact, he is cursed by God as a serpent and promised that one day the offspring of Adam would “crush his head.”
In 1 Peter 5:8 we are told that our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we’re promised the power to crush lions and serpents under foot when those are both forms used to describe Satan!
Ephesians 6:12, and Revelation 2:10 can help us further define our enemy. We’re assured we do not battle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of darkness. These are the evil seeking to conquer us, the plague that’s coming after our homes.
In 2 Timothy 4:17-18 Paul tells Timothy how God rescued him from a death sentence. But ultimately, Paul still ended up losing his life for his faith. I don’t really think that’s what he’s talking about in these verses when he says,
But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth.The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Paul was not literally rescued from every evil attack. But he was delivered from the lion’s mouth forever and brought safely into God’s Kingdom! Friends, the same victory is ours!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love Me. I will protect those who trust in My Name.
When they call on Me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with long life and give them My salvation.
Are we ready to believe these promises? Are we ready to give Him our love? Are we ready to trust in His Name? 1 John 5: 3-4 reminds us that to love God is to obey Him and put our faith in Him. And putting our faith in Him is what enables us to overcome in victory.
So let’s resolve to call out to Him. Let’s believe He will answer. Let’s search for Him in our troubles, knowing we will find Him every single time. Let’s accept His rescue – not with a flawed understanding that looks to never have suffering, but with wisdom. Wisdom that lets go of fear and lives with an all-consuming peace.
John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Our Lord has given us His salvation sisters! Our eternity is secure, so let’s trust Him with our todays! Let’s live in His shelter. Let’s make Him our refuge. And let’s declare with confidence,
*How about you? Do you ever find the promises of God difficult to believe? How have your experiences tempted you to doubt Him? How does the Word of God shed light on those promises to prove that they are true?
***Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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