PSALMS 91:5-7: “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Does Psalm 91 promise the believer in Jesus Christ that they are immune from contracting the corona-virus? How do we justify the promises of this Psalm when we hear the news that someone we know, love, and is a Christian, has been infected with Covid-19?
I love this Psalm. I have heard many testimonies of soldiers who have claimed the promises of Psalm 91 as they went into battle and were miraculously delivered. As the corona-virus crisis began, this was probably one of the most quoted Psalms and passages in all the Bible that was being shared on social media.
However, as the crisis has persisted, and as the cases went from a few hundred to tens of thousands, most of us now know of someone who has contracted this disease. And, many of these people are Christians. Why did they contract the disease? Was it because they were not walking in the promises of Psalm 91?
It would be very easy for anyone who is a believer, and healthy, to begin to claim that anyone who contracts this virus simply lacks faith and is not walking in the promises of God. Yet, this position really does not help anyone and is inconsistent with the whole counsel of Scripture. As we study the whole counsel of Scripture we find that innocent people are touched with the circumstances and results of a broken and sinful world.
As I write this, I am praying for a few people who I know that have contracted the corona-virus. It was not through any fault of their own, or because of a lack of faith. It was simply because they live in a fallen world and were the victims of this invisible enemy. If this is true, then what does Psalm 91 really promise us?
First, Psalm 91 is a Messianic Psalm. In its entirety it is speaking about our Lord Jesus Christ. Satan knew this and used verses 11-12 as he tempted Jesus in the wilderness.
- “Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”. Luke 4:9-11 NKJV
Yet, Satan misquoted this verse. He left out this phrase from verse 11 – “…to keep you in all of your ways.” The promises in Psalm 91 did not cover presumption, so Jesus answered Satan and said,
- “And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’ ”. Luke 4:12 NKJV
Even Jesus knew that Psalm 91 was not a blanket promise without any conditions. It is stating the general protection of the Lord for His anointed. We can claim these promises as we run under the wings of the Almighty as sons and daughters of God. Yet, we cannot presume that this makes us immune to everything in life. What it does do is keep our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus and allows us to walk in love and freedom from the tyranny of fear!
- “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you.”
We are protected from the enemies attacks and his actions that are meant for evil. We are protected from the judgments of sin as we stand fully redeemed and covered with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. We are protected from the tyranny of fear and are ushered into he abiding presence of God’s love. Yet, we are not placed in a bubble. We walk in this faith, with both feet on the ground, in a fallen world where brokenness touches all of God’s creation.
Let me illustrate this through one more example. In the closing verses of Psalm 91 we read,
- “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon 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.” Psalms 91:14-16 NKJV
Let me reiterate that Psalm 91 is a Messianic Psalm. It is primarily about Jesus Christ our Lord. He perfectly abided in the presence of the Father. He walked and lived a sinless life. He resisted all temptation and overcame the attacks of the enemy. The last verse of the Psalm reads – “With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
Jesus died at the age of 33. Did God fail His promise?
Absolutely not! Although Jesus’ earthly life was cut short, He rose from the dead to enter into His eternal destiny and reign as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Evil hands with evil intentions nailed Him to a cross. Yet, the Father’s love was extended to Him, and Jesus saw the salvation of God. He endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. And, this joy was being the firstfruits of all those who would believe.
The believer has no reason to fear as they walk through the perilous trials of life. They have an eternal promise, an eternal destiny. In death or in life they win. Fear cannot take its hold upon their life because God’s angels are always surrounding them and protecting them. As dear one’s are battling the corona-virus, God has not left nor forsaken them. He is calling us to pray for their healing. And, He is calling us to walk in the balance of faith, hope, and love.
In these times of trial we need to remember the words of the Apostle Paul. He looked at the pathway of life that is filled with twists, turn, and trials, and he proclaimed,
- “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39 NKJV
Psalm 91 reminds us that we have nothing to fear as we are sheltered under the protecting wings of Almighty God. His love, His protection, and His promise of salvation give us courage to face anything in life with confidence. And, His compassion and His call, guide us to pray for the healing and protection of others. When someone we know and love is touched by the brokenness of this life we do not judge them, we encircle them with our love and our prayers. We carry them to the throne room of God’s grace to find mercy and help in their time of need.
Lord, protect, strengthen, heal, and keep us all in these uncertain times.
In Jesus Name!