September 09 2023
Today, Saturday September 09
Peace and Protection in the Darkness
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”
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. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”
Psalm 91 is about the “secret place” of fellowship, worship and communion with the LORD. When we by faith take the time to shut the door to the distractions of the world around us and enter into the hidden life of prayer, devotion and quiet time with the LORD, we will enjoy the assurance and peace that God is with us. Brother Lawrence in his book called it, “The Practice of the Presence of God”. Before he became known as Brother Lawrence his name was Nicholas Herman. He was born around 1610 in Herimenil, Lorraine, a Duchy of France.
In this small book, through letters and conversations, Brother Lawrence simply and beautifully explains how to continually walk with God, not from the head but from the heart. Brother Lawrence also left the gift of a direct approach to living in God’s presence that is as practical today as it was four hundred years ago. I highly recommend this book to help you in your daily walk with God in a world filled with so many distractions.
When we practice "the hidden life," we are not alone for God is with us and compensates for our inadequacies. We can enjoy the “peace of God” and experience the “Protected Life”. Psalm 91:5-13 emphasizes that we need not be afraid because the Lord and His angels watch over us. In the ancient Near East, travel was dangerous, unless you were protected by armed guards. My friend, it is not much different in most anywhere in America today.
"Terror by night" could mean simply "the fear of the dark" and of what can happen in the darkness. That is where we experience the fear of the “unknown”. Contaminated water and food, plus an absence of sound health measures, made it easy to contract diseases by day or by night, although "the destruction that lays waste at noon" (v. 6,) could refer to the effects of the burning rays of the sun. Honestly, it is no different today with diseases like covid and new variants that seem to appear out of nowhere.
Verses 7 and 8 read like the description of a battle and may have a direct relationship to the covenant promises God made with Israel (Lev. 26:8; Deut. 32:30). With their own eyes, Israel saw the grief of the Egyptians over their firstborn who died on Passover night (Ex. 12:29-30), and they also saw the Egyptian army dead on the shore of the Red Sea (Ex. 14:26-31), yet no harm came to the people of Israel. God's angel went before them to prepare the way and to lead the way (Ex. 23:20).
Satan quoted part of verses 11-12 when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness (Matt. 4:6), and the Lord responded with Deuteronomy 6:16. If the Father had commanded Jesus to jump from the temple pinnacle, then the angels would have cared for Jesus, but to jump without the Father's command would have been presumption, not faith, and that would be tempting the Father. In Scripture, the lion and serpent (cobra) are images of Satan (1 Peter 5:8; Gen. 3; 2 Cor. 11:3; Rev. 12:9; 20:2; and see Luke 10:19 and Rom. 16:20). In the ancient Near East, both were dangerous enemies, especially for travelers walking along the narrow paths.
Today, we also have these promises: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:20).