It is rather simple for skeptics of faith to play the ‘devils’ advocate’ when referring to Psalm 91. The promises listed therein seem to make faith in God a “cure-all” for any possible malady; affliction or problem we could ever encounter.
It is these skeptics who can often wryly, even sneeringly, point to some natural disaster or chronic illness which befalls a person of faith and say: “Won’t your “God” protect you?. How is it He could have let this happen to you?”.
I am reminded of a lyric from a song by a British group, named (ironically, in this context), The Rolling Stones:
“I was driving home early Sunday morning through Bakersfield
Listening to gospel music on the colored radio station
And the preacher said, “You know you always have the
Lord by your side”
And I was so pleased to be informed of this, that I ran Twenty red lights in his honor….
Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord.”
The cynics and skeptics, these “devils’ advocates” demonstrate perfectly the mindset of Satan, when in the wilderness, he tempted Jesus to throw himself into an abyss, chiding him that any fear of the result would be contrary to the promises of Psalm 91. (Matthew 4:6) But Jesus spurned his coaxings. He would not throw himself into the abyss.
And neither should we put God ‘to the test’ by “running twenty red lights”.
Simply because, the promises God makes are to those who make their habitation with Him (v. 9), not those who would doubt Him or ‘test’ Him. These, and their homes, shall no evil befall. (v.10). Habitation with the Lord will have the benefit of angels to lift us up so that we will not fall. (v.11; 12).
The angels will regard us, their charges, as children. They will help us if we trip on the stones of sin or temptation. They will gird us as we trample the Devil, whether manifested as a lion, or a serpent. (v. 13)
If we know God by name; if we fix upon Him our love exclusively (v. 14); and, most importantly, if we call out to Him in a constant dialogue of prayer in times of trouble, He will deliver us. He will be with us. And He will answer our prayers. (v.15) Our lives will be long, however divided they may be between the ‘here and now’ and the ‘hereafter’. We will know his salvation (v. 16) not by earning it; and certainly not by testing it;, but…. by acknowledging the essential fact of Grace: The Passion of Christ…the denial to Jesus of protecting angels; of deliverance; of comfort; of protection from harm…. was Gods’ gift to those who would take refuge from their sinfulness in His habitation, and love Him in return for His proven love for us. The promises of Psalm 91 are the reason Jesus went to the cross, and his resurrection was victory over sin; death and Satan.
Just as Jesus resisted the temptation of the serpent Satan, we must resist the temptations posed upon us everyday by the lions of greed; fear; envy and pride. And if we dwell in Love with God, and with one another, we can,…..and we will.