A Christian Perspective on Psalm 91

v1, so many of God’s children have experienced this intimate residence with our God as a providential Father, but none of us can enjoy it’s every providential guardianship as Christ did. Jesus had this Psalm quoted by the devil to his face and rebuked him for even using it. Dare we do the same. Being faithful to our God is at best, risky and at worst, dangerously painful. The Apostle John best described this paradox in 1Jn. 4:15-16. Love as God can be both tender and a torment, almost simultaneously.

v 2-3, Who in the world could ever boast and sing about such safe protection? Only Christ, and yet even he suffered agony & death. Jesus Christ experienced his life being put through the wringer of death, and proclaimed in advance that our God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, Luke 20:38.

v4-5, This picture within the praise of the Psalmist is exactly how Jesus felt and looked upon Jerusalem with all his enemies, Mat. 23:37. The courage of faithful children of God is modeled on the bravery of Jesus, with stories like Joshua being told by God to be courageous, Joshua 1:6-9.

v6-10, The thought of God’s judgment  wreaking punishment upon our enemies, might make us wonder about being caught in the crossfire or consequence of such destruction, but complete physical safety is not a reality for the Christian, or the Christian martyr. The law of Moses predicted His enemies would suffer defeat in military terms such as this; Deuteronomy 32:23-35, closely associates military attacks with deadly disease. Alluding to one of the effects of siege warfare on the population of an entrapped city, which was especially vulnerable to the outbreak of epidemics. This reminds us of the words of the Hebrew Christian writer, “For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” Hebrews 2:2-3. ONLY IN CHRIST for eternity, not necessarily here in such a temporary physical world.

v11-12, The devil himself knew this Psalm was prophetically pointed to the Christ Jesus, and even when satan quotes it, Jesus rebukes him, as if to say, it may be true, but your the last person on earth with a right to quote it & test it’s authenticity, Luke 4:10-11. As a word of warning: It is dangerous for Christians to use these words from this Psalm, as some have historically in amulets designed to function as magical protection. Moreover, the promise of angelic protection in verse 11 was the basis for the belief in personal angels who protected individual believers with the result that angels became objects of veneration. Christians should not use Psalm 91 as a magical guarantee against the various deadly threats that they encounter on life’s journey. Instead, the security that Psalm 91 promises should be accepted in humble trust as belonging to Christ and in Christ alone. It is this humble acceptance of these promises that enabled Jesus to use the words of Psalm 31:5 from the cross, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Yet the point of God’s supernatural protection was personally promised to his Apostles, and yet even they suffered martyrdom, Luke 10:19

v13-16, some of this Psalm sounds like it is written in the third person, as if the Psalmist is talking to himself, with God as his audience. Kind of like the words of the Lord’s prayer in John 17:1-4. Which is a good way to teach people how to pray!

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