Wednesday, April 8, 2009
This just seems appropriate in such a time of fear. Fear of finances, fear of the unknown, and fear of death. My prayer is that this will bless you and that I'll be able to deliver what the Holy Spirit wants me to deliver.
I am reading a book entitled Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth, which is basically a 229-page breakdown of the 91st psalm in the Word. It's the second time I've read it, and I just have a strong urge to share what His Spirit is showing me through this book with those who happen to glance at this note. Mainly, this book is written to those in the military, as Ruth calls it the "Soldier's Psalm", but this book's explanation of the promise of protection that God is bringing to the table is undoubtedly for all who follow Him. Since I was a child, I have heard this psalm read by my mother. It is a psalm of protection, deliverance, and salvation. The words have always been powerful, but realizing that this psalm is alive and active - since it is God's Word - brings about a whole new meaning. For those of you who don't have a Bible handy, or who haven't already gone to Biblegateway.com to look it up, Psalm 91, as translated in the New American Standard Bible is:
Security of the One Who Trusts in the LORD.
1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress,
My God, in whom I trust!"
3For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
4He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.
5You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of then arrow that flies by day;
6Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.
7A thousand may fall at your side
And ten thousand at your right hand,
But it shall not approach you.
8You will only look on with your eyes
And see the recompense of the wicked.
9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
10No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
12They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.
14"Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has (AA)known My name.
15"He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16"With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation."
or, if you like it broken down a little more plainly, The Message's version is:
1-13You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
14-16 "If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"
Wow! What a promise!
Let me share something with you. For years, I have struggled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. I've lived most of my life afraid for one reason or another. Everyone has their weak areas of their lives where the enemy tries to attack, and that is mine. A few of you already know this, and I've learned that a few of you struggle with the same thing. But, as there always is with God, there is Good News! This psalm covers every fear, every danger imaginable. Take verses 3-6 for example. Those categories cover any type of danger you could think up. The snare of the trapper is any temptation or pitfall that the enemy tries to use to lure us from our Father. The Bible says that any man is capable of any sin, given the right (or wrong) circumstance. Satan knows our weaknesses, and he plans very carefully to strike at our most vulnerable moment. But those who call out to God are saved from this temptation. The very next line of protection is from deadly pestilence. This is any sickness or disease. ANY sickness or disease. I must admit, this is where I struggle most. I am always fearful of my health, which is ridiculous, since I am a 21-year-old active and healthy female. Nevertheless, this has always been the target of Satan's attacks. But if you'll notice, this psalm mentions pestilence twice. As Ruth says, "God doesn't waste words... It is as though God is saying, I said in verse 3, 'You are delivered from the deadly pestilence,' but did you really hear Me? Just to be sure, I am saying it again in verse 6, 'You do not have to be afraid of the deadly pestilence!'"(40). Amazing! To keep from making this note too long, the next few verses talk about the terror at night, or any danger brought about from man. The arrow that flies by day is any attack from Satan that wounds spiritually, mentally, physically, or financially. We have already discussed the deadly pestilence, and the destruction that lays waste at noon is any natural disaster. The whole natural disaster thing is appropriate, since most of us have lately been through more than enough tornadoes and floods. Some people call these "Acts of God", which is completely untrue. In the New Testament, Jesus rebuked a storm. Rebuking something that His Father created would have been contradictory; therefore, natural disasters are not of God. God is big enough to handle natural disasters, and meticulous enough to ensure that you will see the Goodness of Him in the Land of the Living. That is NOW, not just in Heaven!
Basically the main point that this book is pointing out to me is the importance of claiming His Word and His Promises. It is unbelievable and devastating to think that this promise and protection is available to all who trust in Him, yet many do not claim it. Ruth says on page 52, "To the measure we trust Him, we will in the same measure reap the benefits of that trust." This is shown time and time again through His Word. Throughout the Gospel, the healing and protection Jesus offered was only received by faith. In Luke, Jesus tells of the many lepers that were not cleansed because of their lack of faith. This used to scare me, until I realized that FAITH IS NOT A FEELING. JUST LIKE LOVE, IT IS A CHOICE. God does not want us to look to the outer world of feelings, but to the deeper, spiritual realm. That is where we'll find Him. We can't base something as powerful and important as faith on feelings, because feelings are too fleeting. God's promises go out to all who are righteous. This can be a very scary-sounding statement as well. But listen, "Faith in God, in His Son Jesus Christ and in His Word, is counted in God's eyes as righteousness" (53). Choosing to have faith in Christ and faith in the Word makes us righteous because of Calvary. How can someone not be amazed by that? The one and only Righteous One sees us, too, as being righteous. This is like Brad Pitt looking at Quasimoto and seeing an equally attractive man. I know, I know... horrible analogy, but you get my drift.
As usual, I digress. What I am trying to communicate here is what the Lord is trying so desperately to tell all his children... imagine His voice, loving and protective saying to you, "You will call upon Me, and I will answer you; I will be with you in trouble; I will rescue you and honor you.With a long life I will satisfy you and let you see My salvation." Believe His promises and accept them with a thankful heart. The Big Guns has your back :)