Absurd or Secure?
September 15, 2020
Greetings in the name of our glorious Lord.
Have you ever been struck by the breathtaking assurances of God? For instance:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
What an amazing promise of divine protection for those who trust in the Lord against such things as COVID-19. But wait a minute! Haven’t Christians been killed by this virus? Isn’t this promise now probably false? Doesn’t this divine promise actually appear to be absurd in light of our human experiences?
Scripture has provided us with a number of examples where the principle of protection from God has proven to be absolutely true. Consider Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Prior to the Jews release, God sent a number of plagues (one that was especially deadly) into the land of Egypt. These horrible plagues were devastating to Egypt, but they never touched the Hebrews – God protected the Israelites from all harm.
Psalm 91 states that the truster in God will “tread on the lion and adder.” In other words, God will protect the believer from poisonous snakes and other predators. This promise of protection is exemplified when Paul, after surviving a shipwreck, found himself safely on an island where he tries to warm himself by a campfire. While adding a stick to the fire, a viper strikes Paul’s hand. However, Paul suffered no harm (Acts 27:5). Is this the bold promise of Psalm 91:13? – Absolutely! Should I now claim that no poisonous snake can harm me because I am protected by God? Absolutely not! What? This makes no sense. One minute you’re saying God will protect me. In the next breath, you’re saying, “He will not.” That’s absurd!! No it is not!!! Paul was told by God that he would be going to Rome. Therefore, neither shipwreck nor snake bite would be able to stop Paul from getting to Rome. A believer can be assured that God will protect them in completing His will and purpose for them.
Psalm 91 was never intended to mean you can deliberately handle poisonous snakes (may you rest in peace) and think you will not be harmed. Think of it like this: Jesus came into our world to die for sinners. He lived 33 years before He died. In that time, there were threats upon His life. Yet, nothing could harm Him until His hour had come (John 7:30). This is Psalm 91 in action. God calls on His people to trust Him, not test Him.
Jesus was protected until it was time for Him to die. This is how we should look at God’s wonderful promises. Am I impervious to COVID-19 because I trust in God? No! However, I am safe in the arms of Christ regardless of COVID-19 if He should want me in Rome. God will protect me from all that would prevent me from carrying out His will. I can live my life unafraid of the many dangers I might encounter as I trust Him for His will in my life. If the Lord chooses to take my life through COVID-19 or any other thing – nothing will prevent my death. On the other hand, if He wishes to preserve my life, He is quite capable of protecting me from any harm – spiritual, biological, war, earthquake, hurricane, or whatever. God will protect us from sickness and death for as long as He wishes.
Psalm 91 is absolutely true. Trust Him for His will for you. He will keep you safe for His purposes. Our lives are safe in His hands for the duration.
Pastor Jay Barsaleau