Standard disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are the rambling thoughts of the author and not necessarily representative of Living Word Lutheran Church.
I've been reading through the Psalms. (Did you know that if you search YouTube, nearly all the Psalms have been put to music?... some are good, some not so good, but many are interesting.) I recently read Psalm 91 and it made me think.. (Admittedly, I cannot claim that this is an original thought or epiphany, but it is a good thought nonetheless.) Here in the United States, 911 is the universal emergency phone number. Ironically enough, as Christians our emergency number should also be 911... Psalm 91:1.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most Highwill rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This may be the best number to remember in a crisis. In fact all of Psalm 91 is a prayer for protection and strength. A prayer that speaks of God's blessing and protection for every possible attack on the children of God.
It’s hard not to think about the problems we are experiencing today: the pandemic, racism, civil unrest, unemployment, economic disaster, and more. These issues are constantly in the news and have literally touched every area of our lives. We’re separated from family and friends, businesses are closed or struggling, people are suffering. This time is confusing and frightening for hundreds of millions of people. During this historical moment in history, it’s hard not to be anxious or worry.
But we can take comfort in Psalm 91... it is full of declarations and promises of God’s protection. This Psalm speaks of God’s presence, power, and protection against fear. Fear is the one emotion God doesn’t want to overtake us; because when we fear, it reveals in our hearts how we are relying on our own efforts and not trusting our Savior. Facing all of the problems in life, we have the right to be concerned but we do not have the right to worry or fear. There are over 365 verses about fear in the Bible and even Jesus tells us three times in Matthew 6:25-34, “Don’t worry.” God is still in control. Psalm 91 assures us of protection, comfort, and care. It reminds us we don’t dwell on the news, we don’t dwell in anxiety, worry, or the pandemic. He is our dwelling place.
Don't mistake this as an unconditional promise and proof that life would be smooth sailing; that we won’t face hardship, illness, or any other crisis. God doesn’t promise that we won’t get sick or witness loved ones suffer at the hands of this illness or anything else in life. What he does promise is to be with us and protect us from fear. The promises and plans he has for each of us offers us comfort that he is in control.
Just remember... just like 911 on the phone system. Psalm 91 is a "voice-activated" system. We need to be reading His Word and declaring His promises.