# 276 A journey through the Psalms. Psalm 91. Saved from the deadly pestilence.

I am 70 years old and have never lived through a worldwide pandemic until now. Which I guess, indicates that fortunately, they don’t happen very often. Although, in reality, there have been a number over the centuries and epidemics (effecting one or more countries) have happened quite often. Certainly, because of how long it has been present, this Covid-19 pandemic is impacting our world in incredible ways, sadly, including the death of almost 4 million people.

As well as mentioning “pestilences/plague” (which Covid-19 could be defined as), Psalm 91 mentions a number of possible disaster scenarios including:

 the fowler’s snare [i.e., a trap set by an enemy to catch you]
    …. the deadly pestilence
(verse 4)

the terror of night, [i.e., our most vulnerable time for evil to attack us]
    … the arrow that flies by day
(verse 5)

… the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    … the plague that destroys at midday. 
(verse 6)

Life really is that unpredictable and sometimes very dangerous, and the reality is that none of us are exempt! Of course, without being too pessimistic, these are only a very small list of possible disasters which (in our day) could include vehicle/boat/plane accidents, earthquake, volcanoes, hurricanes, war and much more.

So, without completely giving up and giving in, how does a person live well on this earth, even with the threat of such things looming. I guess denial is a possibility, but not particularly helpful. This psalm gives the answer, I believe.

And the answer is knowing and loving and trusting in God and His promises, not necessarily to save us from all these disasters (though I’m sure he does often), but rather, to enable us to go through them with a confidence in God, not only for this life but also life after death (eternal life).

First of all, listen to who the psalmist is actually talking to, because, so it seems, these promises are not for everyone. They are only for:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High[indicating a very close relationship with God]

And the person who is able therefore to confidently say:
    … of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Just to make it very clear the psalmist repeats this truth:

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you.

And then, to make it even clearer, the words of the psalmist are followed by the words of God himself, who says:

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me

In the book of Acts, Peter preached to the crowds and made this amazing statement concerning the salvation and relationship with God that is available because of the death and resurrection of Jesus.  He said that:

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.  (Acts 2:21)

And, so what is promised here in this psalm is for all those who call on God’s Name. He says:

Surely, he will save you
He will cover youyou will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear…
A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you…
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,

 And then those amazing words from God:

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him,
for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honour him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

The reality is that all of us will go through troubles of some kind in life. The crunch is how we handle those sufferings with God’s help. The Apostle Paul wrote these words:

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us… 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that … [nothing] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.    (Romans 8)

What a privilege it is, Father, to know you and to love you and to be known and loved by you. Amen.

[Author’s note: I believe that trusting in God during a pandemic, such as the one we are now in, does mean that we still need to take sensible precautions e.g., like wearing a mask as required and being vaccinated!]  

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