God’s Amazing Protection

God’s Amazing Protection

This week’s readings were from Psalm 83 to Psalm 104. I have asked Bryan Curtis to get some videos of our youth’s response to each week’s selection for our lesson. This week we will be exploring the message of Psalm 91. But before our greeting time and lesson: Here’s our middle schooler’s response to Psalm 91 – (play video).
(Greeting one another-)
Let’s begin by reciting together the first six verses of this Psalm.
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Look at all the word pictures the Psalmist gives us to describe God’s protection in these first verses:
Shelter of the Most High, Shadow of the Almighty, Refuge, Fortress, My God, in whom I trust, He will save you, He will cover you, His feathers, Under His wings, His faithfulness, Shield, Rampart.
All of these, the Psalmist indicates are things God does to protect His people. It almost sounds like a bubble wrapped life, does it not? This is a very comforting Psalm of protection, is it not? These words are clearly meant to bring a sense of security and safety to those that read it and believe it. God wants us to trust in His care. This reminds me a lot of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6, when He instructs us not to worry. Jesus points our attention to heaven and states in as clear a language as He can articulate: God will take care of you! Store up treasures in heaven, you can’t serve two masters. Choose God! Then, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Jesus said, “The pagans run after all these things and your Father knows that you need them.” Look at the birds, they don’t sow or reap or gather in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them, are you not more valuable than they? And consider the lilies of the field, they don’t toil or sew, but even Solomon was never arrayed like one of them. If that’s how God cares for grass, won’t he take care of you? O, you of little faith!” Here in Psalm 91 we have this same stress on God’s care. If you think the first six verses do that, look at what’s next, He’s just warming up!
Let’s read on in Psalm 91:7-13. Here describes protection from God that is beyond impressive.
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There’s a thing in some video games called “God Mode” where the player is invincible. No matter what the monsters or enemies do, they can’t hurt you. In these verses the Psalmist imagines just that. A thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but what about you? Your in Psalm 91 mode. You are totally protected. You get to watch the enemy fall, but he can’t touch you. All the danger seems to be removed. There’s absolutely no risk. Does that sound a bit much?
Modern children’s literature often has this classic ending: “And they lived happily ever after.” But this Psalm even removes the dangerous plot. It imagines that there is evil and wicked enemies, but they are only empty threats. There is actually nothing they can do to hurt you. But is that real? Is this Psalm an imaginary condition or an actual one?
We’ve already looked at some Psalms that say otherwise, have we not? We’ve read Job, right? We’ve also read the gospels and the New Testament. Remember all those verses that talk about persecution and tribulations? Yeah. So, what is up with Psalm 91? What is God saying to us here? As we think about these questions, let’s finish the Psalm and notice anything there that might hint at the answer.
Psalm 91:14-16 (Follow on screen)
Ultimately, nothing harms the servants of God. Not that we don’t face trouble, sickness and even torturous deaths. But, these do not have power over us. God rescues us, protects us, is with us in trouble, delivers us, satisfies us and shows us His salvation.
Isaiah 43 echoes this promise of God. Look at it with me. Also, Jesus makes an amazing statement in Luke 21.12-19. Listen carefully to what I’m calling the “Psalm 91 mode” of verses Luke 21:18-19. Verses 12-17 echo the messages of many other Psalms, but verses 18-19 sound a lot like Psalm 91.
Now let me say this: There is a danger in reading any Psalm or any other passage of scripture in isolation from the rest of the Bible. We could thread together scriptures to make it sound like all of our lives as Christians are filled with pleasantness, health and wealth. We could turn a deaf ear to scriptures that foretell of all the dangers and hardships involved in following Jesus Christ. It would be a terrible disservice to proclaim God’s grace without including God’s warnings. In fact, the devil himself tried this with Jesus, quoting from guess which Psalm! Remember the temptations of Jesus after He was baptized? He was in the wilderness fasting for 40 days. He was hungry. Satan slithered up and began tempting Jesus. “If you are the Son of God, make these stones into bread.” Sounds innocent enough, does it not? Jesus answered with scripture: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Satan took Jesus to the highest point of the temple overlooking the city of Jerusalem. This time, Satan himself quoted the Bible. He quoted Psalm 91:11-12. He said, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Now, what do you think about that??? Would Jesus have been spared if He jumped? Was Jesus actually invincible until His hour came to be our sacrifice? In Luke 4 we read of Jesus being tempted and the same three temptations are told in Matthew, but in Luke, this particular temptation is saved till last. Right after this, Luke tells us how Jesus went to Nazareth and spoke in the synagogue. His words were infuriating to those gathered and they wanted to kill Jesus by throwing Him off the brow of a hill. Interestingly, Jesus simply walked through the crow and went on His way. I think Psalm 91 applied right there. It appears that God protected His Son.
Jesus was not spared from the cross. It is why He came. God’s plan was completed in His life. It was prerecorded in scripture. Jesus knew this. Jesus would not throw Himself off the temple, not because He feared He might die there, but because that was not His mission, and that would have been testing God wrongly, and Jesus would simply never do that! So, when Satan tempts Jesus to jump off the temple and prove Psalm 91’s words to be true, Jesus quotes scripture back to Satan, “It says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” It’s not ours to force the hand of God to take care of us. In fact, that’s not at all the message of Psalm 91.
This Psalm is an assurance Psalm, a Psalm of victory in God’s care, under God’s protection. Nothing can happen to you in Christ that God is unaware of. Nothing can come upon you that He does not care about. Ultimately, as Jesus said, “Not a hair of your head will be lost.” Paul’s words in Romans 8 reflect this same truth. Romans 8:28-39.
Are you in Psalm 91 mode? Are you ready to face eternity under God’s care?