Psalm 91 - Abbey Wedgeworth - Mother's Day Collection Day 11
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
The first time I ever heard Psalm 91, I was in rural Kisumu, Kenya, and I was in a bit of a bind. The job for which I had crossed the ocean turned out to be a bit of a case of false advertising. I was 19, alone, and feeling pretty foolish and afraid. I heard two voices speaking English outside my door, and walked out to talk with them. They quoted a few lines from this Psalm to me, “prophesying” that not only was God going to “rescue” me, but that he was going to “honor” me during my time in Africa. While I was encouraged by their words in that setting, I’ve learned through suffering that their use of this psalm was pretty out of context.
When you walk through a miscarriage, the loose application of prophetic psalms stops making sense. No evil will befall me? Angels will bear me up so I wont stub my toe? These words feel empty and confusing when death has occurred within us, when we haven’t been “rescued” from the loss of our little one and the intense grief and pain that have ensued. But as it turns out, this psalm holds within it an even better promise for us than the avoidance of earthly suffering.
We learn the significance of Psalm 91 as we thumb through Scripture to the temptation of Jesus. Satan quotes it to him after bringing Jesus to the highest point of the temple, saying, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Satan reveals in his use of this psalm that it’s actually not about us, it’s a psalm about Jesus. But he also tempts Jesus to apply it out of context.
Jesus responds, saying, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
Here Jesus quotes a passage of Deuteronomy, in which the Israelites are told not to test God as they did at Massah, where in their grumbling they asked “Is God among us or not?!” They cynically questioned the purposes of Moses bringing them out of Egypt just for them to die of thirst. God then told Moses to strike a rock and water poured out of it. They had forgotten their deliverance, and they had forgotten God’s promises and their future hope. They missed the spiritual significance of the water from the rock, continuing to grumble and question in cynicism.
But Jesus, our perfect Savior, knows his purpose. As he hangs on the cross, Satan’s temptation is echoed by onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:40). But he remains. For your sake, for my sake, for the love of his Father, he is obedient even to death. And in dying, he tramples the serpent underfoot, just as the psalm prophesied. Then God “rescues” him from death, because of his obedience, raising him to life, and “exalting” him, just as the psalm said he would.
Dear sister, this psalm houses a better word for us than the promise that we won’t have to experience suffering in this life. It holds within it the good news of God’s faithfulness to deliver Jesus, not initially, but ultimately, from death (Hebrews 5:7). Jesus was not rescued from being tempted, from suffering, or from dying, but he was delivered from the grave, and in his resurrection, he ensured the redemption of all of creation.
Because he drank the cup of God’s wrath, when the cup of suffering does not pass from us, we don’t have to wonder if God is with us or if he is for us. Even when we experience the painful effects of the fall, if we are in Christ, we can know with unshakable confidence that God will protect us (v. 14), that he will hear and answer us when we pray (v. 15), that he will be with us in trouble (v. 15), and that the day is coming when we shall be rescued from the power and the presence of sin, finally and forever, and honored as we are raised with him to endless life. On that day there will be no more pain, sorrow, sickness, or death.
Perhaps in the wake of the loss of your unborn baby, the enemy has tempted you as he did Christ, “If he is who he says he is, you would have been spared this heartache.” You are left wondering, “Is he good? Does he really love me? Is he powerless to change my circumstances?” But rather than judging the character of God by your circumstances, judge them by the cross, where he too experienced the loss of a child for the sake of your ultimate salvation. Don’t allow your thirst in this desert to cause you to forget your deliverance. See the living water flowing from the rock of your salvation, and rejoice in hope.
Hi Friend, Ashlee here. Below is a song that I encourage you to listen to. I thought it would be a beautiful way to enter into worship as you begin your day and dwell on the Psalm above. Praying that you would feel the closeness and peace of the Lord as you walk forward today.