156 – Psalm 91:5 & 6
We’ve been working our way through the book of Numbers. Last time my wife asked me if I would consider taking a break from Numbers to study, then writing on Psalm 91. I gladly obliged. We discussed whether or not as believers we have a role to play in making the scriptures relevant for today’s Christian. Hopefully, you agree with me that anytime God speaks His Word is not only immediately relevant but because of the eternal nature of it, remains relevant forever.
When reviewing what I wrote last week in preparation for this week a thought occurred to me. Though the Word of God is eternally relevant, there is an aspect of relevance that we should discuss. I spend quite a bit of time yelling, “CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT”! Simply put if we don’t keep the scriptures in their proper context in the observation phase we can’t hope to come to accurate conclusions when we hit the interpretation phase of our Bible study methodology. I submit as we Work our way through the process and have correctly observed, then interpreted the passage we fail if we stop short of applying what we’ve learned to our lives.
I fear while preaching CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT so loudly and so often I may have unintentionally minimized the importance of “application”. Of course, if we misinterpret God’s word, we misunderstand His message and application becomes nonsensical. But let’s assume we’ve become practiced Bible students and are fairly accurate with our understanding of the scriptures. What good is it all if we don’t apply what we’ve learned to our lives?
Let me create an example for the purpose of illustration. Let’s say we’ve “observed” a portion of the Bible on the topic of prayer and we’ve rightly “interpreted” it as the believer’s privilege granted by God, by which we may approach Him conversationally and relationally. But we stop there. Wow! “What a wonderful truth we’ve uncovered!” we proclaim. But I ask you what does it matter if we never make “application” of this newly discovered truth? In spite of what we just learned about prayer, we still never pray. Our new truth concerning prayer is reduced to intellectual “candy”, it only has the “wow factor” when it could have been a life-transforming application!
Don’t judge my comments on prayer to harshly. It will only distract you from what we want to talk about today. Remember I merely “created” an example for the purpose of illustration.
Let’s look at Psalm 91:5-6
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.
The first word in verse five demands consideration. Who is “you” referring to in verse five? It seems to me, the antecedent is actually another pronoun. It’s the “he” in, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High” of verse one.
Verses five and six are all about “not being afraid”. What won’t you be afraid of as listed in these two verses?
- The Terror.
- The Arrow.
- The Pestilence.
- The Destruction.
Notice in the above verses when you won’t be afraid. You won’t be afraid at day or at night. Also, notice that each of the four items that typically cause fear is identified as happening either during the day or at night, during the light of noon, or the darkness of night.
This is a wonderful truth! We need not be afraid day or night! How though do we avail ourselves of this wonderful truth?
I would submit that the condition is offered in verse one. This is where the “application” stage of our Bible study methodology must be implemented.
1 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.”
Have you experienced fear caused by the things listed here? Then you know how debilitating it can make you. Want to be free from fear? Sometimes we are too quick to suspect the veracity of scripture. “I am plagued by fear, therefore this passage can’t be true!”
Let me suggest we must notice the conditional portions of scripture and meet those conditions in order to enjoy the benefits. you must apply what you’ve learned. In this passage, you absolutely must “abide”. This benefit of being free from fear is conditional – it is only available to those who “abide”.
So what will you do? Will you abide in the secret place of the Most High?
Enjoy the benefits of studying the Word of God. Find ways to apply what you’ve learned to your life. In other words, taste and see that the Lord is good.
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print