by Brent Amato
As we shared in the previous two devotionals (click here to see Part I and Part II), God was not taken by surprise by COVID-19. In fact around 1000 B.C., He inspired a psalmist to write and sing Psalm 91. This Psalm is most certainly for us in such a time as this. How many 16-verse passages of Scripture reference "pestilence" twice and also "plague"? (Psalm 91:3,6,10) In view of this and other deadly prospects, it gives us security for such a time as this.
No one saw this coming (except maybe China). Emotional and mental reactions have ranged from shock to fear to discouragement to depression. Yet as Solomon reminds us, "There is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9). One remembers the Bubonic Plague ("Black Death") that devastated Europe over a five-year period in the mid-1300s, resulting in more than 20 million deaths. Even the Bible records an evening of horrific death. Sometime during or after the sixth century B.C., the author of I and II Kings, on the eve of war between the Judah Kingdom and the Assyrians and after King Hezekiah’s prayer, records: "And that night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies." (II Kings 19:35)
WHAT MORE DO WE NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GOD? HOW WE ARE BLESSED BY HIS SECURITY!
In Parts I and II of this devotional, we were instructed about what we needed to know about God’s names and what we need to be to fully receive this security. If that was not enough, God has more to reveal to us in this Psalm. It's quite possible that some or all of this may not be new to you, but aren’t we all always in need of a fresh revelation of God, especially in such a time such as this?
How about six additional truths in four verses about God that might illuminate and enlighten your appreciation for Him in tough times even more?
- God’s presence (Psalm 91:15) to Moses, the Israelites and you. "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5)
- God’s promises (Psalm 91:10) to the Israelites and you. (Romans 9:4, Acts 2:39)
- God’s faithfulness (Psalm 91:4) tTo the inhabitants of Jerusalem conquered by King Nebuchadrezzar and you (Lamentations 3:19-23, I Peter 4:19)
- God’s guardian angels (Psalm 91:11) to Daniel and you. (Daniel 6:22, Matthew 18:10)
- God’s rescue (Psalm 91:15) to King Hezekiah and his troops and you (II Kings 19:35, II Peter 2:9)
- God’s honor (Psalm 91:15) to Esther and her people in Persia and you. (Esther 8:16, John 12:26)
Feeling secure? But wait! There’s more!
How about nine more blessings to be received from your God?
- Your answered prayers (Psalm 91:15a)
- Your protection (Psalm 91:14b)
- Your covering (Psalm 91:4)
- Your overcoming (Psalm 91:13)
- Your deliverance (Psalm 91:3, 14)
- Your abiding dwelling (Psalm 91:1, 9)
- Your satisfaction (Psalm 91:16a)
- Your life (Psalm 91:16a)
- Your salvation (Psalm 91:16b)
Quite frankly, when I consider and meditate on all this, I feel like David, who faced his share of deadly circumstances: "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it." (Psalm 139:6). Other Psalms and Biblical passages capture this praise as well (Psalm 116:1-9, Job 42:1-3, Romans 11:33).
YOUR RESPONSE? WHAT TO DO IN SUCH A TIME AS THIS?
"When he [the psalmist] calls to me [Elyon, Shaddai, Jehovah, Elohim], I will answer him…."(Psalm 91:15a)
Call upon God. It’s not like this is a new concept. Beyond the general exhortation to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17), more specifically and in the prospect of pestilence, both Solomon and Jehoshaphat prayed to God. (I Kings 8:37-40, II Chronicles 20:9)
Know more about yourself and God and grow in that relationship. Then ruthlessly trust in the security that God provides and keep praying to Him.
Christianity is 180 degrees from the ways of the world. What is 180 degrees from COVID-19? Surely it includes Psalm 91.