Daily Discovering the Blessing

The Wonders of Salvation

He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.  With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation. (Psalm 91:15-16)

We come to the closing verses of this wonderful Psalm of protection and God’s promises of sheltering and preservation. Over and over throughout His Letter of Love to us it is His stated intention to care for and protect His people (Psalm 15:9. 97:11, Jeremiah 31:3, Luke 19:42, 1 Peter 5:7). The opening phrase, “He shall call upon Me”, is in reference to the ones who have set their love upon Him (verses 9 and 14), those who:

…seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and is righteousness (His ways of doing and being right)… (Matthew 6:33) {Emphasis mine}

We have His assurance that when we are in that position of trust in Him, when our love is set upon our Father, we can rely on and expect His answer when we call out to Him. James 1:5 confirms this promise:

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God {Who gives} to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.  {Emphasis mine}

It is our absolute faith in this Word from our Father that receives His answers. His covenant promises to us.  Our God has given His Word, He has established this Truth for us to rely on. And our faith in His reliability, His faithfulness to His Word, is the key.

Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting).  For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and is tossed by the wind.  For truly, let not such a person believe that he will receive anything {he asks for} from the Lord. (James 1:6-7)

God’s Word carries us through troubles safely to the other side. It’s not that born again believers, children of God, won’t experience troubles n this life – challenges, obstacles, the attempts of the enemy to disprove God’s Word.  Jesus said:

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have {perfect} peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration, but be of good cheer {take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted}! For I have overcome the world. {I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.} (John 16:33) {Emphasis mine}

Our faith walk sees those obstacles and challenges as an opportunity for God to show Himself strong on our behalf. Our mindset, our spirit’s rallying cry, must be, “If it doesn’t line up with the Word it may not stand.”  Faith considers Jesus and all He accomplished on our behalf, never the problem confronting us (Romans 4:19-21). For the promise is , “I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him“. {Emphasis mine}

God’s pleasure in the faith of His children (Hebrews 10:38), our absolute trust in His power, wisdom, goodness. and His Word,  is revealed here in verse 16.  He will “honor” you.  In other words, He esteems you, He dignifies you, He treats you as precious and holds you in high regard! Jesus said:

…If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.  (John 12:26)

We are to honor the Father (Psalm 86:11). We are to honor each other (Romans 12:10). We are to treat ourselves with honor ((1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and “live and conduct ourselves honorably” (Romans 13:13). When we walk in that Truth, that awareness, when we reflect our Father in those actions, He tells us that He honors us.

“But wait, there’s more!” Along with all of the blessings and protections of Psalm 91, God will satisfy us with long life and show us His salvation.  The word “salvation” is extraordinarily weighty.  With great wonder and awe, we need to take in its full impact and make it our own.  We need to walk in this knowing every day.

Jesus is our salvation (Romans 1:16).  The original Greek word for salvation in the New Testament is the word “sozo,” which in its full complete definition means heal, preserve, save, make whole, rescue, deliver, protect, make prosperous!  In the Old Testament, salvation in the Hebrew is the word “Yeshuwah” (Jesus!), and means aid, victory, prosperity, health, and welfare.

Being saved through Jesus, experiencing God’s salvation, is not only meant to be the comfort that Heaven is your destination.  It is the assurance of all that the original Greek and Hebrew words signify.  When we truly understand all of the aspects of His salvation covenant, which God desires for each of us, it will powerfully and profoundly affect our daily expectations.

I began this in-depth look at Psalm 91 by sharing that I speak it out daily over every member of my extended family.  It is such revelation about our Father’s heart and character.  I encourage you to stand on these promises and speak them forth over your family every day.

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The Name of the Lord

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he knows and understands My Name [has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never].  – Psalm 91:14

All throughout Psalm 91 we are assured of God’s care and protection. Here at the beginning of verse 14 it is summed up very effectively: because we set our love on Him He delivers us. All of the previous verses are very specific about what that care and deliverance looks like. Here in verse 14 our covenant relationship with our Father is simply put  – “if you…then I”.  If we, through faith in His Word to us and His loving-kindness, purposefully place ourselves in His care, then He accomplishes all that He has promised on our behalf.

And our faith and trust in Him is entirely informed by our understanding of His character; His great desire for a loving, intimate relationship with us (Ephesians 2:4), and how He has revealed Himself throughout His Word. Our Father leaves us in no doubt as to His intentions in the lives of men. He expects, in fact delights in, His children taking Him at His Word; He requires that of us (Hebrews 10:38). When He reveals Himself to us through the names He calls Himself, we are to know and understand Him in the light of that revelation.  We are to daily rely on Him to fulfill those roles in our lives, for they reveal His very nature, His desire to be known and understood in those ways.

We are told concerning the Name of God:

…Your Name is near and they who invoke Your Name rehearse Your wonders. (Psalm 75:1){Emphasis mine}

And they who know Your Name {who have experience and acquaintance with Your mercy} will lean on and confidently put their trust in You… (Psalm 9:10) {Emphasis mine}

The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the {consistently} righteous man {upright and in right standing with God} runs into it and is safe, high {above evil} and strong. (Proverbs 18:10)

As our Father lovingly reveals Himself to us through His Names, our firm expectation is that He will indeed be Who He says He is and be faithful to that revelation. That is the faith that receives each and every one of these promises.

He is Jehovah, meaning the Lord Who reveals Himself. Each compound Name of Jehovah is the rock we securely stand on, the tower of safety we daily inhabit.

Jehovah-Jirah – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our Provider (Genesis 22:14)

Jehovah-Rapha – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our Healer (Exodus 15:26)

Jehovah-Nissi – The Lord Who reveals Himself as our banner, our protection, our deliverance, the One Who causes us to win (Exodus 17:5)

Jehovah-Shammah – The Lord is there (Ezekiel 48:35)

Jehovah-Raah – The Lord Who reveals Himself as my Shepherd (Psalm 23:1)

Jehovah-Tsidkenu – The Lord is my Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Romans 3:22)

Jehovah-M’Kaddesh – The Lord Who sanctifies you (Leviticus 20:7-8; 1 Peter 1:15-16)

 

  So, because you are in Christ, because you trust in God’s Word to you, you are a winner – provided for, healed, protected and delivered from harm, shepherded through life by the loving hand of the Lord, sanctified and made righteous because the Lord is there for you in every area of your walk before Him. Now that is worthy of praise!

Here is where your personal knowledge of His mercy, love, and kindness begins. By taking Him at His Word and by expecting that He is Who He says He is.

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! (Ephesians 3:19)

 And we know (understand, recognize, are conscious of, by observation and by experience) and believe (adhere to and put faith in and rely on) the love God cherishes for us. God is love, and he who dwells and continues in love dwells and continues in God, and God dwells and continues in him. (1 John 4:16)

 

 

 

A Better Covenant

Plumbing the depth of any verse of Scripture is the process of allowing the Word of God to transform us into His image; to re-create our perception of what it TRULY means to be a child of God – protected, loved, and knowledgeably handling the Truth and authority of the keys of the Kingdom (Matthew 16:19).

God’s Word is “alive, active, energizing, and effective” (Hebrews 4:12).  It changes situations, attitudes, misconceptions, and the purposeful, evil intent of the enemy. There is a self-fulfilling power in the Word spoken forth in faith (Isaiah 61:11- AMP). The faithful application of God’s Word into this physical realm is the altering force for good (Numbers 23:19, Isaiah 55:11, Jeremiah 1:12).

Taking our Father at His Word “makes tremendous power available {dynamic in its working} (James 5:16).  And so, as we continue to look at Psalm 91:13 we embark on another opportunity to adjust perceived reality in favor of Kingdom Truth.

 You shall tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:13) 

Throughout the Old Testament our Father’s promises to His people, His covenant with Israel, involved loving provision, protection, and prosperity:

…no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper… this {peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition} is the heritage of the servant of the Lord {those in whom the Ideal Servant of the Lord is reproduced}… (Isaiah 54:17)

And throughout the history of their rebellion and disobedience against His rightful place as Creator and Lord (Isaiah 31:6), His response was always forgiveness and the re-establishment of covenant (Isaiah 30:15). Our Father’s desire has always been to extend mercy and “satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4).

So we “own” the promise of Psalm 91:13 and add to it the praise-worthy, supernatural work of the cross. In the Old Testament covenant a man’s faith in God’s promises, His Word, enabled Heaven’s response of protection from harmful forces. Trust and reliance on God’s ability, and obedience to the covenant’s expectations, received the promise of protection from harm.  Through our new and better covenant (Hebrews 7:22) a believer’s faith in all that Jesus accomplished on our behalf demonstrates the recognition that evil, and all of its accompanying woes, has been utterly defeated. Satan has no ability to, in any way, harm us. Trust and reliance on the sacrificial work of Jesus establishes that reality.

{God} disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it {the cross} (Colossians 2:15)

…by {going through} death He might bring to nought and make of no effect him who had the power of death – that is, the devil- (Hebrews 2:14)

Jesus has given us absolute authority in this:

Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and {physical and mental strength and ability} over all the power that the enemy {possesses}; and nothing shall in any way harm you. (Luke 10:19)

Think how life changing and perception altering this truly is. Trusting and relying on God through the old covenant meant they were enabled to trample on and defeat the enemy. Within the new and better covenant he is already defeated and our faith and trust in that truth seals the deal! The enemy may harm and hinder, “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10) the lost, but his ability to harm God’s children – those who trust in the saving work of Jesus – is forever undone.

We know {absolutely} that anyone born of God does not {deliberately and knowingly} practice committing sin, but the One Who was begotten of God carefully watches over and protects him {Christ’s divine presence within him preserves him against the evil}, and the wicked one does not lay hold (get a grip) on him or touch {him}.  We know positively that we are of God, and the whole world {around us} is under the power of the evil one. (1 John 5:18-19)

 

  

 

 

Renewed Thinking

 

Psalm 91:13 – You shall tread upon the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent shall you trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:13)  {Part One}

Surprisingly, this is the one verse in Psalm 91 that I seemed to have some difficulty writing about. Procrastination in approaching and addressing its message was a clear indicator of the problem.  Either it was too simple and straight-forward to expound upon, or I might not be able to effectively plumb its scriptural depth.

All of God’s Word, every verse, has life-changing, spirit-maturing potential.  All of the Word of God, every verse, is Jesus (John 1:14) teaching us, training us, in kingdom living (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word, every verse, is meant to alter our thinking (Romans 12:2), our outlook on “everyday life”, our heart attitude and our spoken word.  What we see and experience every day, what we permit or prohibit, must be with the eyes of the Spirit and the counsel of the Word. It teaches us who we truly are; it teaches us how to rule and reign.

So clearly, Psalm 91:13 continues the affirmation, the comforting, confident expectation that having placed ourselves in God’s keeping, nothing can, by any means, harm us.  Psalm 91 in its entirety speaks to that safe keeping. We will overcome any danger that confronts us.  Notice that the confrontation does occur.  The lion, the adder, the serpent, they will try to overtake us.  Jesus told us:

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have {perfect} peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer {take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted}! For I have overcome the world.  {I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.} (John 16:33)

Notice that the evil that will try to confront is of the world.  As His born again followers we are no longer in that category.  In her devotional Dare to Declare, Dr. Mary Frances Varallo writes:

“That may not negate the storm or the hard thing you may walk through, for this planet is cursed.  Though you are redeemed from the curse you are not immune from it.  When the curse gets on you, speak to it.  The Word of God has told you that legally you are free from the curse.  Therefore, it has no right to you or your household.”

And God’s Word – throughout both Old and New Testaments – reaffirms that extraordinary promise. Psalm 91:13 is one verse of many that reconfigure “reality” for us. The first example that came to mind as I prayerfully approached this verse and its message to us was David and Goliath.  It’s a familiar lesson first taught to many as children in Sunday school.  The Philistine Goliath intimidated every soldier in the Israeli army. It took a young shepherd boy with a sling shot to defeat this enemy.  What truly defeated Goliath and the Philistines was David’s faith in God’s protection. Speaking faith and acting on that faith is the overcoming force.

The Lord Who delivered me out of the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, He will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. (1 Samuel 17:37)

   Faith sees and then acts progressively. Faith says, “This is how God showed Himself strong and true on my behalf before, I can and will expect it again.”  God is constant and He is “faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on). (1 Corinthians 1:9)

When we allow the Word to create our true identity, when we confront each encounter with the enemy as over-comers (1 John 4:4) and more than conquerors (Romans 8:37), our witness speaks loudly along with David’s:

…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel…for the battle is the Lord’s. (1 Samuel 17:46-47)

So whether it’s a physical attack, an emotional attack, a financial attack, a lion, an adder, or a serpent (!) – the Word encourages and exhorts us to tread and trample on the interloper. When we see ourselves, in our hearts, as the Word of God defines us, we act, think, and speak differently.  Faith says:

The Lord is good, a strength and stronghold in the day of trouble.  He knows (recognizes, has knowledge of and understands) those who take refuge and trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)

 

 

 

Angels Among Us

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12)  { Part Two}

Because the Word of God would have us enlightened as to the presence of angels among us, it is a topic that deserves our closer attention. I offer here an excerpt from my woman’s devotional, God’s Beloved Daughters.

   The realm of the Spirit is a Christian’s focus, but the angel beings that inhabit it often seem only a Christmas focus, and otherwise tend to be overlooked. And yet, they are everywhere present.

A young woman disembarked from a bus in a major city.  As she left the bus station to walk to her destination, a tall young man engaged her in conversation. They discovered that they were headed in the same direction and so headed out together. Soon they saw, approaching them from the opposite direction, a group of three rather ominous looking men.  They might have troubled her had she not been accompanied by her companion from the bus station. The evening was darkening and she sensed their evil intentions. As the three men passed them and she saw that they were finally a safe distance away, she turned back to thank him.  He had disappeared!

A pastor was taking his daily solitary stroll in the woods. It was his habit to walk, read, and pray on this same route every afternoon.  Suddenly, a former parishioner appeared from behind some bushes, glared at the pastor and then walked away in another direction.  This troubled parishioner had nursed a long held grudge against the man of God and many times had threatened his life. Later the man admitted that he had followed the pastor to the woods to harm him.

“Why didn’t you then?” he was asked.

“Because of those two tall men who were accompanying you,” the man answered.

One pastor who has studied the subject quite extensively has said that he is amazed we do not have more reports of angelic visitations (Hebrews 1:14). In her book God’s Will is Prosperity, Gloria Copeland writes:

Hebrews 12:22 tells us that their numbers are innumerable… Revelation 5:11 speaking of angels says, “And they numbered ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands.” Hilton Sutton shared with us recently that as near as he can figure that would be one hundred trillion angels!  A trillion is a million million millions… I believe that is enough to establish God’s covenant in the earth.  There is no shortage of angel power.  Brother Sutton says, “If there were 5 billion people on earth and they all got saved, we would still have twenty thousand angels to minister to each of us.”   Brother Sutton’s arithmetic helped me to realize just how many angels there are.  To me, that is exciting.”

When my daughter Carly was 5 years old, I was traveling one day far away from our town and her school.  While driving I was speaking with the Lord about my concerns at being so far away from her. Several moments later I was suddenly seeing a picture of Carly’s classroom in my mind.  Standing directly next to her desk was a huge being, at attention! Leaning against the wall by the classroom door was another – at rest. Angels on duty!  This was not conjured up by me for my peace of mind.  It was not wishful thinking or creative imaginings.  I absolutely knew in my heart that this was God’s message to me – a glimpse into the spirit realm concerning what was truly going on in Carly’s classroom.  After all, included in my prayers for her every morning was that she was continually surrounded by ministering angels!

The woman from the bus station, the pastor in the woods, and the story from Carly’s classroom are all truthful, personal testimonies of encounters with angels.  The word tells us that for the most part we will be unaware of their ministry on our behalf.  But God shows them to us throughout His Word.   There are angels among us – Angels on assignment.  Yet another reason for praise!

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers [in the brotherhood—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2)

 

Angels on Assignment

For He will give His angels [especial] charge over you to accompany and defend and preserve you in all your ways [of obedience and service]. They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11-12) {Part One}

From Genesis to Revelation we learn of the ministry of God’s angels.  Scripture speaks of “countless numbers of angels” (Hebrews 12:22) and “ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands” (Revelation 5:11). It appears their numbers are so vast as to be beyond counting.  2 Peter 2:11 teaches that they are “superior in might and power”.

   Throughout His Word our Father instructs us concerning the reality of the spiritual realm and of the activity “behind the scenes” – for both good and evil – generally unseen, but always touching and shaping the physical realm. There are approximately 200 references in the Old and New Testament to God’s angels {as well as numerous mentions of those angels who rebelled along with Satan and are now referred to as demons} (Jude 6). {There are also numerous, separate and distinct, references to “the Angel of the Lord”  in the Old Testament which appear to be references to the Lord Jesus Himself}. But God’s angels definitely attend to His orders and purposes throughout His Word.

We, too, are spiritual beings.  We have a soul and we live in a body, but our “spirit man” is who communicates with God, our Creator. The more mature our spirits grow, and the more attention we give to this Truth, the better able we are to comprehend the realm of the Spirit. It is obvious that God wants us to understand the reality of this spirit realm, and His purposes for the creation of, and ministry of, His angels. Understanding why they exist, understanding their purpose, helps us to realize why He created them, and helps us to see more clearly what His intentions are and how He works; how His kingdom functions.    Both the Hebrew word for “angel” in the Old Testament (mal’ach) and the Greek word in the New Testament (angelos) means “messenger”.  “One who executes the purpose and will of the one whom they serve”.

While there are so many references to angels in God’s Word, there still seems to be very little awareness and understanding of this spiritual reality and of their  activity around and among us.  This is not surprising. They inhabit the unseen realm, and, for the most part, we are cognitively unaware of the activity that goes on there. So we look to the Word for our tutorial on God’s angels:

  • Angels cannot be seen by humans unless God “opens” a man’s eyes to reveal them (Numbers 22:31, 2 Kings 6:17)
  • Angels can appear in bodily form to be clearly seen and heard by men (Matthew 28:2-5, Luke 1:11, 26-30, Hebrews 13:2)
  • God sends out His angels to protect us (Psalm 91:11-12, Daniel 6:22), to comfort us (Acts 27:23-24),to patrol the earth (Zechariah 1:10-11), to serve us (Acts 5:19, 12:7, Hebrews 1:14), to guide us correctly in our area of ministry (Acts 8:26, 10:3-8), to bring messages of revelation (Daniel 9:21-22, Revelation 1:1), to carry our His judgment (Matthew 13:39, 24:31, Acts 12:23, Revelation 16:1), to carry out His Word (Psalm 103:20), and to proclaim the birth (Luke 1:26-31; Luke 2:9-14) and return of Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The Word tells us that there are things hidden that belong to God, but those things which are revealed are for us and our children to know (Deuteronomy 29:29).  As we become more aware of, attuned to, and informed by all aspects of the spiritual realm as our Father instructs us, be ever aware that through His loving care, angels are on assignment on our behalf.

Are not angels all ministering spirits (servants) sent out in the service {of God for the assistance} of those who are to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

Faith in our Faithful God

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. (Psalm 91:9-10) {Part Two} 

We are so very often not attending to teaching, exhorting and encouraging each other to truly take our Father at His Word.  He says what He means and means what He says.  When He says that no evil will befall us, if we encounter such negative moments, His Word is our escape plan (1 Corinthians 10:13)! Faith sees Satan’s attempts to deceive and destroy and raises up God’s standard to defeat the weapon.

We are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions (2 Corinthians 2:11)

…When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him and put him to flight. (Isaiah 59:19)

We need to be so armed with understanding and knowledge of the Word that when we see something that compromises, or seems to put into question, God’s Truth as revealed through His Word,  we quickly reject its ability to overwhelm and defeat us.  We say NO! to Satan’s tactics, to his roadblocks, to his evil intent.  In faith, backed up by the Word, we refuse any situation that rises up against the revealed will of God.  If it doesn’t line up with the Word, it may not stand. (2 Corinthians 10:5)  We have been given that authority (Luke 9:1, 10:19); we have been instructed concerning what is ours through Christ.

Because you are attending to your end of the covenant relationship, because you are honoring God by giving Him first place in your lives, because you have taken yourself out of your own keeping (Acts 16:31) and entrusted yourself into His care in faith, you have been and are being protected from evil.  Through your faith in God’s promises to you, the malicious intent of the enemy has no foothold in your life.  We truly need to be attuned to the manner in which the realm of the Spirit dramatically affects and shapes our daily walk.  We need to understand both the authority given to us and the reality of spiritual forces.  Our NO! spoken in faith to Satan and our YES! spoken in faith to all of our Father’s promises are the actions that receive the promise that no evil will befall us and no plague or calamity  come near our tent.

If a believer is strong in their understanding of the benefit and blessings of the tithe, for example, should a financial pressure show up, they might stand in faith and say, “No!  I am a tither and offering giver.  My Father delights in my prosperity. I will not be robbed from.  This attack will not stand!” And faith will receive the promise.  However, will that same believer hold God to His promises concerning their health?  Have they been taught enough concerning the extent to which we honor God’s Word to withstand that type of attack?  To take our Father at His Word that no evil will befall us is to completely transform our minds and hearts to what He is truly offering us here.

There is a sureness about the Word of God that many of God’s children sadly disregard.  When we hold Him to His Word we please our Father and bless ourselves.  There is a misrepresentation of God when we don’t fully take Him at His Word. For according to promise our abundant, peace-filled, joyous life is hidden with Christ in God.  Do not accept and receive any mischaracterization of that Truth.

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. (Psalm 91:9-10) {Part One}

These verses are revisiting the concept of pestilence, destruction, and sudden death found in verse 6.  Please note its confirmation of protection.  This is faith food!  This is our Father’s assurance that this is what His protection looks like. It is repetition signifying the unwavering establishment of a promise; a covenant reality. There is, in both the Old and New Testament, an established principle that

“…by the mouth of two witnesses, or by the mouth of three witnesses, is a thing established” (Deuteronomy 19:15 – Young’s Literal Translation);

“…so that every word may be confirmed and upheld by the testimony of two or three witnesses.” (Matthew 18:16 – AMP).

   When something is repeated it is time to truly sit up and take notice.  While every word from God is our lifeline, and all Scripture is God speaking to us and therefore to be attended to and realized as spirit maturing and character defining (2 Timothy 3:16-17), when we see something repeated over and over throughout God’s Word, it is vitally important that we honor His attention to that principle. Again and again throughout His Word to us we are assured of His loving, attentive care concerning our well-being.

How many verses speak of His protective care?  How many Scriptures promise just what we see here in verses 9 and 10?  And yet so many will not allow such a concept into their understanding of life lived out on earth. So many argue that troubles will come and we just need to bear up under them and to believe otherwise is simply foolishness and delusional. Yet In the book of Deuteronomy, God instructs His people concerning the way of blessing and the way of rebellion.

If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God…all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you… (Deuteronomy 28:1-2)

And then verses 3-13 reveal the manner in which He will see to the well-being of His people.

But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God…then all these curses shall come upon are     

And verses 16-46 warn of the manner in which life can get really troubled and desperate because of rebellion toward His ways of doing and being right (Mathew 6:33).  The first rebel, Adam, discovered the dire result of disobedience, and throughout His dealings with a wayward people our Father continued to call them back to obedience with the assurance that here is where the blessings lie.  Throughout the prophetic books of the Old Testament, into the Gospels and throughout the epistles of the New Testament, God continues to demonstrate and remonstrate that safety and security and peace lie within His care, and trouble and desperation and death await those who ignore His call.  And it is His people, not those refusing His Lordship, who have fallen away from His safe place.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you {the priestly nation} have rejected knowledge… (Hosea 4:6).

When we insist that it is His Word alone that defines our days, when our faith rises to the level of unreservedly trusting that He says what He means and means what He says, then the promises of Psalm 91 must be!

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Occupying the Secret Place

Only a spectator shall you be {yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High} as you witness the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:8) {Part Two}

Finally, in verse 1 and here again in verse 8 we are comforted concerning the “secret place”.  We dwell there in verse 1 and we are inaccessible there in verse 8 – inaccessible to harm, fear, and the results of sin.  This seems too good to be true to many. It all depends on how much credence you give to God’s Word; how you hold it and honor it in your heart. How much you believe that this is God speaking to you, revealing His will and His ways. Through our faith in His Word and in all that Jesus did on our behalf, the secret place is ours to occupy. There are a great many interpretations concerning the Secret Place – each one contradicting the next as researcher after researcher, biblical scholar after biblical scholar, Gospel blogger after Gospel blogger offer their take on the topic. Thank God for Strong’s concordance and the Holy Spirit!  Ultimately it is as simple as taking God at His Word.

You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! (Psalm 32:7)

Jesus is our Deliverer.  Jesus is the One Who brought all of the powers of the enemy down to zero!

[God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]. (Colossians 2:15)

He is our hiding place, our place of safety, our secret place.  Hold that picture in your heart. It will inform your peace. He told us in John 15:4:

Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

Further, in John 15:6, giving a clear and disturbing picture of the reward of the wicked, He said:

If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. 

 With His words in John 15:6, we see the result of not dwelling in the safety of His secret place, which certainly agrees with Psalm 91:8. Again, with our Lord Jesus, as with God our Father, the plea, the command goes forth to attend to the call to righteousness: 

…Would that you had known personally, even at least in this your day, the things that make for peace (for freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin and upon which your peace—your security, safety, prosperity, and happiness—depends)! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  (Luke 19:42) {Emphasis mine)

Paul picks up this same clarion call. When writing through the prompting of the Holy Spirit he says:

For the rest, my brethren, delight yourselves in the Lord and continue to rejoice that you are in Him. To keep writing to you [over and over] of the same things is not irksome to me, and it is [a precaution] for your safety. (Philippians 3:1) {Emphasis mine}

Through knowledge of His Word and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, We know the extraordinary value of maintaining our placement in the secret place, and what we need to do to stay there. And it is our faith in the validity and reliability of His Word that so pleases our Father and accepts nothing less than the full and complete manifestation of His Word, His covenant promises to us.

 

The Heart of the Father

Only a spectator shall you be {yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High} as you witness the reward of the wicked. (Psalm 91:8) {Part One}

    Verse eight is a continuation of the Truth offered in the previous verse.  There will be many who fall (”a thousand …at your side and ten thousand at your right hand”); there is an inevitable “reward of the wicked”.  Our loving and compassionate and life-giving Father desires that all would be saved and redeemed through the righteousness that Jesus purchased for us:

The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises… but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish. But that all should turn to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Who wishes all men to be saved and (increasingly) to perceive and recognize and discern and know precisely and correctly the (divine) Truth.  (1 Timothy 2:4)

For I have no pleasure in the death of Him who dies, says the Lord God. Therefore, turn (be converted) and live!  (Ezekiel 18:32)

Because of the character of the Lord, love is His focus; the manner in which He wants to deal with His creation.  Throughout His Word, His letter of love to us, when He speaks of rebellious, sinful people He cautions and exhorts them to turn from their evil path and live in His grace.  He counsels them to choose life in Him (Deuteronomy 30:19). Through His prophets He gives warning concerning the end result of turning away from Him.  And always there is a message of hope attached to a turning back to the ways of the Lord – a return to covenant results in forgiveness and blessing.  He was long-suffering toward the fickleness of Israel and their cycle of disobedience, always extending to them a way back into grace.

But there is an inevitable end result to the stubborn refusal to honor God; the creation turning its back on the Creator and presuming to do life without Him. The word “reward” in verse eight does not indicate positive outcome!  It is the Hebrew word “Shillumah” which means “retribution” or “recompense”.  Webster’s 1828 Dictionary gives the following definitions:

Recompense – Requital; return of evil or suffering or other equivalent; as a punishment.

Retribution -Repayment; return accommodated to the action

The “reward of the wicked” then is suffering, punishment; repayment in kind for evil, sinful, rebellious action; reaping what you sow. And it grieves the heart of our Father.

There are so many reasons why men turn from their own rebellious, selfish path and turn to receive Jesus as Savoir.  Some preach a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.  Fear of eternal punishment certainly grabs the attention of many. (And when they turn, they also discover His love). Some preach the love of the Father calling men to repentance (2 Corinthians 5:18-the ministry of reconciliation”) and many respond to that message in faith, and that is certainly the manner in which God desires all men to know Him:

 The Lord appeared from of old to me [Israel], saying, Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn you and continued My faithfulness to you. (Jeremiah 31:3)

Some have their faith walk jump started through witnessing signs and wonders at the hands of believers. Some have a direct revelation from God calling them to serve Him and take their rightful place in His family. Some simply observe the fruit in the lives of believers and want that for themselves. Our Father is love and that is what causes Him to use whatever message and messenger He can to call His wayward children back into righteousness. He sends prophets, evangelists, preachers and teachers.  Through His Holy Spirit indwelling each member of the Body of Christ, He encourages, exhorts, and witnesses to the unbelieving world.

All of the blessings found in Psalm 91 are such a rebuke of Satan’s ploy to steal from mankind the benefits of knowing and serving God. What a sharp and disturbing contrast between the lovingly cared for child of God and the inevitable cursed life and evil outcome for those who choose not to receive the Lordship of Christ. It’s hard, emotionally difficult, to read through the Old Testament prophets and see the results of sin and the terrible end that awaited the rebellious.  And if it hurts our sensibilities to read it, imagine what it does to the heart of the Father.

Over and over again throughout His Word our Father calls all people into His care.  The stark contrast between walking in darkness and walking in His light and love is there for all to see. When we see and understand these things, praise, continuous and heartfelt praise, is due our loving Father!