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. ― Psalm 91:14-16 (ESV)
I was stopped dead in my tracks when I first read these verses yesterday. Have I read them before? Absolutely. Do I remember that I had read them before? Nope. So it was like I was reading them for the first time. Let’s break it down.
1). Notice who is doing the talking. This is not the author of the Psalm speaking to God, but rather God speaking to the psalmist, and ultimately to each person who would ever read the psalm.
2). Notice the promises. Notice how often God uses the phrase, “I will…” Here is what God promises:
- “I will deliver him…”
- “I will protect him…”
- “I will answer him…”
- “I will be with him…”
- “I will rescue him and honor him…”
- “I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
Six “I will” statements making up eight promises within three verses, God promising to his people what he would do on their behalf.
But have we come to expect this? Have we become so numb to the promises of God because of entitled expectation, forgetting that everything that what God does on our behalf is because of grace and not based on our merit? The Sovereign God makes promises to us to do what’s listed above. May this truth cause us to stand in awe of the One who is forever praised.
3). There is a relationship within the promises. Notice what God will do for those who do certain things.
- “Because he holds fast to me in love…”
- “…because he knows my name.”
- “When he calls to me…”
While it is absolutely true that God works on our behalf for his glory, his promises to us are connected our relationship with him and how we approach him.
4). Notice what he does not promise. At no point in these verses above does he promise a carefree and pain-free life. I know it is so easy to see the fact that God will protect and rescue and satisfy us, connecting that to the idea that no harm will come to us. But notice what he says: “I will be with him in trouble.” He doesn’t promise that there won’t be any trouble. Rather, he promises to be with us in the midst of it. Even his promise to rescue us means that trouble must come our way that would necessitate rescuing in the first place.
But why is it important to remember this? Because it is so easy to jump to inaccurate conclusions about God’s love, concern, care, and presence in times of trouble that we are left hopeless. But the truth of the matter is that God is with us IN the trouble, while we are unaware of him presence. Asaph even alluded to this in Psalm 77: “Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.” As Asaph remembers the Exodus, and the trouble that came upon the Israelites as they waited on God to deliver them, he writes down the fact that God’s way was to take the people of Israel through their barrier (the Rea Sea), not around it. He allowed them to be put into that terrifying situation. And that situation has been remembered for centuries. And in all of it, God was with them even though his footprints were unseen.
So be encouraged today. Just go back up to Psalm 91:14-16 and soak in the truth of those words. Listen to the promises promised to those who would do what God himself prescribed to do. And in all of it, know that God is with you.
I love you all so much… more than you know,