Bible Book: Psalms
Chapter: 91
Verse: 1
Verse (to): 16


Text: Psalm 91 and Luke 4:1-13

I have seen motor cars with bumper stickers saying something like “this car is protected by Psalm 91”. And every time I wonder: Why does the owner of the car do this? What does he or she want to communicate? Does the message of the bumper sticker make the driver feel safe or even invincible?
Psalm 91 is a song or testimony about how God protects his people in the midst of many dangers. The heading in the Good News Bible (TEV) reads: “God our protector”. The New Living Translation says: “God’s protection in the midst of danger”. It is a wonderful Psalm full of promises and all about God’s care.
Who is never in need of this comfort? Who of us do not experience many kinds of dangers throughout their lives? What a comfort to know that God will protect us and even send his angels to help in times of danger (verses 11 and 12).
It is one thing to be comforted in times of trouble, but it is another thing to assume that God’s promises of protection means that we can do whatever we want. Here lies the danger in reading Psalm 91 out of context.
When Christians assume that Psalm 91 promises that “those who trust in God are safe from all dangers and sicknesses and accidents” they are bordering on the foolish notion some of us have that “nothing bad can happen to me”. This often correlates with a way of doing anything without taking the risk or consequences into consideration.
The incident Luke describes in chapter 4:9-12 illustrates the point I am making. The devil quotes the exact words of Psalm 91:11-12 when he challenges Jesus to jump from the pinnacle of the temple. But Jesus refuses to put his own life in immediate danger.
This incident helps us to understand something about the relationship between God’s promises of protection in the midst of all kinds of danger and my responsibility to avoid danger.
When faced with the persistent spread of HIV we have reason not to panic – because we know that God is our protector (compare Psalm 91:6). This comfort should be our inspiration to live responsibly, to avoid risks and to protect ourselves through responsible choices and actions.
To think about (or discuss): Does the idea that God is “my refuge and my fortress” (compare Psalm 91:2) inspire me to greater responsibility or does it lead to a “I don’t care about the possible danger” attitude?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)
Language: English