The Intrepid Adversary

Recently I have been battling with trusting that God is for me.  I understand him to be my advocate in a collective sense (advocating for his children and assuring their best), but I have temporarily lost my possession of knowing that he knows me uniquely as a well love child is known by her mother.  No doubt, I have seen God’s beneficence in how he has preserved me through various social and personal challenges, but I have attributed his actions to those of one who prosecutes his responsibility for the body, i.e., I see him doing good within the context of doing it for all who love him and are walking in his purpose.  The tides of life have eroded my sensing of the customization of his grace.  If you are in the same place as I am, I invite you to walk the Psalm 91 journey with me.  Over the next 91 days (13 weeks), we will memorize this personalized version of Psalm 91 from the NIV.  My prayer is that God’s word will re-ignite that belief in the individual focus that he has on your welfare and thriving.

For the first nine weeks, I will share a personal reflection around portions of the psalm as shown below.  Use my reflection to prompt your own thoughts and then work to commit that portion of the scripture to memory for that week.

Week 1

1Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

 Week 2

 Surely he will save me
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover me with his feathers,
    and under his wings I will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be my shield and rampart.

 Week 3 – Memorize This

I will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.

I have often wondered about the nature of fear.  It is an ever-present emotion that births at an early age.  It serves to provide warning against danger.  Soon, however, emotional experiences that are painful become entangled in the desire for self-protection.  Fear arises, presuming that whatever we are anticipating is something that is to be avoided at all costs.  There are some fears that originate within the realm of our experiences.  There are other fears that are real, that originate from sources of real evil.  This passage is filled with metaphors that describe the nature of real evil, desired to destroy us.  This evil is characterized by the type of darkness that can swallow the purest of us; the missiles that are aimed specifically at our places of well-developed character; the pervasive catastrophe that seeks the unwary sojourner; the desolation that comes suddenly, in the middle of an otherwise pleasant life.  These are all well developed strategies by an enemy whom Charles Spurgeon described as a “great intellect”.  Satan is keenly aware of our susceptibilities and is completely devoted to our destruction.  We must therefore anticipate his strategic advance towards the places where we feel securest…because surely that is a place he will attack.  Given that our enemy is such an intrepid adversary, it is with great confidence that we say that we are fearless because of the way God secures us.

Week 4

A thousand may fall at my side,
    ten thousand at my right hand,
    but it will not come near me.
I will only observe with my eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

Week 5

If I say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and I make the Most High my dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake me,
    no disaster will come near my tent.

Week 6

11 For he will command his angels concerning me
    to guard me in all my ways;
12 they will lift me up in their hands,
    so that I will not strike my foot against a stone.
13 I will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    I will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 Week 7

 14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.”

 Week 8

15 I will call on you, and You will answer me;
    You will be with me in trouble,
    You will deliver me and honor me.

 Week 9

16 With long life You will satisfy me
    and show me your salvation.”

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