I’m happy to report that my prayer was answered. I received a big, bold, favorable sign yesterday. I probably shouldn’t expect something so clear all the time, but I am certainly glad I asked. Let this be a lesson to me for next time my spirit is troubled.
Last week in bible study, we talked about hearing God through scripture and prayer. One of the items of discussion was “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. We’ve all likely heard pros and cons about this style of devotional. Personally, I don’t care for it. Other people love it. I’m not sure if there is some particular reason to be concerned about it or not. I actually give the book to people, along with a copy of the bible. Always the bible, first. What people find compelling is that, through Young’s writing, they get a sense of God communicating with them. My hope is that all who read it will mature in their faith so that they hear this best through the pages of their bible. I think devotionals, like this, will then seem odd because they are Sarah Young’s words, not Gods.
Perhaps the best example of a personal message I can think of is Psalm 91. It is an interesting Psalm that banters back and forth between first person, third person, and God. You’ve heard me mention it many times, particularly with regard to spiritual warfare. I believe it to be one of the most powerful passages of scripture to pray back to God. Why? Because it is so full of his promises. It’s worth serious study. And, no, I have not memorized it, but I should.
Anyway, the last three verses are particularly personal words spoken directly from God about you. It’s as if God is talking about you to someone, perhaps Jesus or the Holy Spirit or both. We don’t know, but that is what I believe to be happening. First, let me introduce whom God is talking about because there is a qualifier.
Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Do you see how it goes back and forth? It takes some getting familiar with, especially when praying this Psalm back to God, but hang in there. We can see that the qualifier is those people who have put their trust in the Lord. Believers in faith, not rote prayer or mindless acknowledgement. Not in regular church attendance or a self-assessment that one’s deeds are pretty good. No, dwelling in the shelter of the Most High is a place one lives. My home is a house to most people, but to me it is part of my life. I really can’t separate myself from my home. Yes, I can move, but then I have a new home. And, some of us are fortunate enough to be able to go back to the home we grew up in. That place is home. See what I mean? Verse one is talking about that person who calls God, “home.” Does that make sense? Verse two is the flag planted in the front yard of that home. This is my stance. God is my foundation. I believe that to my core and am not ashamed to tell you about it. In fact, I must.
That’s who we’re talking about here.
Verses 3-13 speak of how we have nothing to fear when under the protection of God. In fact, Satan used verses 11-12 to tempt Jesus in the desert.
Matthew 4:5-7 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “’He will command his angels concerning you.’ And “’On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
If I’m not mistaken, that is the only scripture that Satan directly quotes. I think this is quite significant. Suffice it to say for now that there is something in the Psalm that Satan is trying to mock and make us doubt the truth it contains, just as he did in the Garden. He is a liar and the father of all lies. Remember what Jesus said? “He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). Let’s make sure we have that monster in the proper perspective.
That sets the stage to look at our three verses, those verses that I believe are the most personalized verses in the bible. Can you imagine overhearing God telling someone this about you?
Psalm 91:14-16 “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.”
Can you imagine that? Again, I think this is God the Father speaking to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. These aren’t mere words, folks. These are words of a pledge. A vow. Can you hear the love and compassion he has for you? Let these words speak to you. If God tells this about you, be assured that he is telling it TO you as well. That, my friend, is your position in Christ.
Yes, it is true that God’s plan does allow for the physical harm and destruction of people. Jesus is our primary example. But, in the grand scheme of things, that is nothing in comparison to his overall covering. Plus, I am certain that you can avert certain trouble, even big-time harm, by reminding God of his promises of Psalm 91 and others throughout the pages of your bible. Satan is going to demand to wreak havoc in your life. We also know that God hears our prayer. Why not use this prayer to remind God of our devotion to him? God allows tests, certainly, and we know tests are for our benefit not so that God will see what we will do. Tests are for you and me to reflect upon how we respond. God already knows. Why not, and think about this, why not test out before the trial by declaring your need for him, “My refuge and my God, in whom I trust.”? I believe we can avoid a lot of trouble with assertive prayer. I am firmly convinced that I have averted powerful thunderstorms around my farm by praying this Psalm back to God. I’ve seen it unfold before my eyes as I watched storms on radar split right at my farm and rejoin just past it. I know, this sounds unbelievable, but I know it to be true.
Anyway, the whole bible is Jesus’ autobiography, a love letter to you. Specifically, to you. Seek his voice in the pages of your bible. He will meet you. Guaranteed.
Father, I thank you for answering my prayer yesterday. You are faithful and true, and I enjoy declaring it so to people. I shall praise your name and tell others about you. Put people in my path, Lord. Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers