“Because his love is set on me, I will deliver him; I will lift him beyond danger, for he knows me by my name. When he calls upon me, I will answer; I will be with him in time of trouble; I will rescue him and bring him to honor. I will satisfy him with long life to enjoy the fullness of my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16 NEB)
Psalm 91 contains two separate conditional promises. The psalmist begins by describing a person who sees God as his provider and protector. Most translations offer the more literal sense of a person living under God’s shelter, but R.K. Harrison beautifully captured the essence of what was being stated when he wrote: “He who lives as a ward of the Most High…” (Psalm 91:1 Har)
The picture Harrison paints is that of an orphan who places himself in the custody of the State. He understands that if he will abide by the designated rules all his basic needs will be provided.
Be that as it may, the psalmist says that the person who puts himself in Jehovah’s care will be afforded overwhelming protection. He goes on, in the next dozen verses, to list some fifteen different ways God will keep and defend His beloved. Then, just as he seems to get on a roll with his thoughts, God suddenly stops him, as it were, takes over the conversation and offers His own conditional promise—separate from but in addition to what the psalmist was offering.
These two sections of the psalm speaks to me of two different types of believers. In the first section of this psalm, the psalmist seems to refer to the person who has entered into a place of saving faith. This is not describing a false professor—someone who merely talks the talk—but a person who truly puts his life in the hands of the Almighty. He has committed himself to living as a “ward of the State,” so to speak. He understands that if he will abide by the rules he will be entitled to receive the promised benefits.
The Lord seems to have something greater in mind, though.
It is as if the Lord is saying, “Listen, that’s not the half of it! If he will truly love Me, if he will really enter into an intimate relationship with Me, if he will give his entire heart to me, yes, yes, I will keep him out of spiritual danger, but I will do so much more for him! I will abundantly answer every prayer he utters. I will honor him in a way that others will know that he is my friend. And, if all of that isn’t enough, I will give him a rich and fulfilling life—one that he will enjoy forever!”
If we will but trust in the Lord, we are promised to be cared for; but if we will go beyond that childish level and step up into the realm of friendship with God, He will overwhelm us with the richest blessings He has to offer!
And how about you? Where do you see yourself in this psalm? Have you experienced God’s paternal care for your soul? Can you see yourself as His personal “ward?” Have you moved beyond that level into true friendship with Him? If you have, surely you know what it means to be lavished with His love!