“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)
Yesterday we observed the psalmist sharing two sets of promises—divine protection for those who believed in the Lord and divine blessings for those who truly set their hearts on Him. Today I want to explore those promises a little more deeply.
The person to whom these promises have been made has given the Lord the deepest affections his heart has to share. When he says, “I love the Lord,” one can sense that those words are not spoken as a trite phrase he has learned from others; he clearly means what he says. When God looks upon his inward life, what He sees—with much gratification—is someone who loves Him with all his heart, soul and mind.
It is after this spiritual/emotional transaction has occurred that we are told that he knows the Lord by name. One would expect the order to be reversed, but actually we will never truly know God until we have given our hearts to Him completely. This person has entered into intimate fellowship with God.
As for the promises, I want to focus on the last two.
The Lord promises honor to this person. Does that mean that He will arrange circumstances such as He did for Mordecai when he was led through the city on a horse, while Haman proclaimed to all the on-looking crowds that he was favored by the king? No, probably not.
While the word honor (Heb. kebed) literally means “to be heavy,” it is rarely employed in that context. It is almost always used in Scripture regarding someone’s character. So, in essence, to the one who sincerely loves Him, the Lord is promising to add weighty substance to his character. It isn’t that he will be paraded through the streets or given a mega-ministry; it means that the Lord will transform him into a person people instinctively know is a noble man.
The other promise I want to touch on is the last sentence of this psalm: “I will satisfy him with long life to enjoy the fullness of my salvation.” In the Old Testament period, “long life” was a phrase that primarily described a full life—or, as was said of David and Job, “full of days.”
In other words, their lives were rich in God’s blessing and they died fully satisfied. When they were lying on their death bed, they weren’t frantically grasping for another day on earth. No, for many years they had experienced God’s goodness and now they were ready to depart. There was no reluctance to face eternity but a bright hope. Life had been good to them and they were ready to cross the River into the city of God.
Such is the ending to the person’s life who has given his heart to God. When loved ones gather around his casket, the preacher will not be struggling to find something nice to say. He will be able to exclaim, “This was a good man who loved his God. He died happy and content. He had experienced God’s goodness in the land of the living.
And how about you? I suppose to love the Lord with all one’s inner life means that all competing loves have been swallowed up in one great passion for God. Does that describe your heart or do you detect competing desires lurking within?