A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.

Psalm 91:7-8 

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Psalm 91:7-8

A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked. (ESV)

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Fear Not! God Is Your Refuge (Ps 91:7-8)

| Jul 29, 2017

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A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. —Psalm 91:7-8

The context of our Fighter Verse in Psalm 91 puts us in the middle of Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. It is in these verses that we see strong allusions to the Passover night—the very tipping point for Pharaoh. No longer could he endure God’s plagues of affliction upon him (Psalm 91:10). Thousands had fallen that night. Ten thousands were dead.

Imagine the anxiety of that night. The God who turned the Nile to blood—who destroyed the land with pestilence—who rained hail and fire from heaven—that God has delivered his warning. He’s coming to your neighborhood and he’s coming for judgment, and all you possess, as protection, is blood—blood splattered on a door from a helpless and frail lamb.

Imagine the night growing dark, ushering in that eerie calm before the impending sounds of horror drown out that incendiary silence…and all you have is blood—blood that secured a promise to pass you over.

Imagine being in the thick of that event, recalling the ancient stories of God’s judgment—something about a relative who built a boat—who was promised safety from God’s angry waters—the waters that would inaugurate the agony of thousands, flailing their limbs in the turbulent wrath of the sea, pleading for rescue, but having no shelter or refuge (Psalm 91:1-2). You can’t help but think, “It’s happening again.” And all you have is blood.

Imagine watching from inside with an unsteady gaze on God’s just payment for wickedness. You would feel terror on one hand, yet joy on another (Psalm 2:11). You would be safe, because you “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” and “abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1). But you also would tread with trepidation because all you have is that blood as your safety.

With Psalm 91:7-8 we should imagine ourselves there with the Israelites so as to understand the fullness of God’s promises for us, purchased by Jesus’s blood. What does this promise of God’s safety in Psalm 91:7-8 mean for us on this side of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection?

While we look upon the recompense of the wicked on that Passover night, we remember that we once stood among them—condemned, had it not been for Jesus condemning our sin in his own flesh (Romans 8:3)—not with blood of a feeble animal, but better blood—his own.

The blood of the Son of God has become the refuge we celebrate in Psalm 91. He stood in our place and was counted among the transgressors (Isaiah 53:12) so that God’s judgment would “not come near you.” He was the true “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

So while we wait with the psalmist through the lurking night in Psalm 91, we remember to hold fast the one who saves entirely from all of our sins. We need not fear our destruction. He will keep us. While we witness the ten thousands falling, we need not fear, but cling to the blood of Christ that keeps us safe, for we know that destruction will not come near us, because destruction already came upon him.

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REFLECTION QUESTIONS:

  1. How does Psalm 91:7-8 encourage humility and work against pride in light of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection?
  2. What is your biggest fear? How can God’s promise in Psalm 91:7 of “…but it will not come near you” directly address that fear?
  3. How does God’s power, as displayed in these verses, become a comfort for you in your fight against sin?

Aaron O’Harra is the teaching pastor at the Rising Church in Eugene, OR and instructor at their Center for Biblical Training. He recently published his book, Center Stage: Jesus in the Psalms that can be found on Amazon. He holds a B.A. from Northwest University in Kirkland, WA and an M.A. in Biblical Studies from Bethlehem Seminary in Minneapolis, MN. He and his wife, Jena, reside in Eugene, OR with their five children.

Children Desiring God (CDG) publishes Fighter Verses and offers products to support you in your Bible memorization efforts. CDG also publishes God-centered Sunday School curriculum for children and youth, parenting booklets to equip parents to spiritually shepherd their children, the My Church Notebook to help children participate in the worship service, and the Making Him Known series of books for family devotions.

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When Judgment Comes

| Jul 30, 2012

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Psalms 91:7–8, A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. God has given us an imagination to help us feel truth. Verses 7–8 of Psalm 91 continue the same […]

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