March 24, 2020

Sacred Distancing

Psalm 91 Part 5

Rev. Dr. Mark Raeburn Johnston

Psalm 91 tells us that even though evil and destruction surround us, God is with us! The Lord accompanies and protects us on the journey of life when we walk with Him!

In verses 7 through 9 the Psalmist sings:

“A thousand shall fall at your side,

and ten thousand at your right hand;

but it shall not come near you.

Only with your eyes shall you behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD,

Who is my refuge, even the Most High, your habitation,

there shall no evil befall you,

neither shall any plague come near your dwelling…”

Because a plague is rampaging throughout the land, we are being encouraged to practice responsible ‘social distancing’ by maintaining a reasonable distance from one another. This strategy is designed to prevent the cross contamination of the deadly coronavirus, and it is sound advice that we should all heed.

May I suggest that we also practice ‘sacred distancing’ that separates us from the destructive powers found in this world, while simultaneously drawing us closer in our walk with God?

Any of us who would walk the golden highway of heaven cannot walk the dusty roads of this fallen world.

This truth is taught throughout the Bible.

There is a broad road that leads to destruction, and there is a narrow road that leads to life. We must make the decision concerning which path we travel.

Throughout Psalm 91 David uses imagery and words such as dwells in the secret place and abides under the shadow of the Almighty, terms such as refuge, fortress, habitation, and dwelling to speak of our fellowship with God.

The overriding principle being taught throughout this incredible hymn of praise is that those who endeavor to walk close to the Lord will be better protected from the terrors and tribulations that are roaming the world.

Sacred distancing means that we separate ourselves from anything that destroys the soul and ruins the spirit. In other words, we avoid the sin-virus that causes death and destruction.

Those who are vaccinated through the Blood of the Lamb have a responsibility to maintain a righteous relationship with the Holy One through His grace. When we separate ourselves from sinful situations, we position ourselves to receive the blessings of God!

Writing to the Corinthian Church, the Apostle Paul warned;

“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.”

(1 Corinthians 10:21)

Paul told the brethren to avoid any fellowship that might separate them from the Lord and rob them of God’s blessings.

In like manner he exhorted the Ephesian Christians to;

“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness…” (Ephesians 5:11)

However, it is difficult to avoid the dangerous temptations of darkness. All have ‘stumbled’ and fallen short of the glory of God!

But, according to Psalm 91, we note that the Lord provides the protection of ministering angels to guard and guide the steps of those who would walk in His light;

“…God will give His angels charge over you and will keep you in all your ways. They will bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone!”

It’s interesting that the devil used this very Scripture when tempting Jesus in the wilderness. In that harsh environment where serpent and scorpion live, where the wild beasts howl, that fallen prince of demons quoted the Word of God to God the Word, and was rebuffed by Jesus with the answer;

“It is written; ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God!’” (Matthew 4:6-7)

Later we read that angels from heaven came and ministered to Jesus after his ordeal (Matthew 4:11). In like manner, angels are ministering to each of us.  Most often we don’t even realize that angels are surrounding us and protecting us!

A few years ago, Las Ultimas Noticias news reported what many have come to believe was a miracle of divine protection.

According to the story, several illegal immigrants have tragically lost feet or legs trying to enter Chile through a restricted area along the Ecuadorian border. Filled with deadly land-mines, there are warnings posted to not cross this wilderness place at risk of injury or death.

Not realizing the danger, Jorge and Soledad Jaramillo and their three small children traveled some sixteen miles through the mined area. They never saw the posted notices that warned of the terrible menace surrounding them.

After a full day’s walk, they finally reached a Chilean military checkpoint, where soldiers were amazed that they hadn’t all been blown up!

The family wept when they were told of their escape!

There are many times we don’t even realize that the Lord is guarding our steps. Because God loves us, He seeks to protect us. Why not pause a moment and thank the Lord for His manifold mercies and protection? And then, commit to sacred distancing, in so doing, you will draw others to the blessings that come when we walk with the Lord!

 

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