March 26, 2020
Psalm 91 Part 6
Rev. Dr. Mark Raeburn Johnston
“For He shall give His angels charge over you,
to keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”
Ironically, Satan quoted Psalm 91 while tempting Jesus, the King of Angels, to jump from the temple mount, saying that;
“…the angels shall bear thee up in their hands,
lest thou dash thy foot against a stone…”
According to Matthew, chapter 4, verses 6-7, Jesus answered;
“It is written; ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God!’”
The Lord asserted the authority of God’s word over the temptations of darkness, winning the victory over Satan. This sets the example we as believers should follow; Know the word; Use the word; Quote the word!
While the devil can quote the scriptures, he doesn’t understand or believe them. It might have been to Satan’s advantage had he read a little further in this Psalm. In verse 13 we also read;
“You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.”
There’s the irony!
In the Bible, the terms lion, cobra and serpent are sometimes used as synonyms for the devil. Each of these words are descriptive of destructive powers or deadly forces. According to this Psalm, such evil is to be trampled underfoot, by the very feet the angels are commissioned to protect!
It isn’t that we somehow defeat the evil of this world by our own strength or wisdom. Rather, we join the victory of Christ who defeated all the powers of darkness on the Cross of Calvary, and we do that by trusting in His Name and abiding in His Presence. Christian missionary, martyr, and Olympic champion, Eric Liddell wrote;
“Victory over all the circumstances of life comes not by might, nor by power, but by a practical confidence in God and by allowing His Spirit to dwell in our hearts and control our actions and emotions…”
Our victory was promised by God at the outset of human history to Adam and Eve, our first parents. In Genesis chapter 3 verse 15, we read of God’s promise of our victory over sin and death. Addressing the Serpent, the Lord proclaimed;
“An I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall crush your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
This prophecy foretold a day when the Messiah would enter our world and destroy the Evil One. This is the very first presentation of the Gospel in the Bible, and the hope of this victory was passed down through human history and is included in Psalm 91.
This long-prophesied victory was finally won for us on a skull-shaped mount called Golgotha, also known in Scripture as “the place of the skull” (Mark 15:22).
It was there, in a very picturesque way, that the God of the universe displayed the full impact and meaning of “crushing the head” of the serpent!
The Cross set atop that skull-shaped hill,
Whereupon God bridged joyous Heaven to joyless Earth
That we might all, with true victory fill,
The cup of hope, through eternal birth…
It also says that the Savior’s heel would be bruised in the process of our redemption. This speaks of the Messiah who would die while destroying the power of death. But death could not overcome the Author of Life!
Jesus was bodily raised from real, physical death in complete and total victory! That victory is now our victory! We share in the victory of Christ through faith in His work, confession of our sins and with an invitation that God come into our lives. Old preachers used to celebrate this Easter truth by preaching a sermon entitled;
“The Death of Death in the Death of Christ!”
As Christians, we are not determined simply by our history, rather, we are defined by our future! As the beloved Apostle John foresaw and wrote;
“God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away…Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’”
My friend, there’s a new day coming! And that day is a day of complete victory over every circumstance you may now be facing! So, today, let’s walk with the confidence of this incredible truth. Let’s trample underfoot every negative thought and every destructive word by quoting God’s promises.
Then, let’s share the ‘good news’ of God’s Salvation with someone else!