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 Psalm 91 is Israel’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. We see strong allusions in verses seven and eight 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. Tens of thousands were dead.
Imagine the anxiety. The God who turned the Nile to blood, who destroyed the land with pestilence, who rained hail and fire from heaven, that God had delivered His warning. He was coming, and coming for judgment. 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—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, and 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." But you also would tread with trepidation because all you have for safety is that blood.
We can imagine ourselves there with the Israelites to understand the fullness of God’s promises for us, purchased by Jesus’s blood. What does this promise of God’s safety mean for us this side of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection?
Looking upon the recompense of the wicked on that Passover night, we can recall that we once stood among them. We too would be condemned, were it not for Jesus condemning our sin in his own flesh—not with blood of a feeble animal, but better blood, His own (Romans 8:3, Hebrews 10:1-14).
The blood of the Son of God is 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 us. He was the true “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
While we wait with the psalmist through the lurking night in Psalm 91, we remember to hold fast to the One who saves us from all of our sins. We need not fear our destruction. He will keep us. While we witness the tens of 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.
How does Psalm 91:7-8 encourage humility and work against pride in light of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection?
What is your biggest fear? How can God’s promise in Psalm 91:7 that it will not come near you directly address that fear?
How does God’s power displayed in these verses become a comfort for you in your fight against sin?