No Final Evil Can Befall You (Psalm 91:3-4)
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. ⁴He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. —Psalm 91:3-4
Deliverance from the snare of the fowler and the deadly pestilence is the promise of Psalm 91:3. It is true for all of those who embrace Jesus Christ in saving faith. But what about James Chalmers, a Scottish-born Presbyterian missionary of the 19th century? John Piper he wrote of Chalmers’ death:
[Chalmers] and Oliver Tomkins were on an exploratory trip along the coast of New Guinea in the Fly River region. The two went ashore and when they did not return a search party went in and came out with the news. Chalmers and Tomkins had been clubbed to death, chopped into pieces, cooked and eaten before the search party even arrived.
Commenting on this psalm, Piper ponders how its promises apply to us, and to countless Christians who have suffered like Chalmers:
I think Jesus is teaching us that promises like Psalm 91 mean this: No ill befalls the saints but what God’s love permits, and even this “ill” will not conquer them. Paul asks, “Shall peril or sword separate us from the love of Christ?” And answers, “No! In all these we are more than conquerors!” The Psalmists proclaimed absolute safety to the saints not because they were naïve, but because under the impulse of the Holy Spirit they felt an indomitable hope that God rules and cares for his people. Evil simply can’t befall them! If it seems to, there must be a glorious deliverance we can’t see. What else can we conclude when we put two Psalms together like this:
Psalm 44:22 – "For thy sake we are slain all day long." Psalm 34:19 – "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all."
And didn’t Jesus talk to his disciples just like this?
Luke 21:16 – “…some of you they will put to death.” Luke 21:18 – “But not a hair of your head will perish.”
Is fear holding you back from a venture with God? Fear not! No final evil can befall you! James Chalmers and Oliver Tomkins are more than conquerors through Him who loved them.
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