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THE CORONAVIRUS AND PSALM 91

The writer of Psalms [whose authorship is not verified but could have been Moses] probably never heard of the Coronavirus—at least not by that name. But the prophecy did, in fact, indicate a future time from which God would deliver from a particular pestilence. Look carefully at Psalm 91 [KJV, giving particular attention to verses 3, 6, and 10, where “pestilence” or “plague” are mentioned]:

PSALM 91

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.

13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.

16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Pestilence is defined as “a fatal epidemic disease, especially bubonic plague.” Verses 14 and 15 indicate that the deliverance God would provide would be at a future time. It is rather peculiar to me that the writer switches from first person {“I” [in verse 1]} to third person {“he” [in verse 2]}. The pronoun “Thee” is used in verse 11, and the pronoun “thy” is indicated in verse 12, but the “he” in verse 11 is third person, while the “thee” in verse 11 is second person.

Satan quoted from verses 11 and 12 when he tempted Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple in Luke 4:10-11. [Remember that the devil is the father of liars and cannot be trusted to quote Scripture in its proper context].

Although I struggle to understand this passage perfectly, I do know that Jesus said in Matthew 5:18, “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” Jesus also said, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” [John 6:63b].

Further, the Bible teaches, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” [Romans 15:4].

Moses was sent by God to lead the children of Israel safely away from plague-infested Egypt. When they later murmured in the wilderness, God sent a plague of snakes upon them, but also provided a remedy if they would repent and be obedient.

King David [who was inspired to write many psalms] had every confidence in God, and possessed that quality at an early age. While still a youth tending his father’s sheep, God helped him to kill a bear and a lion singlehandedly. Soon afterward, God used him to kill a heavily-armed Goliath with a stone and a sling. When David was in Saul’s army, the women used to sing, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” David’s trust in the Lord reached the point where he said assuredly, “By my God I can leap over a wall” [Psalm 18:29] and “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil” [Psalm 23:4].

Our Lord Jesus Christ prayed submissively to the will of His heavenly Father and confidently rose to go to His death on the cross.

Although I do not understand everything about Psalm 91, I do believe it gives hope for those who live today to trust God—especially during a pandemic such as the Coronavirus pandemic we are currently experiencing. God is our hope! “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” [Romans 5:5].

The life examples of Moses and David [imperfectly] and of Jesus Christ [perfectly] are examples of complete trust in the Lord [again see Romans 15:4] that enable us to face today’s huge obstacles—and the Coronavirus is admittedly one of the biggest. We can face it boldly, although it would be foolish not to exercise caution. Common sense tells us not to touch a hot stove or stuff a wasp-infested nest in a shirt pocket. Similarly, during the pandemic we should not go from room to room visiting a hospital or hug everybody in a crowded room. That being said, now “we may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” [Hebrews 13:6].

The Coronavirus presents a real threat to our finances, health, and even our lives, but it does not affect the outcome of a believer’s eternal destiny. In this way, we find application to Psalm 91. We need fear neither plague nor pestilence if our confidence is in God.

~Kevin Patrick Dillon

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Florence, AL 35630

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