International Sunday School Lesson
For Week Ending November 21, 2010
Purpose: To explore what it means to say that God protects God's own
Scripture Text: Psalm 91:1-6, 9-16 (NRSV)
Background: Psalm 91
Psalm 91 NRSV
(1)You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
(2) will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.”
(3)For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence;
(4) he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
(5)You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day,
(6) or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
(7)A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
(8)You will only look with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
(9)Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
(10) no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
(11) For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
(12)On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
(13)You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
(14)Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
(15)When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.
(16)With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
I have posted the complete chapter from the Psalms, because the missing verses (7, 8, and 9) were too good to leave out.
As I am writing this commentary the President is presenting the Congressional Medal of Honor to a 25 year old young man from a small Iowa town. He is Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, and he showed unusual valor and bravery while on patrol in Afghanistan. Seeing his friends wounded by enemy fire he single handedly pursued the enemy to recover his wounded friend from the hands of the enemy. Everyone of this patrol received some sort of shrapnel or wound from the enemy. What impressed me was his response, “I was just doing what anyone of my fellow soldiers would have done for me.” I realized that God has promised us that same kind of protection. We live “in the shelter of the Most High.”
The 91st Psalm promises all kinds of protection from all kinds of threats, even those imagined by us. Sometimes it is the “night terrors” that are imagined that cause us our greatest fear, because we often fear the most, those things we cannot always explain through reason.
There are things that occur during our lifetime that are difficult to explain, we miss catastrophe by seconds because of some silly delay in our schedule. One such story offered by two of the Chilean miners rescued after being trapped for two months is just such a tale. As two of them were driving in the mine on the day of the collapse, they suddenly noticed deep under the earth, this white butterfly. This insect had somehow traveled deep into the mine and caught the attention of these two men. Not much later the mine collapsed in front of them. If they had not slowed down to look at that butterfly, they would have been crushed under the rocks.
One of the other trapped miners, Jimmy Sanchez, sent a note up stating, “There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here.” God is present in our difficulties.
One of the other miners, Ricardo Villarrael, said “I never used to pray. Here I learned to pray. I got closer to God.” Those trapped in the mine set aside an area, and a time, for prayer. This would be good practice for all of us to follow, set aside a time and place to pray and commune with God.
In what areas do you need to trust God more than you are now? What problem are you focusing on instead of focusing on God's solutions? How can you reorient your thinking regarding this situation?