For the complete booklet of Psalm 91 devotionals, click here.
“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”
One + one=Victory
There is strength in numbers, the old saying goes. But if the big numbers refer to “the bad guys” there can be intimidation, fear, and foreboding in the camp of the (fewer) “good guys.”
But despite the odds of various types and forms of turmoil—physical, mental, emotional, and/or spiritual—consider the power of one (believer) + One (God) in the chronicles of the redeemed: Abraham, Sarah, Noah, Deborah, David, Abigail, Peter, and Mary, the mother of Jesus .
What did our forefathers and foremothers in the faith know? As St. Paul put it: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 11:23).
Our forebears also understood “God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power, of love, and of self-discipline (sound-mindedness)” (2 Timothy 1:7).
That goes for us in the here and now, too. Sometimes it does boil down to merely one believer. At other times, it may be just a few, a remnant.
Here is another story from antiquity of two facing great (big, tall, and menacing) odds that offers encouragement.
When the Israelites neared the end of their encampment in the desert, Moses sent twelve scouts to explore the Promised Land. After forty days, they returned with some good news, the land was fertile, and some bad news: the cities were large and fortified and the people, especially the Nephilim , were large.
As the scouts put it: “We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:32).
“That night,” the text continues, “all the people of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. […] “If only we had died in Egypt!” they moaned. “Or in this desert! Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword?” (14:2-3).
Even after everything the people had experienced—the parting of the Red Sea, the daily provision of manna and quail, water coming from a rock, the cloud by day, fire by night—they were afraid, ready to run from the very entrance to the land all the way back to Egypt’s chains.
Only two scouts, Caleb and Joshua, countered the complaints.
“We should go up and take possession…,” declared Caleb, “for we can certainly do it” (13:30).
“The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good,” added Joshua. “If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land […] And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them” (14:7-9).
The text records the subsequent success of the mission…
Even as many of us can recite litanies of blessings that have guided us thus far on our own spiritual journeys, sometimes still we feel the hot breath of some Nephilim of worry closing in. Our confidence cracks; the cloud of certainty evaporates. In the thick of a night’s—or day’s—distress the enemies of peace, trust, and hope, some, hulking large and menacing, invade the void.
But like our spiritual ancestry, we can be of the faithful remnant, the loyal scouts, because He has promised to never leave nor forsake us.
We, too, can walk in power, love, and sound-mindedness.
For you and me, it is in reality a “mop up campaign” as we journey with Christ—Who has already defeated the (real) foe, scouted the land, and declared, “It is good.”
And He says to us today what He said to those of old:
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (Chronicles 20:15).
Share your own story of victory in Christ—despite the odds.
For Abraham’s story, see Genesis 12-25
For Sarah’s story, see Genesis 12-25 and Hebrews 11:11
For Noah’s story, see Genesis 6-9
For Deborah’s story, see Judges 4-5
For David’s story (re: Goliath in particular—one of the Nephilim, it is conjectured) 1 Samuel 17
For Abigail’s story, see 1 Samuel 25
For Peter’s story, see Matthew 16:13-20
For Mary’s story, see Luke 1:26-38
 Here are several references of numerous web entries available re: the Nephilim
Images from the public domain.
- Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Preface, Verses 1-2, and Share Your Story (pnissila.wordpress.com)
- Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verse 3 (pnissila.wordpress.com)
- Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verse 4, and Share Your Story (pnissila.wordpress.com)
- Psalm 91 in the Midst of the Fray: Verses 5-6, and Share Your Story (pnissila.wordpress.com)