The Manner of Our Departure Is Settled by Infinite Wisdom (Psalm 91:3)

The Manner of Our Departure Is Settled by Infinite Wisdom (Psalm 91:3)

Psalm 91:3 “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.”

Though we face difficulty and death in this life we have great confidence in God’s covenant to deliver His people.

Some translations have “surely” instead of “for” at the beginning of the verse. Why? Because it’s showing another ground for the Psalmist’s proclamation of trust at the end of verse 2.

Our confidence of final deliverance from enemies and pestilence comes from a knowledge of who God is in Psalm 91:1-2 and that He works to deliver in verse 3:

Most High (Elyon – עֶלְי֑וֹן) — who is our secret/hiding place (בְּסֵ֣תֶר) to dwell in (verse 1)
Almighty (Shaddai – שַׁ֝דַּ֗י) — who is our shadow/shade (בְּצֵ֥ל) to abide under (verse 1)
LORD (Yahweh – לַֽ֭יהוָה) — who is our refuge (מַחְסִ֣י) (verse 2)
God (Elohim – אֱ֝לֹהַ֗י) — who is our fortress (וּמְצוּדָתִ֑י) (verse 2)

At the end of verse 2 the Psalmist proclaims, “I will trust in Him.” Verse 3 declares the ground of that proclamation. For, surely, He will deliver you. God applies all of His powerful attributes to deliver his weak and sinful people from the frightening things they face. William Plumer is helpful on this passage, “Although God has not promised that his people shall not leave the world by casualty or malady, as He did respecting their Lord (vv. 3, 6); yet this is their rejoicing that the manner of their departure is settled not by caprice or luck, but by infinite wisdom; not by malice, but by unfailing love. Epidemics have no power but as they have a commission from God (v. 3).” (1)

God is at work even in the midst of physical attacks from the world, the flesh and the devil to deliver, to save or snatch us out of their hands. (2) God is at work even in the midst of deadly pestilence, plague, pandemic and epidemic to bring His people safely home. If Jesus tarries we will all face death in this world. Death is our final enemy, and even though we die we have deliverance from enemies, sorrow, sickness and tears through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can trust that God has designs of deliverance for the good and glory of His people even in the tragedy of deadly pestilence. If we don’t have Christ though, the tragedy of pestilence and calamity is a warning of the suffering we deserve for our sins in God’s wrath, only repent or we shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:3, 5). In Christ, God delivers not only from temporal pestilence, but also the eternal pestilence we face in hell.

Brothers and sisters, put your trust in Jesus Christ for deliverance from all we see in this world, but also for deliverance from God’s just wrath that we deserve for our sins. Let your knowledge of God’s power and of His attributes overwhelm the anxiety you feel with confidence and courage in His final deliverance through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Let this confidence lead each of us to proclaim today, “I will trust in Him.” 

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs, and works His sov’reign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding ev’ry hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flow’r.

Blind unbelief is sure to err, and scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter, and He will make it plain. (3)

1. Plumer, William S. Psalms (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975), 853.
2. A “fowler” is a trapper, someone seeking to trap birds in a snare. 
3. The hymn, God Works in a Mysterious Way by William Cowper (1731-1800).