Monday, September 20, 2010

Freedom from Fear cont.

"A ten thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at you right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and se the recompense if the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place-the Most High, who is my refuge- no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent." Psalm 91:7-9

This is a continuation of this morning's post on verses 1-6. This section outlines the protection of the Lord more explicitly which creates a problem in interpretation.

I am of the school that believes that the simplest, most obvious interpretation (especially of scripture) is the correct one. The simplest, most obvious interpretation of these verses is that those who make their refuge in the Lord will not be afflicted by evil or plague. We also know that, in experience, there are many who seem to or claim to take refuge in the Lord whom evil indeed befalls and who experience plagues.

These two premises cannot be reconciled simply. To my way if thinking there are three explanations:
1) God lied in this psalm. Of course if you believe the bible this cannot be. Yet I have trouble simply ignoring a seeming contradiction. If there is no other explanation, than, even if YOU don't believe God would lie, you can't deny that, to one who does not have the same faith as you, rationally, this is a contradiction or a lie.
2) Those who experience evil and plagues in this world are not dwelling in the shelter if the most high. This is possible and definitely more comfortable than calling God a liar. But this brings us close to judging the hearts of others, a big foul in the life of the Christian. On the other hand, if you really can't know the hearts of others, this is a feasible option. My only question is, then, how do you know if YOU are dwelling in His shelter?
3) The most obvious interpretation of these versus is wrong or incomplete; there's an x-factor we don't understand yet. This is my favorite although it means that the words of my trusty ESV don't mean (exactly) what they seem to, or that there is some important context that I'm missing. This means more digging, a fun idea but one that must, unfortunately, be delayed as I've reached the end of my lunch hour.

I'd love to hear your thoughts in the mean time!
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