Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
Try to picture the scene described in the above verse from Psalm 91. You are standing somewhere in the midst of eleven thousand people, and suddenly, a plague sweeps through, and every one of them drops dead beside you. Would you think that the pestilence had come near you? Of course you would, if you are a normal person. You would probably run away so that the plague would not kill you, too, and then you would no doubt tell your friends of your narrow escape from death. But the Spirit of God will give us a different perspective of that event because the Spirit teaches us to look at things from God’s point of view.
In God’s world, if God determined that the plague would not touch you, the truth is the plague did not come anywhere near you, even if some who died by it fell against you when they dropped dead. God’s will governs life, not circumstances. Did Noah almost drown in the Flood? Of course not. He was as safe as he was before it even rained, for God determined that Noah and his family would live. Did Jesus almost catch leprosy when he laid hands on lepers and healed them? Or did he almost sin when he stood in the midst of sinners? God’s will for him was that Jesus would not catch leprosy or commit sin, and that was the determining factor in Jesus’ life. Nothing else was relevant, and Jesus trusted his Father to care of him.
No one who knows God will say that Jesus almost condemned Peter, James, and John as being sons of the devil because they were standing nearby when Jesus condemned others for being sons of the devil. Physical proximity to wicked people is irrelevant in determining how close we are, in our hearts, to wickedness. The only thing that matters is our relationship with God; or more specifically, His will for us. If a nuclear bomb is detonated over our heads, and God has determined that it will not harm us, it would be wrong for us even to tell someone that we barely escaped the explosion. For if God had decided we would be unharmed, then that nuclear weapon was as irrelevant to us as if it were not even in our universe.
David understood this. Or, at least, he yielded himself to the Spirit that understood it, and it declared the truth. When we yield our carnal thoughts to that same Spirit, we will judge all things from the perspective of faith, and talk of God’s saving power instead of how close we come to harm.