LIVE LONG AND PROSPER – STAND IN GOD’S PERFECT LOVE

11:25 PM
To live long and prosper, we must place our faith not in the shadow of God, but rather in the source of that shadow. Yet there are so many times when we slip far away from the source, and even though we remain near the edge of the shadow, we find within our flesh an attraction to the flickering neon lights of an uncontrolled lifestyle.
In Psalm 91, the author describes a secret place, a hidden corner beneath the shadow of God wherein men can find rescue from troubles and fortification against enemies, wherein the fruit of a long and prosperous life is the promise God offers to all who will believe in the truth of his word. The Psalmist writes of evil surroundings, nocturnal terrors, afflictions and snares. Yet the words of comfort assure men of hope that Jehovah God protects those who set their love upon his mercy and grace. Long and honorable life does he promise to those who love the Father.

Live Long and Prosper – Reflecting On the Meaning
Even though the beginning words of Psalm 91 decrees a secret place in the “shadow” of God, it takes but an instant for a Christian to grasp that protection comes not from the shadow but rather that it comes from the person who is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Thus we are called to draw near to God, to shelter beneath his wings, to get into the shadow of understanding and wisdom and knowledge of right living. The metaphors bring to mind vivid images of fundamental Christian truths. This is not a passage to be taken literally. It is a passage that demands spiritual interpretation. Clearly the shadow of the Creator God swallows up all that was, is and can be. Yet the image of Scripture points toward a limited shadow, such as that of a tree or a building or a man. And if the shadow is to be perceived as limited, a Christian must indeed draw very, very near to the unyielding foundation of that shadow.

A Promise That Cannot Be Broken
As Psalm 91 draws near to ending, we reap an awesome message and promise from God. Scripture records it in this manner:
“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation,” (Psalm 91:14-16 KJV).

As we read, we notice a key word, “Because.” This word makes the promise conditional. It is a call for self-examination. Do we really set our love upon Him? Or is it self-deception that makes us see within self a greater dedication that that which is revealed by our actions?

As for me, I do love God. Within my heart is a pounding to know him like never before. The words that often trace through my mind, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” fill me with longing yet also announce my guilt. For though my love toward God is real, it is not perfect. And there are times when my thoughts travel down roads that are far from the shadow. And even worse, there are times when my actions follow my thoughts.

Perhaps is a brief incident, a rash word spoken due to a moment of annoyance with circumstances, my children, my friends, my wife, and yes – even my God. Although only briefly, my flesh conquers my spirit and I speak without love or patience or even regret. And it comes often without warning. Such things should not be, and blaming them on the flesh reduces not the failure. Perfect love does not behave so rashly.

“It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs,” (1-Cor 13:5 NIV).

Maybe you go there too. Perhaps you let the soft undertones of envy whisper through your thoughts. It’s a brief thought, a lingering moment in eternity that you wish had never came. Yet it did. We all go there from time to time, slipping into places in our mind that we would rather not know existed. And we fail to lay captive the thought. Perfect love would not lurk in such a place.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,” (1 Cor 13:4 NIV).
Where will we go when such things happen? How will we learn to live long and prosper while trapped in corruptible flesh and hindered with an imperfect mind that is incapable of fully setting our love upon God? 
Grace – His Love Rather Than Our Love
Be honest my Christian friend. We often miss the mark of Christian maturity. This gives us not an excuse; it is merely a statement of the facts. But do these moments, and even days, of forgetfulness remove us from beneath the shadow of God’s promise? Are we unable to lay claim to the words within Psalm 91?

I say yea, let us claim long and prosperous life. For it is our promise from God.
He alone is perfect. The promise in Psalm 91 is not to a perfect man with perfect love, but rather it is to those who have set their love upon a perfect God. Throughout the Scriptures, prophets stumble and come up short. Oh how glorious that God enables us to see his grace and mercy at work throughout the eons of recorded time. And the splendor of his love consumes us, even in the times that we fail him.

We weep. We sorrow. We endeavor with all that we are to be found worthy of this grace that enables mortal man to reap the promises of a Holy and Perfect God. Yet in the name of Jesus Christ, we find that the promises are free if we but believe upon the finished work on the cross. We reap not the promises of God via our own goodness, but rather through the mercy and grace, and yea even the faith that God bestows upon us in the name of Jesus Christ. As it is written concerning spiritual father, Abraham, so too is it for us:

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” (Romans 4:3-5 KJV).

How do you reap the promise to live long and prosper? By faith you acknowledge your sinful nature, repent and accept the living sacrifice of Jesus Christ as your complete and full atonement for past, present and future sins. Thus the promises in Psalms 91 are yours to claim. Love God as best you can. Believe upon the power of the indwelling Spirit. Call upon the name of Jesus. And when you stumble remember that the words in this Psalm are the very words that Satan used when trying to tempt the one who stands as your righteousness.

American is in or very near the abandonment of God. Trials and troubles like Christians have never before in this nation experienced are near at hand. Do not fear. And do not be angry. For we all were once blind? So pray for the loss, for the nation, and for strength among God’s people. He will protect you. He will honor you with long life.

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