“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.”
Psalm 91:11-13 ESV
God guards our ways. He sets his angels around us to protect and guide us. When we walk with God, we are walking within His protection and provision. The powerful, deceptive, and dangerous enemies in this world cannot overcome us.
This is a powerful promise filled with hope and encouragement. But life doesn’t always feel safe and victorious, so let’s dig a little deeper into these verses.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
We have a battalion of guards surrounding and protecting us. But does God really mean “in all our ways”? Let’s look back at verse 9: “Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—”
Therefore, the angels’ command and accompanying promise that we’ll be guarded in all our ways is conditional upon us making the Lord our dwelling place. Learning to abide in God is part of the Christian walk. It’s a learning process and we all mess it up. The good news is that God’s grace is enough, and He’ll still protect us and lead us back to Him.
That doesn’t mean we can intentionally run off on our own path and expect God’s blessing of angelic protection to follow us in our disobedience. But it does mean we’ll always be welcome back with restoration, forgiveness, and acceptance when we turn back to Him.
On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
Imagine walking down a rocky path trying not to trip over all the loose stones. You can’t really look around to enjoy the view or be aware of what is ahead of you because your eyes are focused at your feet as you find your next safe step. It kinda takes the fun out of the journey, plus you get a crick in your neck.
But what if you are surrounded by strong companions on every side? Their job is to lift you up above the rocks. Now, as you are walking along, you simply glide over the rocks and boulders. No tripping, no stumbling, just soaring above the rocks. You are now free to look around and notice what is happening on your right and left. You can look ahead for obstacles and check on your fellow travelers because you can move unhindered along the path.
This sentence takes on even more meaning when we place ourselves in David’s time. People wore sandals so striking your foot against a stone would do more than make you trip and fall; it could cause a severe injury that impedes your ability to keep walking.
Can you see the importance of this command? Not only does God help us keep from stumbling, He protects us from injuries that would cause us to stop or slow us down. This is a gift of freedom. Freedom to look around as we’re traveling. Freedom from the fear of falling. Freedom from anxiety about taking a misstep. Freedom from the risk of purpose-ending injury. God promises to get us where we are going. He’ll get us there healthy and ready to accomplish His purposes.
You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Now that we can look around and see what lies ahead. What do we do when we notice dangers in front of us? The lions roar and threaten to overpower us while adders hide in the grasses and strike when we come upon them. The young lions have something to prove and the serpent slithers onto our path tempting us to take what is not meant for us.
We tread on them! When we abide in the refuge of God, we are victorious over every enemy that comes against us. Notice that we still have to face them, trouble still crosses our path, the lions and serpents continue to show up and challenge us. But God promises we will trample them underfoot.
We won’t sneak by unseen. We won’t barely make it through. We will trample the enemy. We will decimate him and his minions!
When we are abiding in Christ and see the enemy ahead, we should think, “They better get outta my way, because Jesus and I are coming through!” God sets His guard around you, Jesus gave His life for you, the Holy Spirit resides within you. There is nothing the enemy can do to defeat you.
And now a warning
The enemy will use scripture to trip you up. In fact, he used these very verses when trying to make Jesus turn aside from His purposes.
Then the devil took him [Jesus] to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and ‘on their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
The devil knew Jesus would defeat him, so he tried to use His own words against Him. But Jesus knew the entire meaning and context of these verses. The devil conveniently left off the verse about dwelling with God Most High. And Jesus knew that jumping off a building because someone dared Him to was not the intention behind this promise.
What does God want from us? He wants to walk confidently in His protection. He wants us to look around us so we can be prepared for the dangers ahead. He wants us to be wise enough to know when we’re being led astray. He wants us to trust Him in all circumstances.
- Abide in Christ – no matter what stage we are in, whether in the midst of a battle, coming out of a battle, in a place of peace and stillness, or lost somewhere in the middle. Check your dwelling place. Are you dwelling with God? If not, turn to Him now and seek His refuge.
- Trust God – His protection surrounds you. Look up, step confidently along the path God sets you on.
- Be alert – God has removed the need to study your footing so you can keep an eye on your surroundings. Notice the beauty. Be aware of the predators. Look to Jesus for guidance.
- Be prepared – You’ll be trampling on some pretty tough enemies (well, not tough by God’s standards, but they’ll look big and scary to us) so get battle ready. Read God’s Word so it can’t be twisted and used against you. Keep your eyes and ears focused on the Trinity. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This Trifecta is undefeatable.
Father, we come to You today asking that you teach us how to dwell with You. Show us what it means to abide in Christ so we can walk confidently in Your purpose for us. Thank You for Your Word and continue to inspire us to learn and grow in Your knowledge and wisdom. Help us overcome our fears and to see through the deceptions of the enemy. Thank you for being our refuge and strength and thank You for setting Your guard around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.