Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. (Psalm 91:14–16)
God promises to deliver and protect the one who holds fast to him, who knows his name. Up to this point in Psalm 91, the psalmist himself has been doing the talking, repeatedly referring to a certain “you.”
[God] will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (Psalm 91:4, NIV)
Who is the “you” he is talking about? It becomes clear throughout the psalm that he’s not talking about himself or us, but about the Messiah. This amazing psalm is addressed to God’s Anointed, the coming Christ who will redeem Israel and save the world. The psalmist has assured us with promise after promise that God will care for his Son and then, in verse 14, he speaks the words of final salvation, basically saying the same thing in two different ways:
Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
So why will God deliver him? Because he holds fast to him in love. Why will God protect him? Because he knows God’s name. This tells us that this kind of care from God — this deliverance and protection — is not for every single person on the planet. This is not the kind of general benevolence that makes the rain fall on the just and unjust. This is a particular love that is undergirded by a relationship.
To be sure, it doesn’t suggest that there is not hardship. The promise is not about comfort and ease, but ultimate salvation — the kind that reaches into the valley of the shadow of death and leads a crucified King to walk out of the tomb. This ultimate salvation is not the absence of suffering, but the assurance of victory. It means that however long the dark night might be, joy will come in the morning (Psalm 30:5). God will not let his holy one see corruption (Psalm 16:10).
And just as this is true of Jesus, it can be true of us.
The Anointed Ones
These words about Jesus — God’s promise of his ultimate salvation — are words that apply to us if we are united to Jesus by faith. Paul tells us that all the promises of God find their “Yes” for us in Jesus (2 Corinthians 1:20). God has established us in Jesus, the Anointed One, and has actually anointed us to share in the promises made to him (2 Corinthians 1:21–22). To be a Christian is to be, in the truest sense, a little Christ — a little anointed one. United to Jesus by faith, sealed by his Holy Spirit, we share in all his benefits and receive the promises God made to him. The Father’s commitment to do us good is as fierce and determined as his commitment to his own Son.
Because of Jesus we have come to know God. And like Jesus — through Jesus — we can look to God as our protector, our deliverer, as the one who will never let go of us. Through the calm and through the storm, he will be with us. He will calm our fears. He will rescue us. He will bring an end to all our troubles. He will show us his salvation.