Into the New Year…

I was reading Psalm 91 yesterday’s windy morning as a start to the new year, ambling enjoyably through a myriad of warm, assuring promises of God’s strength and shelter and assurances to protect His people, when I was stopped short by this verse: no evil shall befall you. I ground to a sudden halt because my logical mind couldn’t help but protest that we all know this is a fallen world and bad things happen oh, just about every second or so. If not to us, then to everyone else. A few verses later in the psalm, God even promises that he will be with his people in trouble, which logically means trouble will come, evil will befall them. I plopped down right in the middle of the Psalm and started wondering what exactly it was that wouldn’t befall me if I followed God into the vast, rather unknown days of the year I am currently facing.

My puzzlement drove me to a trusty old concordance where I looked up the Hebrew word for evil in that particular verse. I found that in Hebrew the word doesn’t even directly seem to mean evil- the words listed were “to be a friend”, to “pasture, shepherd, or tend”, to “companion”. I was (and am) a little confused, could be wrong on the interpretation. But from what I can understand, I’m beginning to wonder. What if what God is promising is that evil will never companion me? Evil will never shepherd me, tend me as a close friend, journey with me. Wrong may befall me, evil may trip me up. But it will never be my guide on this journey of life. God alone is that guide, that friend closer than brother, or soul, or breath. When I choose him, love him, he becomes the lone, beloved guide of my spirit, he is the ever-present shepherd of my soul.

Now there’s a new year’s promise to pack for the road. Companioned by the God of all goodness so that though evil may befall me, it is only pure Love that is my guide, my helper, my friend. My wish for all of us is that we can live there, walk as surely with him as he walks closely with us. As the strange land of a new year spills out blue and formless to the far horizon, Iย  rejoice to know for sure that we are companioned not by evil, but by Christ, by Love and Mercy and every Good. Led by him into adventures unimaginable and better than any dream.

Beyond these reasons and feelings
Beyond the passion and fatigue
I know You’re there
And that Your Spirit is leading me
Beyond all this.
(Rich Mullins)

Happy New Year!



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7 responses to “Into the New Year…

  1. What an interesting and encouraging thing to discover hidden by a less than ideal translation! Sometimes I am discouraged by the meaning that we must miss out on that way. But I’m confident that, if we remain willing and sensitive to His voice, the Holy Spirit is eager to make even the hidden things clear…like He did for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you for sharing your experience! That’s a beautiful insight.

  2. WOW – what an amazing post. Your words contain such beauty – I LOVE to read what you write. I am amazed at the talent that God has poured out through you…thank you for in turn pouring it into others and blessing them! Sunshine

  3. Kathleen

    WOW! What a promise!

  4. KellieC

    What an amazing promise! Thanks for sharing that with us, Sarah. I’m off to ponder Psalm 8 as my children memorize it this week.

  5. I am as puzzled as you are. So I went digging into my reference books. Are you referring to v10? First I thought you mean V7, but there evil is only mentioned as a pronoun. In V10 however there the word RA’ is used. In my (electronic) Bible dictionary it comes with the following explanation:
    1) bad, evil
    1a) bad, disagreeable, malignant
    1b) bad, unpleasant, evil (giving pain, unhappiness, misery)
    1c) evil, displeasing
    1d) bad (of its kind – land, water, etc)
    1e) bad (of value)
    1f) worse than, worst (comparison)
    1g) sad, unhappy
    1h) evil (hurtful)
    1i) bad, unkind (vicious in disposition)
    1j) bad, evil, wicked (ethically)
    1j1) in general, of persons, of thoughts
    1j2) deeds, actions
    n m
    2) evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity
    2a) evil, distress, adversity
    2b) evil, injury, wrong
    2c) evil (ethical)
    n f
    3) evil, misery, distress, injury
    3a) evil, misery, distress
    3b) evil, injury, wrong
    3c) evil (ethical)

    So I am not sure at which word you looked exactly. I don’t find the aspect of companion, etc. in my dictionary at all. Maybe I am looking at the wrong verse? But the Lord certainly had a wonderful message for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sarah,

    Wonderful observations! I haven’t looked at this specifically but I will when I have time. Over the last 15 years while studying several Biblical subjects in depth from a historical perspective, I found that our English versions of the Bible do not do a very good job (well, actually just really poor, IMO) of translating and capturing the real meaning in some words in scripture. New vista’s of understanding of God’s words come out when we finally shove off our 21st Century understanding of 2000 year old words and try to understand what was written in the language and useage of the day it was written while using the newest translation info from archaelogical research.

    Aunt Linda and I are presently at Shannon’s with your new cousin, Reese Alexander Rains. Hope you got the photos I sent.

    Love ya,

    Uncle Wiley

  7. Wow. Thanks for exploring that. It is an encouragement to me because this is an unknown year for me too, mainly because I’m starting college. But I know God will be my companion through it all. ๐Ÿ™‚

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