A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
These verses are sometimes difficult to comprehend. Is it literal, or is it figurative; symbolic? I have a question for you .... Do you have the courage to believe that God means this literally in His promise of protection? Is it possible that this could mean exactly what it says, and we could miss out on the promise by doubting its veracity? Can you see that this paints a picture of spiritual warfare, as well as physical attacks?
I think it is safe to say that not everyone will benefit from this promise. Like all the other promises in Psalm 91, this one is available to all; but only those who believe what God says in His Holy Word and hold fast to the promises within, will receive the benefits. But we must choose to believe and trust His Word!
Notice that this verse follows on the heels of verse 6, which tells us that we will not be afraid of the destruction.... God knows that there will be times when we will be overwhelmed with all the negative reports of life around us and in the world. (Current events come to my mind; how about yours?) That is why He is warning us in this verse that thousands will fall around us; they will not only cave into the doubts and worries of spiritual warfare, but could be consumed by the actual real-life events that are happening all around us (wars and mass murders; viruses and diseases).
At this point we have to choose whether we will believe and trust; running to that shelter of the Most High, where He promised we would rest (find safety) in His shadow (remember verse 1 and the first promise?) But as I've told you before, this takes action on our part. He offers the promises of protection, but we must choose to claim them! Otherwise, we find ourselves, along with the rest of the world, passively accepting the consequences of "the destruction" that is befalling the thousands at our side, and the ten thousands at our right.
What I hope you have seen --- and will see in the coming verses --- is that Psalm 91 is a complete covenant package of protection. It covers all the evils known to mankind, and God tells us how to claim His protection over them all!
Now let's take a look at the rest of our selection today. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked ... Here God is telling us that we will see His judgment at times. Sooner or later, every sin will be exposed and paid for. We have seen that happen. An evil dictator falls; an aggressive tyrant faces his crimes against humanity. Nothing goes unpunished. I think this verse is telling us that if we seek His protection from the evil that is causing those around us to fall, that protection will include a sort of detachment; we will see it and not let it become part of us. Our protection keeps us from letting the Enemy's hate become a part of us. By believing and trusting in His protection promises, we are putting ourselves in a separate category from the wicked mentioned in the verse.
I want to caution you that Psalm 91 does not promise protection from persecution. As the author of the book, Psalm 91, says: "There is a difference in the destruction of the enemy [as outlined in this Psalm] and persecution for the gospel's sake." In truth, Jesus, himself, told us that if we follow Him, we can expect to be persecuted. Jesus suffered persecution, but He did not face calamity, disaster, disease, or catastrophes. This verse lets us know to expect that spiritual warfare will be a part of our Christian walk, as well as physical attacks. The words of this verse are not written just to inspire or comfort us, but to provide protection and deliverance from the attacks of the Enemy.