“With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation” (Psalm 91:16).
Most people believe that Christians want escape. And a lot of Christians have given them good reason to think that. I’ve heard people on numerous occasions throughout my life talk about the fact that this world was “just going to burn anyway,” excusing their unneighborliness, unwillingness to take care of their possessions, or their propensity to litter.
In fact, in high school, I used to use that line to excuse leaving my fast food garbage in various parking lots across Southern California.
Yes, that’s right, Jesus’s imminent return was my excuse to keep from cleaning up after myself. And many Christians like me have perpetuated this idea that we don’t have to worry about the here and now because we’re going to ditch this world one day. Jesus is going to come back, open up a can on the unbelievers, and all the Christians will say one last cosmic, “See ya!”
But that’s not the way it works at all.
We don’t escape this world. Our hope in Christ’s return isn’t about leaving behind a physical bad world in favor of a spiritual good one. It’s about Jesus ushering in a very physical new heavens and new earth. It’s about him making all things new, restoring everything to what he meant it to be.
It isn’t about escape. This psalm reminded me of the future tense of God’s salvation for his people. We don’t want to leave this physical world and all the dirt that comes with it. Rather, we hope in the salvation that will come to us in the end because our God is a faithful God.
God will deliver (v.3), will cover (v.4), you will not fear (v.5-6), danger will not come near (v.7-8), no evil will be allowed to befall us (v. 9-10). God will deliver us, be with us in trouble, will rescue and honor us, and he will show us his salvation (v.14-16).
We have hope that God will right all wrongs and deliver us from evil. We don’t look to escape of this hard, cursed world. We put our hope in the God who promises to deliver us. And we can put our hope firmly in that deliverance because we already have the down payment of it in Christ.