You shall not be afraid of any terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the plague that stalks in the darkness,
nor of the sickness that lays waste at mid-day.
A thousand shall fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand,
but it shall not come near you.
Did anyone ever think they would be protected from harm this way?
This is one of my favorite psalms, not because I think it is a talisman against anything bad happening to me, but because it is about my frame of mind. In an outbreak of disease like the Coronavirus, for example, this psalm encourages helping those who are infected.
I don’t live anywhere near China so this is not a practical consideration. I do wonder if I will be in such a situation in the future.
I do know this psalm has been a comfort to those inprisoned in South American jails. The Disappeared often recited it. The comfort comes, I think, not from its physical practicality but from its insistence that God knows of the suffering and the hope in God’s care whatever that may look like in this world and the assurance of God’s eternal care in the life to come.