He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.Psalm 91:3 (ESV)
What is a snare? Who is a fowler? Why do I need saving from any of this?
According to the dictionary, a snare is a trap for catching birds. Typically, snares have a noose of wire or cord. A fowler is someone who hunts birds. In the context of Psalm 91:3, a fowler is a hunter who sets noose-like traps that catch prey.
I watched a video on how to make a snare because I wanted to see what it entailed. They are quite simple to make and execute. What struck me was when the person in the video said, “A snare doesn’t kill the bird, just traps it. You have to do the killing yourself.” This is an interesting piece of information about snares. Snares are not meant to kill, just to trap.
There are several metaphorical implications behind this verse, but I felt like there had to be some reason for why we children of God are equated to birds. I mean, I’m not a bird! So I did a little research and I came across a post from Lighthouse Baptist Church. I don’t know this church, so I cannot vouch for their ideology, but their post makes an interesting connection to Isaiah 40:31, which sent my brain down a spiral.
In Isaiah 40:31 we read, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Super famous verse — everyone has heard it many times. But, I’ve never connected it to Psalm 91:3. We all get the gist of Isaiah 40:31: when we put our faith and trust in God, when we wait for His timing, He takes care of us. He renews our strength and makes us rise above all the bad that could keep us down.
With God, we are able to “mount up with wings like eagles.” What an amazing image! Birds fly for many reasons, but often it’s to get out of the reach of something bad. I feel like it’s pretty clear that Isaiah 40:31 is telling us that with God He can get us out of anything that isn’t good for us. This made me think of the rapture passages throughout the New Testament and how in those verses those who are truly in Christ will rise above and live with Jesus forever. Specifically, I’m thinking of 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15.
In the rapture passages, the imagery is of believers going UP in the air to Jesus super quickly — in the blink of an eye. Almost like a bird. Birds don’t take a long time to to go from perched to up in the air. Mere seconds actually. In the blink of an eye.
So, who is the fowler in Psalm 91?
The fowler in Psalm 91 is the devil. He will do anything to get Jesus’s followers to turn from Him, including setting snares (i.e., sins) that entrap us. Satan hates us with a vicious passion. He will do anything to snatch our souls away from God including sending pestilences that get us focused on earthly things and not on those above things.
Perhaps you have noticed that Fear reigns these days. It’s everywhere. Turn on any TV show, especially the news, and you will be flooded with all kinds of fearful messages and images. Fear is an idol. If you are fearful you are telling God that you have no faith that He can handle the thing your fear. You are telling Him that your fear is Goliath and that God can’t beat Goliath. You have let fear ensnare you. You have let the devil win.
BUT when we put our trust in God, when we force our brains and hearts to refuse to accept the “truth” our fear is screaming in our ears, we tell Jesus, “I have no idols. You are it! You will protect me from any snare the devil may put in my path.” When we do this, He raises us above the fray. He keeps us safe from the fowler. We rise on wings like eagles.
Here is the Truth: God is always our protection, but only if we trust Him completely. When we do, He protects us from everything. AMEN!