As a child moving from home to home, I never found a secret place, somewhere I could be alone and name aloud the things that hurt me. Then, I was saved, and I learned that I could make my bed a secret place as I talked to God, and no one could hear me but Him. It was enough to convince me that I was heard and safe. This week’s psalm, Psalm 91, speaks of the secret place of the Most High, El Shaddai and the wonderful ways in which God takes care of His children who trust and fear Him.
Psalm 91:1-4 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
The author is not named, but his praise and faith is evident from the surety of his declaration that our God, El Shaddai, is a place of safety and rest for those who trust Him enough to take shelter under His wings. I am always reminded of a bird with its chicks protected by its wings over them.
Luke 13:34 reminds us what happens when we fail to take shelter under the Lord’s care, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Let us be willing to allow God to be our refuge in every storm.
The author assures us that God’s promises and so true and faithful that they are like armor and protection. God speaks to us through His written words, and it is imperative that one studies the Bible to know the promises for yourself, so you can appropriate them when needed.
Psalm 91: 5-10 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
We live a culture in which marketers use fear to sell nearly everything, including our elected officials. Fear is used to sell medicines, identity insurance and insurance of every kind, and home alarms, manual and digital. It is no wonder that people are afraid of even their neighbors!
But fear is a weapon of Satan, used to divide and leave people vulnerable to having their thoughts and beliefs conquered. But people of God should remember 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” A sound mind means we are capable of thinking and assessing situations for ourselves.
The author is not saying that God’s people will never suffer trials and tribulations in the world, just that when they do, they will not experience it alone. Isaiah 43:2 assures us, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” We often go through difficulties that feel like we are in deep waters, or walking through fire, but “there is a sweet relief in knowing that the Lord will make a way somehow.”
Psalm 91: 11-16 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
When I travel, I keep Psalm 34:7 foremost in my mind, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.” I wrote of when I encountered an angel in my life,and I truly believe in these servants of God. Hebrew 1:14, states, “Therefore, angels are only servants–spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.” So, the psalmist declaration that God will protect you is true.
Remember in Matthew 4:6 that Satan tried to tempt Jesus with this promise that the angels would not allow his feet to be dashed against a stone. This should remind us that Satan knows the Scriptures also, so we must pray for discernment, to know what powers are speaking to us and using God’s words in deceptive ways.
And surely, the lions, cobras (snakes), serpents are all names for Satan. In 1 Peter 5:8, we are told, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” And Revelation 20:2 formulates it thus, “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years…” So it is the ways of Satan, such as encouraging hate and fear, from which we must seek the protection God.
Lastly, the psalmist quotes the Lord’s promises to those who love Him and fear him. Isaiah 33:3 confirms the promises,”Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” The number of promises in the Bible range from 3573 to 5467, according to what source you use.
I have found that praying the promises to be an effective way of allowing God to know that you believe in His promises, but also, praying the promises keeps His promises close to our hearts. God is not offended by our recalling His promises to Him, as long as it is not with a voice of entitlement.
Psalm 91 is also viewed as Messianic Psalm, meaning that it can be interpreted as referring to the coming of Jesus Christ the Lord. I wanted to examine it strictly on the ideas of the provision, protection, and presence of God in times of trouble, which I think we need today more than we ever have. For the bottom line is this: God loves us with an unfailing love.
Scott’s daily Prompt is Formulate.