The 91st psalm
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (v.1)
Many verses are addressed to a certain person or group, here we see that the ninety-first psalm is for all that are in Christ, God’s people. We all assume that we dwell under the shadow of the Almighty, and in the secret place of God (salvation). Thus, this Psalm, as most other Old Testament passages, cannot be cast aside under a new dispensation. If our Lord chooses to bless Israel for the sake of Abraham and Moses, how much surer a blessing is bestowed on us who have become one with Christ, His beloved Son. Grace aside, the latter is more blessed than the former because of Jesus, whom Israel hardly knew.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (v.2)
Verse two further supports the “who” this verse is written to and for. Those that have trusted in the Lord, and made Him their (only) refuge, have the greatest of blessings, indeed. The psalmist was sure of His position with the Lord, and if we are also sure of ours, we can surely accept that today we are also blessed far more than we often imagine.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. (v.3)
Not “maybe” He shall deliver us, but “surely” He shall! He guides us so that the hunter of souls cannot trap us, and the fearsome storms of life which are often in his command cannot harm us. Be assured, my friend< we are safe in the hands of Jesus.
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (v.4)
The Lord will, and has, embraced us as His beloved children. He protects us from dangers without, which we shall yet see, but also comforts us by drawing us close to Him, whether Jew or not. We can trust in Him to be true to His character and to see that we are safe and secure.
Furthermore, it is His Truth that preserves us, as our shield and buckler. He is our protector because of Christ, but through His Truth.
Our Lord often uses analogical comparisons to teach us of His love for us. Here He likens a Himself to a hen protecting her brood; when danger approaches they will scurry to their mothers side and she will cover them with her wings while staving off the predator. The chicks are secure in the bosom of the mother.
“Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;” (v.5)
The Lord knows the danger of fear, and often, throughout Scripture, deals with it. JOB feared losing his family or natural disasters, but it came about as he feared it would:
JOB 3:25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.
Fear is a tool of the devil. Keep in mind that in Revelation 21:8 we see a list of those who will occupy hell, and the list is topped off with the “fearful”:
Rev 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Our Lord wants us to trust Him in every area of our lives. We are a fearful people, we fear the sickness finding us; we fear death; loss; financial failure; we fear nearly every aspect of our lives, personal and public, when what we need to do is trust the Lord. We must realize that the stray bullet (arrow) cannot find its mark in us unless the Lord allows it, and if He allows it, it is the best thing for us or our families.
“Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” (v.6)
Disease runs rampant in our country in spite of the medical advances we have gained. Are we too careful to go outside for fear that we may catch a germ that travels in the wind? Are we so unfriendly that we fail to greet people, especially acquaintances, for fear that we might catch something. Our Lord would have us comfort the sick, and visit them, but many are afraid to visit hospitals and nursing homes for that same reason. Shame on us! We need not be fearful of things we cannot control; we need not fear the unseen and the unknown, or nurture the thought of possibility. We need to trust God in these matters, as in all matters.
“A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. “ (v. 7)
What a promise to the redeemed. One thinks of war times, and their comrades falling before the enemy, but nothing can happen to themselves that God is not in control of (Rom. 8:28), and that does not, in some way, produce good. It would behoove us to keep this in mind, and stay as close to the Lord as possible.
Many of God’s promises are conditional, but the conditions are not unreasonable, nor unreachable, the men of God from past ages have proven this. When we “dwell in the secret place” and “under the shadow of the Almighty” there are great blessings in store for us, and much comfort comes our way. We are God’s people and we bear His name before all.
“Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;” (vs. 8, 9)
It is not because we are so good, but because we have believed in the sacrificial Lamb, and accepted Him as our Savior; that is the reason we are so blessed. He, indeed, ought to be our refuge. In the old days they built towers or strongholds as a refuge against the enemy, and they ran there when danger approached, but if we already dwell there, all the time, we have no need to flee for safety; we rest in the loving arms of our Champion and Redeemer. We shall see the destruction of the wicked from the arms of grace, and know that the Lord shall mete out judgment unto all the unbelievers who have rejected Him.
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. V. 10)
Again a precious, but often ignored promise to the redeemed of the Lord. No evil shall befall us! No plague shall grip us! Why do we fear so? I suppose fear is natural for man, but with all these promises going for us, it seems silly to fear anything. God’s angels will see to it that the promise is fulfilled in each of us.
“For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”
The Lord has taken special care for us by assigning angels to watch over us, and protect us in His stead. They will “Keep” us in all our ways, wherever we go, and in whatever we do especially for the glory of God. As a result of their guidance and mediation, we shall have victory and success.
“Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” (v. 13)
Then in verse 14, our Lord assures us that because we have served and believed Him, all these things shall come to pass.
“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.” (vs. 15,16)
The Lord promises, finally, to hear our pleas. He will help us when we need help, because He loves us immensely. Not only that, but because we have honored Him, He will honor us! What a blessing! What a blessed promise. He will reward us with the greatest of gifts--long life along with His salvation. I believe this life speaks of everlasting life, and what could be longer or greater than that? Grab on to the promises and never let them go, the Lord gave them to us for such purposes.
The 91st psalm