From Psalms 90-95
Today’s Psalm has an unknown author. But it draws upon the themes we keep seeing in Psalms of trust in God and in his willingness to protect his people. Logos by the way has produced an animation of verses 8 and 9.
This post is part of my Bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Ps 91.1-2)
Taking shelter or refuge in the LORD is a common theme in the Psalms. His shadow covers those who take shelter in him. He protects them. The key feature of the LORD’s people is trust. Trust that he will look after and protect them.
Do you trust in the LORD and think of him as your refuge?
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. (Ps 91.3-6)
The Psalmist is speaking to people and encourages them with the protection the LORD provides. He protects his people from those who kill. He protects from disease. A small range of imagery is used to describe his protection. The wings of a bird cover over and protect her young (cf. Exod 19:4; Deut 32:11; Pss 5:12–13; 17:8; 63:8). His faithfulness to his covenant and people is like a warriors shield. The Psalmist then lists a number of dangers which the people feared.
What issues in your life do you need to be reassured with that the LORD will protect you?
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. (Ps 91.7-10)
The Psalmist encourages them to look around and see the fate of those who do not trust in the LORD. They fall down. He encourages them saying what happens to them will not happen to you.
In what ways has the LORD protected you when he has not done so for those who do not trust in him?
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. (Ps 91.11-13)
The Psalmist encourages his listeners to know just how far the LORD will go to rescue them from trouble. He will send his angels to protect his people. They will stand guard. They will make sure you don’t stumble. Normally if one encountered a lion or a snake they would be killed. The Psalmist is saying God will help those under his protection rule over these animals.
Have you ever experienced supernatural protection?
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Ps 91.14-16)
The LORD will do this because of his covenant love. ‘Holds fast’ describes the covenant bond between its members. Normally associated with marriage (Gen 2.24). Here it signifies the LORD refusing to part from those he is in covenant with. The knowledge is shared between the LORD and his people. They are those who know his name and call out to him. The LORD blesses his people with long life and salvation.
Do you feel like the LORD will continue to look after you?
Story of Jesus
Psalm 91 says a lot of encouraging things for God’s people. At one time however it was quoted at Jesus by one who wanted to discourage him from his work.
4 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2 for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3 The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 And Jesus answered him,
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” (cf. Dt 8.3)
5 And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8 And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
“ ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’ ” (cf. Dt 6.13)
9 And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10 for it is written,
“ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ (cf. Ps 91.11)
“ ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ” (cf. Ps 91.12)
12 And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (cf. Dt 6.16)
13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. 14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Lk 4:1–15)
Jesus has put us in the right frame of mind to understand Psalm 91. We are not encouraged to think we can recklessly put ourselves in danger and expect the LORD to save us. Rather the Psalm helps us to put our trust in the LORD and know he cares for us.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.