A PSALM OF TRUST IN RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD
The opening verse of this Psalm seems to state the obvious: “those who take their shelter under the Most High are sheltered by the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Yet there is a reason for this turn of speech: even those who are deemed ‘the people of the LORD’ are at best rebellious children, and struggle against His parental protection (Luke 13:34).
If you are truly trusting in God, then be at peace: stop struggling to get out of the nest!
Quiet faith snuggles in, and takes assurance in the LORD: “My refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:2).
This is spoken as a personal experience, and opens out into a testimony of His keeping power.
Whether understood literally or metaphorically, the examples in the middle of the Psalm stand as a testimony of the comprehensiveness of God’s protection.
The “snare of the fowler” (Psalm 91:3) could represent the traps that people lay in order to catch Christians in their words.
They did it to Jesus, and ‘the servant is not greater than his Lord’ (John 15:20).
‘Always be ready to give an account of the hope that is within you’ (1 Peter 3:15).
“Deadly pestilence” (Psalm 91:3) could be translated as ‘noisome words’ – slander perhaps?
Whichever way, God’s cover reaches far beyond that of the mother bird of Psalm 91:4.
It is greater than any insurance policy that you might buy for yourself: put your trust here and His faithfulness (truth) will be your defence.
Psalm 91:5-6 speaks twice of the terrors of the night, and twice of the dangers of the day (Cf. Psalm 121:6).
“The arrow” of Psalm 91:5 could be either physical or spiritual, or both at once.
Christians under persecution have testified to the literal truth of Psalm 91:7-10 – but this does not alter the fact that Christians still do suffer.
There are times when God does not deliver us FROM things, but rather delivers us IN things (Romans 8:37).
The important point is that our refuge is in the LORD, and that our natural habitat is in the Most High (Psalm 91:9).
We are assured of angelic protection: “angels” (plural) to protect “you” (singular) (Psalm 91:11).
The devil quoted Psalm 91:11-12, out of context, in his temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:9-11).
Had the devil cared to read the next verse, he would have seen his own doom (Psalm 91:13).
This is a Psalm of trust, but that trust is built upon a relationship. It is for “those who know my name” (Psalm 91:14), where ‘knowing’ suggests intimacy.
It is for those who ‘love God because He first loved us’ (cf. 1 John 4:19).
There is a reassurance of answered prayer, and of God’s continuing presence even in the midst of trouble (Psalm 91:15).
His deliverance is certain, His salvation sure; and we receive an indication of God’s eternal pleasure (Psalm 91:15-16).