Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.’
Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him;(Ps. 91:1-16 NIV)
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honour him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.’
My Jesus, My Saviour
This is a wisdom Psalm with a divine oracle at the end of the Psalm. A wisdom Psalm encourages us to pursue the wise way and reminds us of the promises of God’s blessings. The Psalmist uses four titles for God in the first two verses: Most High, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, The Almighty, The LORD (Yahweh) and my God. These names inspire confidence. It is comforting to know about the power of the Most High and the Almighty, but also reassuring to know of the endearing love of the covenant LORD. This great God is the shelter in which we live. We find a place to rest under His shadow. Rest is a blessed commodity. When we are tired, weary or unwell it is a blessing to be able to rest. Freedom from a troubled heart and mind, freedom from disturbance under the shelter of God’s shadow. His shadow falls on us because He is near. From under the shadow we can safely claim that He is our refuge and fortress, the one in whom we trust. The metaphors used perform a similar function as the names of God. The power and strength of God is seen in the refuge and fortress, the nearness of God in the metaphors, shelter and shadow.
The Lord is wholly involved in the welfare of His people. ‘Surely He’ emphasises the care of the Lord. The metaphor of a bird sheltering its chicks under its wing is used to describe the covenant care that the Lord has for His people. We shelter under His wing. The fowler’s snare is used to describe the enemy. The Lord protects us from the enemy. In God we find refuge.
The night-time can be a fearful time. If any fear such as illness, threat, or anxiety exists, it can feel amplified at night. The Psalmist says that we will not fear the terror of night. It is usually the unknown of the night that presents the greatest worry. But under the shelter of the wing of the all- knowing, all-powerful and all-loving God, there is no unknown to God, there is no power that could overshadow Him and there is no force that can prise us away from His everlasting love.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.(Rom. 8:38-39 NIV)
During the daytime we are protected by God. The prime minister when speaking of Covid-19 said that ‘Alas many will be taken before their time.’ I know what he meant and perhaps in a different context he might have phrased his intention in a different way, because we are never taken before our time. The confidence that we have in God does not mean we are immune from illness, natural disaster or a ruthless attack, but our confidence in the Lord is that it is all in His hands.
Just because thousands or tens of thousands are dying does not mean that we will. The point is that death is not inevitable, not until God’s time for us to die.
The Psalmist commends the Lord’s presence to the people of God. The way of wisdom is to make the Lord’s presence our dwelling place. Everyone who finds refuge in Him will rest with the confidence that whatever happens on earth is with His knowledge. Nothing happens outside His will, whether harm, disaster or wound.
The Lord commands the guardian angels concerning His people that they are to attend those who will inherit salvation. There is never an unguarded moment for the child of God. We have little idea of the number of times we may have been delivered from harm. While God promises to protect us, we are of course to always act responsibly.
In v14-16, the wisdom Psalm turns to an oracle of salvation from the Lord. The Lord announces what He will do to all who love Him. The fullness and depth of the Lord’s redemption finds reality in those who long for His redemption. The relationship with the Redeemer involves communion, answered prayer and honour as a reward for everything done in the Lord’s name. The ground of our confidence is that the last word is spoken by the Lord.
Almighty God, our God, covenant Lord, Most High, we are glad to be sheltered under the wing of a powerful and loving God. To be loved by a holy God is more than we can fully grasp. We know our sinful hearts, and we cannot find even the smallest evidence that we should be loved. Like the Psalmist we have to look to covenant love and appreciate that in love You have bound Yourself to show us mercy. Lord we are amazed that we are loved and protected, as the apple of Your eye. Why is this so? Lord in humble adoration we bow and thank You for Your love displayed so abundantly in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. We offer our praise and thanksgiving in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.