Psalm 91

91:1 He that dwelleth [suggests permanent existence in the place of security] in the secret place [a hiding/secret place known only to God] of the most High [title used by Melchizedek in the worship of God (Gen. 14:18); indicated that the Lord was exalted over the gods of other nations] shall abide [denotes lodging for the night; we are vulnerable and defenseless when we sleep; cf. Ps. 3:5] under the shadow [God’s protection compared to that of a mother bird who casts shadow over her nest as she guards her young from harm (shadow reassures small chicks of mother’s presence); may refer to dwelling in the tent of a host who became the guarantee of safety of his guest] of the Almighty [Heb. “Shaddai”: designation that focuses on the all-sufficient and absolute power of God; cf. Gen. 17:1].

Note: What characterizes the life of a person who dwells in the shelter of the Most High?

91:2 I [the writer included himself among those in need of protection] will say of the LORD [Yahweh, the personal name of God], He is my [implies a personal relationship] refuge [suggests a place of safety where a person can hide from danger] and my fortress [related to a root meaning “summit” or “height” and portrays a castle atop a mountain that defies capture; a fortified position]: my God; in him will I trust [to rely upon God].

91:3 Surely [word emphasizes the psalmist’s confidence in God] he shall deliver [deliver] thee from [note threatening situations…] the snare [a hidden and unexpected danger] of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence [either a literal plague or epidemic or the kinds of troubles that are like a plague; often attacks viciously and without warning].

91:4 He [God] shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings [designates the safest place to be] shalt thou trust [“find refuge” (NIV); security]: his truth [“faithfulness” (NIV); conveys certainty] shall be thy shield [provided protection for a warrior on the battlefield] and buckler [“rampart” (NIV); offered warriors a large stationary location for cover from attack].

Note: How does a mother bird protect her young? How does this illustration of God’s protection of His own people help to calm your fears?

91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid [cf. Ps. 56:3] for the terror by night [terrors that hide in and come from the night (e.g., enemy surprise attack or thief)]; nor for the arrow that flieth [the flight of an arrow is relatively silent, striking without warning] by day;

91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh [like a hunter] in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth [like a warrior] at noonday.

91:7 [description of a battlefield…] A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee [God’s faithful children].

91:8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked [enemies cannot escape God’s justice].

91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation [dwelling place; God Himself is the place one can dwell in safety];

91:10 There shall no [nothing comes our way God has either not decreed or not allowed] evil [that which is the opposite of good; any misfortune] befall thee, neither shall any plague [refers to some physical blow; general term for plague] come nigh thy dwelling.

91:11 [note: Satan quoted verses 11-12 when he tempted Jesus (Matt. 4:5-6)] For he shall give his angels [servants of God; cf. Ps. 103:20-21; one of the resources God uses to protect His people; cf. Heb. 1:14] charge over thee, to keep [can mean “guard” and “watch over”] thee in all thy ways.

Note: Angels watching over me…
• Lot — Gen. 19:1,15-26
• Daniel — Dan. 6:21-22
• Jesus — Matt. 26:53
• Apostles — Acts 5:17-20; 12:1-19

91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest [God’s sovereign protection/guidance extends to life’s everyday details] thou dash [suffer injury] thy foot against a stone.

91:13 Thou shalt tread [along with the word “trample” suggests killing the dangerous creature] upon [note reference to familiar dangers from daily life in the time of the psalmist…] the lion and adder [animals that normally threatened people]: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample [along with the word “tread” implies that the person who trusts in the Lord will overcome adversity and deadly hazards] under feet.

91:14 Because he [the believer] hath set his love upon me [designates a love that binds one to the object of the love; “to cling to”], therefore [note the Lord’s eight promises…] [1] will I deliver [provide a means of escape in threatening situations] him: [2] I will set him on high [literally “to make high or inaccessible” thus to “protect” as in NIV], because he hath known [acknowledged] my name [a reference to God’s nature].

91:15 He shall call upon me, and [3] I will answer him: [4] I will be with [the assurance of God’s very presence] him in trouble [means “straits” or “distress”]; [5] I will deliver [means “to withdraw”] him, and [6] honour [assurance of respect in the covenant community; “make important”] him.

91:16 [7] With long life [not necessarily longevity but the assurance that lurking dangers will not lead to premature death] will I satisfy him, and [8] shew him my salvation [connotes freedom from distress].

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