Psalm 91 is a short poem promising protection and extending comfort. It was written millennia ago, and it makes great boasts.
For generations, it has comforted a nation: in letters passed down to children, as a mantra for soldiers going off to war, and as a lullaby sung on many dark nights.
There’s no magic power in the words, but there’s might behind them. This Psalm was breathed out by the Spirit of God, pledging promises of protection to his children. They’re powerful words because their keeper is the Almighty. They’re strong words from a strong God.
The Personal Promise of Psalm 91
The Psalm begins with,
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1 NIV)
Quite a privilege. Quite the promise. The only catch is, it’s personal. This poem belongs to someone; not everyone. This Psalm rehearses the precious promises of protection from the Most High God to those who belong to him. The next verse follows,
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” (Psalm 91:2 NIV)
Do you hear the level of intimacy here? My refuge. My fortress. My God, in whom I trust.
Can you say with the Psalmist, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust?” Do you find yourself under the shadow of the Almighty?
The Ultimate Offer of Protection
God becomes your refuge and your rock when you accept God’s offer of protection.
The Bible teaches that the worst danger to face mankind—God’s righteous punishment for our sin—is universally inescapable apart from the pure kindness of God. God, in his mercy, has already employed a rescue mission so you might miraculously come through it.
We all are God’s enemies by default, at birth (Romans 5:10; Psalm 51:5), and “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31)—the most fearful thing. We have no way to escape the eternal judgment of God’s vengeful wrath for our sin, which we actually deserve.
But God intervenes.
He first opens our eyes through his Word, the Bible, to see the danger we are in—“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 3:23; 6:23 NIV).
We are evil from birth, our first “no” being proof of ingrained rebellion. God, being good and perfect, is an enemy of all evil. Therefore, we live awaiting his just judgment.
But God gives us the miracle of conviction over our sin; the desire for his rescue; a heart that for the first time cries, “God have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13 NIV).
Then through his Word, God reveals to us the message of salvation: that we can be reconciled to God through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, and be saved by his life (Romans 5:10). “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 NIV).
The Bible also teaches that, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:21 NIV). For “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NIV).
To all who believe and receive Jesus Christ as their Savior, to those who believe in his name, “he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12 NIV).
Will You Make Him Your Refuge?
When God grants someone faith to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, he makes them a child of the King in the kingdom of God.
He gives that person Jesus’ righteousness—the new identity as a friend, and not as an enemy of God.
God gives his favor and his love—a bulwark mightier than death itself.
God gives the hope of an eternity in perfect peace with him, the very fount of joy and life.
Once someone entrusts their life to Jesus Christ, God gives them every promise contained in his Word: “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV)—this includes the promises made in Psalm 91.
There are only two places to abide—outside or under the shadow of the Almighty. Though the nearness of God is a terror to the sinner; it is a tender comfort to those saved by his loving sacrifice.
Do you find yourself under the Shadow of the Almighty?