Protection

    January 1, 2023

    Happy New Year!

    This week we read Psalm 91-120. Again, there are many songs and much information in each Psalm. This week we are going to focus on Psalm 91. Here is the psalm.

    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
        will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
    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,
    10 no harm will overtake you,
        no disaster will come near your tent.
    11 For he will command his angels concerning you
        to guard you in all your ways;
    12 they will lift you up in their hands,
        so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
        you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

    14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
        I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
        I will be with him in trouble,
        I will deliver him and honor him.
    16 With long life I will satisfy him
        and show him my salvation.”

    We are not sure who wrote the psalm. Some say it was King David, others say it was Abraham. Either way, we see this psalm is about protection we receive during difficult times from God.

    Let’s look at the verses to try to understand a bit more.

    week we are going to focus on Psalm 91. Here is the psalm.

    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
        will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
    I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
        my God, in whom I trust.”

    1. Verse 1 and 2 contain 4 different names of God: (1) Most High (elyon in Hebrew): this describes God as supreme and powerful. (2) Almighty (Saddy in Hebrew): this means almighty. (3) LORD (Yahweh in Hebrew): this means the one true God. Knowledge of Yahweh implies there is a relationship with God. (4) God (loheim in Hebrew): this means great one.  The writer wants to ensure that we know these characteristics of God as it relates to his protection.
    2. Verse 1 also discuss dwelling in the shelter. To dwell means to live there. The psalmist is talking about someone who lives with God 24/7, not just when it is convenient or when there is a need.
    3. Verse 1 and 2 talk about how God is a refuge and fortress and He is trustworthy. A refuge is a place to go for protection or safety. A fortress is a military fort used for protection during war. Thus, when we live with God, he protects us and is trustworthy.

    3Surely 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.

    1. Verse 3 talks about God saving us from a person who sets traps (this could be Satan or people) and from deadly pestilence (deadly disease or calamity). The word for save is salvation, which is ongoing. When we repented and accepted Christ as Lord we were saved. This salvation is ongoing unto eternity.
    2. Verse 4 talks about God protecting us again like a hen protects her chicks under her wings from anything that wants to kill them (like in the picture above).
    3. Verse 4 also discusses God’s faithfulness and that this is our shield and rampart (a protective wall). A shield is used to protect us as is a rampart. We often hear about us being faithful to God. This verse states that He is faithful to us as well.
    4. Verse 5 and 6 state that bad things will happen to us, but we will not fear them. These include terror of the night, an arrow that tries to kill in the day, pestilence stalking in the dark or a plague in the day. Bad things happen to all people including Christians, but God is with us through it all. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us.”

    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.

    1. Verses 7 and 8 state that many people will fall due to wickedness, but those things will not come near people who dwell with Christ.

    If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
        and you make the Most High your dwelling,
    10 no harm will overtake you,
        no disaster will come near your tent.

    1. Verses 9 and 10 are repetitive about God being our refuge and protecting us.

    11 For he will command his angels concerning you
        to guard you in all your ways;
    12 they will lift you up in their hands,
        so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

    1. Verse 11 and 12 are interesting. These verses were quoted by Satan to Jesus in Matthew 4:5-7 when Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. He had nothing to eat or drink and Satan was tempting him. Matthew 4:5-7 says, “Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ’He shall give His angels charge concerning you, and, “In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to Him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.
    2. What do we learn from this? Satan knows some scripture, but he used this out of context to tempt Christ. This psalm is about the protection of those who dwell with Him. If Christ would have followed Satan’s temptation, he would be following Satan’s ways and not Christ’s. Of course, Christ would not follow Satan because He is one of the persons of the trinity. But, we might.
    3. Jesus’ reply was a quote from Deuteronomy 6:16.
    4. We can learn a lot. We must know Scripture in order to know when it is being used incorrectly. This could be in a temptation, a sermon, a song, or anything else.

    13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
        you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

    1. Verse 13 is providential. What if Satan would have continued quoting this verse? He would have seen that he was to be trampled by those who dwell with the Lord. This verse can also give us peace because Satan is trampled and crushed.

    14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
        I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
    15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
        I will be with him in trouble,
        I will deliver him and honor him.
    16 With long life I will satisfy him
        and show him my salvation.”

    1. These last verses are very comforting. God rescues us and protects us. When we call on Him, he answers. He is with us during times of trouble and will deliver us. He will honor us. And will give us a long life. This is eternal life with the Lord because of His salvation.

    I love this psalm as it shows God’s protection and love for those who dwell with Him. As I was studying it, I struggled because in reality, godly people experience evil, get sick, and have troubles. I read an article by John Piper that really helped me understand this and I am going to summarize it a bit.

    Piper cautioned about using the Psalm as protection because that was how Satan used it. “He told Jesus to count on the deliverance promised to the godly…” After Jesus was tempted, Piper states, “Instead of following Satan’s use of Psalm 91, Jesus embraced the path of suffering.

    Jesus had a purpose when he came to earth and that was to die on a cross to save us all from our sins so we could have eternal life with God. Had he succumbed to Satan’s temptation, this event would never have happened.

    Piper states, “So clearly the seemingly face-value meaning of Psalm 91 did not come true for the most godly person who ever lived.”

    And the meaning does not always come true for you and me either. Piper states, “The writer of Psalm 91 was not mistaken, or naïve, or foolish. He gave promises of protection that come true for the saints, by God’s grace, over and over. Literally and simply. But we would demean the writer of Psalm 91 if we thought he was unaware of the truth of Psalm 44:22 that Paul quoted in Romans 8:36, “For your sake we are killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Psalm 44:22). Or that he did not know the Jesus-fulfilled warning of Psalm 22:16, “A company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet.” The writer of Psalm 91 stands with Jesus who said: “Some of you they will put to death” (Luke 21:16). And in the same breath said, “But not a hair of your head will perish” (Luke 21:18).

    Piper concludes, “Psalm 91 means two things about suffering of the saints. One is that often God amazingly delivers them physically when others around them are falling. The is that God often wills for his children to suffer, but forbids that the suffering hurts them in the end. Such evil will never befall you.

    He then quotes Charles Spurgeon when he described Psalm 91, “It is impossible that any ill should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward. Ill to him is not ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honor, death is his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him, for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others die. (The Treasury of David, Vol 2, Part 2, 93).

    God does protect and comfort us. He also has a perfect will. Only He can see the future and know what is best for us. We must trust in Him. Psalm 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

    Are you trusting in the Lord? What about in the bad times as well as the good?

    My New Year’s resolution is to trust in God more. How about you?

    Next week we will finish reading the Psalm from 121-150. Have a blessed week.  

    Article by John Piper, “Your Executioner May Laugh You to Scorn for Quoting Psalm 91”, August 15, 2012. DesiringGod.org

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s

    %d bloggers like this: