Our Key Verses – Psalm 91, 1-2, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my god; in him will I trust”
Our Theme – God is most worthy of a believer’s trust
Our Topic – Trusting in God as our shelter, refuge, fortress, shield, strength, rampart and stronghold.
Some other verses that reinforce our key verse for this study of Psalm 91 are:
2 Samuel 22:2-3, “He said: the LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior – from violent people you save me”
Psalm 18:2, “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation my stronghold”
Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble”
Psalm 62-7-8, “My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge”
A young man was working at a restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska, when he saw something that made his trust in food service employees wane. A cook was making a large pot of corn when he accidentally dropped his spoon into the pot. Without hesitation the man reached into the pot to retrieve the spoon. His entire hand and a good portion of his hairy arm were submerged in the water while he rummaged for the spoon. When he finally found the spoon and pulled his hand from the pot, he used his other hand to “squeegee” the juice, and who knows what else, from his arm back into the pot. Many restaurants would go out of business if their customers knew what actually happened to their food while it was being prepared. Thankfully, for most of us, ignorance is bliss. Without thinking we trust the workers so we can continue to enjoy our eating-out experience.
Trust is having confidence and believing in a person’s ability, their honesty, and trustworthiness. We trust them because of their profession (doctors, dentist, nurses). If you think about it for a moment, we tend to trust other people all the time, even without realizing we do. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, and there are plenty of reasons why we might choose not to trust someone; however, as a general rule we do trust others, even subconsciously. We trust:
(1) architects and builders to design bridges that are safe to cross.
(2) plumbers to fix our broken water pipes.
(3) electricians to fix our electrical problems.
(4) principals and teachers with our children.
(5) fire fighters to be prepared for emergencies.
(6) pastors to preach the Word faithfully.
I found a quote from Charles Spurgeon where he said, “When you go through a trial (which we all do), the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which you lay your head.” We can certainly agree that trusting God isn’t the same as trusting humans; trusting Him is much better because!
(1) He does not fail (humans fail);
(2) He does not make mistakes (humans make mistakes);
(3) He does not desert us in our time of need (humans desert us when we need them), and
(4) He is always present and available when we need Him (humans aren’t always present).
These are only some characteristics that we cannot do no matter how hard we try. But God, as the infinite and sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe can and He does. Trusting God means being wholeheartedly confident in Him and His character. It means knowing He will do what He says He will do, and that He’ll never act contrary to His character as recorded for us in the Scriptures.
This Psalm, as Spurgeon put it, should bring us to the pillow upon which we can lay our head and safely rest in the sovereignty of God alone. The frustrations and circumstances have yet to change, but our position and awareness of where we are kept and dwell securely in the secret place of the Most High gives us refuge, protection, and hope. How often do we seek shelter in other places other than our Most High God? But the shelter of the Most High is always stable, unshakeable, and secure. There truly is no safer place to be than in the shelter of His protection.
What an appropriate psalm for today! As I read different commentaries regarding Psalm 91, there were many opinions concerning it. Some say Moses wrote it, no, David wrote it, nope it was a temple worker and so on. However, there were a few things on which they did agree and we can also because this is a psalm of hope, trust and protection! Our tasks, as believers in Christ, are simple in that:
(1) we are called to dwell near God (vs 1 & 9),
(2) acknowledge God (vs 2 & 14),
(3) call on God (vs 15),
(4) put our trust in God, and
(5) love God (vs 14).
My brethren, He does the rest and provides us with a multitude of protections and gifts. I love the beautiful imagery in this psalm regarding God’s protection such as shelter, shadow, refuge, fortress, wings, shield, and rampart. I also find it interesting that the beginning of the psalm is from a human voice, and the psalm concludes with God confirming the earlier verses which is very comforting!
God, is the Most High
Psalm 91:1-2, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty“
Studying Psalm 91 should challenge us to deepen our trust in God no matter what circumstances we are served. The psalmist began his song with a definitive statement of his trust in the Lord (v. 2). His choice to put his trust in God had already been made before he wrote this psalm. We see no wishy-washy hope, no uncertainty in his decision, just complete trust, which we should have as believers in Jesus Christ.
When we truly see God for Who He is, making a definite decision to trust Him is not difficult. In the first couple of verses, the psalmist provided some important facts about God that formed the basis for his trust in Him. The psalmist’s first reference to God is as the “most high”. Nebuchadnezzar thought he was worthy of exultation because of his power and majesty (read Daniel 4:28-37). After losing his mind for perhaps as long as seven years, Nebuchadnezzar realized the absolute authority that the Most High held. No one, not even the most powerful human on earth, is a match for God.
The psalmist described the place of the Most High as “secret” and noted that it is possible for people to at least figuratively dwell there (Psalm 91:1). The word “secret” refers to a “sheltered or protected hiding place.” What makes the place of the Most High so sheltered and protective is the presence of God Himself. Near the Most High is the securest place a person could ever be. But being near the Most High is not a given. Only those who choose to dwell in the secret place of the Most High enjoy the security of His presence.
Dwelling in a place means settling down or remaining with constancy. In essence, choosing to dwell in the secret place of the Most High is simply choosing to trust the Most High, to rest in Who He is, the highest authority there is. Trusting God is the prerequisite for the promise that the psalmist laid out in the second part of verse 1 – a promise that is related to the fact that God is almighty.
God, is the Almighty
To be almighty is to be all-powerful. God is the Almighty, and those who trust in Him will abide in His shadow (v. 1). The psalmist clearly stated that choosing to trust God is choosing to be next to the Almighty. This is a wonderful promise that we can claim today, but (too many believers today in Christ fail in this area and also fail to lay hold of all that they have in Jesus Christ) There are so many believers in Christ who are fearful, anxious and troubled. Although they are experiencing the “rest” of salvation that accompanies the forgiveness of sins and are looking forward to the eternal “rest” of heaven, their souls are still in turmoil. Fearful and doubting, they seem to be continually burdened by life’s problems.
A closer look at their anxiety can reveal the reason for their distress. Having never learned to rest and trust completely in the Lord! Thus, they fail to experience the “quietness, confidence and trust” (Isaiah 30:15) that comes to those who daily fellowship with Him through attending church and Sunday school, Bible study, daily devotions and prayer. Don’t let yourself become a victim of fruitless fretting. Because if you do, you’ll lose the peace and joy that is your rightful inheritance. Instead, set aside part of each day to:
(1) Talk things over with God.
(2) Read His precious Word.
(3) Believe His comforting promises.
(4) Thank Him for who He is and what He has done for you.
Have you spent time talking to the Lord about your problems or praising Him for answers to prayer? He knows how to meet your needs, whether through His direct intervention (Psalm 34:17), or through the comfort of His presence. The bottom line is to trust Him every day with all your heart, mind and soul. Thousands of years ago, Moses wrote these words to the Israelites just before he died, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). The words “everlasting arms” refer to the protection and preservation of God’s people. Despite the stressful circumstances they would surely face, they could trust and rest in the assurance of God’s watchful care to provide and protect them, and so it is for us today, if Christ is our Lord and Savior!
God, is a Refuge and Fortress
Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust”
The psalmist next referred to God as a “refuge” and a “fortress”. Both are designed for protection. Those who run to them find security. They can relax even though the enemy still lurks outside the walls. Referring to the Lord as a refuge and a fortress is taking the idea of dwelling in the shadow of the Lord a step further. The psalmist saw himself as not just next to the Lord but as dwelling in the Lord.
After stating God’s ultimate position, almighty power, and absolute protection, the psalmist simply stated that the Lord was his God and that he would trust in Him. God didn’t make him just feel safe and secure, He actually made him safe and secure. Feelings should not dictate decisions; they should follow decisions. When David was fleeing from Saul, he felt alone, abandoned, and hopeless. But he chose to trust in the Lord as recorded in 2 Samuel 22:7, “In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears”. His choice to trust in God made him safe, and his feelings of safety followed.
The psalmist could have stopped with verses 1 and 2. His mind was made up. He had chosen to trust the Most High and Almighty God. But he continued with the rest of his song to encourage others to trust in the Lord too.
God, is the Caregiver
Psalm 91:3-4, 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 winds you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart”
The “snare” referred to in verse 3 was the trap set by a “fowler,” or bird catcher. Ancient fowlers were particularly cunning. They often took the young of the birds they hunted and raised them until they were tame. Then they put the tame birds in cages and used their calls to attract other birds. When the flock was gathered, the fowler used a net, arrows, or a throwing stick to capture or kill the birds. Even a surprise attack like that of a fowler cannot trap those who trust in the Lord.
God also promises to deliver from the “pestilence,” or plague, those who trust Him (Psalm 91:3). Plagues are devastating and seem to run through a population as if they were alive, randomly choosing whom they will inflict. Even today with our medical knowledge, plagues threaten us. We cannot absolutely control their spread and harmful effects. But God can. The psalmist was pointing out that God can control that which baffles mankind. In the midst of terrifying uncertainty like that caused by a rampant virus, God can be trusted.
When we consider verse 4, that God our Father will cover us with his feathers, and shelter us with his wings, we should realize how kept, sealed, and guarded we are in the safety of His protection. Every single detail of life must go through His armor of protection to get to us. He’s our strong tower, fortress, and shield. Psalm 91 is such a powerful display of God’s promises of protection. And though we are not promised a life without danger, struggles, and challenges, we can know that when we are face to face with danger, we’re hemmed in by Him. When pressed, we’re pressed into His gentleness, care, and His promise to restore and always be with us. When we feel ourself starting to flounder with circumstances around us, God’s living word reminds us He is there, faithful to protect and guard us.
1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. God is in the caregiving business. From the moment we each entered the world, He’s taken care of us by meeting our needs, working tirelessly on our behalf, and shaping us into the men and women He longed for us to be. And He still cares for us—truly, passionately, intently. His great love, even when we don’t deserve it, shows how much He cares.
Without question, the Lord is the ultimate caregiver. He’s the best in the business and that should motivate each of us as we set out to care for others. If we imitate God—not just in actions and deeds, but with our motives and intents—we can’t go wrong. And when we feel overwhelmed, He has encouraged us to cast our cares on Him. Why? Because He cares so very much for us! So run to the Lord with your struggles. Trust your heavenly Father to brush away every tear, wash away every pain, and then set you on your feet again—to care for others. Caregiving, true caregiving, is an art, one modeled by the greatest Artist of all time.
God, is the Giver of Peace
Psalm 91:5-8, “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”
The terror of the night is being unable to see the enemy. The terror of the day is that the enemy can see us. In other words, there is no rest for the hunted. But God takes away both fears. Addressing those who feel that they cannot escape and find rest for their souls, the psalmist encouraged trust in the Almighty and Mos High God. His presence in the midst of uncertainty chases away fear and gives peace (Philippians 4:6-7). The wicked will not go unpunished. They will get their “reward” (Psalm 91:8). Though in this life some of the wicked may appear to be happy, content, and full, their day is coming. They will not be able to escape the wrath of God.
God, is Your Assurance of Safety
Psalm 91:9-13, “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 life you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will treat on the lion and cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent”
The psalmist’s solicitation to trust in the Lord is convincing, so much so that the writer expected the reader to choose to trust God. He didn’t say in verse 9, “If perchance you have now chosen to trust God.” No, he said, “Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation.” Having already laid out the benefits of trusting God in verses 3-8, the psalmist simply summarized them and applied them to the reader personally.
God uses angels to ensure the safety of His own. He gives the angels a “charge”. In other words, He tells them what to do, and they carry out His will in regard to believers. In a general sense the angels are sent to “keep,” or protect, believers. Angels make a difference in our lives. Psalm 91:12 tells us that they intervene and keep us from harm. A credit card company recently used people dressed like angels in their television ads. The angels were less than adequate. Instead of helping the people they were supposed to be watching, they allowed themselves to be distracted. One angel let a guy go swimming in shark-infested waters while he was busy doing something else. Of course, when it came time to choose a credit card, the angel was right there to help the person make the right decision. Real angels aren’t so sporadic in carrying out their duties. They are all well-equipped to do their jobs. God trusts them, and we can find in comfort in knowing they are near.
God also gives believers strength for the way (v. 13). Treading on a lion and a cobra is unordinary. Paul knew such unordinary strength. He said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). God strengthens us to meet the challenges of life as we trust Him and choose to obey Him.
God, is the Promise Maker & Promise Keeper
Psalm 91:14-16, “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; 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 honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation”
Psalm 91:14-16 records what God Himself said to the psalmist about those who have put their trust in God. His words include some precious promises. The first and last phrases in verse 14 could be used interchangeably. Loving God is equivalent to knowing and trusting God’s name (the Most High and Almighty (v. 1). As believers think about the psalmist’s statement of trust, look at the reasons for trusting God, and then decide to trust God (v. 9), they are also choosing in love God.
In response to the love of believers, the Lord promises to deliver them and lift them up on high, where they will be safe. Though the trouble still exists, they can know that God is in control and that they can endure with peace and assurance. Furthermore, God declares to those who trust Him that He will listen to them if they will but all on Him. God also promises His presence in the midst of trouble. Psalm 91:15 says, “I will be with him in trouble.” Notice that this verse does not say, “I will take the trouble away.” But it does teach that God’s presence in the trouble is just as good as being out of trouble.
A long life is also promised to all those who place their trust in God. Someone may protest that a number of the most devoted of souls have lived relatively short lives. But when we take into consideration that the days they did live were satisfying and that since their deaths, their satisfaction has continued in God’s presence, we can know that God has never reneged on His promise. Those who choose to trust in God and live for Him will find a satisfaction in this life that will continue forever in eternity, where they will ultimately realize God’s salvation (v. 16).
The entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with the goodness and power of God. Great reminders that He faithfully works on behalf of those who love Him. And at the end of it all, in verses 14-16, God gives us eight reasons why we don’t have to fear and they are:
(1) “I will rescue him…” (deliver, cause to escape);
(2) “I will protect him…” (set him on a high place);
(3) “I will answer him…” (respond to, speak);
(4) “I will be with him in trouble…” (in afflictions, in distress);
(5) “I will deliver him…” (rescue, to bring into safety);
(6) “and honor him…” (to make rich, strong, heavy with honor);
(7) “With long life will I satisfy him…” (to have abundance in the journey); and’
(8) “and show him my salvation.” (let him see my deliverance & victory)
There are great blessings as we seek after God, and choose to walk in His ways. In the midst of great darkness in this world, living in it without His Truth and freedom, would be like floundering in the pit. Not much hope to be found there. The truth is, this world has been dark for generations, since sin first entered the earth at the hiss of the enemy’s lies. Yet, God’s reminders are sure, strong, and true, assuring us that in all that we walk through in this journey, His call is always to rise above. He reminds us we’re not alone and though He never says that we won’t face hard times, He does say He’ll be with us in them. So, don’t ever doubt it. God works on behalf of those who love Him and honor His name. He is so good to us. We may never fully know, this side of heaven, how very much He has sheltered us from, in this life.
Psalm 34:8 says, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him” and 1 Chronicles 16:34 says, “Oh, give thanks to the LORD for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.” So, do you believe God is good, even when life isn’t? Mary did, and at the funeral her pastor shared her story.
Mary had been a widow – very poor, and housebound because of her ailments in her old age. But like the psalmist, she had learned to praise God amid her hardships. Over the years she had come to savor with deep gratitude every good thing He sent her way. Her pastor had occasionally visited her at home. Because of her crippling pain, it took her a long time to inch her way to the door to let him in. So, he would call on the telephone and tell her that he was on his way and what time he would get there. Mary would then begin the slow, arduous journey to the door, reaching it about the time he arrived. Without fail, she would greet him with these triumphant words, “God is good!”
Those who speak most often about God’s goodness are usually those with the most trials. They focus on the Lord’s mercy and grace rather than on their troubles, and in so doing they taste His goodness. Mary’s example not only challenges us to “tase and see,” but also to taste and say that the Lord is good – even when life isn’t.
On the other side of every miraculous intervention by God on our behalf, there is a road of faith to travel. Whether God’s power has touched our health, finances, or family relationships, we must not only praise and thank the Lord but obey Him as well. Exodus 15:22 tell us, “Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea; then they went out into the Wilderness of Shur”. After God opened the Red Sea for His people, then released the waters to overwhelm Pharaoh’s pursuing army, there was a great celebration of praise to the Lord (Exodus 15:1-21). But then it was time to move on in the journey toward the land of promise. In the Wilderness of Shur they traveled for 3 days without finding water, and they began to complain.
In the divine plan, supernatural intervention is not an end in itself, but it is a means of teaching us that we can always trust and obey the leadership of “Almighty God”. Will we listen to His voice and obey His Word? If He leads us through the sea, will He not also guide us to a well? The stunning events recorded in the Book of Exodus show that it’s possible to experience God’s power yet remain spiritually unchanged. To keep that from happening to us, let’s use the sweet memory of yesterday’s miracle to encourage a bigger step of faith today.
When you taste God’s goodness, His praise will be on your lips and always be mindful never to measure God’s unlimited power by your limited expectations