Psalm 91

So who here reads, listens or watches the news?  In doing this what do you see happening in the world?  What kinds of emotions do you at times feel?

Psalm 91

V 1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty

There is a lot of fearmongering everywhere you turn today----on the news, in the papers, via social media.   It is vital that we do not let fear take over our hearts.  John 14:27 says my peace I leave with you my peace I give to you not as the world do I give it.  Let not your hearts be troubled neither let it be afraid. 

As believers we have no business feeding on fear.  If your mind is entangled with knots of anxiety, perhaps its time to examine your mental diet.  Are you ingesting and believing everything you see in the news reports, or are you living by what the Lord Jesus has purchased for you on Calvary?

To help you understand God’s heart for you regarding fear and you walking in His protection, I want to share with you a powerful key from today’s verse, the very first verse of Psalm 91, the prayer of protection.  The Hebrew word for “dwell” is yashab, which means to sit down, to remain, or to settle.  Notice that the very first thing that God wants you to do to enjoy His protection is to rest.  His protection, peace, love, and other blessings flow in your life when you are in a place of rest.

Let’s camp on the word dwell just a little more.  Let’s meditate on what it means to rest or “sit down”.  The Bible says that we are seated with Christ at God’s right hand (Eph 2:6).  The word “seated” means that you are no longer standing and working.

Under the old covenant, the priest has to offer the morning sacrifice at 9:00 a.m. and then remain standing for six hours until after the evening sacrifice at 3:00 p.m.  Our Lord Jesus was crucified at 9:00 a.m. and He hung on the cross for six hours until He died at 3:00 p.m., thus fulfilling the type of both morning and the evening sacrifices (Hebrews 10:11-12).  Because Jesus became the final sacrifice, the work of the priest is done and he no longer has to stand.  Because our Lord cried, “It is finished!” at Calvary (John 19:30), we are today seated in Christ.  WE can dwell in the secret place of the Most High – a place of peace, safety, and security – and we can live fear-free because the blood of Jesus has paid for every blessing of protection in Psalm 91!

No matter what you are dealing with whether it is financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, relational, believe that God loves you and His strong Hands of protection are over your entire life and over every area that concerns you. 

I want to share a testimony of a grandmother whose grandson was born three months premature. 

He weighed 1 lb. 7oz.  He was in the hospital for almost six months.  She and her family were told that his survival rate was low.  Even if he did survive, he would have significant development delays. 

At the time of his hospitalization the mother was asked if there was a Bible verse that she wanted to be placed above her son’s incubator.  She gave them Psalm 91.  This grandmother didn’t know if her daughter had any idea of the power of putting that psalm above his incubator, and she didn’t either until later.

So this little guy had heart surgery and two for his stomach.  He did well in all the surgeries so much so that the doctor commented,” I don’t think he realizes he is suppose to be sick.”

This grandson is around seven years old with no developmental delays and advanced in almost every area.

My friends, there is power in the written Word when it is spoken from our mouths. 

V2 – I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”

The Hebrew word for “refuge,” machaceh, refers to a shelter from storms and danger.  This shelter is like the bunkers that many Jews have in their homes in Israel today to shelter them from small-scale attacks.  When you say the Lord is your refuge you are declaring that He is your place of hope.

The Lord is also your fortress.  In Hebrew, the word used for “fortress” is matsuwd.  It refers to a castle or stronghold, a place of defense and protection against large-scale attacks.  Whatever you might be going through right now, you can declare that the Lord is your refuge and your fortress – your protection in both small as well as big attacks. 

In the same way, even when you don’t seem to feel His presence, you can trust in Him.  Trust doesn’t mean that there will be no butterflies in your stomach.  Trust means that even though you have butterflies, you still act on God’s Word.  Whatever it is you are afraid of doing, do it afraid while keeping your trust in the Lord.  There are people who are afraid to leave their house, fly on a plane, pursue a new career, start a new friendship, volunteer in a ministry, visit a care group in church, or even show up for work.

Beloved, don’t let fear rule your life.  If you’re thinking of embarking on something, most certainly, be led by the Spirit, seek wise counsel, count the cost, and make responsible decisions in your situation.  Just don’t allow the butterflies in your stomach to dictate your life.  When you say to the Lord, “In You I trust,” it doesn’t mean you instantly stop feeling any fear.  Trust means choosing to act on God’s Word in spite of the fear.

V3 – Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler.  Not “maybe” or “sometimes”, but an unqualified “surely.”

The Bible depicts the devil as a fowler.  A fowler is a professional bird catcher.  He lays traps and carefully conceals them so that he can ambush unsuspecting birds.  The Bible also depicts the devil as a thief and murderer who comes to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10).

What we need to understand is that the world we live in is a fallen world.  Adam committed high treason and gave the keys of this world to the devil.  Because of what Adam did, the devil is the ruler of this world.  The apostle Paul calls him “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2).  That is why as long as the devil is still the ruler of this world, the world will continue to get darker and darker and there will continue to be accidents, sicknesses, calamities, tragedies, and death.

But we can rejoice in the knowledge that the devil’s lease on this world is quickly running out.  The apostle Paul also tells us that our Lord Jesus is coming back and all His enemies will be humbled or put under His feet, with death as the last enemy to be destroyed.  (1Cor. 15:26).

In the meantime, we will see the world getting darker and darker.  But as believers, we do not need to live in fear.  Our trust is in the Lord Jesus.  We are in this world, but we are not of this world (John 17:16).  There is a very real and active fowler setting up snares.  You hear of bombs going off, shootings, airplanes  crashing and viral outbreaks all over the world.

In the natural, this can be extremely disheartening.  But don’t forget that we have a Saviour who is even more real, and He has promised to deliver us from the snare of the fowler and from perilous pestilences (dangerous diseases and viruses).  The bottom-line is, we need to realize how much we need our Saviour and His protection daily.  We need to involve the Lord Jesus in our lives every day.  Only He can deliver us and keep us safe.

V4 – He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

The Lord does not want you to simply claim His promises of protection.  He wants you to come close to Him.  Running to Him and coming under His feathers speak of closeness,  It’s not about how many times you have recited Psalm 91; it’s about having an intimate relationship with Him. 

My grandmother…

 

Our Lord Jesus who loves you wants you to come close to Him and to take shelter in His love just as I took shelter in the love of my grandmother.

Psalm 91:4 starts with “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge’ and ends with this proclamation: “His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”  What is a shield and buckler?  A buckler refers to a small round shield used for close-contact fighting.  A shield is much larger, one you can dig into the ground and hide behind when spears, arrows, and rocks are being launched at you in a bigger attack.  So whether it is a small or big attack, His truth – your shield and buckler – covers you completely.

Ephesians 6:16, tells us to, above all, take the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  Why?  Because the shield of faith will cover you all around.  That is why the devil is after your shield of faith – he wants to make you doubt God’s Word, which is His truth.  Once you take up the shield of faith, his attacks against you cannot prosper.  So lift up your shield!

V5-6 – You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

So Psalm 91 reminds us that we have round-the-clock protection.  Whether it is at night or in the day.  Whether it is in darkness or at noonday.  Whether we are faced with terror or confronted by arrows.  Whether pestilences threaten or destruction looms.  We do not have to be afraid because our God, who watches over us, neither slumbers nor sleeps (Ps. 121:3-4)!

The reality is, the world we live in seems to be engulfed in negative news and fear.  We often hear reports of senseless terrorist attacks on innocent civilians, horrific accidents claiming multiple victims, or an epidemic affecting entire communities, leading to hundreds of babies being born with deformities.  It seems that many can’t help but dread that the same tragedies could befall them.

But beloved, you need to understand that in the midst of all that is happening in the world, you can be fearless, and this comes from knowing the Lord as the God of peace.  Paul says in Romans 15:33 “now the God of peace be with you all.”  The thing is, isn’t God with us all the time?  Why then would Paul say that?  What Paul was speaking over the people was for God to manifest Himself as the God of peace in their lives.  Even though God is always with us, we may not always experience Him as the God of peace.

Do you know what happens when God manifests Himself as the God of peace in your life?  Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Amen.”

Do you see what the God of peace will do in your life?  He will crush every fear, every worry, and every anxiety!

Do you see grace in that verse as well?  Grace – the undeserved, unearned, and unmerited favour of God – is the only thing against which the devil has no defense.  That is why we put our faith in the blood of Jesus when we talk about protection.  His sinless blood was shed to pay the price for the guilty one.  And because Jesus paid the price, we who are in Him have a right to walk in divine health and protection.  Grace qualifies us for God’s all-encompassing protection.  So no matter what is going on out there, we can walk out there knowing that He is with us, He is protecting us, and He loves us. 

V7-8  A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.  Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked.

Imagine you are in a battlefield and all around you soldiers are being slain.  On one side, you see a thousand fall.  On the other, ten thousand crumple one by one to the ground.  You hear screams as bullets find their targets.

It is a disturbing picture and I thank God that the majority of us have not had to experience the horrors of being in a physical combat zone.  But that does not mean that we are not under attack nor does it mean that we do not see death claiming its victims all around us. 

We are assaulted daily from all directions by tragic newsflashes, by doctors’ reports and by attacks of the devil launched at us.  And every day, we see casualties around us as we read about people dying in accidents, in attacks, or of diseases.  Now this does not compare to someone who has been to war but we as believers are in a spiritual war and we should not be ignorant of the enemy’s tactics.

When the enemy attacks you, do you recognize his weapons?  The projectiles he shoots may not come with arrowheads or be filled with gunpowder, but they are no less deadly.  His weapons come in the form of crippling thoughts and crushing fears.  When you hear about a plane crash and are paralyzed by the thoughts that your next plane ride might be your last, you have been shot.  When you read about a shooting at a concert venue and fear going near one in case the same thing happens to you, a “bullet” has been lodged in your mind.  We water them with worry, fertilize them with anxiety, and allow them to sun for hours in our mind.  How?  By replaying them over and over again until it has taken root causing sleeplessness, panic attacks, and physical conditions of all kinds.  We must not give them time to take root.  The saying goes that you can’t stop birds from flying over your head, but you can surely stop them from building a nest on your head.  We can’t stop the enemy from attacking our minds, but we can surely defend ourselves with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Eph. 6:17).  God’s Word is infallible, unshakable, and everlasting.  Our Lord Jesus Himself showed us what to do when we are under attack by the devil.  Three times He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness.  Each time, His response was the same – He quoted the written Word of God.  Against each attack, His response was to say, “It is written” (Matt. 4:1-11).  If Jesus had to say it how much more must we say it. 

When you say it that’s when latent (existing as potential) power becomes actual power.  When our Lord Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, He did not merely think about Scripture.  He spoke it out loud.  You can memorize thousands of Scriptures, but if you don’t learn to say, “It is written,” and release the Word, there will be no power.  God’s power is there, but it is all lying dormant inside you.  The moment you speak it out, it is as if God is speaking.  God’s Word in your mouth is like God speaking. 

Here is an example of what I do when the enemy comes at me with fear:  I say, “It is written John 14:27 My peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  I will not let my heart be troubled neither will I let it be afraid.”  As I go over this scripture saying it out loud over and over I am guarding my heart from trouble and fear.  When I guard my heart, God guards everything else.  The thing is, only you cannot let your heart be troubled.  God cannot let not your heart be troubled, your family cannot let not your heart be troubled.  Only you cannot let not. 

My friends, a thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand BUT IT WILL NOT COME NEAR YOU!

PSALM 91:9-10 – Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.

In the Old Testament the Lord told Joshua that when the children of Israel entered the land of Canaan, they were to designate six cities of refuge.  Back in those days, if someone unintentionally killed a person, the closest relative of the deceased had the legal right to avenge him.  However, in His mercy, God appointed six cities and said, “Anyone who kills another person accidentally and unintentionally can run to one of these cities; they will be places of refuge from relatives seeking revenge for the person who was killed” (Joshua 20:3)

The cities of refuge were designed for people who had committed unintentional manslaughter, not for those who had carried out premeditated homicide.

The six cities are scattered across the land so a person can flee to the nearest one to take refuge.  It is a picture of the local churches scattered all around the world.  The local church is a place of refuge.  The church is not man’s idea; it is God’s idea.  It is God’s heart for you to be a part of a community of faith.  It is here that we experience breakthroughs, healing, protection, and other blessings.  God the Father raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. “far above all principalities and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named” (Eph 1:21).  This means that Jesus is far above all sicknesses, all diseases, all terror, all snares, all cancers, all depression, and all addictions. 

We all agree that our Lord is above every name, but on this earth, where does this power and dominion reside?  The apostle Paul declares in Eph. 1:22-23, “And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all”.  Where is this power today in our broken and fallen world?  It is found in the church!  His power, His authority, and His fullness are all found in the church – our city of refuge where we can run to and find divine protection.

The verse also says, “nor shall any plague come near your dwelling. 

There’s a story of a lady preacher named Marilyn Hickey, a woman in her 80’s who was sharing on the mind.  Her father had a condition of the mind and the devil kept telling her, “You are going to lose your mind.  You are going to lose your mind just like your father”.  She came back at him and said, “Which Father?”  Today her mind is sharp!  She was not going to let the plague of the mind which her earthly father had come near her.  And because of that she is still preaching the Word of God overseas. 

John G Lake was a missionary to Africa in the 1800’s. The deadly bubonic plague broke out in his area – hundreds died. He cared for the sick and buried the dead. Finally the British sent a ship with supplies and a corps of doctors. The doctors sent for Lake to come aboard and asked him, ‘What have you been using to protect yourself?’

" ‘Sirs,’ Lake replied, ‘I believe the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death. And as long as I walk in the light of that law of Life, no germ will attach itself to me.’

" ‘Don’t you think you had better use our preventatives?’ the doctor urged.

" ‘No’ said Lake, ‘but, doctor, I think you would like to experiment with me. If you will go over to one of these dead people and take the foam that comes out of their lungs after death, then put it under the microscope you will see masses of living germs. You will find they are alive until a reasonable time after a man is dead. You can fill my hand with them and I will keep it under the microscope, and instead of these germs remaining alive, they will die instantly.’

"The doctors agreed. They made the experiment and it was true. When they expressed wonder at what caused it Lake told them, ‘That is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus’." (K E Hagin, In Him, pp 22,23.)

When the Spirit of Jesus finds a home in you, God gives you faith like He did to John Lake, and He performs wonders that defy human explanation.

 

PSALM 91:11-12 – For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

In Matthew 4:5-7 it says, then the devil took Him (Jesus) 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 over 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.’”

So here Satan tried to get our Lord Jesus to throw Himself down from the pinnacle of the temple, but you will find that it has nothing to do with endangering yourself to test God’s protection.  Psalm 91:11-12 is not encouraging you to throw yourself in harm’s way.  It is saying that as you go about the course of your daily life, “in all your ways” the Lord will protect you.  The Hebrew word of “ways” in verse 11 shows this clearly – it is the derek, which means path, road, or journey.

As you go about your daily path, there are times when the enemy may have put snares ahead of you that you are unaware of.  But God will give His angels charge over you, to go ahead of you to protect you from those snares.  It doesn’t mean that you should go and do something foolish and harmful to yourself to test God’s protection!  

So last week my cousin, who lives in Victoria, called to tell me of a situation where the enemy literally tried to kill her. 

Her and a friend had gone for a walk and had come to a crosswalk on top of a hill.  Those driving could see them clearly!  My cousin had looked to the left and all was clear, then looked to the right.  Cars had stopped and as she stepped onto the crosswalk all she could see was a big sheet of white, and felt a  breeze whizzing past her at a high speed.  It was, in her estimation, the width of a sheet of paper.  She froze, lost her breath and realized that her friend had also grabbed her arm, gently, and held her back so she couldn’t go any further.  She came out of the freeze and bent over laughing.  She felt it was a choice to either laugh or be afraid.  She asked her friend if she had seen a name on the truck because she wanted to call the company and explain what had happened and to see why the driver would be driving so carelessly.  But her friend had her eyes fully on my cousin making sure that she was safe.  She felt so safe with her friend. 

My friends, I don’t know, you don’t know what traps the enemy has schemed up but this much I do know and now you know – He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 

V13 YOU SHALL TREAD UPON THE LION AND THE COBRA, THE YOUNG LION AND THE SERPENT YOU SHALL TRAMPLE UNDERFOOT.

Do you know as believers in Christ, you have the authority over the enemy?

It is true that the devil is the god of this fallen world (2 Cor. 4:4) who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).  But we, as believers, are not called to cower in fear like the people of the world, for the Word proclaims that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).  It’s interesting that the devil has to seek out those whom he may devour?  This means that he can’t devour everyone.  He roams about like, or as, a roaring lion and not some other creature.  Why is that?  In Proverbs 19:12 it says, “The King’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion”.  The devil is an imposter who goes about as a roaring lion because he is imitating the King of kings, our Lord Jesus, the real lion of Judah.  He wants people to think that our King is full of wrath, anger and rage against us.  He comes at us roaring with the voice of condemnation, accusation, and shame.  I want to share with you how you can become undevourable.  

The devil doesn’t want you to be strong in the Lord’s love for you.  Instead, he wants you to question God’s love for you.  To accomplish this, one of his key strategies is to try to make you think that God is mad at you.  My friend, you can become “undevourable” to the devil.  The secret is found in the proceeding verse, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).  This, and other foundational verses, has literally kept me from being devoured. 

My job…

“And my god shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:19)  Even if your employer retrenches you, say, “My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches”.  It is not according to your employer’s riches.  Your employer is not your source.  God is!  If your employer is your source, then you are very poor.  If God is your source, then you are very rich!  If God is your source, you will no longer be afraid of losing your job.  And you will have such a confident expectation of good that if you do lose your job, you know that God has a better one waiting for you. This my friends is how to tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent we shall trample underfoot.

V14 BECAUSE HE HAS SET HIS LOVE UPON ME, THEREFORE I WILL DELIVER HIM; I WILL SET HIM ON HIGH, BECAUSE HE HAS KNOWN MY NAME.

What qualifies us for God’s protection?  Is it our love for Him or His love for us?  Is it dependent on us fulfilling the condition of loving the Lord perfectly, with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind?  If it depends on us we are on a shaky foundation because no matter how “good” a Christian we think we are, our love for the Lord will fail.  That is precisely why God sent His Son.  He knew that man would never be able to fulfill all His commandments.  In sending His Son, He was saying to us, “I know you can’t, so let Me love you with all My heart, all My soul, and all My mind.  Therein lies the beautiful story we call the gospel of Jesus Christ.

God SO loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to save and ransom us.  The Lord Jesus Christ Himself fulfilled all the requirements of the law.  1 John 4:10 it states, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins.”  Is our love for God unimportant?  Of course not.  But under the new covenant of God’s amazing grace, that when our love for Him wavers, and when we fail, He still delivers us from evil.

V15-16– “HE SHALL CALL UPON ME, AND I WILL ANSWER HIM; I WILL BE WITH HIM IN TROUBLE; I WILL DELIVER HIM AND HONOUR HIM.  AND WITH LONG LIFE I WILL SATISFY HIM, AND SHOW HIM MY SALVATION.”

Daniel 3:24-27 – Suddenly, the King jumped up in amazement and exclaimed to his officials, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?  They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”  “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God”.  Nebuchadnezzar called out, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego servants of the Most High God, come out!  Come here!”  The three men stepped out of the fire.  Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisors crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them.  Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched.  They didn’t even smell of smoke!

You know there is truly no other god who can rescue like our God.  Whatever circumstances you might be thrown into, our Lord Jesus is the fourth man with you in the midst of the fire.  Notice how He didn’t stand outside of the fire, but was in the fire, together with the three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Our Lord doesn’t deliver you from afar.  He is with you in the midst of your adversity.  Call upon Him and He will answer you.  When Jesus is with you, nothing can harm you.

I found this prayer in a book that I have and would like to pray it over you now:

As you call upon the Lord in your day of trouble, my prayer for you is that the trial you are going through have no power over you; it will not even leave a smell on you.  Instead, I declare in Jesus” name that you will walk out of that challenge in your life and the only smell on you will be the fragrance of the Lord Jesus. (2 Cor. 2:14)  And as the people around you witness how the Lord delivers you, may they come to know His wonderful name and give Him praise.  Instead of being negatively affected by whatever trial you might face, I pray that you will receive honour, and promotion just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and with long life You, Jesus, will satisfy us and show us Your salvation.   Amen!