We all need a place to go to when we’re stressed or sad, tired or lonely or discouraged. Psalm 91 is an expression of the believer’s confidence in divine protection and deliverance. When we feel insecure and inadequate we need a refuge, a shelter. As with many passages and verses in the Bible, you cannot claim the promises unless you meet the requirements.
There are conditional and unconditional promises of God found in the Bible. Most promises that begin with the word “if” are conditional. God promises to do something if we do something. Psalm 91 can be very encouraging. If you live according to Psalm 91:1 then the psalm is yours. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 93:1 (NIV) We are to dwell in the place of refuge provided by God.
In this secret place there is special protection and provision for those who believe God and trust Him to be their God in every situation and circumstances. God’s miracles of protection and His power to keep the people of God in the face of great difficulties are seen time and again throughout the Bible and many know that power and protection today. Psalm 91: 2: says, I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” This is an act of your will. You have a choice whether you say it or not. You also have a choice as to whether you do it or not.
I know that there have been times in my life when really I have been deceiving myself. I have said that I trust in the Lord, but hidden away to everybody, except the Lord and myself, is fear and uncertainty. Sometimes my words have not been true. I have said that I’m not worried, but really I am. That is the time when I need to go back to the Lord and see what His promises and assurances are.
Verse 3 of this psalm says “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.” This is an ongoing deliverance. It is not something the Lord will do; it is something that He is doing. The word salvation is also the word deliverance. The Lord’s salvation is ongoing. Not only did He save us. But He continues to deliver us because He is also interested in our lives right now. That is why He has given us the Holy Spirit to work in our lives and to work with us during times of trouble.
The fowler in verse 3 is the devil. He is constantly trying to cause us difficulty. He is trying to trip you up, or entrap you. However, the Lord is delivering us. It seems to me that often the Lord is delivering with His angels working on our behalf without us being aware of it. We have no grounds for fear, or any reason to doubt as we can draw close to God. Remember that God is not only our refuge but also our ever-present deliverer.
Robert Ralph is the pastor of New Brooklyn United Methodist Church and has served at camp as a teacher. Image credit: Lianne Triavarthen, via CreationSwap.