I happened to read Psalm 91 this week, and I found it such an encouragement I wanted to share it with you.
What not pick up a Bible and read it now before I share my thoughts with you…?
Here are some of the things I noticed.
- God invites you to dwell in His shelter
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. (v1)
Most of us are spending most of our waking hours “dwelling” in our homes at this moment in time. But in the hot climate of ancient Israel, the psalmist talks about faith in God as dwelling in his cool and refreshing shelter. The image invites us to take all the sources of “heat” in our lives – illness, anxiety, stress, tiredness, loneliness, frustration, short-temperedness, sin… – and ask for God to provide shelter. And as we ask for his help, we will find his rest.
- God is both a fortress and a parent
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. (v4)
As we ask God for his help, the psalmist encourages us to keep two images in mind. The first is the fortress, a mighty picture of strength. We need this picture because we find ourselves to be weak in so many ways. We need God’s strength. Nothing is stronger.
And yet if the fortress is a slightly cold picture, we’re also encouraged to find refuge under God’s wings. Like little birds just hatched in a nest, we can look to God for the provision their parent brings: the security of being under his “feathers”. Nowhere is safer.
- We need not fear
No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. (v10)
The psalm talks unreservedly about God’s protection for those dwelling with him. His people are protected from the “terror of night”, the “arrow that flies by day”, and even the “deadly pestilence” – the plague… which sounds remarkably like coronavirus! But we must read carefully. Is the Christian free from all suffering? No. Will they never get ill? No. Instead, “no harm will overtake you” – as we dwell in God’s shelter, we find that knowing God stops us being entirely overwhelmed by our circumstances, however bad they are, because…
- God will rescue us
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” (v14)
In the end, this psalm is about dwelling with God until he rescues us. And it’s very clear that the rescue which is coming is when evil is defeated altogether and we know God’s salvation fully, dwelling with him face-to-face. That’s why there’s talk of the serpent – Satan himself – being trampled (v13). And we don’t tread this path of waiting for rescue alone. Verse 14 looks ahead to Jesus – the person who loved God perfectly. Yet Jesus wasn’t protected from death, rather he knew God’s rescue through it as he was resurrected and ascended into heaven. Let’s confidently follow Jesus in loving God, certain that we too will be rescued into eternity with him.
So, are you dwelling in God’s shelter today? Those whose dwell with God, through faith in Jesus, will soon find themselves dwelling with God forever. Marvellous!
With love in Christ,