|Unwrapping Psalm 91|
Rev. Johnson V
We all love presents. The joy of unwrapping brightly coloured packages, is a joy that has stayed with us from our childhood. Studying Psalm 91 is similar, for as we study it, the anticipation, wonder, and joy only seems to grow. It’s a beautiful song, written to the only faithful, loving, living God.
The Psalms are the oldest book of songs in the history of the world. This particular Psalm was written by Moses, who wrote both Psalms 90 and 91. Psalm 90 was written just after Aaron his brother was buried. If Psalm 90 is somber, Psalm 91 holds out a floodlight of hope. Here is an in-depth look at each verse.
Verse 1 – The ‘Secret place of the Most High’ is a special place of safety as described in the Passover in Exodus 12. Just as the Israelites marked their houses with the blood of the lamb and the angel of death passed over them, we too are hidden in Him, if we mark our lives with the Blood of the Lamb. The secret place is a place of rest, of security, of being known by God and knowing Him. The ‘Shadow of the Almighty’ is best represented by what God does to Moses in Exodus 33. God hides Moses in the cleft of the rock as His Presence passes by. No evil can touch us if we are in His Presence, because His shadow will overshadow you.
Verse 2 – “I will say of the Lord’. We need to confess God and His goodness more often. James 3:3-5 tells us how strong horses are controlled by bits in their mouth and large ships are controlled by small rudders. In the same way, our lives are controlled by what we confess with our mouth. Imagine the change that would come into our lives if we confessed His faithfulness more than the magnitude of our problem. Why give the devil that much importance in our lives? Our temporary setback is a setup for a comeback. The only way is to focus on God in the middle of the problem, no matter how big. “In Him will I trust” means that we have no ambitions outside of Him.
Verse 3 – “Snare of the fowler”. Fowler is another word for bird catcher. Snare is a trap. The bird catcher sets a trap for unsuspecting birds, lured there by the promise of grains. Once the birds land on the net to eat the grain, they then find that they cannot fly again because their feet are entangled in the net. Their freedom is curtailed. Wrong commitments, wrong relationships, wrong attitudes, wrong habits etc are some of the ways that we can get entangled in the net that the devil spreads out for us. “Noisome pestilence” is the plague that plundered Egypt. God will deliver us from them all.
Verse 4 – “with His feathers”. The idea that this verse produces, was used by our Lord Jesus in Mathew 23:37. Feathers represent the Presence of God, the Word of God and the Grace of God.
Verse 5 – “Terror by night”. The issue with the night is that you cannot see which direction the attacker will come from, and you don’t know where to hide, because you can’t see.
Verse 6 – “Noonday”. Nothing is hidden from God, He will deliver us.
Verse 7 and 8 – Moses’ authority was questioned by Korah and a few others (see Numbers 16). Moses cried out to God and He intervened. God will stand up on our behalf sometime, and like Moses, we will see the reward of the wicked.
Verse 9 and 10 – if our dreams and ambitions are in God, everything will work for good. Romans 8:28.
Verse 11 and 12 – Angels surround us, wherever we go. God has charged the angels with our care. Each of us have angels watching over us, see Hebrews 1:14. Satan used this verse to tempt our Lord Jesus in the wilderness. But the crafty devil, misquoted it. Angels don’t do irrational things. If our Lord Jesus did what the devil suggested, He would have violated natural laws and therefore would not have received the protection of the angels.
Verse 13 – The lion, dragon and serpent are symbols, the strongest astrological symbols that were worshipped in those days. But the Bible tells us that if our ambitions are in God, all that is above us, will be brought below our feet.
Verse 14 – From verse 14 on, God interrupts Moses’ song and sings a response to us. He delivers us because we love Him. He promotes us because we understand His power. Many people love God, but don’t make an effort to understand His power, so they never experience a promotion by His hand.
Verse 15 – God promises to not only answer our prayer, but also honour us. He will reward us because we call upon Him. We are establishing our future with every prayer. Just as the sun gets brighter with every passing hour, starting from dawn, we too will get more holy, more anointed each time we bow down down before our God.
Verse 16 – God will satisfy us with long life. Not only will we see the results of our work, but we will also see the outcome of His work in our lives.
Praise God for His Word, as it strengthens us to run the race and continue to keep our faith in Him. He reminds us through this psalm, that loving Him, trusting Him, putting Him first in our lives and choosing Him over everything else, is not a waste of time or a misplaced trust. There are rewards He will give us, for this life and for eternity.
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