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Psalm 91 - Part Two

Last month we concluded our study of Psalm 91 by saying that, our omnipotent Lord will shield all those who dwell with Him. They shall remain under His care as guests under the protection of His wings (cf. verse 4). It is from the most holy place that this mind's eye image stirred the psalmist to pen the words here before us. “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”

Remember the Almighty must be where His shadow is or there would be no shadow. Those who commune (abide) with God are safe with Him, no evil can reach them, for the outstretched wings of His power and love cover those who dwell with Him and protect them from all harm. This protection is constant because they abide under His shadow. It is only when they come out from under His shadow that they become exposed too light and are seen by the enemy. They are then exposed and vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy of our souls. In other words, communion with God is safety! The closer we cling to our Almighty Father the more confident and safe we become.

The writer of Psalm 91 had obviously learned this lesson well because the next verse is a declaration of that realization and reality.  Look at what he proclaims. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”  Please notice the personal pronoun used in verse three. The writer has grasped the reality regarding our omnipotent and loving God, and made that truth part of his very being. He proclaims for all generations. He is “MY” refuge and “MY” fortress; “MY” God in him will “I” trust. How much comfort can be found for one in saying that God is “a” refuge, He is “a” fortress, or He is “a” god and in “a” god I will trust?  Compare that to the comforting affect that the reality of a personal realization can give by knowing that He is “MY” refuge and “MY” fortress; “MY” God in Him will “I” trust. One must get to know Him as their own personal refuge and fortress in times when they are engaged in trials and tribulations. Once God has brought them safely through, then they can truly know Him in the same way the writer of this Psalm knew Him. That realization will cause one to cry aloud I will say of the Lord, (we all need to know Him that way, as Lord) He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him will I trust.”

When we as diligent studiers of God's word look into the root meanings of some of these Hebrew words a great meaning comes forth. Let me show you. Look at the word “refuge.” It literally means “a place of hope or trust.” “Fortress” literally means “a place of defense, a castle, and a strong place.”  The word “trust” literally means “confidence, hope, boldness, security.”  So in reality what the writer is saying is, He (Jehovah) is his place of hope, his place of defense, his stronghold, and in God, I will have confidence, hope, boldness and security. How confident, certain, safe and at peace can one be when they hold fast to this reality when times of trouble and trial come? There is no doubt here, no hesitation, no fear; there is nothing but overwhelming confidence in the God who said let there be and there was.

In a world that at every turn gives birth to and encourages doubt, is it not the duty of all true believers to loudly proclaim, and testify with calm courage their own well-grounded assurance in their all powerful, loving God?

Psalm 91:3 “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”Surely,” what a fantastic way the writer uses to open up the next declaration which can only come from a heart of absolute trust.  A heart that is so reassured and confident in God, that it declares with overwhelming zeal that everyone can see and feel, He shall deliver thee, or in other words, “snatch you away” from the snare (trap or net) of the fowler. What a great encouragement to all who grasp its wonderful truth. How can one fear if “surely” God will deliver them. We may not like the trial, we may have our hearts troubled by it, but we can rest assured in the promise that the believers shall be kept from all dangers which cause them intimate peril or are fatal.

The first of these dangers is the snare of the fowler. Fowler literally means; the one who wishes to ensnare you. This snare which is laid unseen before the unsuspecting prey catches them suddenly. The second is from the noisome pestilence, or as the literal translation puts it “destruction's plague.” The “Modern King James Version” calls it, the “destroying plague.” The actual Greek defines it as “the very wickedness or the perverse thing.” To put it another way, the writer is saying that no subtle plot shall succeed against one who has the eyes of God watching over his defense.

We as mere mortals are foolish and weak just like lost sheep needing a shepherd, and we are very apt to be lured to our destruction by a cunning foe. But if we dwell near to God, He will see to it that the devil who is a most skillful deceiver will not entrap us.

Satan the fowler, who betrays unguarded souls a thousand ways, cannot prevail against the believer who abides under the shadow of the Almighty. There can be no doubt in any believer that He who is a Spirit can protect us from all evil spirits. He who is mysterious can rescue us from mysterious dangers. He who is immortal can redeem us from mortal sickness. He who is life can rescue us from death. He who is truth can rescue us from the depth of falsehood. He who is the author and finisher of our faith can rescue us from the destruction of doubt. And He who is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world can rescue us from the unending torment of sin.

Verse three's promises include protection for,

1.      Our Natural life. These are the traps we fall into by rushing in without guidance and direction, like taking the wrong job, buying the wrong car, eating the wrong food, walking down the wrong road, speaking unguarded words, and so on. We owe God many thanks for His Divine Providence that has kept us from many infectious diseases and out of the hands of wicked and unreasonable men.

2.      Our Spiritual life, which is protected by divine grace, from the temptations of the evil one. These temptations are as the snares of the fowler, and also from the contagion of sin, which is the noisome pestilence.

There is a large sign in front of a church where we live. It says: “God will not lead you anywhere where His grace will not protect you.”  This is the lesson that all Christians must learn from verse three. It is the benchmark of the entire Psalm. We cannot understand the meaning of this Psalm if we can not grasp the truth laid openly before us here in verse three. Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.” The Amplified Bible reads this way; For (then) He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.” The Amplified version, as you notice adds a word and that word is “then.” The word “then” places an emphasis on the condition on God's promise and that is the key to our peace in trials. The condition is found in the first two verses of the Psalm. In Him you must abide and trust. He will “THEN” deliver you. This is divine grace!  But it comes with the condition that you abide and trust in Him!

The New Testament has a perfect example of this divine grace. Look at Luke 22:3132a, Peter was a disciple of Christ abided with Him for three and a half years. Obeyed and followed His Master in His calling. He was not without sin, but when sin trapped him, he knew how to repent and change. Just before the Master was called home we find that Satan, who knew the calling on Peter, wanted to prevent it and wanted to eliminate Peter from the work he was called to do. That is when the Lord said, (to Peter) Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not.”   Peter went on to become one of the pillars of the church.  His faith failed not!

How many times have we found ourselves tempted to do something spiritually damaging if not fatal, and the Holy Spirit gives us a check, and we feel His convicting hand upon our hearts? And how many times while reading the Bible a verse jumps out at us and the Holy Spirit reveals to us that the commandment found there needs to be obey?  That is His Divine Grace!  Remember Jesus is in Heaven right now standing before the Father ever making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:24-25).

Psalm 91:4 shows the tenderness and gentle nature of God's protecting hand as well as the double strength and power of that same hand. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shall thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. God comparing Himself to a mother hen who stretches out her wings and spreads her feathers in a loving embrace over her children, also reassures us by telling us that His truth (if we abide in that truth) will be as a shield and an all encompassing buckler.  A buckler is a flexible coat of armor made of metal rings or plates. This shield and buckler gives us double strength and protection. They are there to quench all the fiery arrows of the evil one. His truth is a most effectual shield, and to quench all fiery arrows shot at us by our enemies it is an equally effectual buckler. In other words, God is as willing to guard His people as the hen is to guard her chickens, but God is un-defeat able, an all powerful man of war dressed in all His armor.

God's divine protection and grace goes even farther. He not only proclaims that He will keep us from all forms of evil, but also from the "fear" of evil. Notice verse five; “You shall not be afraid.” Think about that for a moment, not only do the righteous stand safe and secure in God's merciful hands, but the natural instinct of fear is erased from our very nature. For fear is a natural endowed emotion it cannot be denied. We as mere mortals fear the known and the unknown, the hidden and the revealed, the seen and the unseen. Many things can befall the mere mortal. God knows this so He delivers us from any form of fear.  Christians know this; we can never be secure anywhere except in the very presence of God.

Notice that the writer does not say that we will not be seized with fear, but that we shall not be afraid. Fear can be, and is at times, a healthy emotion. It keeps us from doing many dangerous things. It causes us to back away from poisonous animals, to avoid dangerous situations, to take safety precautions when we are at work or at play. But because of the snares of the fowler and the noisome pestilence, that surrounds us all the time and everywhere, fear often raises its ugly head and tries to engulf us. But when that happens we are not to be afraid because, we stand in the assurance of God's promise that we shall not be afraid for He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”

Now look at the list of things that we are not to be afraid of; the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, (6) Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Psalm 91:5-6).  In these two verses we are shown the reality of great danger. The mention of it is enough to frighten us; night and day we lie exposed, and those that lack confidence in the promise of God and are therefore lacking in courage will never think themselves safe. We read here about the terrors that come in the daytime as well as the night. The danger is real, in that there is no doubt! When we are at home, or at work, in a crowd, or in the security of our own beds, we fear. We fear thieves and robbers, winds and storms, creatures real or imagined. We fear when we are alone or in a crowd, we fear heights, water, we fear flying, we fear everything! More so today in our time then ever before has fear become unprecedentedly acute and common.  According to the latest Governmental studies on Phobias there are now 530 documented Phobias and this is not including what are classified as anxieties.  Without question fear has become rampant in today’s world.  But blessed are the saints that have a communion with the Almighty. This communion renders the believers impervious to midday or midnight frights, as well as horrors born in darkness.  “Thou shall not fear,” our Lord proclaims for I am your shield and buckler, your all powerful protector and friend!

Not to be afraid is in itself an unspeakable blessing, since for every suffering which we endure from real injury we are tormented by a thousand griefs which arise from fear alone. But there is a tremendous bit of news that is revealed here and it is that the shadow of the Almighty removes all sense of fear. Once covered by the divine wing, No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 54:17).

The next two verses contain a greatly secured promise. A believer need not fear and therefore should not fear any of the enemy’s fiery arrows for they can not harm us in any way. For (54c) Death is swallowed up in victory. (55) O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory” (1st Corinthians 15:54-55, cf. Isaiah 25:8; Hosea 13:14)?  Danger, disease, destruction and death are under God’s divine direction, and will only fall where God appoints it and no where else. So whatever happens, our heavenly Father's will is being accomplished and therefore believers have no reason to fear.

When death and disease surround us, when terror and destruction are all we see and when the blood of the slain pours about us like a river remember the promise that follows believers regarding these great dangers, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.  Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked” (Psalm 91:7-8).

We will end this months teaching with this great promise. All these dangers, all the evil that surround us shall cause us no harm this is God’s great promise to all believers. They shall fall next to us, close enough to see, but not close enough that they should touch us. The righteous who dwell in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. And it is only with their eyes that they shall behold and see the reward of the wicked.

May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ richly bless the reading of this teaching? And let the heart that is fertile receive it and bear fruit 100 fold. Those that have an ear let them hear.

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