Psalms

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is a Psalm of Moses, written during the dangerous 40 years of wandering in the Wilderness describing the protection of God for those under the blessing, in contrast to Psalm 90 (which describes life for those who lived under the curse because of unbelief). Psalm 91 is one of the greatest Bible passages promising Divine Protection. It was a Psalm that Jesus confessed, walked in and fulfilled constantly. It talks about a SECRET HIDING PLACE we can go to for rest and safety. It is vital we avail ourselves of this in these dangerous times. We must receive God's protection to fulfil our mission in life.

THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SECRET PLACE.
"He who dwells in the SECRET PLACE of the Most High
shall abide under the SHADOW of the Almighty (Shaddai)" (v1).

This verse contains two parallel descriptions of this Place.
Firstly, it is 'Secret' and 'Most High' - unknown and inaccessible to the enemy. It is the place of the 'Most High' - it is a high tower out of reach of the enemy. Later in the Psalm God promises: "I will set him on high, because he has known My Name" (v14). In fact in v9 we see that this Secret Dwelling Place is the Most High God Himself: 'the Most High- his dwelling place.'

"You are my Hiding Place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance" (Psalm 32:7).

"In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the Secret Place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock" (Psalm 27:5).

Secondly, it is protected by an impeneterable Shield - 'the SHADOW of the Almighty'. This word 'shadow' was used for a roof or covering that protected from the heat of the sun. It describes a COVERING of power, a spiritual SHIELD. It is impenetrable because it is the Covering of the Almighty, the 'Shadow of Shaddai' - powerful protection!

The Lord is our SHIELD: "You are my hiding place and my Shield; I hope in Your Word" (Psalm 119:114, also Genesis 15:1, Deuteronomy 33:29, Psalm 3:3, 7:10, 18:2,30,35; 28:7, 33:20, 59:11, 84:9,11,18, 115:9-11, 144:2; Proverbs 30:5).

Another picture of this is a mother bird protecting its young under its wings: "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge" (v4). She opens up her wings offering strong protection for her chicks but they must trust themselves under the shadow of her wings. They must enter the Hiding Place provided or suffer destruction. God spreads out His mighty wings but we must choose to come under their shadow.

Verse 1 summarises the message of the Psalm: "If you make the Secret Place your dwelling you will shielded from the attacks of the enemy."

Those who DWELL in the Secret Place will find that their whole life comes under God's Shield. Divine protection is available to all, but is only effective for those who dwell in the Secret Place. It is up to us. The Secret Place is a place of intimacy, of COMMUNION with the Lord. As we fellowship with Him we enter into the Secret (intimate) Place in His Presence.

"You shall hide them in the Secret Place of Your Presence from the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues" (Psalm 31:20).

Jesus talked about this in Matthew 6:6: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the Secret Place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." He is saying that in prayer we should shut everything else out and enter the Secret Place in the Spirit where God is waiting to meet with you. He will reward you with blessing and protection openly (in your outer life).

There is a Secret Place in God's Presence - a place of intimacy with the Lord. It is inaccessible, high above and out of reach of the enemy. It is protected by an impeneterable Shield. But it's up to us to DWELL in it.

The promises of Psalm 91 are for DWELLERS in the Secret Place.

DWELLING there speaks of continual, consistent COMMUNION with the Lord. To DWELL in this Place means we make it our HOME, the place we always return to every day in our prayers, not a place to which we just make occasional visits. Home is a place of safety where you keep returning to for rest, relaxation and strength.  People have (secret) hiding places they like to go to relax (home or perhaps a favorite room) if they are stressed or afraid. Psalm 91 says that we should make God's Presence our Secret Hiding Place, our Home. It is a wonderful place to live. If we make it our home, our dwelling place then the result will be that we come (abide) under the continual umbrella of His protection:

"we shall abide under the SHADOW of the Almighty."

We can live under the overshadowing of His power as we walk through a dangerous world. It's up to us to put ourselves under God's protection and enter the Secret Place. We claim this promise in the Lord’s Prayer when we pray: "Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the evil one."

Jesus walked by this Psalm, living in the Secret Place. He often got himself alone to pray and enter it. He claimed the promises of this Psalm out loud - that's why satan tried to use it against him (Matt 4:5-7; Psa 91:11,12). Knowing that Jesus walked by this Psalm, satan used it to try to trip him up by getting him to misapply it. Psalm 91 explains how Jesus could walk through a murderous mob at Nazareth, how he could sleep in a storm, safe in his Secret Place, why His killers could not find him. He only died when in God's will it was time to lay down His life, laying down His shield to die for us and for our salvation.

How do we enter the SECRET PLACE? (v2)
"I will SAY of the LORD, “YOU ARE my Refuge and my Fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

We enter by FAITH: by believing and confessing God's Word of Promise. We must confess out loud the Lord as our Shield and Fortress. David who was often in danger, did this continually as the Psalms record: "The LORD is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer; My God, my Strength, in whom I will trust; My Shield and the horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold" (Psalm 18:2). You have to make it personal and say it boldly by faith. SAY: 'But You, O Lord are a shield for me' (Psalm 3:3).

His protection is available to all believers but we have to enter it by faith, by a faith that is not ashamed to speak. "The Name of the Lord is a Strong-Tower - the righteous run into it and are safe" (Proverbs 18:10). When the pressure is on we need to turn to the Lord for Refuge, we run into Him and surround ourselves with His protection by calling upon His Name in faith. The Name 'JESUS' means SAVIOUR, DELIVERER, the One who makes us SAFE. 'LORD' denotes total AUTHORITY over all forces. CHRIST denotes His POWER to save.

SAY: "Lord Jesus, I hide myself in you. You cover me. I enter into your Secret Place. I declare that you are my Fortress, my Refuge, my Shield, my Strong-Tower."

This is how we put on our Shield of faith (Eph 6:16). The Names of the Lord cover all areas of our salvation. As we declare His Name over us in thanksgiving He fills and covers us. We do this in the Lord's Prayer: "Hallowed be your Name- Lord You are my Righteousness, You are my Shield and Fortress, You are my Healer and my Deliverer. Thank you Lord, You are my strength today." The Psalmist did this daily. Jesus also. We need to as well.

Psalm 91:9 confirms this: "Because you have said 'the Lord is my refuge', the Most High is now become your habitation. No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling."

See yourself surrounded by a Shield of God's power. See yourself in the Secret Place under the shadow of His wings. This is already true in your spirit. We are: 'hid with Christ in God' (Colossians 3:3) protected by the Almighty, risen with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places high above all principalities and powers (Ephesians 1:18- 2:6). But our outward life also needs to be covered by the Shield of Faith. This happens as we believe and obey Psalm 91.

The Benefits of Living in the Secret Place.

GUIDANCE: "Surely He shall deliver you from the snare (hidden trap) of the fowler" (v3). Satan sets traps in our path, including offenses, temptations, distractions but.if we commune in the Secret Place God will be able to lead you into safety. Praying in the Spirit prepares you for the day.

IMMUNITY: "..and from the perilous (destroying) pestilence (disease)." Part of the Shield that covers us is Divine Health. God Himself SHIELDS US as we see in the next verse:

"He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge (trust)" (v4).
God is compared to a strong bird who spreads out His wings for us to flee to safety. A mother bird does this for her chicks as an invitation to take refuge from the sun's heat, from bad weather, and dangerous enemies. God says: 'I spread out my wings - come under My protection. If your enemies want you, then they will have to go through Me first!'. But it's up to you to trust yourself to God and enter the Secret Place under the shadow of His wings.

The consequences if you don't is great danger:
In Matthew 23:37,38, Jesus said: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, ... How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate." Enter into the Secret Place and let His protection enfold and cover you.

Deuteronomy 32:11: "As an EAGLE stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, taking them up, carrying them on its wings, so the LORD..."
Psalms 17:8: "Hide me under the shadow of Your wings"
Psalms 36:7: "How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings."
Psalms 57:1: "My soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by."
Psalms 63:7: "You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice."

DELIVERANCE FROM FEAR: "His truth (FAITHFULNESS) shall be your shield and buckler" (v4b). Strong protection for our hearts comes only through meditation of God's Word and faithfulness. In the Secret Place we receive assurance and revelation of God's faithfulness and promises which guard our hearts against fear (fear opens the door to the curse).

We are protected from attacks whether by day or night, secret or open.

"You shall not be afraid of the terror by night"(v5).
We are delivered from fear when we dwell in the Hiding Place. This promises no nightmares, no anxiety at night because we know that God's shield is over us even as we sleep.

"nor (BE AFRAID) of the arrow that flies by day." Enemy arrows - evil words, curses, and gossip all bounce off our Shield.

"Nor (BE AFRAID) of the pestilence that walks in darkness (invisible diseases), nor (BE AFRAID) of the destruction that lays waste at noonday (visible disasters)" (v6).

MIRACULOUS PROTECTION: "A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand (safety in the midst of danger and destruction) but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked" (v7,8).

Example 1: Noah's Secret Place was the ARK which is a picture of Christ -our Hiding Place from God's Judgement. Only those in the Ark were saved when Judgement fell because they were shielded. The Hiding Place was available to all but most did not feel the need until it was too late.

Example 2: The first Passover night when Israel was about to exit Egypt. They were instructed into how to make their homes a Secret Place by applying the Blood of the Lamb. Those who by faith dwelt under the Blood, were safe from the destroying angel. Inside they ate the Lamb (eating the body - a picture of communion with Christ), while those not in the Secret Place suffered destruction. God said: “When I see the Blood, I will Pass Over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you” (Exodus 12:13).  Most think this means God was the destroyer and He would see the blood and move on, but it is better to see God as the protector from the destroyer. When He says: “I will pass over you' it means: 'I will hover over you as a shield.”

Exodus 12:23: 'when He sees the blood the Lord will pass (hover) over the door and will not suffer the destroyer to come in to your houses smite you'. This is why it is called the Passover (12:27). The word 'pass over' is used in this way in Isaiah 31:5: "Like birds flying about, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem. Defending, He will also deliver it; passing over, He will preserve it.” He hovers over us spreading His wings to protect us. But to enter in to this protection, they had to apply the Blood.

Today we apply it by our faith-confession: "By the Blood of Jesus, You are my Righteousness, my Shield, my Hiding Place, my Healer, my Fortress." All our blessings of the Secret Place were purchased by the Blood and our faith in these blessings is in essence faith in the new covenant made in the Blood (death) of Jesus Christ.

SUMMARY: "Because you have made the LORD, 'my refuge' - the Most High, your dwelling place" (v9).
The compressed language used here could better be read as: "Because you have said: 'the Lord is my refuge', the Most High is now become your habitation.'  The Secret Place is the Lord Most High Himself. It is high above all enemy power in the Most High. We see that the key to entering is a faith confessing who the Lord is to us. Because he chooses to dwell there a general promise is given: "No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling" (v10). These verses repeat and confirm the thought of v1,2.

ANGELIC PROTECTION - especially from accidents:
"For He shall give His angels charge over you (at least one guardian angel is appointed to you), to keep you in all your ways (a bodyguard protecting you not just when in prayer but as you go about your activities). In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone" (v11,12).

Believe in the ministry of angels. This promises protection from accidents but not from the results of deliberate acts of sin and stupidity - angels don't override your free-will.

Satan, fed up of hearing Jesus claiming Psalm 91 for protection, thought he could use it to trap Him. He quoted these verses to Jesus (Matthew 4:6). 'OK Jesus,you like Psalm 91 so much, why don't you jump and claim this promise of God, and this will prove to everyone you are the Messiah.' He twisted the scripture, changing 'all your ways' to 'at all times'. The Psalm applies to the Dweller walking in God's ways, receiving protection from mishaps. It does not apply to all circumstances at all times, whatever you do. Satan's deception was: 'Do your own thing Jesus - and God will have to protect you." This event proves that Jesus claimed Psalm 91 or it would have been no temptation. Jesus had to walk by faith in the Word, as a man, in order to fulfil His mission. He walked in its protection, and could not be touched, setting us an example (at the Cross He chose to laid down His protective shield so that He could die for us and bear our sin and curse. He laid down His life for us).

Having described the ministry of angels the Psalm next describes our authority and power over demons: "You shall tread upon the lion (the aggressive, intimidating side of evil) and the cobra (the subtle, manipulating, poisonous side of evil), the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot" (v13, Luke 10:19). This is our victory over satan. We are far above. He is under feet. We should not be in fear of demonic powers; they fear us.

NOW GOD SPEAKS - personally confirming the Promises of the Secret Place in case we are tempted to think they are too good to be true (v14-16):

“Because he has set his love upon Me (the word for love here means that he clings, joins, knits himself to God, this is the one who has wrapped himself in the Secret Place of God's Presence). 'Because he fully trusted Me and has chosen to live with Me in the Hiding Place: therefore I will deliver him." This is the third time that the way into the Secret Place is described (see also v2,9).

"I will set him on high, because he has known (personally) My Name."

His determination to spend time alone with God means he has come to know God and his character.

"He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; (the promise of answered prayer, John 15:7) I will be with him in trouble (we still face troubles but His Presence and Help will be with us).

Not only is He with us in trouble but: "I will deliver him and honour him (turn it for our good). With long life I will satisfy him (you can keep going until you are satisfied), and show (manifest, demonstrate) him My salvation (not only in this life, but He will cause us to behold an eternal show of His glory).”

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