Psalm 91 contains the greatest promises of Divine Protection and Long-Life, as well as revealing the keys to how we can see these promises come to pass in our lives. Therefore in this final chapter, we will study Psalm 91 verse by verse.
v1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
v2 I will SAY of the Lord, “He is my refuge
and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
v3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence.
v4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
v5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
v6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
v7 A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you.
v8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
and see the reward of the wicked.
v9 Because you have said: “the Lord is my Refuge”
even the Most High has become your Dwelling Place,
v10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
v11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
to keep you in all your ways.
v12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
v13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
v14 God speaks: “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
v15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;I will deliver him and honour him.
v16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”
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 to believers.
It was a Psalm that Jesus confessed, walked in and fulfilled constantly. It talks about a SECRET HIDING PLACE we can always 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 live long enough to fulfil our mission in life.
THE DESCRIPTION OF THE SECRET PLACE.
v1: "He who dwells in the SECRET PLACE of the Most High shall abide under the SHADOW of the Almighty (the Shadow of Shaddai)."
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 Psalm 91 God promises: "I will set him on high (above and out of reach of the enemy) because he has known My Name" (v14)
In fact in v9 we see that this Secret Dwelling Place is the Most High God Himself:
“Because you have SAID: “the Lord is my Refuge”,
even the Most High has become your Dwelling Place.”
Psalm 32:7: “You are my Hiding Place;
You shall preserve me from trouble;
You shall surround me with songs of deliverance."
Psalm 27:5: "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."
Secondly, it is protected by an impenetrable Shield - called: “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 else suffer destruction. God spreads out His mighty wings for us, but we must choose to come under their shadow (covering).
Verse 1 summarises the message of the Psalm:
"If you make the Secret Place your dwelling,
you will shielded from all the attacks of the enemy."
Those who DWELL in the Secret Place will find 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.
Psalm 31:20: "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."
Jesus talked about this in Matthew 6:6: “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut yourdoor, 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 impenetrable Shield. But it is 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 favourite room) if they are stressed or afraid. Psalm 91 says that we should make God's Presence our Secret Hiding Place, our Home. It’s a wonderful place to live.
If we make it our home, our dwelling place, then the result will be that we come and abide under the continual umbrella of His loving and powerful 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, but it is 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 is why satan tried to use it against Him (Matthew 4:5-7; Psalm 91:11,12). Knowing that Jesus walked by this Psalm, satan used it to try to trip Him up by trying to get 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 those who were trying to kill Him were often unable to find Him. He only died when, in God's will, it was time to lay down His life, laying down His Shield in order 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.
Proverbs 18:10: "The Name of the Lord is a Strong-Tower - the righteous run into it and are safe." When the pressure is on, we need to turn to the Lord for Refuge. We can run into Him and surround ourselves with His protection, by calling upon and confessing His Name in faith. His full Name is the LORD JESUS CHRIST: LORD denotes His total AUTHORITY - both His loving covering over us and His dominion over all the forces of the enemy.
JESUS means our SAVIOUR, Healer, Deliverer, Redeemer from the curse and judgment, the One who makes us SAFE. CHRIST denotes He has POWER and ANOINTING to save. So calling upon His Name is to call upon His Divine authority and power to save us, believing we receive His protection.
SAY: "Lord Jesus, I run to You. Please cover me. I hide myself in You. I call upon You to protect me. I enter into Your Secret Place. In You I trust. I call upon Your Name, for You are my Saviour and Deliverer. I declare that You are my Fortress, my Refuge, my Shield, my Strong-Tower."
This is how we put on our Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16). The Names of the Lord cover all areas of our Salvation. As by faith, we declare and confess His Name over us, with thanksgiving, His protective covering will be increasingly manifested over us. SAY: “Lord, thank You that You are my Righteousness, You are my Shield and Fortress, You are my Healer and my Deliverer. Thank you Lord, You are my Life and Strength today." As we do this daily, we abide under the shadow of His wings in the Secret Place of the Most High. The Lord Jesus did this and so we certainly need to as well.
Psalm 91:9,10 confirms this:
"Because you have said: “the Lord is my Refuge',
the Most High is now become your habitation. (As a result) No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling" (v9,10).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.
Next we see the Benefits of living in the Secret Place:
*1. GUIDANCE (v3a): "Surely He shall deliver you from the snare (hidden trap) of the fowler." Satan sets traps in our path, including offences, temptations, distractions, but if we commune in the Secret Place, God will be able to lead you around these traps into safety. Praying in the Spirit will prepare you for the day, and help you avoid the enemy-traps.
*2. IMMUNITY (v3b): "..and (surely He shall deliver you) from the perilous (destroying) pestilence (disease)." Therefore part of the Shield that covers us is Divine Health.
It is God Himself Who SHIELDS US as we see in verse 4. v4a: "He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge (‘you shall trust’)."
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 for them to take refuge from the sun's heat, from bad weather, and from 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 is up to you to trust yourself to God and enter the Secret Place under the shadow of His wings.
The consequences if you do not do this 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 of the Most High, 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."
*3. DELIVERANCE FROM FEAR (v4b): "His truth
(His faithfulness) shall be your shield and buckler." Strong protection for our hearts comes only through meditation of God's Word and faithfulness. In the Secret Place of the Most High we receive assurance and revelation of God's faithfulness and promises which guard our hearts against fear (for fear opens the door to the curse).
Verses 5,6 say that we will be protected from all attacks,
whether by day or night, whether secret (invisible) or open (visible), and therefore we will be free from all fear.
v5a: "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night." We are delivered from fear when we dwell in the Hiding Place. This promises us no nightmares, no anxiety at night for we know that God's Shield is over us even as we sleep.
v5b: "nor (BE AFRAID) of the arrow that flies by day." Enemy arrows such as evil words, curses, and gossip against us will all bounce off our Shield, so we shall not fear them.
v6: "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)."
*4. MIRACULOUS PROTECTION in the midst of danger and destruction, where you would surely perish otherwise.
v7,8: "A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you (we should confess: “IT SHALL NOT COME NEAR ME, for no weapon formed against me will prosper”). Only with your eyes shall you look and see the reward of the wicked."
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 said: “I will pass over you”, it meant: “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 Pass-over (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(hovering) over, He will preserve it (and His people there).”
He hovers over us spreading His wings over us to protect us. But to enter in to this protection, they had to apply the Blood.
Now we apply the blood to our lives 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.As we apply the blood by our confession of faith, He hovers over us and we come under the shadow (shield) of His wings, which protect us from the forces of sickness and destruction.
SUMMARY (v9,10): "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” (v9).
The Secret Place is the Lord Most High Himself. It is high above all enemy power, in the Most High God. We see that the key to entering it is a faith that confesses who the Lord is to us. To the one who chooses to dwell there a general promise is given in v10: "No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”
We should confess: "No evil shall befall me, nor shall any plague come near me or my dwelling. No evil will come near my home, and no sickness shall come near my body.”(Verses 9,10 repeat and confirm the thought of verses 1,2).
*5. ANGELIC PROTECTION - especially from accidents.
v11,12: "For He shall give His angels charge over you (at least one guardian angel is appointed to you for Jesus said in Matthew 18:10 that each child had an angel assigned to him and he does not leave us when we grow up), to keep (guard)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." Believe in the ministry of angels to you: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14).
This verse promises angelic protection from accidents, but not from the results of deliberate acts of sin and stupidity - angels do not and cannot override your free-will.
Jesus often claimed Psalm 91, so satan, fed up of hearing Him confess and claim it for His protection, thought he could use it to trap Him. He quoted these verses to Jesus in Matthew 4:6.
Satan said:“OK Jesus, you like Psalm 91 so much, why don't you jump and claim this promise of God, and so prove to everyone you are the Messiah.” But he twisted the scripture, changing 'all your ways' to 'at all times' (see Matthew 4:6 KJV) The Psalm applies to the Dweller in the Secret Place 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 still have to protect you." This event proves that Jesus often 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 then goes on to describe our authority and power over demons:
v13: "You shall tread upon the lion (the aggressive, intimidating side of evil) and the cobra (the manipulating, subtle, poisonous side of evil), the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot" (cf Luke 10:19). This is our victory over satan. We are far above. He is under foot. We should not be in fear of demonic powers; they fear us.
*FINALLY GOD SPEAKS (v14-16) - personally confirming the Promises of the Secret Place in case we are tempted to think they are too good to be true.
v14a: “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him."
The word for ‘love’ here means that he clings, joins, knits himself to God, this is the one who has wrapped himself by faith in the Secret Place of God's Presence (cf. Deut 30:20).
So this is saying: “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).
v14b: "I will set him on high, because he has (personally) known My Name." His determination to spend time alone with God means he has come to know God and His character.
v15: "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him (the promise of answered prayer, cf. John 15:7). I will be with him in trouble (yes, we will still face troubles in life, but His Presence and Help will be with us in the trouble). I will (also) deliver him (from trouble), and honour him.”
Not only will He be with us in trouble, but also He promises to deliver us out of the trouble and to honour us (turning that situation around for our good, according to Romans 8:28).
The final promise to those who abide in the Secret Place
is a long, satisfying and blessed life.
v16: “With LONG LIFE I will SATISFY him (satisfaction means an abundantly blessed life as well as a long-life, and that you can keep on going until you are fully satisfied), and show (manifest, demonstrate to) him My salvation.” This salvation includes healing, deliverance from early death, and a full long-life now; but it is not limited to this life, for He will also cause us to behold and receive an eternal show (demonstration) of His glory in heaven (see Ephesians 2:7)!
Psalm 91 says the key to long-life is to dwell in the Secret Place, and we do this by clinging in faith to the One Who is the Source of Life, saying: “Lord, You are my Refuge, my Fortress, my Strength, and my Life. I trust in You.”
A CONFESSION OF FAITH based on Psalm 91:
“I dwell in the secret place of the Most High I abide under the shadow of the Almighty.For I SAY of the Lord, “You are my refuge and my Fortress; My God, in You I trust.”Surely He shall deliver me from satan’s snares
and from dangerous diseases.
He covers me with His feathers, and under His wings I take refuge; I shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,I shall not be afraid of invisible dangers or dramatic disasters.A thousand may fall at my side, and ten thousand at my right hand; but it shall not come near me.
Because I have declared: “the Lord is my Refuge”the Most High has now become my Dwelling Place.Therefore no evil shall befall me or mine, nor shall any plague come near my dwelling. It will not come near my body or my house!
For He gives His angels charge over me, to protect me in all my ways. I have authority over satan. I will tread upon all the power of the enemy and trample it underfoot.
Because I trust in God, He will deliver me, and set me on high. He will answer my prayers. He will be with me in trouble and deliver me and honour me. With LONG LIFE will He satisfy me, and show (manifest to) me His salvation, for He will deliver me from evil and an early death.”