One of the things we must do when reading the Psalms is to ask ourselves who is speaking. In Psalm 91, the speaker is Israel’s King, a righteous ruler who has put his trust in the God of the Bible. And these promises are, therefore, for that person—the king, the righteous king who always trusts God.
Where can safety be found? Whether it’s during a time of global panic as we face a terrifying new virus, or whether it’s in times of relative peace, the search for security is a perennial preoccupation of the human heart. One of the reasons for this is because the world is a dangerous place—something we feel especially acutely now, amid the Coronavirus. So, where can safety be found? Perhaps even more pointedly—is it possible to find genuine security in such a dangerous world?
Into our fear and anxiety, Psalm 91 promises us eternal protection and guaranteed victory. Let’s look at it together.
Psalm 91 (NIVUK)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.’
What Does Psalm 91 Promise?
Notice how verses one and two repeat the same idea; emphasis is made to highlight the truth and central theme of the psalm—that the person who trusts in God really will be genuinely safe. These verses introduce the main point, which is extrapolated in verses three and following—namely, that the person who truly does seek security in God will find it.
Now, as we consider verses 3-13, we see a vivid picture of “protection at all times and from all threats.” It’s a total and comprehensive protection—in both night and day, from both arrows and pestilence, lions and cobras—which highlights the point of the psalm: there is no possible danger which can threaten the security of this trusting believer. I’d encourage you to read it over again, slowly. Reflect on each promise. It really is a remarkable picture of total protection and final victory—all given to the one who trusts in God. Nothing can harm him. Reflect for a moment on just how remarkable that kind of promise is. In a world of danger, a promise of safety—of total safety—is being made.