Deuteronomy 8, Psalm 91, Isaiah 36, Revelation 6

If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: Deuteronomy 8, Psalm 91, Isaiah 36, Revelation 6. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can't do all the readings today, read Psalm 91.

This beautiful song begins with a universal claim: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” The “shelter of the Most High” refers to the Tabernacle; this is a way of expressing a person’s deep desire for God. When someone wants to know God so much that he spends every possible moment in the place where God’s presence was promised, that person will be protected by God (“shadow of the Almighty”).

Verse 2 moves from the universal to the specific: “I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” In other words, verse 1 promises God’s protecting shadow over anyone who delights in God so the author (probably David) states his intention in verse 2 to look to God personally for the refuge offered in verse 1.

And what kind of refuge does God offer? He gives refuge from someone trying to capture him (Saul?) according to verse 3a {“the fowler’s snare”) and from fatal disease according to v 3b (“pestilence”). He gives refuge like a mother bird gives to her young (v. 4), refuge from fear of being captured or killed overnight (v. 5a) or from military attacks by day (v. 5b:). Again, God gives refuge from disease whether at night (v. 6a) or at noon (v. 6b). In the heat of battle, when men are dying all around you, God will protect you (v. 7) and will punish those who deserve it (v. 8).

The reason for this confidence is God’s angelic protection for those who trust in the Lord (vv. 9-13) and because God will answer the prayers for help of those who love him (vv. 14-15). The result of all this protection will be a long life on this earth (v. 16a) and salvation when this life is over (v. 16b).

What a comforting song; yet, the author of this Psalm died eventually and we know that bad things do happen to godly people. So what do we make of the author’s confidence? 

First, the promises of this Psalm are for David and the kings that follow in his line. This is indicated  in verses 11-12 which Satan quoted to Jesus as he was tempted. Unlike what we are often told, Satan did not quote this passage out of context; he understood that it was God’s promise to David that insured a king in David’s line would receive God’s special protection because of the covenant God made to David. So the promises in this passage are more specific to Davidic kings than we often realize.

Secondly, based on God’s covenant with David, the king could be certain that nothing would happen to him until he had fulfilled the mission God gave him to do. Although he may fight in many battles, even taking heavy casualties in his army (v. 7), God will watch over the leader’s life until that leader’s life’s work has been completed. Verse 16 promises “long life” not the absolute avoidance of death. The promise, then, is that the Davidic king who loves God and puts his hope in God will not need to fear premature death either by war or disease. God’s protection will be on his life until he has finished what God gave him to do. While the promise in this passage applied first to David and to the heirs of the covenant God made with David, I believe this Psalm also comforts us with a principle we can count on: we are invincible on this earth until we have completed God’s work if we trust in the Lord and seek him habitually. While some godly people die younger than we would expect, that was not due to some random event outside of God’s will. Instead, those who fear the Lord and seek to live for him generally live a long life on this earth (v. 16a). For those who die “prematurely,” it is because God had another plan for them.

Finally, when the time comes to die, God’s promises to “show him my salvation” when we trust in him (v. 16b). This is a reference to the deliverance believers receive after death. 

In our moments of night time fear (v 5a, 6a) and daytime threats (v. 3, 7), the only hope we have is the promise and mercy of God. Though Christ fulfilled God’s promise in this passage as the Messiah, the final Davidic king, the invitation is still universal: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High…” (v. 1). This applies to us; when we make the Lord our love (v. 1a, 14a) and look to him for protection from all the threats around us, we are indestructible until God says it is time for us to go. Whatever you fear today, remember that the Lord is watching over you and that, even if the worst happens,  you still have the promise of God that God will “show him my salvation” meaning that you will be rescued from these dangers, ultimately, in eternity.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we'll talk scripture again tomorrow.