- Sermon Notes
Secure in God’s Shelter
Read: Psalm 91
Today we are going to turn to Psalm 91, where the Psalmist gives insights into the location of sure safety, and the importance of the place you go for safety and security in your life. That place is the shelter of the Lord, and throughout the Psalm, the Psalmist reveals that when you call upon the Lord, you will find reassurance, safety, and a sure refuge in Him. You will find freedom from danger and fear, a well-founded confidence, and that you will be secure in His shelter.
The Psalm has no known author, and no specific context or occasion, which makes it timeless with truths that apply to any situation. G. Campbell Morgan has called this Psalm “one of the greatest possessions of the saints.” Charles Spurgeon wrote that “it is one of the most excellent works of its kind which has ever appeared. It is impossible to imagine anything more solid, more beautiful, more profound, more ornamented.” How could this be? Because it speaks to what we know is a great need for people personally, that is, security, and through this Psalm it is abundantly clear that those who trust in the Lord, are secure in His shelter.
Psalm 91:1, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (NASB 95’)
- Make His Shelter Your Dwelling Place
- As the Psalmist speaks of the one who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, there are same words there that have great meanings when we look into them.
- To dwell as recorded here carries the meaning of sitting, being set in, remaining in, or having as your home.
- The dwelling place of the one spoken of, is the shelter of the Most High.
- Some translations refer to the shelter references here as the secret place…
Psalm 27:4-5, One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. For on the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; He will hide me in the secret place of His tent; He will lift me up on a rock.
Psalm 31:20, How great is Your goodness, which You have stored up for those who fear You, which You have performed for those who take refuge in You, before the sons of mankind! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence…
- The shelter, the secret place is a place where God’s people can dwell, a place that is home, a place of shelter, a place where the Lord will place His people in times of trouble.
- The secret place seems to be the most secure place of a dwelling, it is not simply “on the premises” or “in the building,” but a place of safety, and sure shelter.
- In Psalm 90, Moses depicted God as the dwelling place for His people throughout the generations. As I noted, it was the picture of being in someone’s den in their home.
- Here is it the secret place, so the picture is of being further in, the secret place.
Illus. Feel free to check it out!
- The one who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, the God over all the universe, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
- The word for “abide” is often translated “lodge” or “rest” in other translations.
- This Psalm will go on to talk about covering of the Lord, and some of the troubles that the psalmist would have faced or been fearful of. I like the picture of the Lord being the dwelling place, or the lodge one could find safety in as the dark of night passes.
- The one who dwells in the shelter of the Lord, lodges or abides in the shadow of the almighty.
- This speaks of proximity. To be in the shadow of another, speaks to nearness, you must be close to them for their shadow to cover you.
- The Psalmist recognized while dwelling in the shelter of the Lord, that he was lodging, or abiding in the shadow of the almighty. The almighty was close and a covering.
- In that place, there is a recognition of safety, and the Psalmist says so…
Psalm 91:2, I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!”
- I get the picture of one who recognizes that they are dwelling in the shelter and shadow of the Lord, and from that place, what they say to the Lord who is protecting and covering them.
- “I will say to the Lord, you are my refuge and my fortress, you are my God, in You I trust.”
- The Psalmist will declare it, “Lord, you are my refuge (my shelter), Lord you are my fortress (defense), Lord it is in you I trust.”
- In need of protection, safety, and covering, the Psalmist stays close to God, in His very shadow, and declares who God is!
Proverbs 3:5-6, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.
- Trust in someone is to place one’s confidence in them. To be sure of. The Psalmist declares, “my confidence is in my God.”
- The Psalmist declares that it is in God he trusts, it is God who is his refuge and fortress.
- What was true for the Psalmist was true for me and you, we can dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we can place our trust in Him, we can find refuge and protection in Him.
Psalm 91:3-6, For it is He who rescues you from the net of the trapper and from the deadly plague. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may take refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and wall. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the plague that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that devastates at noon.
- The situations described in verses three to six, are metaphorical pictures of different dangers in that day, but as the Psalmist paints the picture of different dangers one might face, there is a statement clearly made “you will not be afraid.”
- Let His Faithfulness Filter Out Your Fear
- Several pictures are given of God’s protection: first we read about God rescuing us from the net of the trapper. Other translations read “the snare of the trapper, or the fowler.”
- The picture is of a net, or a snare set by one who is intending to trap birds.
- The trapper, quite literally, is a bait layer, one who is intending to trap you and trip you up.
- Here the Psalmist says, it is God who rescues you from the trapper.
- No doubt, traps get set today by the trapper. There is a real trapper, his name is satan, and he works similarly to one working to trap an animal. The enemy knows what is likely to “hook” or entrap a person.
- Many know that place all too well. The good news, and what I hope has been true for you is that the Lord can and will rescue you.
2 Thessalonians 3:3, The Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
1 Corinthians 10:13, No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
- The Psalmist continues, it is He who delivers you…from the deadly plague.
- The deadly plague or pestilence is a deadly disease. As we look at what is written here, we also must understand what is being suggested.
- The Psalmist will mention the plague, or pestilence again in verses 6 and 10.
- Since we see disease, and death that comes from disease, or “plagues” in the world, we then must reconcile what the Psalmist is suggesting in these verses.
- I love the promises in these verses, that God will keep us safe. However, there is way we can misapply verses like these. In fact, it would be a trap of satan to thing that no bad things will ever happen.
- If a person thinks that, then something bad happens, they might pull back from God if they do not get what they believe to be a universal promise for believers.
- I actually know for a fact that satan would want us to misapply verses from this Psalm, because satan himself tried to use verses 11 and 12 of this Psalm to tempt Jesus.
Matthew 4:5-7, Then the devil took Him along into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and he said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written: ‘He will give His angels orders concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will lift You up, so that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
- What Jesus did when satan tried to tempt Him, was to compare Scripture with Scripture so that the words here were not misapplied in His life.
- Some stories and verses from Scripture offer us balance in this.
Illus. Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28; Luke 21:16-19; James 1:2-4.
- It is later in Psalm 91, in verse 15 where the Lord says to the one who love Him, “I will be with you in trouble.”
John 16:33, In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
- What we know then, is not that we will never have trouble, but that the Lord will protect those who are His in the midst of trouble or as they go through trouble.
- Interestingly, when satan quoted Psalm 91, he left out the part where God’s orders to angels are to protect us in all our ways, not satan’s ways.
Psalm 91:11-12, For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. On their hands they will lift you up, so that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will walk upon the lion and cobra, you will trample the young lion and the serpent.
- I love that the Lord will give His angels orders concerning you. What a wonderful truth, but it would be untrue to think that if we ever strike our foot against a stone, the Lord is not covering and protecting me and you.
Illus. James Montgomery Boice.
- From the Psalm we looked at last week, Psalm 90, we know that life is short from an eternal perspective, that the days of a life are 70, or if due strength 80 years. What is clear is that death is a reality, but the plagues and troubles of the life we do not need to fear, because Jesus has overcome the world!
Psalm 91:4, He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may take refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and wall.
- God’s pinions are the outer part of a bird’s wing, or it’s outer feathers.
- The picture is of a bird’s sheltering wing, under its wing you are close in proximity, and under its protection.
Illus. Psalm 91.
Matthew 23:37, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
- Jesus’ heart is displayed here. What did He want to do? What was His desire? What did He long for? To gather them in…But they were not willing.
- Jesus used a picture of a mother hen, gathering her chicks, to protect from storms, from heat, from rain, wind, or from predators. How often I would have gathered your children together as a chick gathers– or as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
- The Lord has made protection for us, we must be willing, we must run there. And when we do, he is faithful to cover, and faithful to protect.
- Jesus is willing to gather you in, and He is faithful to deliver.
Psalm 91:4(b), …His faithfulness is a shield and wall.
- God’s faithfulness is a shield and a wall. A shield that covers you in from front, from that which you are aware of, something you hold for defense, and a wall, also translated “buckler” which pictures something that completely surrounds a person.
Lamentations 3:23, …Great is your faithfulness.
- The word is “emet” translated “faithfulness” or “truth.” It means “steady, stable, reliable, or firm,” it is the opposite of something that is wishy washy.
- Of people, it means they are of reliable, or steady character.
- So, when applied to God, we know that we can trust Him, and his faithfulness will be steady, trustworthy and realiable.”
Hebrews 10:23, Let’s hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
- The Psalmist knew that God’s faithfulness was a shield and a wall, He is our refuge, and He is faithful, steady, and reliable.
Psalm 91:5-6, You will not be afraid of the terror by night, or of the arrow that flies by day; of the plague that stalks in darkness, or of the destruction that devastates at noon.
- I love the picture, morning, noon, or night you will not be afraid. There are all sorts of things that can come at us, any time of day, any time of night. There are different things many are fearful of at different times in a 24-hour cycle of the light of day, or the dark of night…The Psalmist says, you will not be afraid.
Psalm 27:1-3, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; whom should I dread? When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, my adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. If an army encamps against me, my heart will not fear; if war arises against me, in spite of this I am confident.
- When David wrote Psalm 27, he acknowledged the emotion of fear, but also the fact that the Lord was his light, salvation, and the defense of the his life…He wrote, “even if an army encamps against me, my heart with not fear.”
- In Psalm 91, God’s faithfulness is a shield and a wall…you will not afraid…
Psalm 91:9, For you have made the Lord, my refuge, the Most High, your dwelling place.
Illus. When faithfulness filtered fear.
Illus. God as refuge.
- Because God is my refuge and his faithfulness protects and surrounds me, I will not be afraid.
- In verses 14 to 16, the voice shifts in the Psalm. We go from hearing about God to hearing from God. From words spoken by God’s people to words spoken to God’s people.
Psalm 90:14-16, “Because he has loved Me, I will save him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.”
- Still talking about the one who makes the Lord his dwelling place, the Lord speaks about that person… “Because he has loved me, I will save him; I will set him on high, because he has known my name…He will call upon Me, and I will answer…”
- Accept His Answer to Your Call
Jeremiah 33:3, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
- When you call upon the Lord personally, he will answer you personally. And He will tell you unsearchable things that you do not know. The unsearchable things are hidden things, things are inaccessible.
- In verses 15 and 16, we get specifics of some times in a person’s life when people might be calling on Him, and some important answers that the Lord can give.
- The Lord says, I will be with that person in trouble. Perhaps you are in trouble today and you need an answer from the Lord…The Lord says He is available to you, if you call to Him, He will answer you.
- The Lord says, I will rescue that person. To rescue is to pull a person out of something, to withdraw them from that which has them bound up or trapped. Perhaps you are trapped up, or bound up…The Lord says He can deliver you, if you call to Him, He will answer you.
- The Lord says, I will honor him…this carries the idea of bringing more to that person, to promote them, or build them up. Perhaps you are down? The Lord can build you up, if you call to Him, He will answer you.
1 Samuel 2:30, Those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. (NASB 95’)
- The Lord says He can satisfy with a long life, and show His salvation. Perhaps you are worried about your life, where it is all headed, and whether or not salvation is your destination. The Lord can save you; He can show you His salvation. Call upon Him, He will answer you.
Romans 10:13, Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
James 4:8, Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (NASB 95’)
Psalm 91:1-2, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!”