We trudged slowly back to the car through a crowded parking lot in the Texas summer heat. Hot, humid, full sun bearing down. I noticed my daughter matching my steps, walking close by my side the entire way back. Little legs stretching out as far as they could to match my stride. She smiled up at me and said, "Mom, look, I'm walking in your shade." She'd found the shadow, the safe place to walk. I loved that my side was her shield, giving her protection from the heat.
This reminder came…“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1
We may not always see it, or feel it, we might forget it’s there at times, or even wonder if He's left us to fend for ourselves in the heat of hard situations of life. But His protection is real. He doesn't, He can't, forget us or ignore us. If we belong to Him, His love is too great to leave us on our own.
Meaning of Psalm 91
Is it any coincidence that this is the 9-1-1 verse? In whatever troubles we face today, God is the place of refuge we can run to, He is our safe place.
The word “dwell” used in this verse actually means, “to take up permanent residence in.” He reminds us to stay in His presence, for it’s a permanent place of living. His Word says if we do that, we will “rest” in the very "shadow of the Almighty." Shadows by definition are a place of protection or covering, they provide relief from the direct heat of the sun. If the heat is severe, the shade is the place we run to. It diminishes what we actually feel in the intensity of the heat.
A reminder for us, especially in the tough stuff, that we never walk alone. Full heat of troubles bearing down hard, heavy, it’s a struggle at times to keep trudging through it all. Pressure and stress can seem as stifling as a hot afternoon summer sun. Yet God whispers truth, strong and sure, “Walk in my shadow, up close to my side.” It’s in the safe place that brings confidence; for when we are resting is God’s shadow, we will never face the full heat of our difficulties. He shelters from that pain. His shade, His shadow, diminishes what is actually felt in the intensity of all the heat. Rest, peace, and calm rise up strong, right in the struggling mess of life, and we’re assured, He's in control.
Sometimes, maybe unintentionally, in the busyness or difficulties of living, we might strive to survive on our own. We forget that what we need most, God's protection and the comfort of His presence, are freely available to those who love Him and walk under His covering.
This entire chapter of Psalm 91 is filled with the goodness and power of God. Great reminders that He faithfully works on behalf of those who love Him. And at the end of it all, God gives 8 reasons of why we do not have to fear.
He promises: “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.” Psalm 91:14-16
Psalm 91's Promises from God
- "I will rescue him..." (deliver, cause to escape)
- "I will protect him..." (set him on a high place)
- "I will answer him..." (respond to, speak)
- "I will be with him in trouble..." (in afflictions, in distress)
- "I will deliver him..." (rescue, to bring into safety)
- "and honor him..." (to make rich, strong, heavy with honor)
- "With long life will I satisfy him..." (to have abundance in the journey)
- "and show him my salvation." (let him see my deliverance & victory)
There is great blessing as we seek after God, and choose to walk in His ways. In the midst of great darkness in this world, living in it all without His Truth and freedom, would be like wallowing in the pit. Not much hope to be found there. The truth is, this world has been dark for generations, since sin first entered the earth at the hiss of the enemy's lies.
Yet God's reminders are sure, strong, and true, assuring us that in all that we walk through in this journey, His call is always to rise above. He reminds us we're not alone. And though He never says that we won't face hard times, He does say He'll be with us in it, rescuing us, and shining His favor over us.
Don’t ever doubt it. God works on behalf of those who love Him and honor His name. He is so good to us. We may never fully know, this side of heaven, how very much He has sheltered us from in this life.
A Prayer from Psalm 91
"Dear God, Thank you for your presence with us, thank you for your Almighty Shadow. Thank you that you go before us, and cover us from behind. Thank you that you are in our midst, and that our future is secure in the place you're preparing for us.
Your words bring such hope and comfort. Remind us of your strength today, may we see glimpses of your glory and blessing along the way as we seek after you. For victory and salvation are found in you alone.
In the Mighty Name of Jesus, Amen."
Psalm 91 Commentary
He that by faith chooses God for his protector, shall find all in him that he needs or can desire. And those who have found the comfort of making the Lord their refuge, cannot but desire that others may do so. The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is a noisome pestilence. Great security is promised to believers in the midst of danger. Wisdom shall keep them from being afraid without cause, and faith shall keep them from being unduly afraid. Whatever is done, our heavenly Father's will is done; and we have no reason to fear. God's people shall see, not only God's promises fulfilled, but his threatenings. Then let sinners come unto the Lord upon his mercy-seat, through the Redeemer's name; and encourage others to trust in him also.
Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him in trouble. The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he looks unto Jesus. He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven. Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him? A man may die young, yet be satisfied with living. But a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. At length the believer's conflict ends; he has done for ever with trouble, sin, and temptation. - Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's facebook page, DebbieWebbMcDaniel, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives.
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