155 – Psalm 91
One of the current churchanity buzzwords of our day is “relevance”. I would like to suggest that the reason relevance has been so emphasized is because the heralds don’t see the scriptures as naturally relevant. They have somehow come to believe that it’s their job to pull the Word of God out of the past and into the present where it can be transformed into something useful for modernity.
Listen. God does not need our help! How arrogant to think that unless man does something to it God’s Word would somehow be stuck in the past where it was once useful, but no longer!
Consider Hebrew 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
Do you see that? According to the Bible the Word of God is living, powerful, and sharp! Or maybe it used to be alive? It somehow died? It was powerful but now is completely energyless? Now it is no longer sharp and has somehow dulled through the ages?
You may argue I’m just being sarcastically harsh and that you’ve heard no one make the above claims about the scripture’s relevance. You might be right. Why then so much attention on making the scriptures relevant? How did these pulpiteers come to believe they must make the scriptures relevant? I would suggest they’ve lost touch with the Word of God because they don’t read, study, nor preach the Word of God regularly.
Let’s spend a few minutes looking at a Psalm that was added to book four of the five books composing the Psalms. Book four was collected during the exile which began in 586 BC. Although we don’t know the exact date Psalm 91 was penned, we do know it was added somewhere between 586 BC and the time of Ezra. Is it relevant today? Let’s take a peek.
1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD [Yahweh], “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Where do we dwell? In our sins, insecurities, and fears? Or do we dwell in the secret place of the Most High God Yahweh? I can only speak for myself. I know where I have dwelled, and I know where I want to dwell. I want to dwell in the secret place of (belonging to) the Most High. But how do I get there? It’s a secret place? Can I know where?
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
The secret place is found in the person of Jesus Christ. Look at verse one again. This secret place was not designed to be a place we flit in and out of. As we set our hearts to “dwell” there God allows, encourages, and expects us to “abide” there. What a loving God!
Notice the progression in verse two? From this place of dwelling our perspective changes. We no longer find security in ourselves, our finances, our health. Yahweh is our refuge and fortress. I no longer place my trust in my health or earthly provision. I trust fully in “my God”. I am safe in Him as my refuge and fortress. Every earthly fortress no matter how well fortified can eventually be breached. God cannot be overcome, overrun, or overpowered. He is a fortress like no other! You are truly protected in Him.
Let’s consider the next two verses together.
3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
What’s a fowler? Simply one who traps birds. In this analogy you and I are birds. Notice in verse three we are trapped in the snare and need to be delivered. Notice we need to be delivered from two things, both the “snare” and “perilous pestilence”. Who delivers us? How does He deliver us? He delivers us by becoming a bird just like us! Wait. What? Look at verse four again.
What does He cover us with? His feathers. Where do we take refuge? Under His wings! Do you see it? We have no refuge nor fortress but God. God became a man and took our place in sin’s snare by dying in our place. This is how He set us free! Once we place our faith in Christ alone we can take refuge in this secret place where no one and nothing can reach us.
Look at the last part of verse four. “His truth shall be your shield and buckler”. The snare is not a bird’s only threat. The arrow can pierce our soul and steal our joy. How do we protect ourselves from the enemy’s dart? We allow the truth of Jesus to be our shield and buckler.
Look at this familiar verse.
16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
I hope you will take some time to read Psalm 91. There are only sixteen verses in this wonderfully encouraging Psalm. Though it is hundreds of years old this Psalm is amazingly fresh and relevant. You can truly take comfort in the truth it proclaims. God is beyond worthy of all our praise and worship. Let’s all dwell in His secret place.
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print