160 – Psalm 91 – Cause and Effect
I believe this will be my last pass through chapter ninety-one of Psalms. I’ve named this article “Cause and Effect”, but it could easily have been named something like, “I will, because he has”. In the first thirteen verses of this beautiful Hebrew song, the author is talking about God and about the one who dwells in the secret place. Verses fourteen through sixteen seems to be a sudden yet natural shift from the Psalmist doing the talking, to someone referred to by the personal pronoun, “I” speaking. “I” is not speaking in the second person, nor the third person, but in the first person.
Technically, as we work backward in the text it may be difficult to identify the antecedent for “I”, however, it seems pretty obvious the context reveals “I” to be the “Most High” or Yahweh Himself. Let’s take a closer look at the ending three verses.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”
There are two clear cause and effect enumerations here. The first one in verse 14 is, cause: “because he has set his love upon Me”, effect: “therefore I will deliver him”. The second cause and effect is interesting because it tells the effect first, then the cause. Effect: “I will set him on high”, cause: “because he has known my name”.
The skeptic may protest, “this is unreasonable! How could simply loving God cause God to deliver someone and how could simply knowing His name cause God to ‘set him on high’, whatever that means??”
The skeptic may think his protest reasonable, but I would suggest it only proves he misunderstands this passage altogether. Put another way, I think it is too often easy to change what God means to be literal into something figurative as we run it through the filter of our minds. If we assume “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High is figurative, then we have a hard time believing that the deliverance and positioning that Yahweh offers could be anything other than figurative as well.
Please take this passage literally. You can literally dwell in the secret place. Doing so will grow a love in you for Yahweh as you get to know Him and He will literally deliver you and position you.
I want to just mention a few more observations I’ve made of these three verses. I notice there are only two actors, the Most High (Yahweh) and (the secret place dweller) he.
There are two notable repeating phrases which are, “I [God] will ” occurs ten times, and “he [the individual] shall” occurring only two times. The two “He shall” phrases are the same, “He shall call upon Me”. In contrast the ten “I will” phrases break down as follows:
- Deliver him (3 times)
- Set him on high (2 times)
- Answer him (2 times)
- Be with him (2 times)
- Satisfy him (1 time)
- Show him My salvation (1 time)
Clearly, in a relationship with YHWH the work is done by him. Our job is simply to respond to him in faith. We call in faith He answers by His power.
I’ve heard it said anytime God repeats Himself He wants to make sure we get it. The personal God of the universe Yahweh will deliver, He will deliver, He will deliver! Yahweh God will answer, He will answer! Yahweh God will be with us, He will be with us!
What about this phrase “set him on high”? What could that mean? Well, could it mean that he will see us out of our “low” situations? He will bring us out of the circumstance that brings us low, and “set us on high”, out of and above the difficulty? Yahweh will set us on high, He will set us on high!
Lastly, Yahweh will “satisfy us”, how? By “showing us His salvation”. What is Yahweh’s salvation? It is none other than Jesus Christ the Messiah. In your trials and tribulations don’t run away from God, run to His loving arms. As this Psalm clearly demonstrates God truly is good.
6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
7 For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture,
And the sheep of His hand.
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.