Psalm 91 is a beautiful psalm that is beloved by many for the promises it contains for believers in Christ. For this week’s Verse Study Series, let’s look at this cherished psalm. If you need a refresher on Psalm 91, I encourage you to read it before beginning with the article. We’ll only quote a few excerpts today for the sake of time.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most HighPsalm 91:1-2 (ESV)
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.’”
Psalm 91 begins with the psalmist speaking of one who dwells in the place of God’s protection (91:1). In verse one, “dwells” speaks of remaining, enduring, and dwelling permanently based on the Hebrew meaning. By dwelling permanently in the Lord, He shelters and protects us; He is our Refuge and the One we trust (91:2).
When we place our trust in the Lord, we experience His peace in every circumstance. We know that He will take care of us, protecting and providing. We know the nature of His faithfulness because we abide in Him and in His Word, spending time with Him in prayer and studying His Word.
Promises for Believers in Christ
Next, the psalmist writes of promises given by the Lord to those who belong to Him: protections from enemies, plagues and pestilence; God’s faithfulness as a shield around them; and His angels given charge to protect them (91:3-13).
“For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowlerPsalm 91:3, 9-11 (ESV)
and from the deadly pestilence…”
“Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.”
Author Holly Pivec says, “the promises in Psalm 91 appear to be promises for protection of believers from the judgments of God sent against the wicked.” She notes that the ESV Study Bible mentions that things such as plagues and snakes were “judgments God specifically sent against His enemies or against unfaithful Israelites.”
From this we can see that those who are believers are promised protections that are redemptive and eternal. We aren’t promised we will never experience suffering, sickness or physical death, but we can know God is with us and working in us for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). These promises—as Holly writes—are first and foremost, “promises that [believers] won’t face God’s wrath”.
Because We Are His…
In the final verses, the Lord says:
“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;Psalm 91:14-16 (ESV)
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
As believers, we now belong to the Lord, having believed in Jesus Christ and called upon His name for salvation. Because we are His, God will protect and deliver us because our hearts are set on Him and we know His name.
We will still face earthly trials, heartache, persecution and difficulty, but God’s wrath will never touch us because of Christ Jesus. He will answer when we call on Him and be with us in everything. Even more, eternal life is given to us: Psalm 91 says that He will satisfy us with long life and show us His salvation because we know Him.
In John 17:3, Jesus spoke of this as well:
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent —Jesus Christ.”John 17:3 (ESV)
A Beautiful Psalm
As a beautiful psalm reminding us of God’s faithfulness, Psalm 91 speaks of God’s eternal, redemptive promises to all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
We can rest in these promises as those who belong to the Lord. We don’t have to worry ourselves with decreeing and declaring these protections over our every day lives knowing with assurance that Christ has already paid the price for us so we can receive them. The work is done: These promises are already ours in Christ Jesus. Praise God!
Because God has given Christ Jesus in our place to take the wrath we once deserved, these promises are for us who have salvation in Him. We can trust in our amazingly merciful God who is faithful and true. Psalm 91 is a beautiful song of praise for all who have called upon the name of Jesus.