TODAY’S DEVOTION by Nina Sasser:
This beautiful song is perfect to be read, particularly when we live in fear of pestilence, wars, looting, and loss of trust in our institutions. It is worthy of memorization. As you may recall, Satan knew it and wrongly quoted this Psalm to Jesus during the 40 days of Temptation. Jesus knew the Psalm and corrected Satan’s misuse of scripture. Matthew 4:5–7. Nevertheless, the song is vital to us because it directly reveals God’s character and love in the eight promises of protection, he gives to those who trust in him.
The Psalm starts with the imagery of residing: “in the shelter of the most high” and resting “in the shadow of the Almighty.” We are protected. The “shadow of the Almighty” is synonymous with the “shadow of your wings.” It recalls Jesus’ loving lament over Jerusalem’s killing of the prophets when he tells the pharisees, “how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” Luke 13:34–35 It also recalls Boaz blessing Ruth, the gentile, with a rich reward from God for Ruth’s faithfulness in choosing to trust God and come to live under his wings. Ruth 2:11–12. The promises of protection are for all who put their trust in God.
Verse 2 is the personal testimony of the psalmist’s trust in God as his refuge and fortress. In verses 3 through 8, the psalmist continues to reassure us that with God we will not fear the deadly pestilence because we are protected. We will not fear the terrors of the night.
In our Anglican tradition, Psalm 91 is read at the last daily service, Compline. The Psalm is encapsulated in our prayer, “Keep Watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake.”
Verse 9 calls us to trust in God, and if we do, then no harm can come to us. We are secure in his love and protection as the remaining verses tell. God will even send his angels to protect us if necessary. We live confident in God’s love. We need not fear tomorrow.
Finally, the song closes with God’s promises. He will honor those who trust in him and call on his name. God will rescue and protect. He will hear and answer our call. He will be with us in times of trouble. He will give us a long life with satisfaction and salvation. We are called to trust and call on the Lord’s name. He keeps us safe and secure always and eternally.