Psalm 91: My favorite line is so much bigger than me

The world needs hope desperately right now, and I’m suddenly without work, essentially. Thus, I’m going to have time to share more regularly all the things God has shown me about Psalm 91 in the last year!  For those who are just now joining me, please start at the beginning of this study:

Psalm 91: Revelations from a year of talking to God about it

I’m excited to reach verse 4:

He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

This verse ends with my favorite line in the entire chapter!  But let’s start at the beginning of the verse!

He will cover you…

At first, this verse seems simple, but there are two significant points.

First, who is doing the action here? Is it you, pulling this covering over yourself? No!  The action is all God’s. He will cover you. The only thing you’re doing is back in verses one and two. You control only where you make your spiritual home, where you choose to abide, and what you choose to say and believe. You’re not responsible for drawing this covering over yourself. He does it.

And second, what does it really mean to cover something? Does it mean to lay a little handkerchief on it? Only if it’s something small. Because the word “cover” always carries the ideal of completeness. The dictionary says it means to conceal, to protect, to guard, or the hide from sight or knowledge. That is what He will do for us who choose to dwell and abide and take refuge in Him!

…with His pinions…

Other translations use the word “feathers.” This is a metaphor, and this is best explained with pictures:

See what it means? God has instilled in the bird species this instinct to try to cover and protect their young with their feathers, to demonstrate what He will do for us. Except where these birds’ attempts at completely covering their young sometimes fall short, His never will. His covering is COMPLETE CONCEALMENT
…and under His wings you may seek refuge.

This line continues the metaphor. But if we put both parts together, we see something significant. First, as we discussed, God is doing the covering, but now here’s something else for us to do. It’s yet another refection back up to verses 1 and 2. We have to make the choice to take refuge. Many of those chicks above are choosing to stick their heads out (which is why the photographer was able to show where the chick had been hiding moments before), but they could run out and away from their parents.  They choose not to.

What we’re seeing here is a meeting of us and God. We choose to find refuge with Him, and He then covers us completely and hides us and guards us.

His faithfulness is…
This last line is my favorite part of the whole Psalm!  For me to explain why, we need to really examine first these few words. 
What is faithfulness?

Faithfulness speaks of perfection. Always reliable. Always trustworthy. Always there. Never failing. Never falling short. 
Faithful is something we are not. The most faithful of us still fail. The parts of our lives that we are most faithful in still fall short of perfection.

But that’s why it is so important here to realize that we’re talking about God’s faithfulness! Because He is perfect! In everything. He is incapable of not following through on what He said He’ll do.

I do not have the words to fully explain the magnitude of power and perfection that are encompassed by these two words! His faithfulness.  I can only ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you just what those words mean. Please, I beg of you… ask Him to show you how faithful He is!

…a shield…

Here we have another word speaking about attacks and protection. Shields are used in battle. They’re no good if arrows and spears aren’t flying and swords aren’t swinging. A shield comes into use in those times of attack, and it stops the weapon. It doesn’t stop the attack, but it protects you from it. 
…and a bulwark.
Do you know what a bulwark is? This is the only time in the entire Bible that this word is used, and it’s a wall like this, that completely surrounds. It’s another symbol of protection.

I think it’s significant that the word “wall” isn’t used here. There are hundreds of times in the Bible that the word “wall” is used, and this verse could have said that His faithfulness is a wall. But no. He chose to use a word for just this one line that is used nowhere else. And He chose a word that means a massive, huge, strong wall that completely surrounds and protects the inhabitants.

So here is the awesome, miraculous, magnificent and overwhelming truth of this verse:

When we chose to take cover under His wings, He covers us with the loving, caring protection demonstrated by these birds… but He does so perfectly.

And when He covers us, He raises a shield in front of us and He sets up a wall that completely surrounds us.

And what is that wall dependent on? What is it made of? Not our own good deeds, for we are as helpless as those chicks. Not our faith, for our demonstration of faith is what led us to run under His wings and stay there. No. 

That surrounding wall is made of His faithfulness.  

It’s a wall made of something that is absolutely, totally perfect. Something that will never fail.

Won’t you run to Him? Join me in this place, surrounded by His faithfulness, protected by His faithfulness, and covered by His wings!

Here, there is peace.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
– Jesus, in John 14:27

Previous Post in this series:  Psalm 91: The threat of the snare and of pestilence
Next Post in this series: Psalm 91: When fear has no hold on you.

1 thought on “Psalm 91: My favorite line is so much bigger than me”

  1. Such a timely post – the words and the pictures are just what my heart needs at this time of chaos and uncertainty.

    I saw the comment you left on my last post, and my heart really smiled. Thank you for reconnecting with me. You are a treasured friend.

    Yes, I do try to keep this blog updated… even though the posts are now few and far between. It is better than nothing.

    We are safe within His faithfulness. So true.


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