Psalm 91: A tiny, three-letter word highlights our decision

I spent much of last year slowly going through Psalm 91, talking with the Holy Spirit about every word and every line. In January of this year, the Lord led me to start sharing it here, so if you’re just now joining me, I encourage you to go to the beginning of my study, because the first verse is pivotal!

This is my 7th post, and I’m up to verse 9 & 10:

For you have made the Lord, my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
Shall we look at them? 


Once again, we have this small word that means so much. Verses 7 & 8 talked about defying the odds. The Psalm continues on with this word “for.”  It means, “And this is why what you experienced defied the odds.” 
It wasn’t just happenstance. 
It wasn’t random. 

…you have made 

It’s personal again. This is talking about you, not someone else. Not your parents. Not your spouse. You.  And once again, it’s an action on your part. 

…the Lord, my refuge,

Once again, it’s referring to God by His personal name. This is between you and Him personally. Still!  Regarding the “my,” the Hebrew sort of jumps around here. It’s basically saying that you have decided for yourself that you will say, “Yahweh God is my refuge.”  Yes, this is again repeating verse 2

…even the Most High, your dwelling place. 

And this is repeating verse 1 again. 
It’s easy to skip over this verse, because it’s basically a repetition of verses 1 and 2. I think we need to stop and think, though. Why does the Psalm repeat it again? 
I think it’s because of that all-important little word “for!”  The Psalmist and God are really, really wanting those of us who are reading us to understand that all these promises of protect are not for just anyone!  They are only for those who have chosen to make God their refuge and their dwelling place!  
I feel like I cannot underscore how important this is. I read so many people right now talking about how they’re “claiming” or “praying” Psalm 91.  The problem is that the verse does not say, “For you have claimed and prayed these words.”  It says, “For you have made the Lord God, Most High, your refuge and your dwelling place!”

Now obviously, it is entirely possible that those who say they are claiming and praying Psalm 91 are indeed making Him their refuge and dwelling place as well.  I’m sure many are!  I think the danger, however, is that when we say that, we could easily cause others to think that if they too just claim or pray the Psalm, then they too will be protected.  May I encourage you instead to tell others, “I am taking refuge in the Lord and dwelling with Him. Psalm 91 says that I am protected when I do this.”  That is the reality, that is what the Word says, and that is the message that we need to share!

Let’s move on to the oh-so-appropriate verse that follows! 

No evil will befall you…

I think it’s significant that it the verse does not say, “No evil will threaten you.”  Again, the verse is written assuming that evil is out there as a very real threat. Yet the verse speaks confidently that it will not fall upon you!

I think it’s also important to mention here that even though Adam ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that does not mean that our understanding of good and evil is accurate. God tells us that His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. When it comes right down to it, we sometimes have a choice to make. Are we going to trust our own understanding and judgement and say that such and such a thing was evil and therefore God’s Word is a lie? Or are we willing to say, “Most High God, You cannot lie, I am abiding in You and relying on You. This situation looks bad to me, but You are greater, and You are good. I will continue to trust You!”

…nor will any plague come near your tent.

This is the line that so many are relying on. But no wonder! If our tent – our home – is established within the walls of His faithfulness which surround the shelter and refuge that He offers, then how could any plague come near? 
The plague, though, is the sickness and death. The effects. A virus itself is not necessarily a plague. Every single last one of us has a body that has done the job that God designed it to do and successfully fought off viruses in our past. Correct? I believe that God sometimes fulfills this promise by keeping sickness away from us, and other times He fulfills it by blessing our immune systems with favor and strength. That is what He designed it to do! 
Either way, the devastation is not allowed within the walls of His faithfulness

If you’re like me, this week’s been tiring. “Everything” is starting to get old, isn’t it? I’d like to leave you with this recording. It’s 20 minutes of very sweet and restful worship that flows between a number of songs. I pray that it will minister peace to your soul as it does to mine! 

Previous Post in this series: Psalm 91: When the odds are long and statistics are scary
Next Post in this series: Psalm 91: The guard that is dispatched along the Way

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