The Psalm of Security
It seems to us that the last 4 verses of the 90th Psalm are a fitting introduction or prelude to the glorious security of the believer in the 91st Psalm. We, therefore, will begin with the fourfold prayer of Psalms 90:1-17 in Psalms 90:14-17 .
1. The first prayer. "O satisfy us early with Thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days." Here is a noble and earnest petition. The one who is saved late in life cannot rejoice and be glad all his days, because the bulk of his days has been spent in sin and in sorrow. Some one might read this, "O satisfy us quickly with Thy mercy," but the latter part of the verse makes us think that the word "early" means early in life. When we are young we need the Lord in His saving grace. We need Him in order that we may be shielded from the sins of youth, from the sowing of seed which must bring the harvest of sorrow,
2. The second prayer. Psalms 90:15 gives this prayer, "Make us glad according to the days wherein Thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil." No matter what may have been the past, the prayer is that the future may be just as much filled with song and singing as the days of old were filled with sorrow and sighing; that the blessings may outweigh the afflictions; that the good years may overbalance the years of evil.
The Psalmist very clearly demonstrates that he anticipated no joy and no peace apart from the mercies of the Lord. He knew that there is fullness of joy only at the right hand of the Father; and in His presence alone there are pleasures forevermore.
3. The third prayer. Psalms 90:16 gives us this prayer: "Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children." We remember how God commanded the fathers in the days of yore, saying, "Thou shalt teach [these things] diligently unto thy children." What things are they which are to be taught? The wonderful works of God; how He sent judgment upon Egypt, and how He led Israel through the Red Sea, and through the wilderness.
4. The fourth prayer. This prayer is passingly beautiful. "And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it."
I believe it was Gipsy Smith who wrote the little song,
"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me;
All His wonderful passion and purity."
Something similar to this is found inEzekiel 16:14Ezekiel 16:14, where Israel is described as waxing exceeding beautiful, and where her renown went forth among the nations for her beauty. It is there that we read, "For it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God."
Christians need to realize that they are clothed in the righteousness of their Lord, and that He has placed upon them His beauty. Could anyone be clothed with any more delightful a garment than that with which the Spirit clothes us? He robes us in love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, gentleness, and in all those things which glorify His Name.
In the 3d prayer, above, the prayer is, "Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants." In this 4th prayer the words are, "Establish Thou the work of our hands upon us." It is what we do toward Him, our work and labor of love in His Name, that is now before us. He wants this work to be an established work. A work that is not effervescent. Indeed the work of the believers, which is wrought in the Spirit, will both outlive and outshine the sun.
I. THE BELIEVER'S DWELLING PLACE (Psalms 91:1 )
1. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High." If I ask you the place of your abode, perhaps you would tell me of a certain city in a certain state or country. Here, however, is another place where all believers may and should dwell. It is spoken of as the "secret place," because it is a place not known, save to the godly. It is the secret place because it is the place where believers cannot be found nor molested by the evil one.
God grant that each one of us may enter into this secret abiding place.
2. He shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. We have heard of the shadow of the great rock in the weary land. That is a delightful place to rest, away from the heat of the sun; but what is it to hide under the shadow of the Almighty! We have read of the shadow of His wings. Even Christ said, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens." There is, however, more than rest when we are under the shadow of the Almighty: there is peace. There is safety. The expression, "shadow" bespeaks comfort and peace and rest and security and safety. All these we have when we dwell with Him.
II. "A PLACE OF REFUGE" (Psalms 91:2-3 )
1. "He is my refuge and my fortress." Another Scripture says that He is a Refuge "from the storm. The song, Rock of Ages, Cleft for Me, suggests a refuge, because it says, "I will hide myself in Thee." In Israel there were seven cities of refuge. To these anyone could fly from the avenger. Thus we thank God that Christ is our Refuge.
When Satan seeks us as a roaring lion, we may flee and hide ourselves in Christ. He will be our Refuge and also our Fortress.
2. "In Him will I trust." And the Lord is the Refuge, therefore, where we may rest in security, unafraid. No matter just who the enemy may be, nor how great his power, we may trust and be not afraid.
Psalms 91:3 says, "Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence." So long as the Lord is our Refuge and our Fortress we have nothing to fear, for He will also be our strong Deliverer. There is no power that can overwhelm us. There is nothing which can be raised against us. In Him we are safe from Satan's attacks, and from the snares of the enemy. Others may be caught in the enemy's traps. Others may fall by his subtle temptations; but He will deliver us if we hide under the shadow of His wing.
Let us say just a few words about trust. This is an Old Testament expression. In the New Testament it is faith and belief. Somehow we like the Old Testament word. It sounds so lovely in the 37th Psalm, so expressive, so meaningful, "Trust in the Lord"; "delight thyself also in the Lord"; "commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass."
When we trust in the Lord, we rest in the Lord: we wait patiently for the Lord: we are not afraid of evildoers. We are not afraid of the wicked who plot against us, because the Lord has undertaken for us and in Him we trust.
III. A PLACE FREE FROM FEAR (Psalms 91:5 )
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day."
1. Here is a trust that is unafraid. Some one showed a little girl a picture of the storm on Galilee and of Christ asleep in the boat. The teacher said, "Would you have been afraid to be in that boat?" Then the little girl said, "No, I wouldn't be afraid, if Christ were there." No matter what happens, we need not fear.
David said, "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil." He also said, "I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." With the wicked it is altogether different. They are afraid. They may boast their security and satisfaction in the things of earth, but let sickness come upon them and they are afraid to die. They are afraid of the judgment. They are afraid to meet God.
In the Book of Revelation and also in Isaiah we have the description of the fear of the ungodly as they hide themselves in the dens and rocks of the mountains, calling on the mountains and rocks saying, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
2. Here is a trust that is not afraid of the terror by night. The expression "by night" carries with it the thought of the workings of Satan because he is darkness and he works under cover. The little child who is not afraid in the daytime is easily afraid by night. The Christian who trusts in the Lord need not be afraid of any power of darkness which stalks about in the shades.
He is not afraid of the arrow that flieth by day. He carries with him the shield, the shield of faith, by which he is protected from every fiery dart. The enemy cannot touch him, nor slay him, because he is under the power of the Living God.
God grant that all fear may be taken away from us.
IV. A PLACE OF COMPLETE DELIVERANCE (Psalms 91:6-8 )
1. There is a deliverance from pestilence. Psalms 91:6 says, speaking of not being afraid, "[Thou shalt not be afraid] for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday." There is a scourge that is sweeping down thousands. A thousand are falling at our side, and ten thousand are falling at our right hand; but God says, "It shall not come nigh thee."
These words have to do particularly with the judgments of God against the wicked. It is in the time when He sends forth destruction and pestilence, but the believer has nothing to fear. The wicked may fall, but he falls not. The wicked may be destroyed, but he lives. There is a wonderful promise in the First Epistle of John. It says, "We have passed from death unto life." There is another verse in Thessalonians, which says that God has not appointed us unto wrath. Whatever His judgment may be, they are not appointed for us who are hid under the shadow of His wings. We are safe in Him.
2. There is an overthrow of the wicked before our very eyes. Abraham saw the smoke ascending from Sodom and Gomorrah, but the fires never touched Him. The righteous will, with his eyes, see the reward of the wicked, but He will not experience their woes nor their sorrows.
We remember how the Children of Israel passed through the Red Sea on dry land. We remember how Pharoah and his hosts followed after. When, however, the last child of God passed over, then the Children of Israel saw the waters of the Red Sea overflow and carry the armies of Pharaoh to destruction. No wonder that Moses led in the great Psalm of deliverance. No wonder that Miriam and the women also shouted for joy.
We are not teaching that either God or His children will have any pleasure in the death of the wicked not that. We are teaching that those who are swept away by the judgments of God through their own unbelief, will be swept away apart from any judgment upon the saved. When the Great White Throne judgment is set and the books are opened, the saved may be there as witnesses beholding the judgment of the wicked, but they themselves shall in no wise become partakers in that judgment.
V. THE BASIS OF OUR SECURITY (Psalms 92:9-10 )
1. The believer's assurance. We would consider Psalms 92:10 first. "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling." Our minds go back to the days of the Exodus. You remember how ten plagues were sent against the Egyptians, but in each case the Children of Israel were not under the plague. Not one of these plagues came near them.
Let us read one or two of the verses along this line. God said, "And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven: and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the Children of Israel had light in their dwellings." God plainly taught that He made a difference between the Egyptians and the Children of Israel. When He sent the tenth and last plague, He said, "All the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill * *. But against any of the Children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue."
2. The reason for the assurance. The reason God spared the Children of Israel was not because He favored one people more than another, as people were. The reason God delivers His own children from death today is not because He is a respecter of persons. Psalms 92:9 gives the Refuge, even the Most High, thy Habitation; there shall no evil befall thee."
If we are in Christ our Refuge and our Habitation, we are beyond the pale of His judgment. We are safe and secure in Him. God has opened a place of refuge for every man, but only the man who enters in will be saved. If a man is a Christ rejecter and he refuses to trust, he must suffer.
VI. PROTECTING ANGELS (Psalms 91:11-12 )
The words of these two verses are the words which Satan quoted to Christ when he said "Cast Thyself down: for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee: and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone." Let us look at some of the deeper meanings suggested by these words.
1. They suggested the ministry of angels. On this line we might quote a passage in Hebrews 1:1-14 . The verse, speaking of angels, says, "Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"
Study again the messages of the angels in the Book of Revelation. We have no doubt at all but that the angels are still playing a very important part in the lives of God's children. We often speak of the children and their angels, because Jesus Christ said of the little ones, "In Heaven their angels do always behold the face of My Father."
2. Let us consider some of the things the angels will do for us.
1. They will have charge over us.
2. They will keep us in all our ways.
3. They will bear us in their hands lest we dash our foot against a stone.
These are words of marvelous instruction and comfort. Do you not think that these blessed angels of God have a very definite place in the lives of His saints? Perhaps there are guardian angels, and there are directing angels. We are sure of one thing: the Scripture is true and, therefore, we are sure that God's angels do minister to saints.
When Paul was in a storm at sea, he said to the captain and the sailors: "I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. For there stood by me this night the. angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve." Then he told what the angel said, and the words of good cheer which he uttered.
We remember how Peter was in jail and how the Church made supplication in his behalf. "And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote. Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly." Thus the angel led Peter out, and he still leads out those who trust in God.
VII. IN THE TRAIN OF CHRIST'S TRIUMPH (Psalms 91:13-16 )
1. "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder." Satan did not quote these words when he was telling Christ to cast Himself down from the pinnacle of the Temple. He very glibly told Christ about throwing Himself down, but not a word about His treading the lion and adder under His feet. He knew full well that he was the lion, and we know full well that Christ did trample him under His feet.
We know that, at this very moment, Jesus Christ has ascended up far above principalities and powers and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Satan is under His feet, and he is under our feet because Christ's victory is ours.
2. "I will set him on high." Psalms 91:14 is a wonderful message, "Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high because he hath known My Name." Thank God for such words of assurance. Do we love Him? Then He will deliver us. Do we love Him and set our love on Him? Then He will set us on high. He will set us on high because we have known His Name.
3. "I will answer him." This is the promise of Psalms 91:15 . It is concerning prayer. "He shall call upon Me, and I will answer Him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him." What do we want any better than this in our prayer life? No one need tell us that prayer does not get us anywhere.
4. "With long life will I satisfy him." If we want to live long, we must love the Lord. We must walk in His ways. We must do His will. Then He will not only answer our prayers, but He will satisfy us with long life. He will let us dwell long upon the earth, in order that we may tell others of His goodness and grace.
On 7th March, 1906, Mr. G. F. Bergin, honorary director of Muller's Homes, received a donation of Â£3 from Staffordshire, with the following note: "It is Â£3 laid down at the feet of the Living God on the anniversary of the day when a wicked atheist and lecturer on atheism versus Christianity, was in 1849 turned upside down into a Christian on a small common where he sat down with the intention of committing suicide, when God in His wondrous love revealed Himself as an undeniable reality, without any human instrumentality, illuminating the utter folly of all atheism, so as to enable him to grasp salvation full and free, to believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Covenant from back to back, and afterward to proclaim the Gospel of a crucified, risen, and ascended Christ. Oh, the bliss of true, undefiled Christianity! Its joys are more than tongue can titter." Fifty-seven years saved and kept, yet some ask about holding on, falling away, etc. (John 10:27-29 ).
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Psalms 91". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter