Bible Study Psalm

Psalm 91: Promises of God

The sheer amount of God’s promises overwhelms me. In this last section of psalm 91, God makes eight promises in one paragraph! He pledges to deliver, to protect, to answer, to be with us, to rescue and honor us, to satisfy and show us his salvation. God’s love moves him to joyfully commit to lavish and unbelievable promises!

Psalm 91:14-16 New International Version (NIV)

14 “Because he[a loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

God offers all these promises to us if we do three little things: I must hold fast to him in love, know his name, and call to him in trouble. I take this to mean when I know God in the fullness of all His amazing ways, I will then love him with a steadfast love. And my complete dependence on His love causes us to have a deep cry for salvation. He gets the praise, I get the freedom. He gets the glory, I get the rescue!

Do not think that knowing him, holding fast and calling on him still works we must contribute to our salvation, as works. These are necessary works God both requires and supplies! We only contribute what He has already given.

We know him only because He knew us first and enabled our knowing Him. “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God,” (Galatians 4:8-9). We know God because He knew us first and that empowers our knowing Him.

We hold fast in love, not by our strength or virtue, but because He holds fast to us. We call upon him because He has called us first. “To those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2). We only call on Him for salvation because the Holy Spirit convicted us to do so.

These promises in psalm 91 are made to the one who trusts in God: “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:2). As you trust in Him, you will know Him more clearly, love Him more deeply, and call on Him more freely. The root of every good fruit is trust in God.

Why did Satan seek to tempt Christ with verses 11-12 of this Psalm? Because he knew that Jesus Christ is God. Christ’s refusal to put His Father to the test shows His obedience is perfect; so should we strive to be, if we are in Him.

Know God then, in the face of Christ, because in Christ you are fully known. Hold fast in love to Christ because it is God’s love in Christ which holds you fast. Call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for in Christ you have been called.

Bible Study fight Psalm

Psalm 91: No Harm Will Overtake You

Has your family struggled recently? What trials or difficulties have come your way? What pains have you experienced so far this year? These next verses in Psalms have a lot to say about these trials and how we should think and feel about them in relationship to the great God we serve and worship.

Psalm 91:9-10 New International Version (NIV)

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.

God is called the refuge for those who have made Him their dwelling place both in verse 2 and 9. A refuge is a place of protection and rest from dangers and troubles. We live in a wretched sinful world, one that is full pain and suffering. Because of that, all people will experience problems or as we read earlier in Psalm 91, “Terrors in the night” or “deadly pestilence.”

But, even in the middle of such difficulties, for those who make God their dwelling place, He will be their refuge. Look at this for a minute. To dwell means to live. a dwelling is a house, a place where you have all your stuff, where you rest, where you eat, and where you feel safe. Where you dwell is where you live. So “If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling,” you are living in the Lord. You are going everyday and spending time. You return often and feel safe. And, ultimately and finally, God will keep evil from befalling those who are His. This is all because of the power and grace of His Son, Jesus Christ, who took the punishment due to those who are His.

The key, though, is that for people to experience this comfort and reassurance they must make God their dwelling place. This comfort and peace don’t come simply from thinking ‘happy thoughts’ or putting forth ‘positive energy.’ It is rooted and grounded in an objective being, God, or as the psalmist refers to Him, the Most High.

No harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent is the next section this does not mean everything is sunshine and roses. Look closely! No harm will overtake you. How can it? God is all powerful. Trails may come, but they can’t overtake you if you are living in the Most High. I have seen people go through tremendous tragedies and cancer and never lose their joy. It can not overtake them. They have the hope of eternity in Jesus and no earthly troubles are going to change that.

Are you clinging to God? Are you calling out to Him when the difficulties and trials of living in a sinful world come at you? Do you know and are you trusting in the Most High to be your refuge? If not, please turn to Him, the Creator of all things and experience the comfort and blessing of knowing Him and living under His comforting shelter.

Bible Study Fear Psalm

Psalm 91: Fear Not!

Just because we all experience fear doesn’t mean we have to live with it. Perhaps the most famous fear quote of all time came from Franklin D. Roosevelt at his first Inaugural Address, which occurred in 1933, in the middle of the Great Depression: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror, which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

The Bible says about fear. The word afraid is found over 200 times in the Bible, and the word fear is found 53 times in the Psalms alone. Knowing this we can understand when you are afraid you are not alone. It is something the majority of people deal with.

Psalm 91:5-6

You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
   nor the plague that destroys at midday

The “You will not fear” phrase here is not a polite suggestion, but a command. It is spoken emphatically and often by God to His servants. God wants us to fear Him, but not the world. God doesn’t tell us, “fear isn’t good for you,” “fear isn’t helpful,” “try not to fear.” No. We hear this exact Hebrew command meaning “do not fear” or “you will not fear” 51 times in the Bible.

God said to Abraham (Abram) after he rescued his nephew Lot: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield, your reward will be very great” (Genesis 15:1).  God said it again to Abraham’s son Isaac, “Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you and multiply your offspring” (Genesis 26:24).

For me, the most memorable is in 2 Kings when Elisha’s servant is terrified as he awakes to find the city surrounded by horses and chariots from the King of Syria. “… And the servant said [to Elisha], ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17).

We know that God can protect us and keep us safe, so why fear. Especially the world and Satan? God is bigger that our fears. In these verses we read, “the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. ” Notice What we are not to fear. Things during the day and night. When I was young I rarely got scared in the day time. But it was a whole different story at night. Our mind wanders in the night and every sound becomes a terror until we turn on the light. Jesus said He is the light. If we have him there is nothing to fear.

So we are to be fearless no matter the time of day: we should not fear the terrors “of the night,” the arrows “by day,” the pestilence “in darkness,” or the destruction “at noonday.” We are to be fearless no matter how big the problem is, whether the unknown “terror” or dread in our minds, the slim “arrow,” the microscopic “pestilence,” or the monstrous “destruction.”

How can God require this of us? Because He is the answer to all of our fears. He is our shield and rampart. Stop being parallelized by fear and start facing your fears with God.

Bible Study Psalm

Psalm 91: Covered with God’s Feathers

If you read yesterday’s post, you know that Psalm 91 is my families go to scripture when we are “fraidy cats”. When we are feeling afraid of anything in our lives we can rely on God. Frequently; however, we need reminding of how awesome the safe places of God are.

Psalm 91:3-4

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

I know what your thinking. When I first read this I thought, “Those words are English, right? But, I still don’t know what that means.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare. What is that! Well it’s really easy, a fowler is a person who hunts or traps wild birds(fowl) and a snare is the traps they use. The Fowler’s Snare – Satan is the fowler setting traps and snares to sabotage the Christians. God has saved the believer from satan’s traps. For God the Most High, the Almighty has secured everyone who is in Christ Jesus. No amount of trickery, luring, deceit, or bribery can undermine the work that God has done in those who are saved. Our enemy is fierce and he is smarter than we are, but he is not smarter than our Deliverer. If you find yourself caught in the trap of sin today, cry out to God, our refuge and fortress. Hide in Him and let Him work on your heart to free you from the snare of sin to once again walk in the light. He will do it if you will turn to Him.

The next tricky bit is deadly pestilences. I don’t know about you, but when I hear that I picture giant, human sized wasps or locusts. The Deadly Pestilence – There is no deadly pestilence that can eternally kill the Christian. However, as a christian you will face things that make you suffer. When these come we need to say like Job “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Jesus our Redeemer has risen from the dead and secured our resurrection from the dead. One day we will rise with glorified bodies and will live forever. God has given us real and tangible hope when we suffer. Even though our strength and our heart may fail, the Lord will not leave us, but He himself will be the strength of our heart and our portion forever. He is our God who raises the dead, who has delivered us, is now delivering us, and will deliver us. It is He on whom we have set our hope (2 Corinthians 1:9-10).

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. Birds often put their young under their wings for protection. Did you know that the softest portion of the bird is the down under their wings? The Lord has the softest down under His wings; a pocket of security right next to His heart reserved for His children. The Lord, who is our fortress, is mighty, but He is not cold stone. Have you known the protection and warm comfort of His wings? Why do you wait? Come to Him and be enfolded in the feathers of His love. He will hide you there in the secret place away from danger and fear.

His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Hear we go again, Rampart? It’s okay. Rampart is a defensive wall around a castle or a city. God’s faithfulness is our shield and wall. He is our defense. When we engage in the war against evil, it is not in our own strength, but in the power of God. He has proven His faithfulness to every promise and this knowledge equips us with the boldness and courage we will need for life. We belong to the Lord. It is almost too wonderful to comprehend, but He set His love on us, and has given us all we need to walk in a manner worthy of Him. Lift high your shield of faith and stand safely under the wings of the Most High God.

Bible Study Psalm Uncategorized

Psalm 91: A Safe Place

My son, Jackson, is about to turn 18. When he was a young boy, he used to be scared of many things. From the age of 4 or 5 until 9 or 10, he would pray every night when we sent him to bed then walk into his bedroom and say, “Be gone in the name of JESUS!” This made him feel safe at night. Once he began to read we he would get scared of things, I would always say, “Start reading in Psalms 91 and don’t stop till you feel better.” One day we where in the car and driving through a sketchy neighborhood at night. He began to get twitchy because he was scared. I happened to have a Bible in my front seat and I tossed it over my shoulder and said, “You know where to start.”

Psalms 91 has been the scriptures in our house that we have used to ground ourselves when fear is creeping in. I would dare to say that every human has scared moments. When we are uncertain of things and we don’t know what to do. This is where this Bible study series comes from, a scared little boy and a mother that only had God’s word for protection.

Psalm 91: 1-2

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

When life is scary, every task seems more exhaustive the last and you can’t t find a safe place or place to rest, these verses are reassuring, comforting and encouraging. When things appear to be their worst, I tend to get a bit negative, and most of us are like that. Our natural tendency is to get down in the mully grubs and miss out on what God may be doing in our situation.

When I find myself in these negative places, my goal becomes centering my mind to fend off the negative, and say of the Lord that He is my God in whom I trust, just as the writer of this Psalm did.

But there is also a deeper meaning in this passage, hidden in plain sight. In these verses there are four names for God: the Most High, the Almighty, the Lord, my God. Why does the writer use four different names in two verses, and why is it so important?

Whosoever dwells (lives) in the shelter of the Most High, Hebrew word, Elyon means the most high. It describes a Supreme monarch, one who is elevated above all things. The name signifies God’s majesty and sovereignty. Elyon describes a king that reigns above all other kings, and is first used in Scripture in Genesis 14:18, describing Abraham’s encounter with the priest/king Melchizedek, “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High.” Melchizedek gives us a picture of Christ in several ways, and it is fitting that this story contains the first use of this name of God in Scripture. Verse 1 speaks to the protection of one who ‘dwells in the shelter of the Most High,’ and it causes us to ask where it is that we dwell. Do we dwell in our own self-doubt? Do we dwell in anger? Do we dwell in what could be or what could have been? Or do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High God, the Holy King of heaven who promises to protect and keep us?

The second phrase, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. The Almighty, is translated from the word Shaddai (If you are thinking of the Amy Grant song right now, I assure you you are not alone). Shaddai has many meanings, but it as you may imagine, it primarily suggests a mighty, powerful God who is strong beyond our imagination and is more than capable to supply our every need. He is the God who who rained fire from heaven, shut mouths of lions, and controls all of creation. In His name and in His power, there is no need that cannot be met, and no circumstance he cannot overcome. So, if we live with the most high God we can rest in the shadow of his power. HALLELUJAH!!

The third section is I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress.The LORD, is the personal name for God, revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 6:2). This personal name for God was considered so sacred in Judaism, that the original pronunciation is uncertain, only that it contained the letters YHWH.  It has been translated as Yahweh, Jehovah, and more often as the LORD (in all caps).  The significance of this name is that it represents a relationship God who wants us to know Him on a deep, personal level.  The God who knows every hair on our heads, every joy and fear in our hearts, and desires us to know Him as a friend. This God who created the universe and wants to be the place we go to feel safe.

The last section is my God, in whom I trust. My God, comes from the Hebrew Elohim. This name first appears at the very beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” When Elohim occurs in Scripture, it is typically translated as “God.” It means the one who is first, or the creator, and is technically a plural word. So it is fitting that this is how God is referenced in Genesis 1:1; as a creator who is one, yet plural (Father, Son, Spirit). The Psalmist is proclaiming that the God in whom he trusts is the same God who created all things, the first and the last, and the God who is forever faithful to His creation.

In the span of just two verses we see the beauty of God: His ways are higher than our ways, yet we can speak to Him as friend. God is at the same time unsearchable yet so very near to us. In His shadow and in His shelter, we find strength, comfort, and rest for our souls.