Psalm 91

91:1 As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign One,
and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty king—
91:2 I say this about the LORD, my shelter and my stronghold,
my God in whom I trust—
91:3 he will certainly rescue you from the snare of the hunter
and from the destructive plague.
91:4 He will shelter you with his wings;
you will find safety under his wings.
His faithfulness is like a shield or a protective wall.
91:5 You need not fear the terrors of the night,
the arrow that flies by day,
91:6 the plague that comes in the darkness,
or the disease that comes at noon.
91:7 Though a thousand may fall beside you,
and a multitude on your right side,
it will not reach you.
91:8 Certainly you will see it with your very own eyes—
you will see the wicked paid back.
91:9 For you have taken refuge in the LORD,
my shelter, the sovereign One.
91:10 No harm will overtake you;
no illness will come near your home.
91:11 For he will order his angels
to protect you in all you do.
91:12 They will lift you up in their hands,
so you will not slip and fall on a stone.
91:13 You will subdue a lion and a snake;
you will trample underfoot a young lion and a serpent.

v10 ‘It is impossible that any ill should happen to any man who is beloved of the Lord.  Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form.  Losses enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is his gain.’ (Spurgeon)

v11 The psalm as a whole gives an idealised picture of the true Israelite, and as such looks forward to Christ. It is interesting that in Mt 4:6 the Devil is recorded as citing this verse against Jesus. Jesus’ reply was, “You shall not test the Lord your God.” But in what sense can we say that this divine protection applies supremely to Christ? After all, he suffered and died at the hands of wicked men. The answer is, of course, that God’s protection meant that no harm could be inflicted on Jesus that was outside God’s will. Thus, an angel protected him from early death, Mt 2:13,19, and he survived a number of threats on his life during his adult ministry, Lk 4:28-30 Jn 5:18 8:59 10:31,39. In a subordinate sense, David himself was protected from many hazards, and a Whitefield could claim that he was ‘immortal till his work was done.’

His angels – ‘The plural “angels” shows that there is no allusion to a guardian spirit attending the individual believer, but merely to the angels collectively, as ministering spirits, the instrumental agents of God’s providential care over his people.’ (Alexander)

‘The angels are [1] a numerous guard. ‘The mountain was full of horses of fire round about Elisha.’ 2 Kings 6:17. ‘The horses and chariots of fire’ were the angels of God to defend the prophet Elisha. [2] A strong guard. One angel, in a night, slew a hundred and fourscore and five thousand. 2 Kings 19:35. If one angel slew so many, what would an army of angels have done? [3] The angels are a swift guard; they are ready in an instant to help God’s children. They are described with wings to show their swiftness: they fly to our help. ‘At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come.’ Dan 9:23. Here was swift motion for the angel, to come from heaven to earth between the beginning and ending of Daniel’s prayer. [4] The angels are a watchful guard; not like Saul’s guard, asleep when their lord was in danger. 1 Sam 26:12. The angels are a vigilant guard; they watch over God’s children to defend them. ‘The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him.’ Ps 34:7. There is an invisible guardianship of angels about God’s children.’ (Thomas Watson)

91:14 The LORD says,
“Because he is devoted to me, I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he is loyal to me.
91:15 When he calls out to me, I will answer him.
I will be with him when he is in trouble;
I will rescue him and bring him honor.
91:16 I will satisfy him with long life,
and will let him see my salvation.
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