Psalm 91 - The Hidden Place part 1

by John Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

Tom Lowe

Psalm 91
(A Messianic psalm, and gives a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.)

Title: THE HIDING PLACE part 1
Theme: Song of life and light

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 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.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

The emphasis in Psalm 91 is on the dangers in life. The anonymous author (though some think Moses{6] wrote it as well as Psalm 90, and that both are an exposition of Deuteronomy 33:27{8]) mentions traps, deadly plagues, terrors at night and arrows by day, stumbling over rocks, and facing lions and snakes! However, in view of terrorist’s attacks, snipers, reckless drivers, exotic new diseases, and Saturday night handgun specials, the contemporary scene may be as dangerous as the one described in the psalm. The saints who abide in Christ (vs. 1, 9) cannot avoid facing unknown perils, but they can escape the consequences. Moses, David, and Paul, and a host of other servants of God, faced great danger in accomplishing God’s will, and the Lord saw them through. However Hebrews 11:6 cautions us that “others” were tortured and martyred, yet their faith was just as real. But generally speaking, walking with the Lord does help us to detect and avoid a great deal of trouble, and it is better to suffer in the will of God than to invite trouble by disobeying God’s will (1 Peter 2:18-25). The psalmist described the elements involved in living the life of confidence and victory.
One of the most interesting things about this psalm is that Satan knew it, memorized it, no doubt hated it, but employed it (in the usual distorted and devious way he always handles the Word of truth) to try to tempt the Christ of God to leave the path of obedience to His God. The Devil is a great student of Scripture. The devil studies the bible. He studies it for his own twisted ends. And he is a very diligent student of the Bible, far more diligent than we. His use of this psalm shows us how well he had mastered God’s Word.
This lovely psalm was first written in Hebrew, but before the coming of the Lord Jesus into this world the whole Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) was translated into Greek. In that translation, the Greek Septuagint version, verse 12 has an addition: “He shall give His angels charge over thee…they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” Then the words “at any time” are added. They do not appear in the Hebrew Bible, but have been added in the Greek translation. That addition suited Satan perfectly. When he quoted from Psalm 91 in the temptation of our Lord he did not quote the Hebrew, but the Greek. That’s how good a student he is of the Bible. He found a version which suited his purpose and quoted from that one. The Lord Jesus refused to fight Satan over which version should be used. He sidestepped that issue by countering Satan’s quotation with another and so disarmed the evil one entirely.
Although, authorship of this psalm is uncertain, we can be sure that God wrote it. We cannot say with certainty on which occasion it was written, but one view is that it was written to keep in mind that great pestilence recorded in 2 Samuel 24. We know it contains truth and that it works. So then, let us examine this short but potent psalm. But before that I want to point out that the psalm contains nine promises of security:
1. Deliverance from hidden dangers (91:3)
2. Immunity from fatal disease (91:3)
3. Shelter and refuge (91:4)
4. Protection in the faithfulness of God (91:4)
5. Freedom from fear (91:5)
6. Safety even in the midst of massacre (91:7, 8)
7. Insurance against calamity (91:9, 10)
8. Guarded by Angelic escort (91:11, 12)
9. Victory over the lion and cobra (91:13)

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
The most important part of a believer’s life is the part that only God sees; the “hidden life” of communion and worship that is symbolized by the Holy of Holies in the Jewish sanctuary (Exodus 25:18-22; Hebrews 10:19-25).
The author of the psalm had two “addresses”; his tent (v. 10) and his Lord (vs. 1, 9). The safest place in the world is a shadow, if it is the shadow of the Almighty.
The names of God used in these verses (2 in v. 1 and 2 in v. 2) encourage us to trust Him. What a great collection of divine names, each having its own special meaning of promise or of power.
1. Elyon, “The Most High”: Possession
He is Elyon (vs. 1, 9), “the possessor of Heaven and earth”⸻ a name found first in Genesis 14:18-20. He is higher than the kings of the earth and the false gods of the nations and He owns everything. That is the thought connected with this name. Thirty-six times in the Bible God calls Himself by this name. I find in Him both refuge and fortress, One who gives both safety to those who trust and safety from the danger which threatens. How about that for a hiding place!
2. Shaddai, “The Almighty”: Provision
God is Elyon, the possessor of everything, but He is also Shaddai. The thought behind that name is that God is not just a living God, but a giving God. He is the one who supplies all our needs; the all-sufficient God who is adequate for every situation. (See Genesis 17:1; 28:3)
The thought is that of provision. How about that for a hiding place!

Here and in the following verse, the poet expresses his confidence in the security afforded by “the secret place of the Most High{7]” (v.1), who is his “refuge” and his “fortress” (v. 2). Our security rests, first, on the nature of God. He is the Most High, the all-ruling God (Genesis 14:19); He is the Almighty (Hebrew Sadday), the God who intervenes in saving power when man’s strength is quite gone (Genesis 17:1; 28:3).
The “secret place” is the hiding place provided by God’s sheltering care. To dwell in God’s shelter refers primarily to frequenting the temple, but it alludes also to the worshipping attitude of heart which finds its security in God (27:4{9]). The “shadow” is God’s protection; the titles “Most High” and “Almighty” are allusions to the sovereign power of God to protect and provide for His own. He makes us His protected guests (Genesis 19:2), because it is His duty to keep us safe. He that by faith chooses God for his guardian shall find all that in him which he needs or can desire.
The words “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” imply a consistent and continuous dwelling and not just a temporary visitation during trouble or calamity. Psalm 91 is a promise to those who take up residence in the secret place.

All the Rivers of Thy grace, I claim;
Over every promise write my name.

Jesus is the One who in a preeminent way dwelt in “the secret place of the Most High,” and abode under “the shadow of the almighty.” There never was a life like His. He lived in absolute, unbroken fellowship with God, His Father. He never acted in self-will but did only those things that the Father directed. Though He was perfect God, he was also perfect Man, and He lived His life on earth in utter and complete dependence on God. Without equivocation He could look up and say, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him I will trust (v. 2).”

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