Psalm 91: Promise of Protection

Containing over twenty promises, Psalm 91 declares God’s love and sovereign protection to those who shelter in His Presence.

“He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
Psalm 91:4

As times become increasingly uncertain, may we possess this confidence, resting protected and covered in our Heavenly Father’s care.

The Passion Translation uses more vivid language:

His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under his covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm.
Psalm 91:4 TPT

Many scholars attribute Psalm 91 to Moses. It was written during the Israelites wondering in the open desert for forty years. Though they were completely exposed to enemy attack, God proved His faithfulness again and again, covering and protecting them from every danger.

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary (1066 edition) defines “to be covered” this way:

 ” . . . to have done, gotten, or provided whatever is needed,
to take care of everything,
no worry about anything.
We’ve got you covered.”

Psalm 91 assures us of God’s promises. Each comes under the larger banner of being covered by God. Everything is taken care of. We have nothing to worry about. We’re covered!

Many birds are known for the way they protect for their young by holding them safely under their feathers. The image demonstrates both gentleness and strength.

“I Will Say”

The psalmist declares:

” I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 91:2

Rulers typically built fortresses from rock on elevated ground, often surrounded by a moat or high wall. This gives us visual imagery to trust God as our ultimate protection — from things seen and unseen, things present and things to come.

Moses confesses a firm belief to rest hidden under God’s “massive arms,” free from all fear.

Will difficulties come? Absolutely! Is evil present all around us? Most assuredly! Yet in the midst of it all, God covers us with His “massive arms” of protection, love, and gentle care.

“If You Say”

The psalmist encourages us to the same acknowledgment of God.

“If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.”
Psalm 91:9,10

The little words in the Bible provoke me the most. “If”, God says. We learn who or where our security lies when we face trials. But “if” we place our hope and confident trust in Him, He commands angelic armies to guard us, lifting us up in their hands. He gives us supernatural empowerment to face the fiercest foes.

For a moment, I imagine the scene. Heaven speaks reality — true perspective. May we see beyond the struggle and trial. God’s “massive arms” surround us. His angels lift us up “in their hands.

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands . . .”
Psalm 91:11

God Says

God promises us, that in this secure position of trust and rest in Him,

“You will tread on the lion and the cobra, you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”
Psalm 91:13

The “lion” represents all open and violent foes; the “cobra,” all secret and malignant ones. The young lion (kephir, the lion in the height of his strength) and the serpent (tannin, the most dreadful form of serpent) you will trample under your feet.

In any and every generation these two foes represent the most vicious and deadly threats — sure destruction and loss of life! Except for God! God enters our circumstances. He changes everything.

God inspires us to take action. Secure in Him, we move forward without fear. Enemies growls and spits, showing fangs and bared claws. Take courage brave ones! It is time to trample the head of the enemy.

Let’s keep our fixed focus on and unwavering trust in God — our Light in the darkness, our Hope in the storm, our Strength in weakness, our Help always.

“Says The Lord”

We sometimes make declarations. God declares truth!

“Because he loves me,” says the LORD,
“I will rescue him;
I will protect him,
for he acknowledges my name.”
Psalm 91:14

“Acknowledges” means to be known intimately or to have experiential knowledge. God responds to our cries for help. In His intimate and personal love, He declares over each of us:

“He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91:14-15

In one sentence, God offers multiple promises! He responds to our frail declaration, “I WILL!” When no one else can, God will! When nothing else will do, God will! Though we each face our own set of difficulties, God declares, “I WILL come to deliver you and honor you.”

Protection

Every promise given in Psalm 91 rests within the intimate relationship of “dwelling” in His Presence. God invites each of us into this place of shelter and protection — circled by His “massive arms,” held in the hands of angelic forces.

God gives perfect rest, while lions roar, cobras rise, and storms rage. Here we say, “His is our refuge and our fortress, our God, in whom we trust!”

“Father, I thank You for Your massive arms of protection and Your angelic covering. May courage and confidence arise in each of us. This is NOT the time to run for cover to lesser things. We put on our stomping boots, ready to trample every attack of the enemy against us and our households. Your love is violent toward us. Your faithfulness guaranteed. Oh, Father, how great is your love. Thank You!”

Beauty of Boundaries: Fences of Protection

As a teenager, I failed to see the beauty of boundaries, repeatedly pushing against any restriction my parents or teachers established. I bear the scars to prove it!

Every outstanding leader honors and recognizes the indisputable importance of parameters on their leadership and with those they lead. Loving parents establish appropriate lines of protection around their children. These fences — sometimes visible, often invisible — keep what is harmful at bay while provided the greatest liberty.

Jesus trained world-changing leaders to follow behind Him. We witness His boundary-establishing techniques at the beginning of their ministry experiences.

Authority

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”
Matthew 10:1

I may have been born in the wrong generation, on the wrong continent, of the wrong gender to take part in the exploits of this group, but my heart cries, “My too!” I long to see a day when hospital wards completely empty, with every disease and sickness brought down. I’m not alone in praying for God to remove the deceptive and deadly claws of the enemy from those we deeply love and care.

“Yes, Lord! Grant us the same authority!”

The Greek word exesti, translated here as authority, means “privilege, force, capacity, competency, freedom, mastery, or delegated influence.” We consider authority to mean the power to give orders, make decisions, or enforce obedience in others. Biblical authority contains a broader meaning within the beauty of boundaries — boundaries, Jesus clearly articulated.

Do Not Go

“These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: ‘Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.”
Matthew 10:5

Do you see it? Immediately, Jesus set the parameter of their movement. Jesus never conferred authority upon His disciples as a blank cheque to be executed wherever or however they desired.

Power and authority, like intoxicating wine, changes people. Usually to their detriment! But with proper boundaries, that same power and authority becomes mighty in the hands of ordinary men and women.

Multitudes in need awaited the disciples throughout the vast territory before them. The magnitude of the mission, without the beauty of boundaries Jesus established, might otherwise have overwhelmed them. If they or we over-extend ourselves, the immensity of the task incapacitates us, rendering us ineffective.

Jesus scaled back their focus to one people group in one specific area. Within that parameter, they possessed the authority of Christ to function liberally, bringing healing and freedom to those they encountered.

Go

When they clearly understood the “Don’t go!” Jesus then released them to “Go!”

Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.”
Matthew 10:6

Galilee embodied as much multiculturalism as any nation today. God loves each one completely and uniquely.

As a former farmer/rancher, I understand only a fragment of the heart of the Good Shepherd here. If I noticed an animal from a neighbor’s herd in need, I quickly contacted the neighbor and offered help. But if one of my own animals fell into danger, became ill, or went missing, I immediately amped all efforts. The care and concern for my herd far exceeded that for my neighbor’s.

Jesus, the Great Shepherd, desired to minister first to His sheep, “the lost sheep of Israel.” Lost sheep encounter many deadly dangers. Time is of the essence!

As You Go

Jesus gave not only a “do not go” and a “go” instruction, but He also added important details to an “as you do” directive.

“As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”
Matthew 10:7-8

First, He called them to present the message and purpose of their authority clearly! God desires that everything we say and do points others to the “kingdom of heaven.” Jesus gave the disciples authority to point the lost sheep homeward to the waiting arms of the loving Father.

Second, supernatural signs and wonders emphasized and validated the message. God had been calling His sheep home for decades. They had grown deaf to His voice. Jesus knew meeting human need through miracles would have dramatic effect, awakening them to their deeper spiritual needs.

Beauty of Boundaries

When we stop resisting the fences of protection and provision God establishes, we discover the true beauty of boundaries. It has taken me far too long, but I’m realizing that the more I respect and honor the boundaries God has placed around my life, the more empowered I become to declare His grace.

God’s impartation of authority continues through all generations. God still moves with divine power, healing the sick, casting out demons, and even raising the dead through the submitted hearts and hands of those who intentionally walk within His boundaries.

Freely, they live among us, declaring God’s love and grace. Liberally, they move with supernatural power and authority. Those who hunger and thirst for the things of God are being filled, empowered, and sent out.

Weekly, I hear people witness to God’s healing and deliverance in their lives.

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have a delightful inheritance.”
Psalm 16:6

“Lord, forgive us for resisting your parameters of influence. Turn our hearts in surrender to your ways. Release in and through your faithful followers divine authority and power to speak and move within the beauty of boundaries, as Your instruments of healing, redemption, and deliverance. Let it be!
Amen.”

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Hidden, Awaiting God’s Perfect Time

One of my greatest struggles has been the element of hiddenness. I’m beginning to understand that it is by divine grace I am hidden from public view, awaiting God’s perfect time. God alone knows when that time is. Then He will bring me from hiding.

Have you ever felt like a butterfly trapped in a chrysalis? Or a chick concealed beneath a hardened shell?

Perhaps, those in the public forum wish they possessed such covering. For many Christians, they work for the kingdom like secret service agents. Though their names and faces go unrecognized by the masses, they have profound impact.

Butterfly in chrysalis - waiting for God's perfect time

I am like a mustard seed in this vast field!

Hidden Ones

Hiddenness performs godly purpose. Is God’s hiding of His servants part of a more excellent plan?

God refined Joseph in the darkness of a foreign prison for “the saving of many lives” (Gen. 50:21). Moses’ parents hid their new baby in a basket; forty years later God removed him to a desert no-man’s-land (Ex. 2:1-2). Here he “incubated” in obscurity for another 40 years awaiting God’s perfect time. After being anointed as the next king, David spent 15 years inhabiting caves to allude his demon-possessed tormentor (1 Sam. 21-23).

All hidden for godly purposes!

Hidden in a cave

This is only a snippet of the long list of concealed ones — hidden, awaiting God’s perfect time of exposure. Although frustrating by human perspective, God often orchestrates these seasons to bring out the best in us. God is good — immeasurably good. Everything He does flows out His goodness.

Jesus, Himself, spent 30 years in relative obscurity before three short years of ministry.

Protection

Often God establishes secret places for protection, guarding His servants from harm.

“For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 27:5

Here “hiding” illustrates the concealing of something of great value — keeping it secret and hidden. David recognized the dual function of this secret place — safe from man while tucked into God’s “sacred” presence.

Alone in the wilderness

Safe from harm and preparing for greatness sounds good, doesn’t it? At least for awhile! Hidden in God’s Presence precedes “high upon a rock” positioning. The cocoon of His “sacred tent” shapes the wings of unrestricted flight.

Permanent Deliverance

There is another interesting aspect of hiddenness to consider:

“You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me
with songs of deliverance.”
Psalm 32:7

The Passion Translation says, “your joyous shouts of rescue release my breakthrough.” These words convey the idea of an escaped refugee.

Breakthrough

Could it be that while we are far from the public eye, God is releasing breakthrough after breakthrough over us? Perhaps while in His Presence we are becoming more like Him and less like the world?

“The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Never alone! We are always with The One that matters most! Rather than fighting our way out of hiding, let’s experience God’s great pleasure resting over and surrounding us.

Envision it! God literally twirling, spinning in great joy, and breaking off things that have long held us captive.

Patient Trust

People pursue secluded vacations to escape persistent pressures and relentless responsibilities. Perhaps our perspective needs a slight shift. What if we began to see hiddenness as a luxurious retreat?

“You are my place of quiet retreat,
and your wrap-around presence
becomes my shield
as I wrap myself in your word.”
Psalm 119:114

Most versions call this “quiet retreat” a “hiding place.” It is here we “wrap” ourselves and “hope in” God’s word, trusting His promises. All other voices diminish in the cavern of His Presence.

Tree house hideaway

We see this aspect more clearly when Jonathan advised David to “go into hiding and stay there” (1 Sam. 19:2). The word for “hiding” also means “to hush or be silent when referring to voices of certain persons.” (Word Study Dictionary)

The perfect place to eliminate excessive noise pollution is where God hides us. Here we develop an unshakeable trust in Him and His Word. Secretly hidden, awaiting God’s perfect time of both concealing and revealing us.

Perpetual Growth

This passage always makes me smile:

“He told them still another parable:
“The kingdom of heaven is like yeast
that a woman took and mixed
into about sixty pounds of flour
until it worked all through the dough.”
Matthew 13:33

Are there any bread makers reading this? “Sixty pounds of flour” would feed a good-sized crowd! “Yeast”, the secret ingredient, expands the volume and makes the finished product palatable.

Bread and yeast

What makes me smile? Visualizing this strong armed woman. Mixing twenty-five pounds of flour was enough to break a sweat on my forehead. I can’t imagine sixty pounds! The combination of this woman’s strength and the living momentum within the tiny granules of yeast created abundance for others.

Jesus illustrates the positive, “hidden permeation and growth of the kingdom of heaven within an unsuspecting world.” Perhaps hiddenness has the same effect when we are released in God’s perfect time.

Perfect Time

The big question and greatest challenge remain. Will I trust God for His timing?

In God’s perfect time, He ordained for each of us to enter the world. He knew us long before we came to be. He created us with uniquely designed sets of abilities and inabilities, gifts and talents, strengths, and weaknesses.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together
in the depths of the earth.”
Psalm 139:15

Yet until His perfect time, we remain hidden — sometimes protecting, always providing, often purifying.

“He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.”
Isaiah 49:2

Arrows hidden in quiver

To prepare Isaiah as God’s voice to ongoing generations, he remained double hidden. Hidden beneath the protective hand of God and hidden within the quiver of preparation.

Preparation

Preparation develops in hiddenness. Paul encourages those hidden to “set your hearts” and “minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

“For you died, and your life is
now hidden with Christ in God.”
Colossians 3:3

Resting in the process enables the seclusion of hiding to reap its full effect. The greater the mission, the greater the preparation. The broader the influence, the deeper the roots of focused devotion must reach.

You are the light of the world.
A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14

Though, at times, we may feel unnoticed, unimportant, or undervalued, our light still shines! Light cannot be hidden. The full impact of our lives will be revealed only in eternity.

Though hidden for a season, let’s wait patiently for God’s perfect time to reveal what has been concealed. “Wait patiently” are perhaps two of my least favourite words. But let’s trust Him for the right moment to reveal His finished work in us. And when you are perhaps feeling a bit lonely, remember, I am there in hiding right beside you.

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