If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to Psalm 91, as we continue to work our way through the Fourth Book of the Psalms. This Psalm today is a song for danger. It’s a psalm for those who are set about on all sides by comprehensive danger, and it tells us how we are to react as believers. 

The psalmist presses this home in three stanzas. If you look at verses 1 – 2, you’ll see them as a testimony of the psalmist himself. Then, in verses 3 – 13, he begins to exhort the believer as to why he or she ought to experience the same security that the psalmist experiences. And then, finally, this Psalm closes in verses 14 – 16 with God himself telling us the secret of coming to a sense of safety and security.

I. The Psalmist’s Testimony

The first thing that you see in this passage is the testimony of the psalmist himself. Before he ever sets out to tell you how you can experience security in God, he wants to give a word. And here’s his word: “I’m not telling you about something that I don’t know about; I have found this security, not because I’m in an un-dangerous condition, but I have learned the secret of God’s security in this insecure world. I am safe in God’s person.”

The saints are safe at home with God. They find shelter and refuge in God. God shadows them. He who truly relies on God shall surely have His protection. That’s what the psalmist is saying to us, and he piles up metaphors for security and names of God to drive this home. Listen to the words that he uses in verses 1 and 2: Shelter, shadow, refuge, fortress.

Have you ever been out on a blazing hot 110-degree Mississippi August afternoon, longing to find a tree to be shadowed under? And you found it, and immediately you got relief from the blazing rays of the sun. And the psalmist is saying God is your shadow, and He is your refuge. I can remember times during graduate school where the thought crossed my mind, “If I can just get back home to be with Mom and Dad, I’ll be safe.” And the psalmist is saying, “You think of where that safe place is… now let me tell you a better place of safety. It’s safety in God, and He is our fortress.”

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s what I need in my circumstance. With what I’m facing, I need a castle around me!” And here’s the psalmist saying He’s your fortress. And notice how in the four names of God he presses you back into the realization that your safety doesn’t come from your circumstances, it comes from who your God is. What does he call God? He’s Most High. Is there anything in this world higher than Him? Is there any situation that’s greater than Him? He’s most high.

II. The Psalmist’s Exhortation

And then he comes to verses 3 – 13, and he gives this great exhortation: “You can be safe in all times and circumstances because of God’s providence over you.” Hear me loud and clear: These words are striking, and they could be read to be saying that those who trust in the Lord will never ever experience troubles in this world. But understand, that is not what the psalmist means. What the psalmist wants you to take comfort in is not that God will spare you hard circumstances in your life, even though He often does. The ultimate reason he wants you to be safe and secure is because God’s providence is comprehensive. It stretches all the way down to the smallest detail of your life. Not a hair on your head can be touched apart from the sovereign discretion and will of your heavenly Father, and the psalmist wants us to understand this: that our God, because of His faithfulness, always delivers or covers us. He may not deliver us out of a situation, but He will cover us in a situation. And very frankly, most often He does both. It’s not that He will spare us of all these difficult circumstances, but He will deliver and He will cover us in these difficult circumstances.

Remember what Jesus himself said: “Do not fear the one who can kill the body. Fear the one who can take both the body and the soul, and cast it into hell.” Jesus is saying that if you fear God, there’s nothing else to fear in this world. If you fear God, there is no un-safety in this world that can match His strength and power. If you trust in Him, if you believe in Him, He will always deliver and cover you, no matter your circumstance.

III. God’s Promises 

However, that promise is not for everybody. That promise is not made indiscriminately. That promise is made only for those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation as He is offered in the gospel, and God makes that clear when He speaks in verses 14 – 16. God tells us that we are safe in faith in Him – a faith that is evidenced and manifested by our love for God, our knowledge of God, and our prayer to God. God is speaking to us about the requirements for those who would know this kind of safety. What’s the requirement? Faith in Him.

How do you know you have that faith? You love God, you know who He is, and you commune with Him in prayer. Those are the marks of real piety. And the Lord makes it clear that those who trust in Him will know His care, whether He delivers us from our circumstances or whether He covers us in our circumstances.

Some of you have read the writings of Simone Weil. Towards the end of her life, she began to be very interested in Christianity, and she wrote in one of her books these words: “The extreme greatness of Christianity lies in the fact that it does not seek a supernatural remedy for suffering, but a supernatural use for it.” Now there are things that we could quibble with in that sentence, but you see what she’s getting at. Christianity does not promise that you will escape from suffering, but it does promise that God will use the suffering which He has appointed for His own purposes and that He will cover you. My friends, it is that truth worked deep down into our hearts that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose. It is that profound belief in the person and providence of God that allows us to be safe and secure, and brave and courageous in a world that is anything but safe and secure. May God grant that you would believe His word.

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