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Friday, July 3, 2009

Secret Place of the Most High: Notes on Psalm 91

As we head towards the days of plagues and pestilences, of diseases and famines, and of total economic collapse it is necessary to stop and look at how to save ourselves from these coming judgments. Having done a fair bit of studying on the current economic crisis and the coming health crisis, I have come to the conclusion that unless we understand what is happening as judgment from on high there is really nothing we can do in the natural to save ourselves, and to protect ourselves from these pandemics and economic chaos. Psalm 91 is the great psalm that addresses specifically the issue of plagues (pandemics) that will wipe out masses of humanity. It may or may not be wise to stock up on gold and silver or on natural medicines but without relying entirely on our God for safety and protection whatever we do will be in vain. Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Notes on Psalm 91

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

He that takes refuge in God shall be defended by Almighty God. The idea of abiding under the shadow of the Almighty is similar to Ps. 46:10 meaning to come to a stop, to be still, to give up one's own defenses and rely exclusively upon God's defenses.

2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Isa. 26:3 The fortress of God is built around one's mind and heart by trusting in him. Faith in God is an impenetrable fortress that no enemy can destroy.

3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

Deliver = To snatch away from danger, to preserve, protect, rescue and defend.

Snare = entangle in a net like a bird catcher

Pestilence = Plague, Disease

4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

His Truth shall be thy shield means we can rely on the fact that that which God has spoken and which has been written for us in the Bible is ABSOLUTE TRUTH, it can never fail and therefore it is a shield behind which we can take refuge. Matt. 24:35,

Covering with the feathers and wings implies mercy as the wings of the cherubim covered the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. Even as believers we mess up but God’s mercy never fails us.

5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Afraid = To be frightened, to experience fear, fear of death,

Terror and Arrow have similar connotations as pestilence and disease of v3. Arrow also implies thoughts and fears that assault the mind as it focuses on cares of this world rather than on God. Eph. 6:16

6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

Destruction: Biblically speaking destruction is always related to judgment from God; for example, the flood of Noah, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the various judgments that befell the nation of Israel (including Judah) during the course of its history are all examples of destruction that came about as a result of God’s judgment. Even though God himself is the source of destruction that results from judgment as for example in Deut. 32:24 and Isa_28:2, he alone is also the salvation from destruction as in verse 6 of this psalm. In Deuteronomy and Isaiah, God brought His judgment on the wicked, but in Psalms, God preserved the righteous in the midst of His judgment on the wicked.

8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

Reward = Retribution: (Strong’s Hebrew 8011 šillumāh): A feminine singular noun meaning retribution, punishment, penalty. This word has negative meanings when it is used in Scripture, for example, persons were punished or repaid for whatever evil they did. The word does not seem to have anything to do with repayment in the sense of receiving rewards for doing what is right, but this could be because of its limited use in the Old Testament. The righteous remained safe in God's protection, but the wicked received their punishment before the eyes of the righteous. God Himself is the giver of this retribution.

9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;

God is our refuge and habitation as he was for Jesus when Jesus was on Earth because we trust in him. Trust has to be the most important word for a believer because without trust there is no belief.

10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

The verse is self – explanatory that no evil, including evil diseases will come anywhere near the dwelling place of the righteous. God literally builds a force field around the righteous that cannot be penetrated by anything evil, no virus, no germ, no disease, infectious or otherwise can touch a person or his household that is enveloped by God’s security. As the Israelites were protected in Egypt by the blood on the doorposts of their homes, believers are protected by the blood of Jesus on the doorpost of their hearts.

Evil: (Strong’s Hebrew7451 ra), rāāh: An adjective meaning bad, evil. The basic meaning of this word displays ten or more various shades of the meaning of evil according to its contextual usage. It means bad in a moral and ethical sense and is used to describe, along with good, the entire spectrum of good and evil; hence, it depicts evil in an absolute, negative sense, as when it describes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Angel = Messenger, this word is also used for prophets and priests who brought their people the Word of God.

Charge: (Strong’s Hebrew 6680 - ṣāwāh): A verb meaning to order, to direct, to appoint, to command, to charge, to be ordered, to be commanded. Angels, unseen ministers of God have been appointed and commanded by God to protect his children. This does not mean that as believers in Christ no seemingly bad things, such as poor health or financial hardship will ever befall us. Such sufferings are a part and parcel of the Christian life but they do not befall us as a result of God’s judgment upon us; on the contrary these temporary sufferings work towards the goal of refining us and perfecting us, much as Job was perfected because of the things he suffered.

Keep = To guard, to watch over with possessive jealousy, to protect as a hen watches over and protects her chicks. God is our guardian and protector, as Christian we do not believe in guardian angels, we only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We understand as this verse expounds that God appoints and commands angels on our behalf but we neither command them nor do we make any effort to communicate with them directly as many in the world are anxious to do. They are there but if our faith stays anchored in God, he will ensure that they are everywhere we need them.

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.

Love = To be attached to, to bind, to delight in. As we delight in God’s love for us, and we love him in return, he lifts us up high and above the mundaneness of this world. Our affections then become set on things above not on things on the Earth, and then we become fearless. Come hell or high water, as the saying goes, we stay rooted and grounded with our soul firmly anchored in our God. Psalm 46

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. 16With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

Call = To invoke, to summon, to invite, to declare, that is to declare God's name as that of the only BEING that we believe and trust in and call upon not only in trouble but in thanksgiving.

Answer = Respond, a sincere call to God is always responded to by God. Because of his unconditional love God delivers us from trouble, even self inflicted trouble to lead us to a place of understanding his love and thereby relying completely upon him.

Honor = Weight, to be laden down as with gold which is heavy. Glory is identified as weighty. It implies the loading up of believers with benefits that are underserved but given simply as a gift from a parent to a child.

Show him = Reveal to him (us believers) the salvation of God, more specifically what the salvation of God entails, and the infinite benefits that accompany it. This is revelatory knowledge the light of which can only be shone in our hearts, it not bookish or mere theoretical knowledge.

Salvation: YESHUAH (Jesus) yešรปāh: A feminine noun meaning salvation, deliverance, help, victory, prosperity. The primary meaning is to rescue from distress or danger.

In conclusion I will write that we need to do some things to build up our immunity to the tribulation that will soon be upon us. I am not talking about physical immunity but rather spiritual immunity; we are strengthened spiritually through the study of God’s word, prayer both in the Spirit and verbally, and finally by fasting. During times of pending trouble, God’s people prayed, humbled themselves and fasted. Without fasting in these troublous times do not expect your spiritual immunity to be strong.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

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