Psalm 91- 10-18-22 1

 Greetings Pray-ers,

For many of us, Psalm 91 is the go-to psalm when praying for needs – physical, mental, emotional & spiritual – of loved ones and friends. It encourages us with God’s promises. Over the next couple weeks we will parse through its verses to see what insights the Lord might bring to light. As we dive into this, we’ll see not only its promises but also its intimacy, power, and hope. We will also see how the enemy, the author of lies, will use its truths to trick and deceive.  

The author of this psalm is unknown. My NIV Study Bible writes that the author was probably part of the Temple’s personnel – perhaps a priest or a Levite. According to Jewish scholars, if a psalm does not have an author then one goes to the previous psalm (or go back as far as needed) until one finds the author. In this case, we don’t have to go back very far. Psalm 90 indicates it is a Prayer of Moses. When thinking on these things – was the author Moses or a Temple priest or Levite – my thoughts go entirely to Moses. I read the passion and the specificities of Psalm 91 and I immediately believe that whoever wrote this MUST have experienced its truths firsthand – in some cases the hard way, in other cases through the miraculous.  

Now, I realize I could be wrong, and the author is unknown. Well, unknown to man, but not to the Lord. As we look at these verses, my confession to you is that I will do so through the lens of Moses.

Our Bibles have Psalms separated into 5 books. Why this is the case, I don’t know. But I am certain there is much information out there for those who might be interested in finding out why. Book IV begins with Psalm 90. Its intro states that Psalm 90 is “A Prayer of Moses the man of God” and it begins with:  Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.  Now, Psalm 91:1 states, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Interesting, both verses tell us of dwelling or living in the presence of the Lord. However, I think much happened in between because the rest of Psalm 90 reads as a plea for help, a cry for compassion.

You turn men back to dust…..You sweep men away in the sleep of death….We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass away under you wrath; we finish our years with a moan….Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you….Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants….May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us….

And then we read, He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  Based on what we just read in Psalm 90, this verse now has a resolute sound to it. Almost like the final word! Emphasis mine: HE WHO DWELLS in the shelter of the Most High WILL rest in the shadow of the Almighty. So, what is our author alluding to when he states, dwelling in the shelter and resting in the shadow? Let’s look at a few verses: 

1.      Exodus 33:22 – When my glory passes by, I (the Lord) will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

2.      Psalm 27:5 – For in the day of trouble He (the Lord) will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle…

3.      Psalm 17:8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings…

4.      Isaiah 49:2 - …in the shadow of his hand he hid me…

These verses show us closeness and relationship with God. Perhaps the wretchedness of experiencing life’s trials and sinful ways of Psalm 90 led to the understanding of truth, safety, peace, and shalom under the Lord’s protection. This is the same for us as individuals and corporately with our local churches. Does it also hold true for the nations? I think YES! But, more on that later.

You know, this all sounds well and good in a perfect world. How hard is it for us, for God’s children, to walk in the truth of God’s protection? “Merciful heavens, do you know what I am going through right now???”  Well, no….but the Lord does. Don’t you just hate it when people say that??! But does it negate the veracity of resting in the shadow of the Almighty - Shaddai? When going through difficult times we want to “muster” through in our own strength – even in our prayer life.  Jesus/Yeshua tell us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30. Again, we see the intimacy of relationship with these verses. Jesus will give to us, but we have to do our part by going to Him. 

As pray-ers, how are we doing with this? When we come before the Lord with our prayers and supplications, do we believe that we are entering into the Holy of Holies, into the dwelling place where it is just you and the Lord? We may enter in weary and yet do we not experience the blessings of His presence? I hope the answer is yes. In the shelter and shadow of the Most High (the Almighty, Shaddai) we receive His peace, and we draw near to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! We have the ear of Abba to whom we can share our prayer needs and the desires of our hearts. We get to “sit” with the Father and unload the heaviness and aches of life. 

Moses wrote of the Lord placing him in the cleft of the rock to shield him as He passed by in Exodus 33:22. Moses experienced being under God’s protection. Could Psalm 91:1 be his reminder to us all that we too can rest in the shadow of the Almighty?  Our journey begins!

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