Here is a commentary and Bible study on Psalm 91 that I hope will help you better understand this most amazing psalm.
Psalm 91:1-2 “I will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. I will say to the Lord: “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Psalm 91 is primarily about seeking our security in God for He alone is our refuge and fortress. This psalm speaks of God as being like a fortress against which no enemy can destroy. Those who seek him and trust him will never be disappointed.
Psalm 91:3-4 “For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his wings, and under his wings you will find refuge; his fidelity is a shield and shield.
A trap is a trap set by someone who seeks to kill something. Typically traps were set to catch birds or animals and David knew this so he used the analogy of his enemies trying to trap him but God will keep anyone who trusts him safe from the pestilence and protects them as an eagle protects its young. The symbolism of God’s faithfulness as a shield is very appropriate for David because many sought his life, especially while King Saul was still alive.
Psalm 91:5-6 “You shall not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that lurks in the darkness, nor the destruction that devastates at noon.”
David, as a warrior king, experienced much devastation and he was an eyewitness to real arrows that flew by day and the pestilence that resulted from all those deaths. This “noonday ravaging destruction” was sometimes directed at him and Israel, but even with all the death and destruction surrounding him, he said he “wouldn’t be afraid.” We who trust in Christ have the same assurance that David had of this destruction and of the judgment that will come upon all who reject Christ as Lord and Savior (Rev. 20:12-15).
Psalm 91:7-8 “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will look only with your eyes and you will see the reward of the wicked.
Regardless of all who fall around us, it won’t come near the children of God. All we will do is watch it from afar and see the judgment of a holy God on an evil and wicked world. Unfortunately, they too would have been spared if they had believed in Jesus (John 3:36a) but the wrath of God comes on all who reject Him (John 3:36b).
Psalm 91:9-10 “Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place, the Most High, who is my refuge, no evil can befall you, no plague will come near your tent.”
Jesus once said that if we abide with him and abide in his Word, he will abide with us (John 15:1-11) but for those who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus is God and that he is the only way to be saved (Acts 4:12) all kinds of evil will befall them. No plague, no evil, no death will ever overtake the children of God for they have made God their home and if God is for us, who can ever be against us (Rom 8:31)?
Psalm 91:11-13 “For he shall command his angels concerning you to keep you in all your ways. They will carry you on their hands, lest your foot strike a stone. You will trample the lion and the viper; you will trample the lion cub and the serpent under foot.
These are the verses the Devil took out of context in his temptation of Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11) indicating that Satan knows the Word of God better than we do. Jesus said we are not to tempt the Lord on such matters or put God to the test (Matthew 4:7). These verses refer to the fact that angels are servant spirits sent for those who are God’s own children (Heb 1:14). Since they are spirit, we cannot see them, except for God commanding them to appear and even to appear in human form when He wills.
Psalm 91:14-16 “Because he clings to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will save him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.
I love this conclusion. Jesus said that no one or anything can snatch us out of his hands or the hands of the Father (John 10:28-29) and so indeed he holds “firmly to [us] love.” God will deliver us, protect us, and answer us when we cry out to Him for help. If we live with the end in mind (Rev 22), we can endure more of the sufferings of this present world, knowing that He is working whatever happens to us for the best (Rom 8:28).
The psalms are a great place to find solace and security when you are shaken by the world around you. There is no better place to seek safety and shelter than the High Tower of God, for in Him there is no need to fear what a man can do.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is pastor of Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the senior editor of What Christians Want to Know whose mission is to equip, encourage and energize Christians and answer questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.