1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling place,
10 no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14 Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
15 When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them.
16 With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.
Psalm 91 has historically been a great comfort to the people of God—and you can see why. The Psalm lists enemies, lions, snakes, terror, arrows, snares, and pestilence as things that threaten. As now, the world of the Psalmist was a dangerous place. But the help of God is repeated, too. God is described as shelter, shadow, refuge, fortress, shield, buckler, dwelling place, and as the sheltering pinons of a mother bird. This means that, even as we see and experience trouble and challenge, we have the assurance that God’s shelter, protection, and provision are always near. Some scholars think that the last couple of lines of the Psalm were a liturgy repeated in the temple. They would have been familiar to all who worshipped there: “When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them. With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.” This is the conclusion of the Psalm. No matter how many things threaten, God has the last word.
Gracious God, we pray that you will provide for us, as you have provided for your people through countless generations. Cover us with your protection, rescue us from danger, shield us from all threats, be a refuge of peace from storms of worry. Show us your salvation again, that we may be encouraged by your Spirit, and renewed in the hope of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.