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91. Psalm 91

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

11For 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.

14Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

15He 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.

14. Because he hath trusted in me, I will deliver him. It may prevent any feeling of disgust or weariness under the repetition and enlargement of the Psalmist upon his present subject, to remember, that, as I have already observed, he is influenced in this by a due consideration of our weakness, ever indisposed, as we are upon the approach of danger, to exercise a due reliance upon the providence of God. With this view he now introduces God himself as speaking, and confirming by his own voice what had already been asserted. And here it is noticeable that God, in declaring from heaven that we shall be safe under the wings of his protection, speaks of nothing as necessary on the part of his people but hope or trust. For the Hebrew verb חשק, chashak, which signifies to desire, or love, or, as we commonly express it, to find our delight in any object, means here to rest with a sweet confidence in God, and rejoice in his favor. He engages to extend us assistance, if we seek him in sincerity. The language implies that we must be continually surrounded by death and destruction in this world, unless his hand is stretched out for our preservation. Occasionally he assists even unbelievers, but it is only to his believing people that his help is vouchsafed, in the sense of his being their Savior to the true extent of that term, and their Savior to the end. Their knowing the name of God is spoken of in connection with their trust and expectation; and very properly, for why is it that men are found casting their eyes vainly round them to every quarter in the hour of danger, but because they are ignorant of the power of God? They cannot indeed be said to know God at all, but delude themselves with a vague apprehension of something which is not God, a mere dead idol substituted for him in their imaginations. As it is a true knowledge of God which begets confidence in him, and leads us to call upon him; and as none can seek him sincerely but those who have apprehended the promises, and put due honor upon his name, the Psalmist with great propriety and truth represents this knowledge as being the spring or fountain of trust. That the doctrine which he teaches was needful we may learn from the senseless and erroneous manner in which the Papists speak of faith. While they inculcate an implicit adherence to God, they bury the word which opens up the only access which men can have to him. The expression to exalt or lift up on high means no more than to keep in a state of safety or security; but the reason of this metaphor is, that God preserves his people in an extraordinary manner, raising them, as it were, to some high and impregnable fortress.


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