Vs. 1-2 specify exactly Who it is that gives a believer security;
Vs. 3-8 describe what kind of security can be expected;
Vs. 9-16 designate what is expected of the believer.
There is no definite author or history to explain this Psalm, but there is also no reason to question its place in this Book. It may well have been written by Moses, as was the previous Psalm. Let us emphasize, rather, the terms for God: (1) “Most High” (Hebrew El Elyon), because there is none equal to Him (Isaiah 45:20-23; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6), therefore “the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 7:48; 17:24-25). The virgin Mary was told her son “will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David” (Luke 1:32). (2) “Almighty” (Hebrew, El Shaddai), because He is the source of all blessings, therefore He could deliver on His promise to Abram (Genesis 12:1-3; 17:1-6). To the church of Christ in Corinth, God promised, “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty”(2 Corinthians 6:18), who “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). (3) “LORD” (Hebrew Jehovah), the name God revealed to Moses that neither Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob knew (Exodus 6:2-8). This name is associated with the covenant God made with Israelites only, that brought us to Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:13-29)! (4) “God” (Hebrew Elohim), means “Strength, Power,” and “In the beginning” would be the only “power” present who could create and organize “the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6-9). There is only one God of Heaven and Earth.
Verses 1-2: The four figures of speech denote security for someone who keeps close to God: “secret place;” “shadow;” “refuge” and “fortress;” “trust.”
Verses 3-8: Rather than speculate as to specific distresses, these figures of speech, some applied to Satan, should help God’s obedient people visualize His protection by staying close: (verse 3) “snare of the fowler” (2 Timothy 2:26); “perilous pestilence” (2 Timothy 3:1); (verse 4) wing cover and feathers (Matthew 23:37); “shield and buckler” (Ephesians 6:16). Things God’s people should fear not: (verse 5) “terror” by night (John 12:35); arrow by day (Ephesians 6:16); (verse 6) “pestilence” in darkness (John 3:19-20); “destruction” at noon (Matthew 27:45-46); (verse 7) thousands dying on each side; (verse 8) “the reward of the wicked” will not mistakenly come upon the righteous.
Verses 9-16: As a consequence of living closely with “the LORD” (verse 9), the obedient can expect: protection from “evil” or “plague” (verse 10); angelic help (verses 11-12); (verse 13) to walk over the “lion,” “cobra,” “young lion,” “serpent” (representations of the Devil, 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 12:34; Ezekiel 19:1-9; Revelation 12:9). This is to be done for one who has: (verse 14) “set his love upon Me,” “known My name,” (verse 15) desire to “call upon Me.” “Long life,” and “salvation” will go to the faithful (verse 16).
The Devil tempted Jesus Christ to sin by misquoting Psalm 91:11-12 (Matthew 4:5-7; Luke 4:9-12). The Devil omitted the phrase “to keep you in all your ways,” leaving the impression that God had promised to save any obedient person from being injured altogether. God’s protection promise was not that, but that “angels” were “charged” with encouraging after temptation, as in the case of Jesus, Himself (Matthew 4:11; Mark 1:13). The Devil’s “guardian angel” doctrine was designed to give a false sense of security, thus minimizing the strengthening of one’s faith by perseverance. “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord–that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:11).
All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.