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Psalm 91

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 91. This chapter is my favorite for many reasons but primarily because it serves as a great reminder for my faith. In the words of Jackie Hill Perry, "It is a great work to exhort each other in the faith." Psalm 91 does a wonderful job of exhorting believers, and then some. It is important to believe in God and of similar importance is the understanding of whom it is that as a believer our faith is anchored to. The psalmist starts off by stating a precursor. He says, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" - 91:1. The word "dwelleth" contains the suffix "-eth", which in the Hebrew definition represents a continuous action. This verse therefore interprets as such: He that (continuously) dwells in the secret place of God, shall (cause and effect) abide under (covered) the shadow of the Almighty (El Shaddai - the most powerful). This chapter of the Bible is meant to encourage you to hope in the Lord but the psalmist reminds us off the bat that these promises are accessible to those who make God their dwelling place. The word "secret place" means covering and a decision to make God our covering results in the fulfillment of His promises to us. 91:2-3 says "I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence." In verse 2, the psalmist makes a declaration about his relationship with the Lord; he says that He is his fortress. What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'fortress' ? In the simplest terms, a fortress is a stronghold. A place provided with defensive works as protection against attacks. In 2019, I went to Ghana for Detty December, which is an annual month-long celebration where you recklessly spend money and have plenty of fun with little to no inhibition. While in Ghana, my friends and I toured Cape Coast- this is a sea town where slaves were sent off in massive ships to the western world.

Well, at the port there is a huge castle called Elmina castle and it was fortified to protect it from invaders coming from the sea. The castle is grand and the fortified walls were lofty. Those that dwelt behind those fortified walls felt a sense of safety but history tells us that as grand as they were, they proved insufficient because Ghana's enemies found a way through them, threatening their sense of security. Now I want you to take my illustration and apply to what the psalmist says about the Lord. He says that the creator of this universe, the one who has no equal, is a fortified tower around you. As such, no cannonball sent by the enemy can infiltrate his wall of protection around you. Unlike the forts that lie in ruin such as the one mentioned above, as our fortress, God is impenetrable and He shall never be destroyed. I am fully convinced the reason we walk around defeated is because we lack an understanding of who God is in relation to us. Moving along, in verse three the psalmist uses a unique word to further explain the deliverance set aside for him. He uses the word SURELY, which is synonymous with the following words: without a doubt, without question, certainly, without contest, irrefutably. Get the point? During the 2007 elections in Kenya, my brother and I traveled to my uncle's home in Nakuru. Our plan was to travel back to Nairobi after the holidays but post election violence put a halt to those plans. My brother was traveling with a friend from one part of the city to another when an angry mob of Kikuyu (this is a Kenyan tribe) men beckoned their driver to pull over to the side of the road. Their purpose for pulling them over was to weed out members of other tribes that were in the vehicle. These men determined someone was not from their tribe by addressing the occupants of the vehicle in their native language and if you were unable to respond, they would drag you out of the vehicle. When they got to my brother, he could not speak the language but his friend was able to do it. His friend went on to explain that they both were Kikuyu tribesmen but my brother grew up in Nairobi (the capital city of Kenya) and therefore was unable to speak the native language. That intercession by my brother's friend spared his life from the marauding gang. My brother's story and many others of a similar nature elucidate what the word SURELY means. The psalmist says that without a shadow of doubt, without contest, certainly, God SHALL deliver thee. The psalmist goes on to speak of the importance of putting our trust in the Lord in verse 4 - "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." The trust that you put in the Lord shall in turn become a shield. In this context, trust can be translated to mean faith. In the book of Ephesians 6:16 Paul writes the following about faith: "Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked." When you have faith in God, it means that you believe in who He says he is and what He says.

The faith that you bear in Him, serves as a shield. As I finalize this piece, I encourage you dear reader to take the time and read this Psalm for yourself. I will conclude with this, in the message version verses 14-16 states as follows:

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me. Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party."

Hold on to God for dear life. One can never know what lies ahead and therefore everybody needs the guidance of an all knowing Master. When you are conflicted about where to turn to in times of adversity, remember these words: Hold.On.To.God.



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