Psalm 91:1-4 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and protective wall.
Psalm 91 is all about the Lord protecting, defending, shielding, and guarding His people. He keeps us safe from all kinds of attacks, dangers, and threats. Jews believe that Moses is author and that David included it in the Book of Psalms. Regardless of who first wrote it, God the Holy Spirit is the divine Author of this Scripture and of all the Bible.1 Psalm 91 is known as the Soldier’s Psalm or Soldier’s Prayer and camouflage bandanas imprinted with the psalm are often distributed to US troops.2 It is a great word from the Lord for such a time as this.
In the USA, we dial the numbers 9-1-1 to get emergency help. But often the dangers we face cannot be fixed by human rescuers. We need help from Jesus Christ, the ruler of the kings of the earth. He is the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Jesus loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and He upholds the universe with His powerful word.3 Our Lord says; “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”4
In these days of COVID-19, our crisis requires God’s assistance. So we need to call a different kind of 9-1-1—Psalm 91:1 which says: “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” When disasters strike, people who run to Christ in faith and prayer take courage and will be secure. We find help and protection in Jesus, our Almighty God.5
In the current crisis, my friend Mike Kelly began reading Psalm 91 every day and I am now doing that also. Here are further thoughts on this Psalm. I’m calling this series, “Under Jesus’ Wings,” based on Psalm 91:3. If you missed Part 1, you can read it here.
Christ is our Rescuer
V. 3 says that Jesus will save us from the fowler’s snare, a birdcatcher’s net or trap. It means Christ delivers us from human and Satanic enemies and from troubles in a thousand categories.
The Lord rescued the Hebrew people out of Egypt near 1446 BC in the Exodus. After 400 years in Egypt, God heard the cries of the Jewish people, had compassion on them, and brought them out by many miracles. These miracles included the ten plagues (disasters) sent on Egypt by the Lord to force Pharaoh to let the Israelites free from slavery to worship and serve Him. I believe that the Exodus is historical because it is alluded to over 100 times in the Bible and because archeological evidence confirms it.6
I believe that the Exodus miracles are historically unique and unrepeatable, like Jesus’ Life, Death Resurrection, and Ascension. They are part of the foundational layer of God’s plan of salvation. But those unique and unrepeatable miracles encourage us to ask the Lord to do supernatural things in our day too. God is still able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to His power for His glory. He is still a wonder-working God.7 And the Lord still involves Himself in human history and in the lives of individuals. The Bible teaches us that Jesus does His best work in impossible situations, when we are weakest. He loves to intervene when we are at the end of our rope. Our biggest problems are no problem for the Lord. So prayer is our best weapon for these times.
Prayer: Do It Again, Lord
Max Lucado recently published a coronavirus prayer called, “Do it again, Lord.”8 My prayer below is adapts and expands on that.
Heavenly Father, we and our world are anxious, fearful, and worried. So we pray to you as Jesus taught us: Lead us not into temptation and testing, but deliver us from harm and from the evil one.9 You are faithful. Do not let us be tested and tempted beyond what we can bear. Provide a way out for us, so that we can stand for you and overcome with your help in these difficult days.10
We beg for your help. We know what you can do. The Bible tells us: The Lord’s right hand is lifted high; the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!11 Do it again, Lord, in our city, country, and around the world. You answered the prayers of Sarah, Rahab, Naomi, and Ruth. You rescued Joseph from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again. You protected the Hebrews in Egypt from the angel of death. You comforted the two Marys and Joanna at the tomb and revived their hope. You took Thomas’ doubts away. Do it again, Christ our Savior.
You took David from leading sheep to leading armies. You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You made Peter the fisherman a messenger of Christ’s good news. Do it again, Lord. We need faithful counselors, preachers, and leaders after your own heart. Over 2,000 years ago this month, Jesus laid down His life for us on Calvary’s cross and took it up again. You rolled away the stone and shook the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Show us Jesus’ Easter power to revive us and change the whole world for good.
You exalted Christ to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that every knee should bow and every tongue acknowledge that He is Lord, to the glory of God the Father, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.12 Make us Christ-like servants of our Savior, showing and telling of Him to others. Remind us that we don’t deserve your grace and mercy, but you save us anyway. We are God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved. Make us people of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.13 Help us to be unselfish, serving others, sharing with and caring for them, helping and encouraging them.
Father, have mercy on all who suffer. Give grace and wisdom to our leaders. Heal the souls and bodies of families who have already been hurt by this COVID-19 pandemic. Empower your Church, the people of Christ world-wide, to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with you.14 For 2,000 years, you’ve used us to bless a hurting planet, to turn the world right-side up for you. Do it again, Lord. Do it again. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
To be continued
Notes (various translations): 1 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pete 1:19-21. 2 John D. Homan, the Southern Illinoisan, Jan 28, 2005. 3 Rev 1:5-8; Heb 1:1-3. 4 Rev 1:17-18. 5 With help from Dave Branon, Our Daily Bread. 6 Associates for Biblical Research. 7 Rom 15:4-5; Eph 3:20-21; Psalm 136:4. 8 Fox News, opinion, March 22, 2020. Max Lucado used an earlier version of this prayer at a national prayer vigil held after the terrorist bombings of September 11, 2001. 9 Matt 6:13. 10 1 Cor 10:13. 11 Psalm 118:16. 12 Phil 2:10-11. 13 Col 3:12. 14 Micah 6:8.