PSALM 91 – My Rock and Fortress

by Cynthia H.

I feel like I can relate to this writer of Psalm 91 in many ways which is likely why Psalms and I have a love/hate relationship sometimes and there are Psalms I like and psalms I do not like. This is one I’ve struggled with. Most of us, like King David who has written many of the psalms, do not lead a normal, mundane 9-5 life. He knew triumph and tragedy, gain and loss, safety and fear. As his life unfolded, he did learn that he could trust and rely on God and like me, he needed to. Psalm 91 demonstrates to me David’s trust in God in the midst of all that he was experiencing as well as the feeling of trust and security that God gave him. This struggle is real.

The writer was not uncertain or indecisive when he wrote this psalm. He has confidence recalling what God had done for him and I see that he will continue to trust God to continue to care for and about him. I see in this that I too can trust God to care for me and that I can trust God to protect and care for me through eternity as he as promised. While it is a bit too visual for me, this psalm shows that God will protect and care for me, no matter what is needed or how the world judges it.

This writer’s words assure me of safety from harm through his thoughts that mainly illustrate safety provided to him in times and various types of conflict even if he had caused much of it. God shows us much grace and mercy even in our own sin and fear of sin. The Bible gives us a clearer understanding of what that means in 2 Samuel because he tells David that because of his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, “the sword shall never depart from your house,” and that definitely was the case! I really see that even though God punishes for sin, he does not reject us. The covenant between them was not broken. David was able to recover from his actions and assume both his role as King and spiritual leader for Israel.

One of the challenges I’ve associated with the psalms in my life as I’ve studied and adopted the promises found in writings like this, is that I’ve seen through experience that the types of protection and sheltering described in the psalms no longer occurs like it did when these were written so it’s reasonable to spend time reflecting on what this means for me and those around me. We do strike our foot against stones (Verse 12); we definitely can get hurt by a “lion or serpent” (Verse 13); and, certainly now, “a plague comes near our tent (Verse 10).” It can be challenging for me then, to apply what is written rather that to believe the very graphic message contained in the words. 

So, am I outside of God’s grace and care because bad things can happen to those I consider “good people?” Or, is there really, in fact, even “good?” I think the best answer to that question is found in what the meaning of Verse 9 is to me.

Verse 9 says that “you” have made the Lord your dwelling place and have made the Most High your refuge. While my daily life is different in almost every respect from this writer, the assurance, comfort and protection is still the same. I do not have arrows threatening me nor am I engaged in a hot war for the most part. However, I face many contemporary problems such as financial insecurity, uncertainty, loss of income, threats to our family and always health issues. These issues rarely are resolved as I would plan or the way I would like but knowing My Trusted Savior cares for me, helps to live in peace and blessed assurance during hard times.

In conclusion; battered and scarred, this writer experienced God’s protection and continuing hope and assurances by placing his trust in God. Over the years, it was proven true to him. In the words of Isaiah 26, Verse 4 Isaiah states simply, “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord is an everlasting rock.” Therefore, I must build my faith on that Rock, trust in God and his promises, receive assurances of my standing, and live to follow and emulate the Servant King because that is right and proper for me to do.