1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;Psalm 91 (NIV)
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
A favorite song of many is “On Eagle’s Wings” written by Michael Joncas in the 1970s. The song was even mentioned in a speech which Joe Biden gave on November 7, 2020. This song is included in many funeral services but can also be heard in other worship services as well. Many of the lyrics of the song find their origins in a much older song which we know as Psalm 91.
Reading Psalm 91 today, you may have found yourself humming or singing Joncas’s song. The words bring comfort and reassurance to us.They also point us toward a future where fear and battle is removed. The pain and suffering of our present time is taken away by our Lord. Scripture is filled with the now, but not yet, juxtaposition. This psalm promises the shelter of the Lord. The protection cited here presents an image of no harm or pain. The psalmist writes of angels preventing danger or injury.
God extends this promise to all who love and turn to God. However, we know that even today there are those who love the Lord and turn to God for help who suffer, are injured, and die. Now, but not yet.
It is also very important to keep in mind the priorities of the Lord. While God values and sustains life of all creation, the physical life of a human is secondary to the spiritual life of the person. The psalmist presents an image of God protecting us physically because that is what is known and experienced. At times, God does protect us physically. The Lord always protects us spiritually when we allow. This makes sense because the physical is temporary while the spiritual is eternal.
Be assured that you live within the protection of the One who you love and who loves you. Be also assured that the Lord will lift you up as on eagle’s wings.