Psalm 91

PSALM 91 – paraphrased by Paul v d H.


Those who live in the shelter of the Lord Jesus Christ Will find rest, even in His shadow This I declare of the Lord He alone is my refuge, my shelter and place of safety He is my God, and I am trusting Him For He will rescue me from every trap And protect me from every fatal accident He will shield me with His arms His faithful promises are my weapons and protection

Don’t be afraid of any threats of the night Nor fear any dangers during the day Nor dread the plagues (like HIV) that stalk in darkness Nor any disaster that might try to strike you during the day
Though many fall at your side, though thousands are perishing all around you,
These evils will not touch you But you will see with your own eyes How the wicked are punished
If you make the Lord your refuge
If you make the Most High your shelter
No evil will conquer you
No plague will come near your house
For He orders His angels
To protect you wherever you go
They will support you with their hands
To keep you from even striking your foot on a stone You will trample down crooks and criminals under your feet
The Lord says “I will rescue those who love Me I will protect those who trust in My Name
When they call on Me I will answer I will be with them in trouble I will rescue them and even honour them I will satisfy them with long life And give them my eternal salvation”


[Answer to The Economic Meltdown & How to Overcome]

Dear Brother Paul,

Thanks for the email.  Psalm 91 is one of the most popular passages in the Bible.  We in the church quote it without restraint in many situations, we plug it into the songs we sing, and we look to it for hope of protection when things go badly.  In short we love the promises and hope it provides us.

A problem arises, however, when we skip over the first verse. 

While we hang onto all the promises afforded us throughout the rest of the Psalm, we have a tendency to overlook the conditions placed upon us by verse 1 to initiate those promises.  All those promises are true IF we dwell in that secret place of the Most High. The promises of the rest of the Psalm are predicated on the conditions put forth to us in verse 1.

 Modern Christianity has proffered a panorama of wonderful blessings for us, but has failed to acknowledge the price that must be paid to receive those blessings.  It always sounds so good when we hear of all the good things that will happen to us, but when we cross over to the other side of the two-edged sword, we shrink from it’s cutting edge.  We want to hear about love, but not about the fear of the Lord.  We want to hear what we can get, not what we must do.  We love being served, but overlook that we are called to serve.  We emphasize faith and love, but skirt around righteousness and the fear of the Lord.

 Oh yes, they say, you must be a Christian to receive these blessings, but God does not want us to suffer or be poor.  Excuse me? While that sounds so good, and crowds will flock to a message like that, it is not borne out by the volume of Scripture.  To be blessed is wonderful, but we are also called to the sufferings of the Body of Christ and admonished to deny ourselves and pick up our cross.  It would be difficult to convince the heroes in Hebrews 11 of this Pollyanna doctrine.  The persecuted Church stands on a shore of sufferings while they watch us sail away on the Good Ship Lollipop.

 An old saying among con artists has always been that if you tell people what they want to hear, they will follow you wherever you lead.  This has never been more true than with the modern love Gospel that has been poured upon us through TV, radio, and our pulpits. 

 And how do we determine if we are to be included in those wonderful promises of Psalm 91?  Why, simply believe in Jesus, of course!  We just love God!

 Uh, it’s not quite that simple. Those of us who understand the Word of God in it’s wholeness, know there are conditions.  These are not conditions that are to be assumed and not spoken.  To do so would be to do the Christians who long to hang upon those promises a great disservice.  There is a difference between Faith and Presumption.

 No one would believe that they can buy something without paying for it. 
“If it is too good to believe”, we often say, ” it’s isn’t true.” 
“You can’t get something for nothing.” 
“There’s nothing free in Life.”
And yet, multitudes flock to preachers that will promise us those same empty deals.

 It has been said that God is a Jew — He makes deals.  If we want what He has to offer us, there is a price to pay for it.  While Salvation may be free (someone DID have to pay a price for it — it just wasn’t us), everything else has a price tag.  God doesn’t play the Lottery.

 My point is not to refute the promises of your poem, but to elucidate the often hidden contingencies that those promises hang on.  If we rely upon the blessings and ignore the conditions, we encourage a welfare mentality that weakens the resolve of the people of God to enter into that place of righteousness before God.  Half a message results in an anemic Church that falls short of the principles of Faith, and thereby encourages a Gospel without power.

 And what happens when the results do not match the empty promises?  What happens when God, who must honor His Word, does not respond the way we presumed? What happens when the nice-sounding presumptions we have based our faith on is pulled out from under our feet?  What do we have to base our faith on then?

 Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and that substance is what we grasp when we reach through the Door of righteousness to grab hold of the hem of His garment.  That Door can not be opened without the works that accompany true faith.  If you want God to do what He says He will do, you have to do what He says for you to do.  And if not, the deal is broken.

 Grace is not to be cheapened with empty promises.  While it is freely offered to us, it is not maintained without a price.  There are conditions.  When we ignore those conditions, we set up the people of God for a fall and produce a Church without power to overcome the tribulations that are upon us.

 Brother Dale,

For prayer request or support


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