Psalm for Troubled Times

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More than mere songs of worship, the Psalms offer multilayered insight, promise, and prophecy to those who discern them. The 91st psalm, for example, is filled with promises for threatening situations. Many a soldier has drawn strength from these powerful lines while preparing for battle:

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day . . . A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you (vv. 5, 7).

God uses hardship, danger, and even death to achieve His purposes. We can’t always know how a tough situation grows us until we’ve gotten past it. During hard times we can pray this psalm to remind us that the Lord does care for us in every trial and promises to carry us through the difficulty:

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. . . . under His wings you shall take refuge (vv. 3, 4).

A woman was interviewed about a prowler who attacked her at home. After escape, she testified that verses of Psalm 91, memorized earlier, ran through her mind during the altercation. These words were a comfort to her in advance, her sure defense in trouble. We too can claim them in crisis:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust” (vv. 1, 2).

These promises are for those who dwell in the “secret place of the Most High” and have made the Lord their “refuge and fortress.” Let’s take a hard look at what might be keeping us from shelter in that secret place. In the Psalms and elsewhere, many of God’s promises have conditions:

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling (vv. 9, 10).

Through David’s pen, the Spirit tells us how to trust in the Lord’s protection: by making the Lord our refuge and the Most High our dwelling place. We must draw near to Him now, not wait until dangerous times come. Now is the time to get tucked tightly under His wings, to allow Christ to wash away sin and restore us to our Father. As we turn from paths of sin, we can claim God’s promises with assurance.

Let us keep the words of Psalm 91 close to our hearts and engraved upon our minds. May our first response to any situation be to pray these promises from our heavenly Father, Redeemer, and Lord.

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him . . . He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation” (vv. 14-16).

Much like Israel of old, our land has gone its own way and yet expects God’s protection to continue. Let us turn back to the Lord with all our hearts, seek His will, and then rest under this wondrous protective power.BA


Grandmother of three, Martha Rohrbaugh lives in Glen Rock, PA, and attends the congregation in Harrisburg, PA.

Martha Rohrbaugh
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