Psalms For All Seasons: Psalm 91, Part 2

Theme:  A Psalm for Every Season

Text:  Psalm 91

For everything there is a season,
and a time for every matter under heaven:
Psalm 23
Psalm 91
  a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to
pluck up what is planted;
Birth – Psalm 20
Death Psalm 116
  a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to break down and a time
to build up;
Break down -Psalm 137
Build up – Psalm 127
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
Weeping – Psalm 126
Dancing – Psalm 30
  a time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace and a time
to refrain from embracing;
  Cast away – Psalm 68
Gather together – Psalm 133  
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep and a time to
cast away;
Seeking – Psalm 13
Stopping the search – Psalm 139
  a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
Silence – Psalm 62
Speaking – Psalm 92
  a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
War – Psalm 144
Peace – Psalm 29

Many understand a Psalm with an unnamed author to be the composition of the author of the previous Psalm.  Psalm 90 is authored by Moses leading us to believe Psalm 91 flows from the heart of Moses also.  Psalm 91 would then be approximately 3,500 years old.

It is fair to say there have been hundreds of perspectives of this Psalm’s meaning. 

Theologian Patrick D. Miller has stated, “The Psalter’s openness to varieties of application and actualization continues through the history of interpretation into the present” (1983: page 35).

“Thus, the Psalm invites readers from diverse contexts to help shape the meaning of the Psalm by contributing their own answers….”  The Oxford Handbook of the Psalms, Brennan Breed, page 298

A German physician was wont to speak of [Psalm 91] as the best preservative in times of cholera, and in truth, it is a heavenly medicine against plague and pest. He who can live in its spirit will be fearless, even if once again London should become a lazar-house, and the grave be gorged with carcasses.  C. H. Spurgeon

In the terms of Brennan Breed, I would like to help shape the meaning of Psalm 91 by contributing my answers.

  1. Someone is in a dangerous situation.
  2. This dangerous situation is war-like.
  3. The Most High, Almighty, LORD, God is trusted to protect and deliver.
  4. God then promises to provide that protection and deliverance.

Ultimately, Jesus is the Person fulfilling the lead role of Psalm 91.

The dangerous situation is both spiritual and physical. 

Poetically, everyone who dwells in the shelter of the Most High and abides in the shadow of the Almighty, fills the lead role of this Psalm.

Refuge Snare of the fowler
Fortress Deadly pestilence
My God Terror of the night
Deliverer Arrow that flies by day
Covering Pestilence that stalks in darkness
Shield and Buckler Destruction that wastes at noonday
Dwelling Place Evil
Director of Angels Plague
  Strike your foot against a stone

Both the demonic and physical forms of evil are addressed in Psalm 91.

God’s poetic promise of protection is for all who dwell in the shelter of the Most High. 

The benefits are poetically identified as the shadow of the Almighty.

The summation of the Psalm is God’s promise to those in His shadow.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
    I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

So, then, these words seem to me to carry two thoughts: the first, what God delights to find in a man; and the second, what God delights to give to the man in whom He finds it. MacLaren’s Exposition