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  • Writer's pictureWayne Shelton

Messianic Psalms - Psalm 91: Shadow of the Almighty



Psalm 91


“Shadow of the Almighty,” is the title Elizabeth Elliot chose for her biography of her husband Jim Elliot. What would cause a widow whose missionary husband, along with four other men, died in the jungle of Ecuador, choose a title that celebrates the protection of God? Only the peace that passes all understanding and only the peace that the world cannot give, explains such confidence in God.


On the afternoon of January 8, 1956, Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Ed McCully, Pete Fleming, Roger Yudarian sang together, “We rest on Thee, our Shield and our Defender.” Later that day they were killed by the very people they had come to help. “Mission accomplished,” wrote Elizabeth Elliot. “The world called it ‘a nightmare of tragedy.’ The world did not recognize the truth of Jim Elliot’s credo: ‘He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.’”


This week we look at Psalm 91, a psalm about fear, faith and fellowship with God. The psalmist begins with a powerful faith statement, followed by a vow of trust. This is not the kind of counsel that comes to mind when someone says, “Think happy thoughts!” There is not an escapist syllable in the psalm. Nothing is spiritualized and no short-term, quick-fix solutions are suggested.


The psalmist insists on a peace that we cannot give to ourselves, no matter how hard we try, whether it be through mind control, mood altering substances, entertainment, or fun company. There is no humanistic solution to the deepest fears we feel and no diversion strong enough to give us peace. The psalm is not a prescription for stress management, but a description of trusting in God.


Psalm 91 is about the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. It helps us embrace the peace that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7). Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (Jn 14:27).


Psalm 91 helps Christians explore what Jesus meant when he offered a peace that the world cannot give. It is the peace that transcends our understanding that we seek to know and experience. And in that great refuge of Psalm 91, we are given this glorious promise: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1).

And then the psalm continues with these amazing words: “A thousand [arrows] may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place…” (91:7).


So, it sounds like to dwell in the shadow of the Almighty and in the shelter of the Most High means that if someone throws a spear at you, it will not hit you. But is this interpretation correct? Join us this coming Lord’s Day as we look at Psalm 91 and how it was used in the wilderness temptation of Jesus, and especially what it means for us today.


This Summer we are engaged in a series titled: Journey to Christ in the Psalms. It is an exploration of the Messianic Psalms and listed below is a tentative schedule of the psalms we will look at through the summer. So, if you are out on vacation, you can follow them through our website on our YouTube channel.


Grace and Peace,

Pastor Wayne


Summer Preaching Schedule in the Messianic Psalms

Jun

25 Psalm 91: The Temptation


Jul

2 Psalm 41: The Betrayal

9 Psalm 22: The Crucifixion

16 Psalm 69: The Trespass Offering

23 Psalm 16: The Resurrection

30 Psalm 68: The Ascension


Aug

6 Psalm 24: The King of Glory

13 Psalm 110: The Priest-King-Judge

20 Psalm 8: The Last Adam

27 Psalm 118: The Headstone of the Corner


Sept

3 Psalm 45: The King-Bridegroom

10 Psalm 102: The Unchangeable One

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