Recently, while I was going through a stressful time, a friend sent a text simply reading “Psalm 91”. I knew what the message was, but honestly, it was late at night and I was in bed so the motivation of reading at that moment was not there. However, I followed her advice and hit the Bible app on my phone and pulled up Psalm 91. (Come on, you did not think I was going to get out of my comfortable and warm bed to go get my Bible did you?)
After reading the Psalm, and re-reading it again, I knew why she had directed me there and I had made the decision to read Psalm 91 each night before going to bed, because of the power it held. It also reminded me of the car accident I had several years ago where my car flipped and landed on the hood, yet the passenger’s side came to rest on a tree stump which created a pocket of protection for the driver’s side. After crawling out with no injuries (not even a cut) and waiting on the side of the road with my mother and little brother for the police to finish the paperwork, my little brother pointed at the Bible which had been thrown out of the car during the wreck and went to get it for me. After he handed the Bible to me I noticed a piece of glass from the crushed windshield had lodged itself in the middle of the pages….marking Psalm 91 with a cut from the glass. I knew the message. God’s angels had protected me and ensured that pocket was created.
However, now Psalm 91 reminds me nightly that no matter the situation, I have God’s love and unfailing protection around me. But…it is more than that. It is a reminder of one of the beauties of the Mass as well. Here’s how:
1.) A Prayer of Protection – Psalm 91 is obviously a prayer of someone who has sought and found refuge in the Lord and during that time it is likely that individual would have found the refuge that is spoken about within the Temple. “You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shade of the Almighty, say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.’” God’s protection is all around us throughout the day, no matter if we are at work, home or even out shopping. However, there is something special about the grace which flows from the tabernacle of Jesus Christ in the Church which provides a shadow we can dwell in. During the time this Psalm was written, the individual that sought protection in the temple would have found protection and grace in ‘the shadow of the wings of the Almighty’ (verse 1) from the outstretched wings of the cherubim in the holy of holies.
2.) Shelter of the Most High – The ‘shelter of the Most High’ is simply a ‘hiding place’ but in the Psalms it was a designation for the protected Temple precincts. “For God will hide me in his shelter in time of trouble, He will conceal me in the cover of his tent; and set me high upon a rock” (Psalm 27:5) “You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from scheming enemies. You conceal them in your tent, away from the strife of tongues.” (Psalm 31:21) A failure to attend Mass on a regular basis is a failure to run to the most secure, protected, and safe place God promises for those who love and serve Him. This is more than physical safety (although that was the case as well during the times the Psalm was written), it is a spiritual safety, a haven of grace flowing from the Lord which reaches the depths of your soul.
3.) The name above all names – “Because he clings to me I will deliver him; because he knows my name I will set him on high.” (verse 14). Psalm 91 promises that those who ‘cling’ to Jesus and know his name will find themselves in the shadow of His protection. The key is to ‘cling’ to Jesus. Jesus must be your first option instead of your last chance. You must have a relationship with Jesus where you run to Him when you need help, hope, love, or encouragement.
The final verses of Psalm 91 are an oracle of salvation which provides a powerful promise to those who trust God that salvation is theirs.
If you are looking for something which has the power to touch your life and change your attitude in times of distress, trouble, anxiety and despair, or if you just want an additional boost of encouragement and hope, make a commitment to yourself to read Psalm 91 for 30 nights in a row before going to bed. See what the Lord does with it…..