David begins this song with words of reassurance. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (:1). In a world torn by violence and anger, war and so many abuses, rest sounds wonderful. Our anxious hearts ache as we see the chaos around the globe. What would peace of mind feel like? How welcome to be free from fear!
Do we know the One who promises to “cover you with His feathers” where under His wings we will find refuge? Can we trust the promise of God that “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart?” (:4) A rampart is a length of bank or wall forming part of the defensive boundary of a castle, hillfort, settlement or other fortified site. God will protect His own. Isn’t it interesting that He promises the strength of feathers as our protection! However, David’s experience taught him to trust in the Lord whom he called “my refuge and my fortress“ (:2).
Notice this promise is conditioned on one thing. “If” – that tiny word with so much meaning! “If you make the Most High your dwelling….” (:9). Dwelling is another word for home, the place where one lives. In our homes we want to feel a sense of security and safety. When a young couple sets up their first home it is with dreams that the atmosphere will be full of love. God’s love removes any terrors those who dwell in His shadow might feel, night or day (:5-7). Love goes both ways. “Because he/she loves me” the Lord said “I will rescue him/her”. In fact, if we acknowledge His name, God will protect us and will answer our prayers” (:14-15).
Who wouldn’t choose to dwell with God when we read the list of His blessings? He will honour His children with long life. He will deliver us from all sorts of things (:5, 6, 10, 13), and as Jesus prayed, extends His promise to “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). God’s people will be satisfied (:16). In our world today there is so much striving for bigger and better things. The attitude that allows us to have satisfaction in the moment is pushed aside, when we feel driven to compete in the workplace. Paul knew “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11). And God blesses His own, those dwelling in safety, with a visual hope of His salvation (:16).
This Psalm of praise thanks God for His judgment on the wicked (:4-9) and His blessings on the righteous (:10-15). In between, we read “For He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways”. Angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Hebrews 1:14). Throughout scripture we read about the service angels render to God, as they took messages to various people, Mary and Joseph perhaps being the best known example (Luke 1:26-36, Matthew 1:20-21). We must remember how they were warned by the angel of the Lord to flee from Herod into Egypt, with the Baby Jesus (Matthew 2:13).
This beautiful Psalm shows us the character of God, who longs to protect us and to bless us with His love. He generously supplies His own agents, angels, to keep our feet from slipping into sin (:12). We know from New Testament scriptures that God has also given us His Holy Spirit to grow us in His likeness (Galatians 5:22-23) and to make us agents of His peace in a world that is weary with care (Titus 3:2).
by Marilyn Daniels (MarilynDaniels.net)