The KEY to this Psalm is found in verses 1-2, “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” (NKJV). The Psalmist had learned that the secret to “Divine Protection” is dwelling in the “Divine Presence”; in other words, if one is to be guaranteed deliverance from every evil force he must abide in uninterrupted communion with God.

This Psalm is what we call a “Messianic Psalm,” which means that its primary interpretation concerns the Lord Jesus Christ (we shall see this clearly when we get to verses 9-13). Yet the believers can also apply these precious promises to themselves. In verses 1-2 it would seem the Holy Spirit is speaking in verse 1 and the Lord Jesus responds in verse 2 by confirming that He has indeed made God the Father His “refuge and fortress” and that “in Him I will trust.” From the manger to the cross the Lord Jesus was totally dependent on the Father in everything He did and said. This should be true of every believer too.

In verses 3-13 the Holy Spirit continues to speak by giving assurance to Jesus, the perfect dependent Man, of God’s perfect security. Verses 3-4 declare, “Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” The Lord had many enemies who sought to kill Him (and behind every one of them was Satan), yet until the hour was come when Jesus would willingly lay down His life He was preserved. John 8:58-59 is one example of this, “Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”

Due to limited space, we will now look at verses 9-13, “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; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.” I would encourage you to read the account of the Lord Jesus being tempted by Satan in the wilderness in Luke 4:1-13. In verses 9-11 we read, “Then he (the Devil) brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you, and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Satan tempted the Lord to jump off from the temple, quoting Psalm 91:11-12 to imply that angels would protect Him from crashing to the ground, yet he conveniently MISQUOTED the passage, for after referring to God giving “His angels charge over you,” he went on to say “to keep you.” Notice the difference? He purposely omitted the words “in all thy ways,” for the promise of protection from angels is only valid if “all thy ways” are in obedience to God. God the Father never gave Jesus the command to jump from the temple so Satan was seeking to entice Jesus to do something contrary to God’s will. Thankfully the Lord, who was perfectly sinless and always obedient to the Father, responded to the Devil with these words, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’” In doing so the Lord Jesus defeated Satan and later He would completely defeat Satan (the “lion” and the “serpent”) by His death on the cross (compare Psalm 91:13 with Genesis 3:15;  Hebrews 2:14 and Romans 16:20).

In the closing verses (14-16) we hear the voice of God the Father.  He praises His Son for His unswerving love and devotion to Him, and He promises Him that He will not only deliver Him from trouble but He will glorify Him by “setting Him on high” (verse 14). This, no doubt, had its fulfillment in the Resurrection and Ascension of the Lord Jesus to God’s right Hand in heaven. See Philippians 2:9-11; Ephesians 1:19-21 and Hebrews 1:3.

As we stated at the beginning, this precious Psalm can also be applied to the believer. Many saints have indeed made God “their refuge and fortress” and by trusting in Him they have proven His promises to be true. Some may say, but the Psalm promises us deliverance from the enemy (verse 3) and from every other form of terror (verses 5-6), including death (verse 7). This does SEEM to contradict the Psalm, but one has said that “part of the answer, at least, lies in this; the one who trusts in Jehovah is immortal until his work is done.” This was true of the Lord Jesus and it is equally true of every believer as well.  (356.1)  (DO)