God’s Promise of Protection
In this lesson, we will focus our attention on Psalm 91, which reveals the promise of God’s protection and insights into how to receive or experience that protection. What you learn from Psalm 91 can be applied to all aspects of your life.
The Secret Place
Psalm 91:1–2 (NKJV) — 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.”
To dwell means to inhabit, be settled, sit down, or remain. The secret place represents a place of shelter and refuge and the covering that hides us from the dangers around us. Dwelling in the secret place means remaining close to God, who is the safe place.
The shadow refers to something that will keep an object safe from harm, like shade would keep something safe from the sunlight. The shadow figuratively refers to the protected place near God.
The following passages show how God is our protection by being our hiding place, secret place, and shade.
Now that you abide under God’s protection, you can declare that He is indeed your refuge and fortress and that you trust Him.
These first two passages of Psalm 91 are critical to understanding how the protection of God works and what we need to do to experience it. Get close to God, and you will be protected.
Deliverance and Protection
Psalm 91:3–4 (NKJV) — 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.
God will deliver us from evil schemes of people due to being near Him and under His protection. He will cover us figuratively as a bird covers its young with its pinions (outer wing feathers) to protect them.
God’s truth (faithfulness, steadfastness, reliability) will be our protection (shield and buckler). A buckler is a small round shield held on the forearm or in hand. Our confidence in God to protect us rests on his faithfulness. We can, therefore, put complete confidence in what God has promised us.
You Will Not Be Afraid
Psalm 91:5–8 (NKJV) — You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked.
We have no reason to fear when terror comes If we place ourselves under God’s protection and trust Him, even when calamity is happening around us. See Matthew 6:31-32, Philippians 4:6-7.
How do you not fear? Notice that experiencing God’s protection is realized by choice. We decide to position ourselves under His protection and trust Him. If we genuinely believe God will protect us, then we will be covered.
Psalm 91:9–13 (NKJV) — 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.
- Make the Lord your dwelling place, i.e., stay close to God.
- You will be protected
The psalmist says that God uses angels, whom He has commanded, to protect you. With the angels’ help, you will be able to overcome fierce enemies.
Psalm 91:14–16 (NKJV) — “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.”
- You: Love and know God
- God will: Deliver you, honor you, answer when you call Him, be with you in trouble, satisfy you with long life, and experience His salvation. To know God’s name is to know Him. See Psalm 9:10.
Loving God means attaching oneself to, setting one’s affection on, and genuinely desiring Him. A consequence of that love is that we will pursue and obey Him. Obedience is an expression of trust!
- Loving God leads to knowing Him and vice versa.
- Knowing Him leads to trusting and obeying Him.
- Trusting God leads to experiencing Him and His protection.
Real-Life And Protection
I had difficulty at first reconciling my life experiences and those I observed with the promise of protection revealed in Psalm 91. I made the mistake of validating (or trying to) the Word of God with my life experiences. I have since realized that we cannot judge the promises of God by what we experience in our lives because sometimes we hinder those promises from manifesting.
Therefore, if God says that knowing Him, abiding under His protection, and trusting Him will result in safety, then so be it. If I think that God didn’t protect me or someone else, then something else happened, not the failure of God’s promise. That is a critical concept to understand. God is always faithful to His word.
We cannot trust God’s word if we think it works only for some people or sometimes. God’s word is faithful, and it is up to us to know, live, and experience it in our lives. It is like gravity, electromagnetism, and any other physical law. Just because something looks like it violates the law of gravity, i.e., gravity didn’t work, doesn’t mean that Newton’s law of gravity failed. It only means something else was going on that we weren’t aware of or didn’t consider.
Genuinely knowing and trusting God implies a relationship. You can’t really trust someone unless you know them. How can you trust God to protect you if you don’t know Him, what He is capable of, what authority He has, etc.? Therefore, when you build and nurture a relationship with God, you learn that He can protect you. As you learn more about God, you discover that He loves and wants to protect you.
Therefore, the key to dwelling in the secret place of God is to build a relationship with Him. I mean a personal and intimate relationship, not the religious construct that is so prevalent. Get close to God the way you get close to a best friend. When God is real to you, you are inclined to trust Him and rely on His faithfulness.
The Scope of God’s Protection
What does God’s protection look like? Does it mean that a tornado will jump over our house and destroy everything around us? Does it mean we can ignore safety measures because we believe the danger will not come near us? Not necessarily. An illustration here will help tremendously, I think.
I’m sure we can agree that Jesus was under God’s protection. However, Jesus did not use that to ignore warnings when the religious leaders tried to kill him. Sometimes, he would slip away to safety or leave town. See John 11:53-54, 7:1. If God’s protection means disregarding the dangers around us, then we would have seen that behavior in Jesus. We do not.
Therefore, God’s protection does not preclude common sense. Do not neglect to do things to protect yourself. God’s protection is not necessarily a magical or divine thing. Sometimes, it is the use of the wisdom that He gives you.
Dunkirk: A Real Example of God’s Protection
At the beginning of World War II, about 400,000 soldiers from Britain, France, Belgium, and other nations were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. German tanks were headed for them to destroy them all because they had nowhere to go. The King of England called for the entire nation to pray for them. Strange things happened after that.
- King George VI declared a national day of prayer on May 24, 1940: “Let us with one heart and soul, humbly but confidently, commit our cause to God and ask his aid, that we may valiantly defend the right as it is given to us to see it.”
- On May 24, 1940, Hitler ordered the advancing German tanks to stop.
- Dense fog and storms rolled in, grounding most of the Luftwaffe (airplanes)
- The English Channel became unusually calm like a pond.
- There were also about 400 soldiers shouting Psalm 91 while lying face down exposed on the beach. German planes were raining bullets from machine guns on them, but none of them were harmed, not even a scratch.
Over 338,226 soldiers were rescued from Dunkirk over nine days. Hundreds of civilian boats from England rescued the trapped soldiers by evacuating them across the English Channel or ferrying them to larger naval vessels.
The miracle at Dunkirk was indeed a miracle, but not magical. It was an actual event during World War II.
There were two factors involved in the rescuing of over 300,000 soldiers from Dunkirk.
- A nation came together and prayed for God’s help
- Four hundred soldiers trusted God to protect them and recited Psalm 91 aloud while exposed on a beach.
Another vital point in the Dunkirk event was that people were instrumental in saving the soldiers. It wasn’t magical, but it was a miracle. Several things in succession occurred to provide an opportunity for over 300,000 soldiers to escape to safety. God indeed works through people to do great things! How can God use you?
There are many other examples of God’s protection. However, we typically do not hear about them because the news media focuses on negative events, not positive ones, especially circumstances involving divine intervention. The Bible, for example, contains many examples of God protecting His people. One of my favorite events is described in the book of Esther.
Psalm 91 reveals God’s promise of protection to those who know him and trust HIm. We experience God’s protection when we trust him to protect us.
We face many problems in our lives and are consistently tempted to rely on ourselves or others. We don’t see how God can come through for us. We think that there is no way out, and we neglect to consider God’s promises and what we must do to experience them.
Our relationship with God provides the sure foundation that we need to trust him to protect us.
God will protect you, care for you, deliver you, and provide for you as long as you trust him to do those things. Know and love God, trust Him with your whole heart, and experience how well He keeps His word to protect you.