Dwell: to live in or at a specified place (origin -in Middle English-to tarry or remain in one place) –Oxford English Dictionary
Psalm 91 is one of the richest passages of Scripture, full of insight into the relationship between man and God and abounding in imagery.
I struggle with interrupted sleep and will often lay in bed waiting to close my eyes again. I already avoid caffeine after a certain time of day, but it is still difficult to get through the night without waking up. I was up late last night, my mind wandering, so I began to recite Scripture silently to help me settle down again and sleep.
Psalm 91 is one of the passages I will go to for this comfort.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty (verse 1).
If I live in the place of God I can exhale and restore myself in His shadow. To be in His shadow would mean I would have to be close to His very being.
I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in Whom I trust (verse 2).
When I come to Him I have safety and protection because I know He is worth believing.
Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence (verse 3).
When I am feeling anxious and I want to run away, He will protect me from being caught in the enemy’s net of fear.
Pestilence means a deadly plague; especially bubonic plague. Its origin in Middle English can denote something morally corrupting.*
So not only will He keep me safe from the net of fear, He can keep me from falling into moral corruption.
“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart,” (verse 4).
Having ducks and geese on our farm, I have watched how a mother gathers her offspring under her wings for protection. There is nothing to fear when you are protected.
If you make the Most High your dwelling- even the LORD, who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you no disaster will come near your tent (verses 9, 10).
Again and again in life, I have watched God cover my family and protect us from disaster, danger, and harm. He is not a magician, but God cares about us as His children, He will act on our behalf and keep us safe.
We are not immune to danger but much like the verses below, He hears our cries for help, our prayers for wisdom, and our pleadings for healing.
“Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my Name. He will 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 will I satisfy him and show him my salvation,” (verses 14-16).
As I recited Psalm 91 to myself, I found the comfort I knew was there in the truth of the words and soon drifted to sleep again. Best Beloved, I do not know how well you sleep at night. I do know Scripture is clear that God does not sleep or slumber (Psalm 121:3-4). May you entrust to Him what you have in your hands so that you can find the rest needed for your soul.
*from the Oxford English Dictionary
**all Bible references taken from NIV, 1984 edition