Psalms for Troubled Times – Psalm 91b

The Blessing of Dwelling on Christ

We concluded yesterday with the thought of being ‘occupied alone’ with Christ, and we want to continue in Psalm 91 today and do just that by considering three verbs within the psalm in the intensive form.

1) He shall charge his angels over him (v11-13)

This takes our mind immediately to the temptation of the Lord Jesus. (Matt 4:6,7) Satan understood this reference as applied to the Messiah above all others, and indeed the reference in v13: ‘the dragon shalt thou trample under feet’, is reminiscent of that first Messianic prophecy: He ‘shall bruise thy head’ (Gen 3:15).

But the Lord also says to Satan, ‘thou shalt bruise his heel’, and perhaps Satan wondered if the Achilles heel of God’s plan of redemption could be found within this divine promise of protection whereby the angels are intensely charged to keep the Son of Man in all His ways.

And so Satan attacks the Lord on this point. Would He become fatalistic and take advantage of the situation to do His own will?

Not a bit of it. The Lord simply answered: ‘thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God’ (Matt 4:7), and in doing so proving He was no mere man, but the sinless Son of God.

Of course, there were occasions when I think the angels fulfil their charge. I’m thinking of John 8:59, when the Lord would seemingly go unseen through the midst of those that were intent of stoning him to death. His hour was not yet come.

But what must those angels have thought ‘when the hour was come’ (Luke 22:14->), and the Lord Jesus was ‘betrayed into the hands of sinners’ (Matt 26:45). ‘Twelve legions’ (26:53) ready to fulfil the charge God had given them, now told to stand down, and they would very reverently watch and wonder and wait.

2) He shall deliver him x2 (v14,15)

Those angels would no doubt know that when the Son of God ‘offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death’, He ‘was heard in that he feared’ (Hebs 5:7).

And twice in our psalm, the answer resounds from the LORD with intensity, ‘I will deliver Him’. And we can understand why? For between Father and Son is a love deeper than any known.

Twice we read that ‘the Father loveth the Son’ (John 3:35, 5:20), and in this psalm the Father speaks of the Son: ‘He hath set His love upon me’ (v14). The delight that the Perfect Man found in His God is beyond compare.

And yet … almost unbelievably we read that ‘though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things that He suffered’ (Hebs 5:8).

For ‘through death he’ would ‘tread upon the lion and the adder’ (v13), destroying ‘him that had the power of death, that is, the devil’ (Hebs 2:14).

Yet, ‘I will deliver Him’ … and

‘up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph o’er His foes. He arose a Victor from the dark domain, And He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose, He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!’

3) He shall set him on high and honour him (v14,15)

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father’. (Phil 2:9-11).

Finally, let us consider the one verb in the psalm in the reflexive form. This usually refers to something done to oneself, and indicates a response we must make ourselves.

4) We shall abide ourselves (v1)

If you are not already ‘abiding’ in Christ, I pray that these meditations will encourage you to do so, for indeed, as we abide in Him, and meditate on Him, we are greatly blessed.

The Lord Jesus Himself would speak of this to His own in John 15.

‘I am the vine, and ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing … if ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit’. (John 15:5-8)

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