God is Our Shelter: Psalm 91 (Lenten Devotion)
I am pastor Rob Nash from Sawyer Highlands church. This is the second week of Lent and a devotion sponsored by the River Valley Ministerial Association. Lent is a time of remembrance and reflection as we approach the death of Jesus.
Last week, Reverends Jay Fast and Peg Koehring shared with us from Psalm 103 about God’s blessing. This week, I will share with us from Psalm 91 about God’s shelter.
Psalm 91 begins, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1–2).
What does that mean? God is our shelter in the storm. Believe it or not, a thousand years later, the Devil used this very Psalm to tempt Jesus. He refused to believe Satan’s misapplication. Jesus understood what Psalm 91 meant. It was not a promise that everything would always go well if one dwelled in the shelter of the Most High. Instead, it was a promise that God would be a shelter when things didn’t go well. Did you notice the difference? Things don’t go well, but God can ultimately be a shelter anyway.
The Devil gave up and left Jesus for another strategic opportunity in the future. Years later, instead of seduction, he would use destruction to get rid of Jesus.
Satan came back to plant a seed of evil in Jesus’s friend, Judas’s mind. “Betray your Master for a day’s wage.” He did just that. Judas sold his friend out for a couple of bucks. Subsequently, Jesus was arrested, tried, beaten, and killed. Satan got what he wanted.
However, this outcome didn’t surprise God’s Son or hinder the Most High’s shelter. The Pharisees could not stop the Almighty from being a refuge and a fortress in times of trouble. Death was the very vehicle by which God would demonstrate his power and offer shelter to all who trust in Jesus.
Jesus knew all this from before time began. He came to Earth to suffer. But, he came with a purpose of giving up his life to offer ultimate refuge, not a magical Band-Aid or key to a fictional world. He didn’t die only to set an example for us. No, Jesus died to forgive the sins of all who would trust in him. He makes right those who turn from sin to God. And God, in that way, becomes the ultimate shelter, refuge, and fortress in this broken world. We don’t need to fear death or God’s judgment if we trust in God’s Son’s death for our forgiveness.
Psalm 91 concludes:
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation. (Psalm 91:15–16)
Jesus called to God on the cross. God was silent. But not for long. Although Jesus died, God delivered him from death. He rescued Christ from the grave. He gave him life again. His resurrection was a demonstration of our inheritance. Yes, we all will die unless Jesus returns. But God will deliver us to eternal life with him because Jesus paid the price for our disobedience. All we must do is trust.
I know that is not always easy. Life is hard. Trials abound. Evil exists. How do we cling to promises like these when we lose our job, home, or loved ones? How do we dwell in the shelter of the Most High when the storms rage or we have nothing left but rubble?
During this season of Lent:
Let us turn our gaze to God and put our trust in him when the headlines spin out of control.
Let us consider our refuge, strength, and hope when hurt by those we love.
Let us join the Psalmist and say with him, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (Psalm 91:1–2), when our health fails.
Let us pray.
Dear God, shelter us in the storms. Give us strength for the battles. Help us in our marriages, parenting, and friendships. Help us as we work. Help us as we study. Help us as we eat and drink and talk and sleep. Thank you for dying for our sins. Forgive us. Lead us. And teach us, in Jesus’s name, AMEN.
*All rights reserved. Use by permission