By David Vincent
Psalm 91:1 NIV
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I have been trying to figure out how to talk about this chapter since March 17. Though my pen and quill is a keyboard there are virtual wads of paper overflowing my virtual wastepaper basket.
My normal method is to overcomplicate what God makes simple. Let me see if I can take you there. Hopefully.
Every night, while we sleep, my wife and I listen to the book of Psalms.
I was not so sure I would be able to sleep when she first suggested setting the needle to the Bible through the night. But I figured that nightly conditioning might work, and maybe, hopefully, the scriptures would find their way past my brain and into my soul. Through the first month or so I remained awake for a couple of hours listening intently and wondering about things like: Might I be one of the wicked, King David lamented over? For my wife Psalms was like soft music and a waterfall putting her to sleep.
Over a year now and we have rewired ourselves. We are now unable to sleep without the Bible playing. You know how Jesus is a crutch. Well, playing the Bible through the night is now my CPAP machine–or I stop breathing.
March 17. My wife had a hard night. She woke and went into the living room to pray and worry–about this whole Covid-19 crisis. Much of her prayers were, yes, about the whole mess and where it is taking us, but more were about our daughter who lives and works in a place that survives on tourism. Praying she keeps her job, and praying that the virus did not land on that little place.
When my wife felt like she was done worrying and complaining, she returned to bed just as the book of Psalms started on Chapter 91. It was as if God had led her to that moment. A moment when we stop talking and He speaks.
It tells of how
3 NIV Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the deadly plague.
And with that she was able to find sleep.
In the morning and through the day we talked about that wonderful chapter. How He is where we run to. How He protects us. How He is even concerned for us when we stub our toe.
Verse 12 NIV They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
But to the point of where I landed with this chapter. It is part of my long struggle to grasp the urgent admonition that we enter Jesus’ rest in Hebrews. I want to enter, but I make it a complicated and self-empowered task.
Hebrews 4:1 NIV Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
What is awesome is how Hebrews 3 and 4 puts together how Jesus is, in fact, the Sabbath.
I am reminded of what Jesus said.
Mark 2:27 NIV Then He [Jesus] said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”
The thing I keep trying to redirect my thinking (every five minutes) to is how Jesus is always doing things far outside of our little ideas, arguments, worries, side-taking, default run-tos, and favorite flavor of Kool-Aid-drinking.
Isaiah 55:8 NIV For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
And so. This takes me back to Psalm 91 and the one simplicity that finally got through to me.
As the world falls around us what does God tell us to do? Dwell in His shelter. Make Him your refuge and fortress. Put your trust in Him. It is that simple.
91:1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, “You are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Image of Nicolaes Maes’s Christ Blessing the Children via Wikimedia Commons — Public Domain
Thank you for the kind word, Juliet. It is in times like these where we find Jesus is truly the most restful and beautiful place.