The Faithfulness of God and the Assurance of our Security
Read Psalm 91:1-16
“His Faithfulness is a shield and bulwark”
Psalm 91 is written for times of uncertainty in the face of grave perils. In verse 5-12 we see an array of circumstances that bring real threats and overwhelming fear. We see the onslaught of pestilence, disease, and illness (vs 3,6,10). We hear the approaching of enemies that bring destructive war (3, 5, 7). We feel the apprehension of a traveler walking alone on a dangerous path (vs 12-13). We experience the terror comes when surrounded by unseen threats in the darkness of night (5). All of which serve to provide us a picture of the circumstances that create overwhelming anxiety that are outside our control and beyond our ability to overcome.
But unlike the Psalms of Lament (such as Ps. 13), where the psalmist feels abandoned by God, this Psalmist writes from the context of confidence and assurance that God will be present and active in our lives, protecting us from all the threats we face. When we dwell in the shelter of the Most High, we discover a place of absolute security and impenetrable protection (vs 1-2). But this is not merely offering up a quick prayer, asking for God’s protective hand when things start getting rough. The terms dwell and abide point to taking up one’s residents and continuing to live in the presence of God. The reason why our God often seems distant in times of trials is because we only seek him when trials come. Instead of seeing the presence of God as a place to permanently live, we only see him as a fortress to flee to in times of trouble, but the rest of the time we go about our separate ways, living life as if he doesn’t exist or have little involvement in our life.
When we make our life centered on, and governed by our relationship with God, we begin to see life differently. We see that he is indeed one that we can rely upon in all circumstances because he is eternally faithful. To affirm his faithfulness is to affirm that he is always and completely dependable. The faithfulness of God means that he is always trustworthy and will always be true to his word and will fulfill every promise that he gives.
This then becomes our “shield and bulwark.” The term “shield” refers to the full-length protecting shield the soldiers stood behind in battle to block the blows and attacks of the enemy. It was used to provide a protective obstacle that would stand between the enemy and the person in order to absorb any of the blows to keep them from reaching the soldier. The bulwark refers to the protective fortifications surrounding the city and protection them from any large-scale attack. For the soldier, his defenses had to be dependable. They would be useless if they quickly collapsed as soon as the attack began.
For the one who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, God proves himself to be faithful and reliable. No matter how powerful the attack, the dependable nature of God provides us with an indestructible and impenetrable defense against any attack. While it is important that we take precautions in the face of threats, our ultimate defense is not found in the wisdom and actions of men, but in the sustaining promises of God. No matter what threat is confronting you today, if you are abiding in God, he stands between you and any threat, providing a protective shield cannot be broken.