When they call on me, I will answer.”
Scripture: Psalm 91:1-2; 9-16
1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Reader: This is the word of the Lord. Response: Thanks be to God.
One thing about Jesus that stands out in my mind was his relationship to his Father in heaven. Have you noticed how often and how regularly he left the disciples and everyone else to go into the mountains to pray? We are admonished in this Psalm to call the Lord our refuge, the Most High our fortress, our place of safety. Jesus made his Father his place of refuge and peace. I think that is partly why he often went alone up the mountains. God often speaks with great clarity in the mountains in Scripture. There was the giving of the Law to Moses, Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac, the Transfiguration, the Ark resting on Mount Ararat, and the Ascension from the Mount of Olives to name a few instances. I can’t imagine what it would have been like for Jesus, having come from the perfect holiness of heaven to an earth filled with greedy, sinful people who, it seems, always wanted something from him or who despised him. His solace was time away from people spent in solitary prayer with his Father. That was the time most like heaven . . . no sinful people around, just the creation, the Father and the Son. Is there something here for us to learn about solitude―away from people and alone with our Father? Jesus’ resources were renewed. Notice when he came down from the mountain, his strength returned as he went straight into his ministry.
There is another verse I’d like to comment on. Verse ten states “no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.” But evil does befall us and we have great difficulties, so how do we reconcile this verse? Always start with context. Notice where we are at the beginning of the psalm . . . “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High.” In other words, when we are in the presence of God we are ultimately protected. We are in an eternally safe place. Remember, we are aliens in this world; it is not our home. We were made for another world, an eternal one. Our safety and security in that world is certain.
Music: “How Did I Make It Over?” Mahalia Jackson Slow down and listen, this is a sung testimony! She’s singing from the “mountain!”
Prayer: Our Holy Father in heaven, it is so very clear that we live in a culture that has totally lost its way. We run around at a frantic pace. We get twitchy if we have to wait for anything. Our attention span is short. I’m praying things you already know about us. Forgive our deaf ears, distracted minds, shallow hearts, and self-absorption. Help us to live this psalm we just read. I pray it would be a reality today. Help me to find a “mountain” to be alone with you, and grant me the grace to listen, be focused on you, soften my heart, and look outward to your kingdom. Help me to live in your world during my time here until I enter your heavenly world. I praise you for your glorious Son who made all of this even possible. All glory to you Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.