Psalms 91

Dr. Steve Viars September 26, 1993 Psalms 91:

- let me ask you to reach in your pocket or your purse and
   get out some money--either a coin//dollar bill, whatever.

   - tell me if you agree with this statement:
      - many Americans are hypocritical every time they spend
      - INPUT - why is that true?  (because "they"//sometimes
         we need to say "we"// use coins that say "In God we
         trust" yet live in a way that is completely

- last week, we studied the previous Psalm, Psalm 90 which
   taught us about the brevity of life, and the eternality of
- that’s a critical Psalm -- "teach us to number our days,
   that we might apply our hearts to wisdom."

- in Psalm 91, the writer takes up a completely different
    - we're talking about "Cultivating A Relationship Of
       Trust With Our God."

- let’s read the first couple of verse together:
- READ 1-2

I. Our God Wants You To Trust Him - vv. 1-2

    - please notice that this verse doesn't automatically say
       that every person "abides under the shadow of the
    - instead, the verse says that you and I have to make
       some definite conscious choices if that's going to
       take place.

    - INPUT - what kind of choices?

        1) choose to dwell in the secret place of the most
            High.  - v. 1

        2) choose to SAY of the Lord - "He is my refuge and
            strength," "In Him will I trust."

    - see, the point is - the condition this Psalm is
        describing is not automatic.
    - a person has to make (and keep on making) a series of
        conscious choices to consider the Lord and the
        principles of God's Word worthy of his/her trust.

    - see, the question this Psalm raises is, are you
      "fundamentally" and "practically" a person who truts
       God, and "how often" and "how much" is that trust
       evident to those around?

- see, it's almost a joke for our country to have on it's
   currency "In God We Trust."
- it's hypocritical, it's meaningless
    - the average person in America seldom if ever thinks
      about that concept though they've got the words in
      their pockets, wallets, and purses every day.

- the real question is - is that all that phrase is to you,
   or to me?
- see, the Lord wants you to trust Him, in ways that are
   real, and meaningful, and genuine.

- now, let's think about a very important question together:

- INPUT - (On white board) - what are some ways a believer is
             called upon to trust the Lord today?

             (various answers)

    - now it's important to note, that when we talk about
      trust, we're talking about trusting//believing//having
      faith in/// the revealed will of God in His Word.
    - genuine biblical faith is never without an object.
       - that object is always the revealed will of God.

- when you hear me talking about faith this morning, please
   don't think of the person, for example, who might decide
   to start a new business and say something like; "I'm
   just trusting God to make my business a success!"

- INPUT - what's wrong with a statement like that?
    (nothing in the Scripture that says your business will be
      a success, there may be more potential spiritual growth
      for you if your business flops,... )

- so, when we talk about trusting God, we're talking
   about trusting God as He has revealed Himself in the Word.

- now, it's obvious that the Psalmist had that kind of
   relationship with the Lord.

  (explain why you're saying "the Psalmist" - orphan Psalm,
     probably Moses)

- I say that this writer clearly had cultivated a
   relationship with the Lord where he trusted Him just by
   the variety of names he used to describe the Lord just in
   the verses we've read.

    1.  Elyon (El-ee-on) "The Most High" -- Possession

        - He is "the possessor of Heaven and earth"
           - that is the thought connected with this name.

            - He owns everything.  The thought is that of

            - God is our refuge, our fortress because He is
              the most High.

    2.  Shaddai "The Almighty" -- Provision

        - The thought behind this name is that God is not
           only a living God, but also a giving God!

        - He is the One Who supplies all our needs.
           cf.  Phil. 4:19

    3.  Jehovah (Yahweh) "The LORD" -- Promise

       - This was God's covenant name for Israel.  He entered
          into a special relationship with Israel where He
          became their God and they became His people.

       - He is a faithful God Who keeps His promises.

     4.  Elohim (Uh-Lo-Heem) God --Power

        - This is the word used in Gen. 1:1 where God is the
           God of creation.  It shows His power.

        - God is a majestic, all-powerful God.  The God of

- we're saying that the psalmist understood the importance of
   cultivating a relationship with our Lord where we choose
   to trust Him.

- let me broaden this out for a moment by saying - "It may be
   harder than ever before to cultivate a trusting
   relationship with God, because we're not called upon to do
   so in other areas of life."

    - the modernization of our culture has made it less and
      less necessary//and less and less possible for you and
      I to trust anyone today.
    - Isn't that true?

    - think about it from the perspective of less and less
        - before the modernization of our world (and the
          impersonalization that went with it) - you would
          have known personally the individual that produced
          the goods you used.

        - if you had a horse that needed to be "shoed," you
          knew the blacksmith personally--and you either
          trusted him or you didn't--but you had direct
          contact with him.
        - that’s not true today.
           - there are so many steps between producer and
             consumer that you have no idea about the
             character of the person who assembled your car.
           - that breeds natural skepticism because there no
              access to personal facts.

- the same is true for your need to trust anyone...
   - we've got so many gizmo's and gadgets and labor-saving
     devices that we could pretty well get along without
     others for months.
- there's really not that many people we have to trust today.
- I'm not suggesting that we go back to horse and buggy days,
   but I am suggesting that we think about how our culture
   today might affect our ability//desire to obey//cultivate
   what this Psalm is talking about.

- we Americans are stubbornly independent--maybe thats not
   all bad
     - but think about how "not having to trust anyone" could
        very easily lead to not having to/wanting to depend
        on our God.

- if we're not careful, pretty soon we're not much different
   than the unbeliever who has the phrase "In God We Trust" on
   their coins--but it has long since had any real effect on
   the way they live.

- now, verse 3-13 give us a number of:

II. Reasons Why Our God Is Trustworthy - vv. 3-13

    - let's divide them into two categories, the Deliverance
      of God, and the Care of God, and move through them
      pretty rapidly.

    A. The Deliverance of God - 3-8

       INPUT - please scan down through these verses and look
        for ways the Psalmist describes God's deliverance of
        those who "dwell in the secret place of the Most

        1) from the snare of the fowler - v. 3

            - from the person who is bent upon catching or
               destroying us.

        2) from noisome pestilence - v. 3

           - probably another "word picture" to describe the
             destruction that comes on believers because of
             the devices of sinful men.

        3) with feathers and wings - v. 4

            - cf. Exodus 19:4 - "Ye have seen what I did unto
               the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagle's
               wings, and brought you unto myself."

            - cf. how the Lord grieved at how His protection
               had been rejected - "How often would I have
               gathered thy children together, even as a hen
               gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye
               would not!"

        4) with His truth as a shield and buckler - v. 4

             shield - ward off arrows
             buckler - armor itself

        5) from the fear of darkness - v. 5

        6) from the fear of pestilence and plague - v. 6

        7) fear of plague - v. 7

- the point is that there are many reasons why our Lord is
     - will you and I live in a way that is consistent with
        these truths?

- the same kinds of truths are given in verses 9-13

B. The care of God

    - these verses describe three manifestations of the care
      of God.

    1. prevention of pestilence - v. 10

        - please remember, these were promises made to Israel
          and some of them have a "national flavor" to them.
        - we have to factor in NT truth in order to make the
           proper application:

          - you couldn't take a verse like verse 10 and make
            it say, "If you trust God, nothing difficult will
            happen to you."

          - God preserves believers in different ways:

             a) preserves believers By Danger

                cf. Joseph and Jonah

             b) preserves believers In Danger

               cf. Job and Daniel

             c) preserves believers From Danger

               cf. Enoch and Noah

    2. the ministry of angels - vv. 11-12

    3. provision of strength - v. 13

- I've hurried through those statements, not because they're
   not important, but because I wanted to have time to look
   at the "bottom lines" of this Psalm.

- in verses 14-16, there's a clear shift in who's speaking.
   - INPUT - who is speaking now?  (The Lord)

- we've talked about how our Lord wants you to trust Him,
   reasons our God is trustworthy,  let's finish up by

III. Will You Choose To Develop and Cultivate A Trusting
      Relationship With Him?

    - these last three verses make some great promises:
       - I will deliver him
       - I will set him on high
       - I will be with him in trouble
       - I will deliver him
       - I will honor him
       - I will satisfy him with long life
       - I will show him my salvation

  - but, the promises in these verses are not unconditional

- INPUT - what are the conditions stated in the verses?

    - if he "sets his love on me"
    - if he "knows my name"
    - if he "calls upon me"

- see, the only way a "trusting relationship" can take place
   with the Lord is if it's cultivated.
- now, let's spend the rest of our time discussing the

    INPUT - How do you develop//cultivate a trusting
      relationship with the Lord?

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video