March 21, 2020

“I Will Say of the LORD!”

Psalm 91 Part 2
Rev. Dr. Mark Raeburn Johnston

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.   Psalm 91:2

The confession of the Psalmist, “I will say of the Lord” is based on David’s own personal experience. David had fought many physical and spiritual battles. He had escaped many attempts on his life by those who hated him. In all of this, David never forgot the One in Whom he trusted.

According to the record of Second Samuel, chapter 22, David composed a song of praise that recalls the faithfulness of God;

“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior!”

So many of these beautiful words can be heard again in Psalm 91!

Yet it’s David’s testimony “I will say of the Lord” that perfectly summarizes his belief in God’s incredible, unconditional love, His protection and care.

This truth was repeated some three hundred years later by the Prophet Nahum who declared;

“The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him.” (Nahum 1:7)

Along with Nahum, and countless others, we can also confess that God is our refuge and our fortress.  Because the Lord loves us, we can be assured of His care and guidance. We can rest in the knowledge that the Lord Himself will surround us with the protection of angels while we journey in this world. A little further down in Psalm 91 we read the following verses;

Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place,10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.”  (Psalm 91:9-12)

There are stories of young Native American boys who endured ceremonial tests designed to fully initiate them into young adulthood. One purpose of these tests was to engender confidence in what they had been taught as children. Sometimes these youth were tested by being led into the wilderness to a secret place and abandoned to survive a day and a night on their own.

Once at that strange location, the daylight was used to build a shelter. Then, for an entire night, the young boy would remain alone in the darkness, listening to every little sound, wondering if he would be devoured by some wild beast.  Fear and anxiety made the night especially long and the darkness especially dark!

But the surprise came when, as the morning sun appeared, so too was the familiar figure of the protective father who had been on guard through the entire evening!

The youth learned that he’d never been left alone!

This is similar to our relationship with the living God and the world around us. Sometimes our faith is tested when we feel most vulnerable, especially when we feel abandoned and alone. But no matter how dark the night, we are not alone. No matter how strange the world, our heavenly Father is near us, watching over us.

This truth is the basis of our testimony. Together with the saints of old, we can “say of the Lord” that He is faithful, merciful and gracious. We can “say of the Lord” that our trust is well placed because He loves us and He is our refuge and our fortress!

During these difficult times, let’s share our testimony of hope with others and remind them that there is a loving, living God who will never abandon us, a Savior that prompts us to praise. Then let’s compose our song beginning with, “I will say of the Lord!”

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