“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’

…If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

‘Because he loves me,’ says the LORD, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16, NIV)

In this otherwise unidentified Psalm, we have two kinds of shadows contrasted. In verse 1 we find a reference to “the shadow of the Almighty.” We are told that this is a place of rest for “whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High.” The writer professes his confidence in the shelter and shadow of the Most High, the Almighty in verse 2; “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

Looking at verses 3-8 of Psalm 91 we see the shadows that plague the world in which we live, our flesh which is so vulnerable and the devil who wishes to devour us. So often the days of people’s lives are darkened by fowler’s snares, [schemes to trap us], deadly pestilence [bacteria and viruses], the terror of night [anxieties and insecurities], the arrow that flies by day [war and violent crime], pestilence that stalks in the darkness, plagues, death and destruction.

The words of this Psalm emphasize the fact that our world is not a safe playground. We are vulnerable and we need a protector, who will not only help us get through this world but will carry us securely into the next world. That protector is the Most High, the Almighty; Christ, the Lord.

In Luke 4:1-13 we find a connection that links Psalm 91 with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.” [Verses 1-2] Luke records three specific challenges the devil threw at Jesus; “…If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.”; “The devil …showed him …all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘…If you worship me, it will all be yours.’; and thirdly, “The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said, ‘throw yourself down from here. For it is written: “He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”’

In Luke’s account we see the shadows of doubt, played against discomfort and potential disillusionment regarding God’s plan and presence in Jesus’ current circumstances. The repeated word “if” is the theme of doubt. The devil cast shadows of doubt over Jesus identity and God’s plan and purpose in Jesus’ life. The devil wants to do that with us as well.

Jesus had the answers that dissipated the shadows of doubt and defeated the devil’s purposes. ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone.”’ [Deut. 8:3] ‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”’ [Deut. 6:13] And ‘It is said: “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ [Deut. 6:16]

Jesus turned to the Scriptures to dispel the shadows of doubt and He would have us know and utilize the same resources to dispel the shadows that befall us. Psalm 91 is one of those resources and significantly it is quoted, out of context, by the devil in Luke 4:10-11. That fact reveals to us something very valuable about Psalm 91; it points us to Christ.

Jesus Christ exemplified the person who “dwells in the shelter of the Most High and rests in the shadow of the Almighty.” Jesus’s replies to the devil’s temptations shows us the man who “will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”

Jesus beat the devil, with the profound assurances we find in Psalm 91, verses 3-8; “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.”

Verses 9-13, taken in proper context, unlike the way the devil used them, presents us with a proposition.

“If you say, ‘The LORD is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.”

Jesus Christ, the LORD Incarnate, came into the world to trample to death the devouring lion, crushing the head of the serpent. While on this earth He dwelt in the shelter of the Most High and rested in the shadow of the Almighty. Jesus saw through the shadows of this fallen world to the glory of resurrection and never waivered on His journey to the Cross. Because of Christ Jesus, we are invited to also dwell forever in the shelter of the Most High and find rest in the shadow of the Almighty; the shadow of the Cross.

Will you seek to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, in the Spirit and the Truth?

Will you quiet yourself, even in the midst of this busy world and especially during times of testing and trial, and seek rest in the shadow of the Almighty?

Will you say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’?

Will you say to the LORD, you are my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust, no matter what shadows fall upon your life?

Thus, we will find the assurance of Christ, expressed in the closing verses of Psalm 91, as our own; “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Jesus Christ, crucified, buried and risen again is our salvation. The shadow of the Almighty is the shadow of an empty cross. The shadow of the cross is our resting place if we will rest by faith in the finished work of Jesus.

Even in our darkest days, may we find rest in the fact that God so loved each one of us, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

“He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”