Psalm 91:1
He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
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91:1-8 He that by faith chooses God for his protector, shall find all in him that he needs or can desire. And those who have found the comfort of making the Lord their refuge, cannot but desire that others may do so. The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is a noisome pestilence. Great security is promised to believers in the midst of danger. Wisdom shall keep them from being afraid without cause, and faith shall keep them from being unduly afraid. Whatever is done, our heavenly Father's will is done; and we have no reason to fear. God's people shall see, not only God's promises fulfilled, but his threatenings. Then let sinners come unto the Lord upon his mercy-seat, through the Redeemer's name; and encourage others to trust in him also.He that dwelleth - Everyone that so dwells. The proposition is universal, and is designed to embrace all who are in this condition. It is true of one; it is true of all. The word rendered "dwelleth" here is a participle from the verb to "sit," and here means "sitting:" literally, "sitting in the secret place," etc. The idea is that of calm repose; of resting; of sitting down - as one does in his dwelling.

In the secret place - On the meaning of this see the notes at Psalm 27:5. Compare Psalm 31:20; Psalm 32:7. Abiding where God abides. The idea is that of having one's home or residence in the most holy place in the tabernacle or the temple, and of sitting with him in that sacred place.

Of the Most High - Of God, represented as exalted above all; over all the universe.

Shall abide - Margin, as in Hebrew, "lodge." That is his home - his resting place - where he lodges, or passes the night. He takes up his lodging there; he makes it his home.

Under the shadow of the Almighty - Under his protection, as if under his wings. Compare the notes at Psalm 17:8. This is a general statement, and is designed as an introduction to the whole psalm, or as expressing what the psalm is intended to illustrate, "the blessedness" of the man who thus dwells with God; who makes him his friend; who makes the home of God his home.

abide: Heb. lodge
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High,.... Or the Supreme; a title of God, who is superior to all beings, the Creator and Preserver of them, God over all, higher than the highest of angels or men; see Genesis 14:22, "his secret place" is his heart, his bosom, where his only begotten Son lies; and into which he takes his people, where they are set as a seal, and who enjoy intimate communion with him; which is no other than his gracious presence, called "the secret of his presence", Psalm 31:20, which none but saints are admitted to, when his everlasting love, which was a secret in his heart, is made known unto them, and in which they also dwell, 1 John 4:16, as they likewise do in the eternal decree of election; which perhaps is meant by "the clefts of the rock, and secret places of the stairs", where the church is said to dwell, Sol 2:14, unless rather Christ the Rock, and who may be signified by the cleft of that Moses was put into, when the goodness of the Lord passed before him, is intended; and who is the hiding place from the wind: mention is made of "the secret" of God's "tabernacle", Psalm 27:5, in which he hides his people; alluding to the tabernacle, or temple, and the most holy place in it, called his secret place, Ezekiel 7:22, and may refer to the ministry of the word and ordinances, where saints dwell, and enjoy much communion with God; and who are particularly under his special providence, protection, and power; which may here be designed:

shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty: who is able to do all things for his people, and is "Shaddai", all sufficient, as this word is thought to signify; has a sufficiency of happiness in and for himself, and of provisions for all his creatures, and of power and grace for his own children: his "shadow" may be the same with his secret place, his power and protection, often in this book of Psalms called "the shadow of his wings", Psalm 17:8, in allusion to birds that overshadow and protect their young with their wings; though perhaps the allusion here may be to the shadow of a tree, and design the word and ordinances of the Lord's house, which are a delightful, refreshing, reviving, and fruitful shadow, Sol 2:3, where gracious souls dwell, and abide with great delight and pleasure. Christ, the Son of God, is sometimes compared to the shadow of a rock, or tree, which screens and shelters from heat; as he preserves his people from the heat of a fiery law, the flaming sword of justice, the wrath of God, the fiery darts of Satan, and the fury of persecutors: under this shadow do they abide or lodge all night, safe and secure, as the word (o) signifies: the Targum calls this shadow the shadow of the clouds of glory; the Arabic version, "the shadow of the God of heaven."

(m) So in Tikkune Zohar, correct. 20. fol. 50. 1.((n) T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 8. 2.((o) "indesinenter pernoctans", Junius & Tremellius; "pernoctat", Piscator, Gejerus; "pernoctabit", Michaelis.

He that dwelleth in the {a} secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

(a) He who makes God his defence and trust will perceive his protection to be a most sure safeguard.

1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will Itrust.

Psalm 91:1

"He that dwelleth, in the secret place of the most High." The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God. Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional approaches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence. Those who through rich grace obtain unusual and continuous communion with God, so as to abide in Christ and Christ in them, become possessors of rare and special benefits, which are missed by those who follow afar off, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Into the secret place those only come who know the love of God in Christ Jesus, and those only dwell there to whom to live is Christ. To them the veil is rent, the mercy-seat is revealed, the covering cherubs are manifest, and the awful glory of the Most High is apparent: these, like Simeon, have the Holy Ghost upon them, and like Anna they depart not from the temple; they are the courtiers of the Great King, the valiant men who keep watch around the bed of Solomon, the virgin souls who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Elect out of the elect, they have "attained unto the first three," and shall walk with their Lord in white, for they are worthy. Sitting down in the august presence-chamber where shines the mystic light of the Sheckinah, they know what it is to be raised up together, and to be made to sit together with Christ in the heavenlies, and of them it is truly said that their conversation is in heaven. Special grace like theirs brings with it special immunity. Outer court worshippers little know what belongs to the inner sanctuary, or surely they would press on until the place of nearness and divine familiarity became theirs. Those who are the Lord's constant guests shall find that he will never suffer any to be injured within his gates; he has eaten the covenant salt with them, and is pledged for their protection.

"Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." The Omnipotent Lord will shield all those who dwell with him, they shall remain under his care as guests under the protection of their host. In the most holy place the wings of the cherubim were the most conspicuous objects, and they probably suggested to the Psalmist the expression here employed. Those who commune with God are safe with him, no evil can reach them, for the outstretched wings of his power and love cover them from all harm. This protection is constant - they abide under it, and it is all-sufficient, for it is the shadow of the Almighty, whose omnipotence will surely screen them from all attack. No shelter can be imagined at all comparable to the protection of Jehovah's own shadow. The Almighty himself is where his shadow is, and hence those who dwell in his secret place are shielded by himself. What a shade in the day of noxious heat! What a refuge in the hour of deadly storm! Communion with God is safety. The more closely we cling to our Almighty Father the more confident may we be.

Psalm 91:2

"I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress." To take up a general truth and make it our own by personal faith is the highest wisdom. It is but poor comfort to say 'the Lord is a refuge,' but to say he is my refuge, is the essence of consolation. Those who believe should also speak - "I will say," for such bold avowals honour God and lead others to seek the same confidence. Men are apt enough to proclaim their doubts, and even to boast of them, indeed there is a party nowadays of the most audacious pretenders to culture and thought, who glory in casting suspicion upon everything; hence it becomes the duty of all true believers to speak out and testify with calm courage to their own well-grounded reliance upon their God. Let others say what they will, be it ours to say of the Lord, "he is our refuge." But what we say we must prove by our actions, we must fly to the Lord for shelter, and not to an arm of flesh. The bird flies away to the thicket, and the fox hastens to its hole, every creature uses its refuge in the hour of danger, and even so in all peril or fear of peril let us flee unto Jehovah, the Eternal Protector of his own. Let us, when we are secure in the Lord, rejoice that our position is unassailable, for he is our fortress as well as our refuge. No moat, portcullis, drawbridge, wall, battlement and donjon, could make us so secure as we are when the attributes of the Lord of Hosts environ us around. Behold this day the Lord is to us instead of walls and bulwarks! Our ramparts defy the leaguered hosts of hell. Foes in flesh, and foes in ghostly guise are alike baulked of their prey when the Lord of Hosts stands between us and their fury, and all other evil forces are turned aside. Walls cannot keep out the pestilence, but the Lord can.

As if it were not enough to call the Lord his refuge and fortress, he adds, "My God I in him will I trust." Now he can say no more; "my God" means all, and more than all, that heart can conceive by way of security. It was most meet that he should say "in him will I trust," since to deny faith to such a one were wilful wickedness and wanton insult. He who dwells in an impregnable fortress, naturally trusts in it; and shall not he who dwells in God feel himself well at ease, and repose his soul in safety? O that we more fully carried out the Psalmist's resolve! We have trusted in God let us trust him still. He has never failed us, why then should we suspect him? To trust in man is natural to fallen nature, to trust in God should be as natural to regenerated nature. Where there is every reason and warrant for faith, we ought to place our confidence without hesitancy or wavering. Dear reader, pray for grace to say, "In him will I trust."

After the transitoriness of men has now been confirmed in Psalm 90:6. out of the special experience of Israel, the fact that this particular experience has its ground in a divine decree of wrath is more definitely confirmed from the facts of this experience, which, as Psalm 90:11. complain, unfortunately have done so little to urge them on to the fear of God, which is the condition and the beginning of wisdom. In Psalm 90:9 we distinctly hear the Israel of the desert speaking. That was a generation that fell a prey to the wrath of God (דּור עברתו, Jeremiah 7:29). עברה is wrath that passes over, breaks through the bounds of subjectivity. All their days (cf. Psalm 103:15) are passed away (פּנה, to turn one's self, to turn, e.g., Deuteronomy 1:24) in such wrath, i.e., thoroughly pervaded by it. They have spent their years like a sound (כּמו־הגה), which has hardly gone forth before it has passed away, leaving no trace behind it; the noun signifies a gentle dull sound, whether a murmur (Job 37:2) or a groan (Ezekiel 2:10). With בּהם in Psalm 90:10 the sum is stated: there are comprehended therein seventy years; they include, run up to so many. Hitzig renders: the days wherein (בהם) our years consist are seventy years; but שׁנותינו side by side with ימי must be regarded as its more minute genitival definition, and the accentuation cannot be objected to. Beside the plural שׁנים the poetic plural שׁנות appears here, and it also occurs in Deuteronomy 32:7 (and nowhere else in the Pentateuch). That of which the sum is to be stated stands first of all as a casus absol. Luther's rendering: Siebenzig Jar, wens hoch kompt so sinds achtzig (seventy years, or at the furthest eighty years), as Symmachus also meant by his ἐν παραδόξῳ (in Chrysostom), is confirmed by the Talmudic הגיע לגבורות, "to attain to extreme old age" (B. Moכd katan, 28a), and rightly approved of by Hitzig and Olshausen. גבוּרת signifies in Psalm 71:16 full strength, here full measure. Seventy, or at most eighty years, were the average sum of the extreme term of life to which the generation dying out in the wilderness attained. ורהבּם the lxx renders τὸ πλεῖον αὐτῶν, but רהבּם is not equivalent to רבּם. The verb רהב signifies to behave violently, e.g., of importunate entreaty, Proverbs 6:3, of insolent treatment, Isaiah 3:5, whence רהב (here רהב), violence, impetuosity, and more especially a boastful vaunting appearance or coming forward, Job 9:13; Isaiah 30:7. The poet means to say that everything of which our life is proud (riches, outward appearance, luxury, beauty, etc.), when regarded in the right light, is after all only עמל, inasmuch as it causes us trouble and toil, and און, because without any true intrinsic merit and worth. To this second predicate is appended the confirmatory clause. חישׁ is infin. adverb. from חוּשׁ, הישׁ, Deuteronomy 32:35 : speedily, swiftly (Symmachus, the Quinta, and Jerome). The verb גּוּז signifies transire in all the Semitic dialects; and following this signification, which is applied transitively in Numbers 11:31, the Jewish expositors and Schultens correctly render: nam transit velocissime. Following upon the perfect גּז, the modus consecutivus ונּעפה maintains its retrospective signification. The strengthening of this mood by means of the intentional ah is more usual with the 1st pers. sing., e.g., Genesis 32:6, than with the 1st pers. plur., as here and in Genesis 41:11; Ew. 232, g. The poet glances back from the end of life to the course of life. And life, with all of which it had been proud, appears as an empty burden; for it passed swiftly by and we fled away, we were borne away with rapid flight upon the wings of the past.

Such experience as this ought to urge one on to the fear of God; but how rarely does this happen! and yet the fear of God is the condition (stipulation) and the beginning of wisdom. The verb ידע in Psalm 90:11, just as it in general denotes not merely notional but practically living and efficient knowledge, is here used of a knowledge which makes that which is known conduce to salvation. The meaning of וּכיראתך is determined in accordance with this. The suffix is here either gen. subj.: according to Thy fearfulness (יראה as in Ezekiel 1:18), or gen. obj.: according to the fear that is due to Thee, which in itself is at once (cf. Psalm 5:8; Exodus 20:20; Deuteronomy 2:25) more natural, and here designates the knowledge which is so rarely found, as that which is determined by the fear of God, as a truly religious knowledge. Such knowledge Moses supplicates for himself and for Israel: to number our days teach us rightly to understand. 1 Samuel 23:17, where כּן ידע signifies "he does not know it to be otherwise, he is well aware of it," shows how כּן is meant. Hitzig, contrary to the accentuation, draws it to למנות ימינו; but "to number our days" is in itself equivalent to "hourly to contemplate the fleeting character and brevity of our lifetime;" and כּן הודע prays for a true qualification for this, and one that accords with experience. The future that follows is well adapted to the call, as frequently aim and result. But הביא is not to be taken, with Ewald and Hitzig, in the signification of bringing as an offering, a meaning this verb cannot have of itself alone (why should it not have been ונקריב?). Bttcher also erroneously renders it after the analogy of Proverbs 2:10 : "that we may bring wisdom into the heart," which ought to be בּלב. הביא, deriving its meaning from agriculture, signifies "to carry off, obtain, gain, prop. to bring in," viz., into the barn, 2 Samuel 9:10, Hagg. Psa 1:6; the produce of the field, and in a general way gain or profit, is hence called תּבוּאה. A wise heart is the fruit which one reaps or garners in from such numbering of the days, the gain which one carries off from so constantly reminding one's self of the end. לבב חכמה is a poetically intensified expression for לב חכם, just as לב מרפּא in Proverbs 14:30 signifies a calm easy heart.

PSALM 91

Ps 91:1-16. David is the most probable author; and the pestilence, mentioned in 2Sa 24:13-15, the most probable of any special occasion to which the Psalm may refer. The changes of person allowable in poetry are here frequently made.

1. dwelleth in the secret place—(Ps 27:5; 31:20) denotes nearness to God. Such as do so abide or lodge secure from assaults, and can well use the terms of trust in Ps 91:2.

He that dwelleth in the secret place - The Targum intimates that this is a dialogue between David, Solomon, and Jehovah. Suppose we admit this, - then

David asserts: "He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty," Psalm 91:1.

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

David replies, and tells him what blessings he shall receive from God if he abide faithful, Psalm 91:3-13.

Then the Supreme Being is introduced, and confirms all that David had spoken concerning Solomon, Psalm 91:14-16 : and thus this sacred and instructive dialogue ends.

In the secret place of the Most High - Spoken probably in reference to the Holy of holies. He who enters legitimately there shall be covered with the cloud of God's glory - the protection of the all-sufflcient God. This was the privilege of the high priest only, under the law: but under the new covenant all believers in Christ have boldness to enter tnto the holiest by the blood of Jesus; and those who thus enter are safe from every evil.

91:1 He - He that makes God his habitation and refuge.
Psalm 90:17
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