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Psalm that had a profound impact on me
by Dave Crane - Tuesday, 24 November 2009
I suppose I am not alone in that the most influential Psalm on my life has been Psalm 91.

I grew up in Central America, as the son of missionary parents. Although there were more violent parts of the world, there was danger and trouble lurking everywhere, whether it came from puppet regime governments, or leftist guerillas or the inevitable thwarts of satanic forces opposed to our work. I remember early on talking with my parents about the security and safety that God provides us, especially when we are about Kingdom business.

So, it was a natural thing that one of the first passages I committed to memory was Psalm 91, with its many references to God's protection.

Psalm 91

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Our family were avid outdoors people, and I remember often discussing the "refuge" of dwelling in His shelter and under His protection.

2 I will say [b] of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."

There were times we felt we could clearly see the cosmic battle between good and evil, and would call upon the Lord to provide us with refuge and to be our fortress.

3 Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.

We often saw the ravages of disease, and in our ministry were exposed to "pestilences", and yet we never were seriously ill from our exposures.

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

I learned early that God's faithfulness to me provided me with great comfort, and I loved the metaphor of God as my "mother hen" keeping me close and safe. Later in life, I especially came to appreciate God's faithfulness towards me, even when my own doubt did not appear to make me worthy.

5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,

I especially remember a situation when we were caught between a war between two countries, and would listen for planes that would fly over our college campus and have to turn out the lights and take refuge under our beds, since they tried several times to take out the nearby hydroelectric dam. I especially remember thinking of the "terror of night" as I could hear the planes overhead.

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

There is such a comfort that comes from knowing that God will protect us when we are engaged in His service, even though we may be surrounded by the many "casualties" of this planet's cosmic struggle.

8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

9 If you make the Most High your dwellingó
even the LORD, who is my refuge-

10 then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;

There were many times that we could feel and see what we knew were the direct intervention of God's angels on our behalf protecting us from harm, whether from the dangers of poorly constructed roads, the ravages of inclement weather or from the harm that could come from desperate people with intent to harm us.

12 they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

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

Ironically, the danger from poisonous snakes especially had an impact on me, since we often would fine snakes in our homes or in our garden. Providentially, we never were bitten by these serpents.

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

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

I especially love God's reference to "my loving Him", which to me means that I trust him as my provider, protector and ultimate redeemer. I also love the reference that no matter where I was or am, I can always call on the protection of my heavenly Father.

16 With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

What an awesome way to end one of the most beautiful Psalms, with the assurance of my eternal destiny in him!
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