Year C – First Sunday in Lent – Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

Summary – The psalmist here builds on the Israelite faith in Yahweh, the God who fights for His people.  In so many ways, this God has delivered His people monergistically, they only needed to believe.  When the Israelites trusted in themselves, their warriors, or chariots and horses, they were defeated; but when they trusted in the name of the Lord, they were protected.  Here, we read of the man who “dwells in the shelter of the Most High.”  This person has protection.  How does one dwell in such a place?  Verse 2 tells us:  it is by faith and “trust” in the Lord our God that shelter and protection is gained.  The Psalm is clear:  once you have made the Lord your refuge, no evil shall befall you and angels will guard you.  Reward for this trust is deliverance, protection, answered prayers, presence, rescue, long life, and salvation.

Insight – Do you ever feel like you have to do something in order for God to protect you or give you what you need?  Maybe you think, “Man, if only I had more of something, I could accomplish this goal.”  God has told us, however, that He is pleased to “fight for us,” to do the hard work of meeting our needs.  We need only to trust Him.  Now at the same time, this does not mean that we sit on our couches, waiting for food to just show up.  God uses ordinary means to meet these needs, and this in ways we cannot sometimes see, but other times in ways we take part in.  For instance, God provides food for us, and it is through employment and work that God ordinarily feeds us.  But our hard work in school or jobs to provide food or prepare us for careers is a gift of God, and lest we rely on our own efforts, we must remember to trust God fundamentally for all good things.

Child catechism – The Lord is your refuge and your fortress, what should you then do?  Trust in Him.

Discussion – Does “no evil shall be allowed to befall you” mean that nothing bad will ever happen to Christians?

Prayer – Lord, our refuge and fortress, we place our trust wholeheartedly in your almighty power, will, and plans.  Guard us from all temptation, evil, and hardheartedness, making us fit warriors for your kingdom.  Make us like you, be with us in trouble, and ultimately show us your salvation.  For Christ’s sake, Amen.

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