The Lord is the Home of His People (Psalm 91:9-10)

The Lord is the Home of His People (Psalm 91:9-10)

Psalm 91:9-10 “Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.”

We need to be reminded again and again that the only place we can find safety in the midst of evil and plague is the LORD (Yahweh) the Most High (Elyon). The divine personal the LORD, Yahweh, marks God’s unchanging promise of His protective covenant/chesed love for His people. The name the Most High, Elyon, marks the height of God’s majesty that provides protective shelter (cf. verse 1). The psalmist is preaching to himself and all of God’s people here.

When we are faced with evil and plague—illness and disease—our hearts tremble and we begin to look for refuge:

Refuge in knowledge; reading and watching the news constantly
Refuge in ignorance; avoiding the fact that evil and plague are a clear and present threat
Refuge in medicine; spending everything we have for medical help to no avail
Refuge in government; placing hope in the strength of men
Refuge in money and possessions; anesthetizing our fear through spending and materialism
Refuge in substances; numbing pain through the abuse of alcohol or drugs
Refuge in food and entertainment; dulling fear with mindless movies, shows and sports
Refuge in positivity; thinking we’re going to get through because generally everything’s alright
Refuge in exercise; taking our minds off of the evil and plague we face by burning some calories
Refuge in control; thinking that we can keep evil and plague from us in our own strength

Some of these are good gifts from the Lord, but when our hearts seek refuge in a gift over and above the Giver of the gift we are deceiving ourselves and we will fail to find the safety we seek. The ways we seek refuge in the face of evil and plague expose the functional idols our hearts are tempted to worship. John Calvin writes, “[The psalmist] dwells at this length in commendation of the providence of God, as knowing how slow men naturally are to restart to God in a right manner; and how much they need to be stimulated to this duty, and to be driven from those false and worldly refuges in which they confide.” (1) Where do we flee for refuge? Flee to God through trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Flee to God in prayer. Flee to God in your thoughts. Remind yourself of the promise of God in Jesus Christ to be with you to the very end of the age. Remind yourself of the certain unchangeable hope that God’s people have; that He gives eternal life through the gospel. Cling to God’s promise of heaven for His people.

The certain hope of refuge that the psalmist preaches to himself and God’s people is beyond anything this world could provide. The propositional truth and promise for God’s people is expressed in the two statements of verse 10: No evil shall be allowed to befall you. No plague shall come near your tent. This is similar to the hope of the psalmist in verse 7, that though thousands of wicked men die around him it will not come near him.

As we considered in verse 7 this does not mean that evil and plague won’t harm God’s people in this world, or even take their life. It means that though we face evil and plague in this world it can’t touch our souls. And one day at the resurrection our souls will be reunited with our bodies. On that day God will prove the truth of these promises. Men and illness may have taken our strength and even our very lives, but God will raise us up in strength and eternal life. Though wicked men may strike terror into our lives and kill us, that evil and wickedness shall not be allowed to befall us. Though illness and plague may ravage our bodies and we die that plague shall not be allowed to come near our souls and the hope of resurrected bodies when we are gathered home to God. Jesus taught, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Friends, do not fear evil or plague, because God’s promises here are perfectly fulfilled in Jesus Christ, and we are eagerly waiting and anticipating the full consummation of these promises when Jesus returns. So now we store up treasure in heaven, and find refuge in God’s promise of eternal life with Him. Come, Lord Jesus.

God is the dwelling place, refuge and tent of His people. If we are covered in the blood of Jesus Christ, neither the righteous wrath of God we deserve for our sins, nor the threats of evil or plague can come near us. God is the safe home of His people. Make your home in the Lord.

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary, come home.

Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home! (2)

1. Calvin, John Calvin’s Commentaries, Psalms 36-92, Volume 5 (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 483.

2. From the hymn Softly and Tenderly by Will L. Thompson (1847-1909).