Psalm 91 - God, Justice, Refuge and Protection




[New International Version] Psalm 91 belongs to Book IV of the Book of Psalms. This is a meditation on what trust in God presupposes and means.

The PS 91 belong to Book IV Book of Ps , which is composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book IV encompasses Psalms 90 to 106 . Psalm 91 is divided into 16 Verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 91 - God, Refuge and Protection

1  He who dwells under the protection of the Most High
and takes refuge in the shadow of the Almighty,

2 He  may exclaim: “O Lord,
You are my refuge and my citadel; You
are my God, in whom I trust!”

3  It is He who will deliver you from the trap
and protect you from the evil plague.

4  He will cover you with his feathers;
under his wings you will have refuge
his fidelity is shield and breastplate.

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

6  Thou shalt not fear the pestilence that rages in darkness,
nor the scourge that lay waste in broad daylight.

7  A thousand may fall on your left
and ten thousand on your right, and
it will not reach you.

8  Just open your eyes
and you will see the pay of evildoers.

9  For you said, “The Lord is my refuge”
and made the Most High your shelter.

10  No disgrace will come to you,
no epidemic will come to your tent.

11  By you He has commanded His angels
to guard you in all your ways.

12  They will carry you in the palm of their hands,
so that your foot does not stumble over any stone.

13  You will be able to walk on snakes and vipers,
trampling lions and dragons at your feet.

14  “Because he gave himself to me, I will set him free; I will
defend him, because he knows my name.

15  He calls on me and I answer him,
I will be with him in the tribulation,
to deliver him and cover him with honor.

16  I will satisfy you with long days of life
and will cause you to see my salvation.”

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 91 is a Psalm of wisdom model, with which it proposes a meditation on what it means and implies trust in God . The model of life on which this meditation focuses is that of someone who lives in the temple (Verses 1-2). Someone whose mission is to propose the truths of wisdom , according to the master-disciple relationship, addresses him in the second person, detailing what it means to be under God’s protection (Verses 3-13).

At the end of the Psalm, there is a kind of oracle in which God confirms and accentuates the thought that the teacher of wisdom had expounded (Verses 14-16). The recipient of this lesson of wisdom is literarily a singular person, but the spirit that infuses itself projects itself on the experience of the entire nation .

The Sapiential Psalms are books of Sacred Scripture ( Libri Sapientiales ) that contain, above all, moral sentences from ancient Israel - Proverbs, Job, Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Song of Songs, Wisdom. These prayers are filled with ancient inspiration and wisdom, life experiences and the history of peoples. They analyze human behavior , ethical choices and their consequences, and the search for the meaning of life and death for each one of us and as a society.

Various themes are addressed in these Psalms such as justice / injustice; sinful / righteous; wisdom/foolishness; bad / good; fidelity / infidelity; the honor or lack of it, the virtue that exists in prudence in speaking, in being fair, in knowing how to be rich. The existence of God is never questioned. He is Creator, Lord, Judge, Wise.

The Wisdom Psalms are also understood as a guide for everyone to meditate on the issues of their daily lives and the mysteries of life. The Psalmist uses his own and others’ experiences to discern the path to take based on correct moral principles. They are based on the assumption that what we do in this world, we pay in this life. The wisdom style appears in Psalm 1; 14; 34; 36; 37; 39; 49; 53; 73; 74.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy .