Verse 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 every thing: 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 leagured hosts of hell. Foes in flesh, and foes in ghostly guise are alike balked 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! 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."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. My refuge, my fortress, my God. "My refuge." God is our "refuge." He who avails himself of a refuge is one who is forced to fly. It is a quiet retreat from a pursuing enemy. And there are trials, and temptations, and enemies, from which the Christian does best to fly. He cannot resist them. They are too strong for him. His wisdom is to fly into the refuge of the secret place of his God -- to rest in the shadow of the Almighty. His "strength is to sit still" there. Isaiah 30:7 . "My fortress." The Psalmist says, moreover, that God is his "fortress." Here the idea is changed -- no longer a peaceful, quiet hiding place, but a tower of defence -- strong, manifest, ready to meet the attacks of all enemies, ready and able to resist them all. God is a Friend who meets every want in our nature, who can supply every need. So when we are weak and fainting, and unable to meet the brunt of battle, and striving against sin and sorrow and the wrath of man He is our safe, quiet resting place -- our fortress also where no harm can reach us, no attack injure us. "My God." Now the Psalmist, as a summing up of all his praises, says "I will say of Him, He is... my God!" Is there any thing omitted in the former part of his declaration? Everything is here -- all possible ascription of honour, and glory, and power to Him "as God" -- "God over all, blessed for ever," and of love, reverence, trust, obedience, and filial relation towards him on the part of the Psalmist, as MY God ... when reflecting on the refuge and strength which the Lord has always been to him, and recalling his blessed experiences of sweet communion with God -- words fail him. He can only say (but oh, with what expression!) MY GOD! Mary B.M. Duncan.
Verse 2. My God. Specially art Thou my God, first, on thy part, because of the special goodness and favour which Thou dost bestow upon me. Secondly, on my part, because of the special love and reverence with which I cling to Thee. J. Paulus Palanterius.
Verse 2-4. If the severity and justice of God terrify, the Lord offereth himself as a bird with stretched out wings to receive the supplicant, Psalms 91:4 . If enemies who are too strong do pursue, the Lord openeth his bosom as a refuge, Psalms 91:2 . If the child be assaulted, he becometh a fortress, Psalms 91:2 . If he be hotly pursued and enquired after, the Lord becometh a secret place to hide his child; if persecution be hot, God giveth himself for a shadow; if potentates and mighty rulers turn enemies, the Lord interposes as the Most High and Almighty Saviour, Psalms 91:1 . If his adversaries be crafty like fowlers or hunters, the Lord promises to prevent and break the snares, Ps 91:3. Whether evils do come upon the believer night or day, secretly or openly, to destroy him, the Lord preserveth his child from destruction; and if stumbling blocks be laid in his child's way, he hath his instruments, his servants, his angels, prepared to keep the believer that he stumble not: He shall give his angels charge over thee; not one angel only, but all of them, or a number of them. David Dickson.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- Observe the nouns applied to God -- refuge from trouble, fortress in trouble, God at all times.
- Observe the pronouns applied by man -- "I" will say, "my refuge, my fortress," etc. G. R.
Verse 2. The power, excellence, fruit, reasonableness, and open avowal of personal faith.