The safety of those who have God for their refuge. (1-8) Their favour with Him. (9-16)
Verses 1-8 He that by faith chooses God for his protector, shall find all in him that he needs or can desire. And those who have found the comfort of making the Lord their refuge, cannot but desire that others may do so. The spiritual life is protected by Divine grace from the temptations of Satan, which are as the snares of the fowler, and from the contagion of sin, which is a noisome pestilence. Great security is promised to believers in the midst of danger. Wisdom shall keep them from being afraid without cause, and faith shall keep them from being unduly afraid. Whatever is done, our heavenly Father's will is done; and we have no reason to fear. God's people shall see, not only God's promises fulfilled, but his threatenings. Then let sinners come unto the Lord upon his mercy-seat, through the Redeemer's name; and encourage others to trust in him also.
Verses 9-16 Whatever happens, nothing shall hurt the believer; though trouble and affliction befal, it shall come, not for his hurt, but for good, though for the present it be not joyous but grievous. Those who rightly know God, will set their love upon him. They by prayer constantly call upon him. His promise is, that he will in due time deliver the believer out of trouble, and in the mean time be with him in trouble. The Lord will manage all his worldly concerns, and preserve his life on earth, so long as it shall be good for him. For encouragement in this he looks unto Jesus. He shall live long enough; till he has done the work he was sent into this world for, and is ready for heaven. Who would wish to live a day longer than God has some work to do, either by him or upon him? A man may die young, yet be satisfied with living. But a wicked man is not satisfied even with long life. At length the believer's conflict ends; he has done for ever with trouble, sin, and temptation.
Psalms 91:1-16 . David is the most probable author; and the pestilence, mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:13-15 , the most probable of any special occasion to which the Psalm may refer. The changes of person allowable in poetry are here frequently made.
1. dwelleth in the secret place--( Psalms 27:5 , 31:20 ) denotes nearness to God. Such as do so abide or lodge secure from assaults, and can well use the terms of trust in Psalms 91:2 .
3. snares . . . [and] . . . noisome pestilence--literally, "plagues of mischiefs" ( Psalms 5:9 , 52:7 ), are expressive figures for various evils.
4. For the first figure compare Deuteronomy 32:11 , Matthew 23:37 .
buckler--literally, "surrounding"--that is, a kind of shield covering all over.
5. terror--or, what causes it ( Proverbs 20:2 ).
by night--then aggravated.
arrow--that is, of enemies.
7, 8. The security is more valuable, as being special, and, therefore, evidently of God; and while ten thousands of the wicked fall, the righteous are in such safety that they only see the calamity.
9-12. This exemption from evil is the result of trust in God, who employs angels as ministering spirits ( Hebrews 1:14 ).
13. Even the fiercest, strongest, and most insidious animals may be trampled on with impunity.
14-16. God Himself speaks (compare Psalms 46:10 , Psalms 75:2 Psalms 75:3 ). All the terms to express safety and peace indicate the most undoubting confidence (compare Psalms 18:2 , 20:1 , 22:5 ).
set his love--that of the most ardent kind.
16. show him--literally, "make him see" ( Psalms 50:23 , Luke 2:30 ).