1 The one whose dwelling is with God Most High In the Almighty’s shadow safe will rest. 2 “He is my refuge,” I say of the LORD, “My fortress and my God; in him I trust.”
3 Surely he saves you from the fowler’s snare And rescues you from deadly pestilence. 4 Under his wings a refuge you will find; His faithfulness will be your strong defence.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night, Or dread the arrow flying in the day, 6 Or pestilence that in the darkness stalks, Or plague at noon that carries all away.
7 No harm will touch you though a thousand fall, Or yet ten thousand die at your right hand. 8 Your eyes will then look on, and you will see The wicked punished as their ways demand.
9 If you make God Most High your dwelling-place— Even the LORD, who is my refuge sure— 10 No evil then will ever fall on you, Nor dire calamity come near your door.
11 For he will charge his angels with your care, To guard you in your footsteps every one; 12 They will uphold and bear you in their hands, Lest you should strike your foot against a stone.
13 Upon the mighty lion you will tread; The cobra you will overcome and kill. Your feet will trample down the king of beasts; The serpent will be crushed beneath your heel.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the Sovereign LORD, “I’ll rescue and deliver him from harm. Since he acknowledges my holy name, I will protect him with my mighty arm.
15 “He’ll call on me, and I will answer him; With him in time of trouble I will be. I will deliver him and honour him. 16 Long will he live, and my salvation see.”
You can hear this sung, from v11, to the lovely tune Highland Cathedral here
Looking back to November 2018 we all probably took part in the centenary Remembrance Day observance of the Armistice, with which this Psalm is often entwined. Known as “The Soldier’s Psalm” these verses hold much assurance and promise, of the Lord’s protection in the myriad scenarios in which life may present itself to us as well as in those more extreme circumstances of war.
However despite the seeming lukewarm faith which we feel there is within society, this Psalm is still offered to those who serve within Armed Forces of the world, even if this is little publicised.
These words hold much personal meaning for me, because, as an eleven-year old on the point of going to Secondary School our class teacher made us memorise these verses. In these he told us we would find everything that we needed for the rest of our lives, in the “big school” and beyond. Obediently, as also the other children did, these words were committed to memory and although they perhaps did not mean a great deal at the time, they have given much strength throughout the years. These days knowing the climate of education this particular teacher might have been given a stern warning at the least, or, in the extreme, a sacking for so indoctrinating his class!
However the truth of being able to dwell in the shelter of the Most High God and to abide in the shadow of the Almighty has been the strength and truth upon which my life at times of trouble, has held together. Later on the words of the Psalmist were of power to Jesus in the wilderness when He sent the Devil packing with them, so is it any wonder that these words can be all the protection, shelter and strength which we require in any time of trouble? I will let you be the judge of that thought!
Our God of help through times gone by, our help in times of storm, difficulty and overwhelming odds. Thank you that you are always with us to be our defence, strength, and shelter when the going gets tough. Thank you for the undying truth that when we abide in you we will never feel disappointed or let down. You alone are the One in Whom we can truly shelter, safe and secure from all harm. Amen.
Verena Walder, Lay Preacher and Elder, Tabernacle URC Mumbles