20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of

Do you want to learn the lessons we can derive from Psalm 91? If yes, you better read this ultimate guide to understanding Psalm 91!

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Psalms 91 is perhaps one of the most beautifully written and popular psalms of all time. It is a psalm about God’s unfailing and powerful protection to His people.

In the Hebrew Masoretic Text, Psalms 91 is without attribution, but the Greek Septuagint version adds a superscription saying that the psalm is “of David.”

I think Zondervan NIV Study Bible wonderfully described Psalm 91 as a “glowing testimony to the security of those who trust in God.”

Indeed, Psalms 91 is God’s way of telling us that whoever runs to Him and seeks His divine protection will be saved from calamity and destruction.

However, some people mistakenly thought that Psalm 91 is an unconditional promise of God and uses this psalm as a “proof” that life would be smooth sailing as long as we stay close to our Creator.

This kind of thinking is often preached by pastors and ministers who teach the false and deceptive prosperity gospel.

Nothing can be farther from the truth.

God promised protection, but it doesn’t mean that we won’t suffer anymore.

That’s why in this blog, I want us to take a deeper look at what Psalm 91 really means. I want to break down each word, verse, and sentence to give you a more proper understanding of God’s plan and purpose in our lives.

Join me now as we study Psalms 91. This can be a long article, but I can assure you, it’s going to be worth your time.

Are you ready?

Let’s begin!

20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of

20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of

A quick look at Psalms 91

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
8 Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

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Lesson no. 1: Strive to be with God

Psalm 91 opens with this statement:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

The opening verse tells us that he who “dwells.” It didn’t say, “he who dwelt” or “he who will dwell,” but it clearly says, “he who dwells” in the secret place of the Most High. It denotes an active willingness to stay within the territory of God.

It means that you can’t be dwelling in God’s secret place while enjoying the pleasures of sins. It doesn’t work that way.

[To read the whole blog about what it means to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, click here.]

You can’t be living near to God one day and other days, you are sleeping with the spiritual enemies.

You need to make the decision that you choose to be with God, not just temporarily, but for good. It means that you make God’s companionship as your permanent dwelling.

Actively seek God’s presence. You must have that burning desire, urge, and passion to be with God.

Lesson no. 2: God’s name and titles reveal His character

It is worth noting that God has been referred in this Psalm with different terms.

We read that He is called the Most High, Almighty, LORD, and God. All these descriptive titles and names provide a special insight into the character of God.

It also gives us the FULL assurance that it is truly the most powerful and supreme Being who will protect us all the time!

Now, let us see what those names or titles mean.

  • Most High – in Hebrew, it is Elyon. It means lofty, elevation, and supreme. Most High denotes God’s supreme authority over all other authorities.
  • Almighty – in Hebrew, it is Shadday. It means most powerful, denoting that there is no power greater than God in the vast universe.
  • LORD – in Hebrew, it is written as YHWH. Most scholars would agree that it is pronounced as Yahweh. YHWH literally means the Self-Existent or Eternal One. The name Yahweh itself implies the eternal nature of God. He is outside the physical realm. He is not limited by time, space, and matter! Yahweh has no beginning nor end.
  • God – came from the Hebrew word, Elohim. It basically means God.

With this in mind, we can have the full assurance that the Yahweh, the Most High, Almighty, and God is on our side. He is the one who is protecting us!

Even if you combine all the forces in the world, including Satan’s evil devices, NOTHING can overcome God’s ability to protect us from danger.

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Lesson no. 3: God protects you from hidden dangers

Verse 3 tells us:

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler.

Fowlers or hunters use a snare to catch animals. A snare is a trap, it is well-hidden. An unsuspecting animal can easily get caught and be killed.

In verse 3, God is declaring that He is able to save us from hidden dangers. He can shield us from the destruction that we thought never existed.

Have you ever wondered how many times God has already saved you without you knowing it?

Maybe, there are times when He inspired us to do something that if we haven’t done, we could have been in harm’s way.

Perhaps, there was a reason why you couldn’t afford to buy a new car or travel around the world. Because, maybe, if you are able to do those stuff, bad things could have happened to you.

I remember a church member who quit her job because her boss won’t give her a Sabbath day off. Three months later, the office where she previously worked burned down leaving almost 40 people dead. Now, I strongly believe God took her away from that place before it was too late.

There was also a time when someone offered me a very inexpensive house. I badly want the house, but I just don’t have the money. Months later, a typhoon hit our city and that house was among the properties destroyed by the calamity.

These are some of the ways God protects us from hidden dangers – dangers that could have cost us a lot if it weren’t for God. It teaches us that doing God’s commandment and following His will in our lives protect us from all forms of evil.

Lesson no. 4: God protects you from open dangers

If God can protect us from hidden dangers, then it is certain that He can also protect us from obvious and open dangers.

We can read this promise from Psalm 91 as well:

You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

We can see that God protects us from the destruction that lays waste visibly and openly. Whether the danger comes from pestilence or war, we can have the peace of mind that God will help us go through these dangers.

Even if we are cut off or we lose our lives, we still have nothing to fear. God has given us the hope of a better life – a better resurrection in His Kingdom!

Lesson no. 5: God protects you from diseases

Throughout the history of man, we have seen how diseases have claimed millions if not billions of people’s lives. All of us know how painful, inconvenient, and discomforting it is for diseases to afflict us.

Thankfully, we can always seek God’s protection to help us avoid diseases. We read in Psalm 91:

3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness.

The psalmists mentioned that God will not just protect you from ordinary pestilence but from the PERILOUS pestilence. It refers to the epidemics and pandemics that have crippled nations throughout the ages.

Pestilence may march around you, but it will never come near you. God has the power over these diseases and you may see its deadly effects, but it will not harm you.

Psalms 91 also talks about the pestilence that walks in darkness. It doesn’t mean that these pestilences only happen at night, but it works like darkness. You can’t see it nor know its progress. It strikes like a thief, without warning. All of a sudden, people are getting sick or dying.

Of course, the night may also harbor agents of diseases that are most active at night, such as mosquitoes and other deadly insects.

The pestilence that walks in darkness is reminiscent of the time when the Angel of Death visited Egypt and took the lives of their firstborn son. God protected His people, while “there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead” (Exodus 12:30).

The promise that the righteous won’t be affected by pestilence should not be understood as an absolute. There are righteous people who were also sickly and stricken by diseases for “it is appointed unto men once to die” (Hebrews 9:27).

We need to realize that one of the ways that God protects His people is by giving them the right commandments. God expects us to take care of our bodies, keep a clean environment, and live a healthy lifestyle.

Those who don’t follow God’s commandments are the ones who will most likely fall victim to diseases. You can’t ask God to protect you from illness when you yourself destroy your body by lack of sleep, smoking, getting drunk, eating unclean food, and other destructive behaviors.

Like the first point of this blog, you need to actively seek God’s presence, and part of that is keeping His commandments.

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Lesson no. 6: God protects you from fear

Here’s a food for thought:

God will not just protect you from the evil, but also from the fear of evil.

Fear is among the enemies of faith. It paralyzes a Christian. It can demotivate, suck the life out of us, and even destroy our relationship with God.

No doubt; fear can be very destructive.

Thankfully, God is here to protect you from fear. Hearing about the rumors of war, diseases that have killed millions of people, and threats from your enemy can be very frightening.

We are all exposed to all these dangers. Thankfully, God promised:

YOU SHALL NOT BE AFRAID of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

Whatever time of the day, whether it be night or noonday, God will protect us. Whether we lie down to sleep at night or walk under the sun, God’s shadow will always be with us, shielding us from danger.

Lesson no. 7: God protects you from your enemies

Psalm 91 tells us:

1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
4 He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

I would say this is among the most comforting promises of God. He has promised that He will protect us from not just physical enemies, but also spiritual enemies!

God covers us with His shadow and His feathers. He will cover us so that our enemies won’t see us. He has hidden us in His secret place where no one can go near without His permission.

Moreover, God is our refuge. When everything is falling apart, we have the confidence and hope that we can always run to God and take refuge – make Him our shelter.

If you are among the people who are fleeing from war-stricken land, you would know what it is like to look for a refuge. That’s why these people are called refugees.

Imagine that you can’t sleep at night because anytime, a bomb could drop down your home. In the daytime, you aren’t free to go wherever you want to go as you are afraid a bullet can hit you anytime.

Isn’t it comforting that in times of danger, we can seek God’s secret place and be safe from all these calamities? Thankfully, we have a refuge in God’s presence.

When our enemies attack us, God will be our shield and buckler. God will take the hit. He won’t allow our enemies to harm us.

Lesson no. 8: God brings comfort

Can you imagine having the greatest and highest Authority there is on earth backing you up? Can you imagine that God, the supreme and most powerful Being in the universe is your personal bodyguard?

With this thought, there is a tremendous comfort that we can all enjoy. Knowing that God protects you in your going in and going out, you can’t help but just be filled with gladness and comfort.

Lesson no. 9: God brings peace

Today, there are just so many people who don’t have the peace of mind.

They may be rich, but they can’t sleep at night. They can be poor, but running for their lives. They can be young or old but are worried what the future may bring.

Thankfully, God brings peace to those who seek Him in their lives.

With God’s comfort, it is inevitable to have the peace that comes within. It is not just a peace from without since you can’t control them, but a peace that radiates from the very understanding that God is with you.

God’s protection brings peace to your life. People may be filled with trouble, but when you put your trust in God, you can experience the type of peace that you won’t get from any source.

Yahshua or Jesus Christ Himself said:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; NOT as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:7).

Maybe, you have trouble getting the peace that you needed in your life. You might have looked for it by reading books, attending meditation classes, talking to a psychologist, or hiring a mentor. Yes, this may give you peace, but it won’t surpass the type of peace that you get from God.

Lesson no. 10: God sends His angels to protect us

God is enough to be our Protector. However, He also commands His angels to protect us.

We read:

11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.

It literally means, God instructs His angels to keep us in all our ways. Even if there’s no imminent danger, we can be sure that the angels are just near us. This promise applies not just to the church, but over every single believer.

The angels will be with us when we sleep and when we go our way.

The psalmist added:

12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

The angels are ministering agents. They are powerful and at the same time, caring. They are strong enough to lift us out of danger and tender enough to bear us up in their hands. They carry us like a mother carries her little child in her arms.

Without these angels, it would be easy for us to “dash our foot against a stone.” They would help us to safely walk on our ways and avoid stumbling over destruction and sin.

[Related article: 20 Little-Known Biblical Facts about Angels]

Lesson no. 11: Satan can twist scriptures

We are familiar with Matthew 4 where Satan tempted Jesus Christ. In his attempt to make Jesus sin, he used a portion of Psalm 91 as part of his evil scheme.

Satan said:

“If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’
and,
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone’ (Matthew 4:6).”

There’s no doubt; Satan can use the scriptures to deceive believers. In the same way that a lot of preachers today use the word of God to create a following and take advantage of them.

Satan is so cunning that he quotes scriptures. Thankfully, Jesus is better than Him. We read Christ’s response:

“It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God’ (Matthew 4:7).”

Jesus is teaching us a vital lesson here. Yes, God has the ability to protect us from all forms of dangers, but we must also be responsible enough to do our part. We can’t expect God to rescue us every time we throw ourselves into trouble when we should have known better.

[Related article: Top 20 Surprising Biblical Facts about Satan]

Lesson no. 12: With God, we can overcome Satan

Our enemy, Satan “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). He is also likened to a serpent (Revelation 12:9). Satan is so dangerous that we can’t overcome him without God’s help.

It would be a big mistake to think that we can do it on our own. We need God’s help and protection. Thus, the psalmist wrote:

13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

God is showing us here that nothing is impossible to Him, even defeating Satan who is like a lion and a serpent.

We shall tread or walk upon Satan, the lion and serpent of old, implicating that we are above him. We shall trample him underfoot, denoting a complete victory over our greatest enemy.

All these are possible with God’s help.

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Lesson no. 13: The truth will protect us

We read:

His truth shall be your shield and buckler.

You might wonder, “What does truth has to do with God’s protection?” “Why is it considered as a shield and buckler?”

We read that God’s word is truth (John 17:17) and it can’t be broken (John 10:35). It is highly durable that nothing can even destroy it.

Knowing God’s word and His truth allows us to gain His protection. By keeping what the Bible says, we are protected from harm.

The Bible is a user’s manual that contains all of life’s greatest instructions on how to live this life to the fullest. By following God’s inspired and living word, we are kept from harm’s way.

Take, for example, God’s food law. In the Bible, He laid out what is acceptable as food and which is not (Leviticus 23). When we keep the food law of God, we are kept away from diseases and physical illnesses.

Compare that to those people who eat all kinds of unclean meat. They are more prone to developing life-threatening maladies and medical conditions. (Be sure to read, 5 Compelling Reasons You Should Also Observe God’s Food Law.)

Moreover, understanding the truth of God gives us wisdom on how to make better decisions. Gaining godly wisdom allows us to avoid dangerous situations.

Lesson no. 14: We must trust God

We read in Psalm 91:

2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

In the American dollar, you will read, “In God we trust.” Sadly, we don’t see that practiced often in the lives of these people.

Instead of trusting in God, we trusted in ourselves, our government, our bosses, our jobs, wealth, and material possessions.

Sad to say, all these earthly materials won’t give you the protection in times of danger. Even if you combine all the wealth in the world, you won’t be able to protect yourself from imminent death.

God alone has the power over all the things here on earth. He holds the ability to give you life and grant you protection at all times.

Thus, the psalmist declared, “My God, in Him I will trust!”

Trusting God is more than just a lip service. It is more than a belief. Trusting God means, surrendering your life to Him and letting Him guide your life.

Lesson no. 15: We need to pray to God

Psalm 91:15 tells us:

He shall call upon me, and I will answer him.

While God is more than willing to protect us, we still need to ask for His help through prayer. It doesn’t mean that God is powerless unless we ask for His protection, but God’s ultimate purpose in protecting us is to build a loving and close relationship with Him.

When we make God our refuge and our dwelling place, we can always call upon Him. Since we have already fostered an intimate relationship with God, we can always call upon His name and He will then answer us.

[Related article: How to Develop the Habit of Prayer]

Lesson no. 16: God is with you in trouble

Psalm 91:15  continues;

I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him.

We must realize that there will be a time when God will not immediately deliver us from our problems. Sometimes, He lets us be in trouble so we can learn important lessons.

Remember, God allows suffering so that we can develop godly character. God is more concerned with building our character, rather than keeping us comfortable.

Thus, we can expect that the life of a Christian is not always a bed of roses. We should expect that hardships and difficulties going to come our way.

However, we can have the comfort in the fact that, God “will be with [us] in trouble.” He may not deliver us from danger, but He will be there for us.

You see, there’s a difference between your friend cheering you from the bleachers and a friend who is actually running with you. God is like that: when we are in trouble, He won’t be far away from us. He is rather near us.

Sometimes, the only way of escape is by just enduring our trials. In those times, you can count on God to give you strength and courage.

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Lesson no. 17: We need to love God

We read:

Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him (Psalm 91:14).

We need to set our love upon God. Albert Barnes explained it best with these words:

The Hebrew word expresses the strongest attachment, and is equivalent to our expression – “to fall in love.” It refers here to the fact that God is the object of supreme affection on the part of his people; and it also here implies, that this springs from their hearts; that they have seen such beauty in his character, and have such strong desire for him, that their hearts go out in warm affection toward him.

Jesus Himself said that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). We must love God not just 50%, 75%, or 95%. We must love Him with 100% of our whole being.

Lesson no. 18: Know God

Psalm 91:14 continues:

I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

God wants to develop a personal relationship with us. How can we do that if we don’t even know God’s name?

Another implication of this verse is that we must know His name, His true character, ability, and desires.

When we know God by reading His word and meditating upon the lessons we learn, then we are more likely to make better choices in life. God can then have a better way of protecting us from all forms of evil.

Lesson no. 19: God rewards the wicked

Verse 7 and 8 tells us:

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Jesus Christ will return to this earth and said, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).

Everyone has their reward according to their works. For the wicked, that reward would be utter destruction. The righteous would see the fruit of their ungodly ways.

God has set the natural laws that whatever you sow, you will reap. God does not have to do anything. The wicked will naturally reap the fruit of their evil works. If they have sown evil, then they will also reap evil.

God does not enjoy seeing the wicked suffer. In fact, God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (I Peter 3:9).

What is the reward of the wicked? Psalm 91 tells us that they will fall and be destroyed. They will ultimately perish if they don’t repent.

Lesson no. 20: God rewards the righteous

For those people who choose God as their refuge, who choose to dwell in the secret place of God, they will have their reward.

The Bible tells us;

16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

God grants the righteous a long life. By preserving their lives, the righteous reach a ripe age and fulfill their God-given purpose.

I don’t take away the fact that some righteous men and even most of God’s servants of old suffered a premature death. However, for them, their lives have been long enough to fulfill the mission they were sent here on earth.

Through God’s grace, these people will consider that it is better to die for God than to live a life apart from HIm.

The psalmist added that God will set the righteous up high and bestow honor upon him. God will put him on high, above the stormy land, where the wicked can’t reach him. God honors those who honor Him and gives credit to whom credit is due.

Ultimately, the righteous will have the privilege to be called sons and daughters of God, and be part of God’s divine family. They will then be kings and priests to God and shall reign in His kingdom (Revelation 5:10)!

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Final words

These are just some of the best lessons that we can learn from Psalm 91.

Indeed, Psalm 91 is a beautiful and powerful testimony of God’s love to His people. He, the highest authority existing in the entire universe, is willing to intimately go down to the level of humans and protect them from all forms of evil.

As Christians, we can obtain the comfort and the peace of mind that God indeed will protect us so long as we are doing His commandments and it is according to His plan.

I hope with these 20 lessons from the 91st chapter of Psalms, you would have a deeper understanding of how God reaches out to us and provide the divine protection that He willingly extends to us.

May we seek to be always with God and make Him our Refuge, Protector, and ultimately, Redeemer.


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One thought on “20 Most Surprising Lessons from Psalm 91 You Probably Never Heard Of

  1. Good post on Psalm 91, Josh. I appreciate what you said here: “The psalmist added that God will set the righteous up high and bestow honor upon him. God will put him on high, above the stormy land, where the wicked can’t reach him. God honors those who honor Him and gives credit to whom credit is due.” I enjoyed your imagery here. It’s remarkable how God sustains His people in this fallen world. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

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