As I continue this Thanksgiving week looking at reasons for praising God and giving thanks, I came to Psalm 91. It has long been a favorite of mine and is known to be a favorite among soldiers. Why is that you might ask? Are you frightened today about the future or events in your life? Are you struggling and despairing over people or things? Soldiers facing battle struggle with all of these, and yet the words of this psalm sooth and comfort them. May you too find comfort and be able to give thanks to God who is sovereign and All-Sufficient. Psalm 91:1-4
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
My friend Bob who lived at the Veteran’s Home in Yountville, CA used to recite this psalm. He told me he used to put his name in verse 2 as he personalized and claimed God’s truth of love and protection over himself and his bombing crew as they flew missions in WWII. “I, Bob, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I, Bob, trust.” He would do the same with Psalm 23. “The Lord is Bob’s shepherd I will not want…”
Do you find scripture personal? Bob believed in God’s Word and the power of the truths God placed there for our benefit. Can you claim the truth of verses 1 and 2- that God is your refuge and fortress and you can trust in Him in all situations? What about verses 3 and 4? Do you believe that God is greater than any foe or force you will face? Does He faithfully cover you and enfold you in His love and care?
I pray this Thanksgiving, as you reflect on God’s goodness and care, that you can see God’s hand in your life protecting and leading. That you feel his loving arms surrounding you and giving you strength. May God’s faithfulness and love speak to you in a new way this holiday creating in you greater gratitude for God.
David was well aware of God as his Rock. In Psalm 18:1-3 he uses this image of God when proclaiming his thanks for God’s strength in protecting him from murderous Saul. David struggled with Saul chasing him and seeking to kill him for over 10 years. David trusted God and His plan and timing to make him king.
I love you, Lord, my strength.
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.
Since David struggled for so many years against the elements as a shepherd, a boy facing Goliath, as a fugitive and as a king with many battles to face, the Psalms are filled with his reliance upon God as his rock and source of his faith.
Psalm 19:14 “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalm 62:1-2 “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”
Psalm 71:1-3 “In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. 2 In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. 3 Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.”
David proclaims God as his Rock as well as fortress, deliverer, refuge, stronghold, salvation, redeemer and righteous God. David knew from experience that God was faithful, and he could depend upon Him. Can you proclaim who God is to you? Let David’s words seep into you thoughts today and give you confidence and strength in God. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” and James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ” The God who David trusted and loved is the same God we serve. He does not change from generation to generation and we can depend upon Him just like David.
Prayer: Thank you Father that you are the same yesterday, today and forever. Your character and ideals do not change or shift with the times and whims of man. You are my rock and can hold me steady as I face the storms in my life. You are to be praised for you are always faithful and seek to do and bring good into my life. Help me to be depend upon your strength and character so I may live fully for you. Amen.