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Jason Silver

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Thoughts and Reflections on Scripture



Friday, January 24th, 2020
Related Song

When I read Psalm 91, it sparks my imagination of what it might be like to have super-human powers!

It says that an individual who shelters in the shadow of Almighty God will be immune from sickness, invincible to arrows, avoid traps, and sidestep destruction! Their enemies will fall all around them, while they survive without even a mark! Invisible angels will guard this super-hero, preventing evil from even touching them! Poisonous snakes are no concern, neither are hungry lions!

Imagine that!

It reads like a secret booklet of knowledge that ancient warriors might use. I can picture them memorizing the words, to be recited when they need to be protected.

In fact, that's not far from reality!

Between the third and eighth centuries, this psalm was written inside amulets by both Jews and Christians. It was used as a kind of talisman for protection.

Even before that, the Talmud calls this psalm the "song of plagues" (shir shel pega'im or shir shel nega'im), for "one who recites it with faith in God will be helped by Him in time of danger". Apparently, "Since the times of the Geonim, this psalm was recited to drive away demons and evil spirits." According to midrashim, the psalm references many types of demons that threaten man, including the "Terror", "Arrow", "Pestilence", and "Destruction" mentioned in verses 5 and 6.

While I'm opposed to using scripture like a secret spell, the fact is, God does care about his children, and he has promised to protect us from harm! These verses are not magic, but they certainly are a reminder to what we expect from God. Anything is possible to Him! He cares deeply for each of his children.

However, I think the key to this Psalm is found in the last verse: God will show us his salvation. We should think carefully about who our biggest enemy is, and what me most need to be saved from. Perhaps we most need to be saved from ourselves: our deceits; our pride; our stubbornness; our anger and hatred?

Oh Lord, we make your our refuge and fortress! Save us as you have promised we pray!