deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you make the Most High your dwelling—even the Lord, who is my refuge—then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. (Psalm 91:1–10)
Conditions for Total Security
We need to take note of the conditions for coming into the total security of which the psalmist speaks.
Dwelling in the “Secret Place”
In the New International Version , Psalm 91:1 reads, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High….” In the King James Version and the New King James Version , the word “shelter” is translated “secret place.” I believe “secret place” is an excellent translation, because the root meaning of the Hebrew word is “a secret.” Therefore, I prefer to read the verse in this way: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
“Dwells” speaks of someone who has a continuing position in God, rather than someone who merely runs into the secret place in a time of crisis. The psalm therefore depicts someone whose dwelling—whose permanent, abiding situation—is in the secret place of the Most High.
The Hebrew word translated “rest” is frequently used of spending the night. Therefore, the psalm would suggest that, during the hours of darkness, we will have a place of complete protection.
Making a Bold Personal Confession
A second condition for security is found in Psalm 91:2: “I will say of the L ord , ‘He is my refuge and my fortress….’” The psalmist declared what he believed about God. So, this second essential condition is making a bold, personal confession of one’s faith in God and one’s relationship to Him.
As we noted earlier in this book, we must not merely believe in our hearts, but we must also say with our mouths what we believe. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy” (Psalm 107:2 nkjv). Redemption is not effective until we speak it, making it effective by our own personal confession.
We must not merely believe in our hearts,
but we must also say with our mouths what we believe.
Having understood the conditions that must be met, let us now consider the various forms of trouble against which protection is promised in Psalm 91: “the fowler’s snare,” “the deadly pestilence,” “the terror of night,” “the arrow that flies by day,” “the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,” and “the plague that destroys at midday.” Then, we are guaranteed protection against anything that lays men low: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
My Experiences with God’s Protection
To confirm what I have been saying about the secret place of the Most High, I want to briefly present some of my own experiences. I personally witnessed this protection of total security as a British soldier in the desert of North Africa during World War II. One day, when the German forces were raining down bombs on our area, I was sitting calmly in the middle of the desert—watching the bombs fall in a ring all around me. Not a single bomb came near me. While I was sitting there, these words came to me so clearly: “A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.” It was clear to me that God was my personal Refuge and Fortress.
During the birth of the State of Israel in 1948, I was living in Jerusalem with my first wife, Lydia, and the eight girls we had adopted. At that time,