by Fred Ewald — October 18, 2020

SAFE IN HIS ARMS

You may be fortunately this morning. My message for you may be short unless I decide to go on a tangent. Feel free to use the chat function if that happens.

Some of you may have heard this before. One Sunday morning before I was heading to Vietnam, a couple in our church handed me a piece of paper on which was printed scripture verses that I carried with me to Vietnam. The scripture was Psalm 91. 

Read Psalm 91

Psalm 91:1 - He Who Dwells - Bible Verses To Go

 

At the time and recently I decided it would be interesting to read some commentaries on this Psalm, which I would like to share with you.

The Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament) attributes this psalm to David, although there is some question about this. We are not sure of the time and circumstance of this writing. 

We can be sure that the Psalmist wrote it to assure Israel that Yahweh would keep them safe through all trials if they put their trust in Him and tried to live faithfully in accord with His will. A promise was made to a new nation that no purpose of God’s could be thwarted. God has promised the believer that He has prepared good works for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” It’s God’s care for us that allows us to be capable of doing good works for Him and fulfilling His purposes for us. No event of the world, circumstances of life, can surprise, overwhelm, or demote us from fulfilling God’s good works for us here. We are to consider ourselves miraculously secure when meeting the trials of this life. 

The message of this psalm is timeless. It would have served Israel well during David’s reign, when Israel was beset by many enemies, when the Israelites were in exile, and then freed to return to Jerusalem, where they found a city in ruins and were finding themselves facing may enemies.

It is still timely today. 

  • Globally we are faced with wars and rumors of war, plagues and pestilence, enemies equipped with a variety of weapons, tyrants and corrupt politicians, and a world changing so rapidly that it makes our heads spin.
  • Individually we are faced with financial challenges, fears of losing a job or finding ourselves unable to compete in a rapidly changing world. We have addictions, illness, death of loved ones that we are dealing with.

Let’s look at a couple of the verses:

  • 1 .He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
    • Most High means God is the most important.
    • Almighty means that God is more powerful than anyone else.
    • We go to God in prayer recognizing that He is with us and will decide what will happen to us. This is comforting knowing that we can trust in Him.
    • What is the secret place of the Most High?  It could be a quiet place where we can go to God in prayer…..bedroom, prayer closet; the church sanctuary; on a quiet beach or in the forest where nature calms our souls and draws us to God.
    • The important thing is not the place but that we meet God there. That it is a place free from distractions.
    • We can take refuge in the secret place. We can recognize that God is our refuge in whom we can trust. Verse 2
    • If we can think of the wing spread of an eagle covering us and the shadow or shade that could be provided by those wings, we can picture in our minds the protection that we can get from those wings. Such it is with God presence and His wings covering us. Verse 4

 

  • The psalmist carries the same theme through the next verses recognizing that as we go through life, deal with the dark times such as we are experiencing now with Covid and what is going on in our country and the world, God is present to be our shield from all of this and to help us deal with it.
  • God is our hiding place, covering us with His good purposes.
  • God is over and beyond us—seeing more than we see and knowing more than we know. We can rest in His shadow.
  • He is a secure safe place for us. 
  • He is our defense whose promises cannot be inhibited.
  • Resting in our God deflects the enemies of fear and doubt in times of trial.
  • He is a defense on every side. He knows every part of us and our lives—no aspect is beyond His reach.
  • God’s protection is not fleeting; His protection serves for our continual habitation.
  • He leads us off with Him, drawing us to Himself and rescuing us from being overcome by the world. 
  • In His protection, He carries us to an elevated place. By trusting Him, our minds and hearts can help us deal with the churning fears that we may have. 

I want to share with you some things that I experienced during my time in the military that made clear to me what the psalmist was saying in these verses and  made me so grateful to the Divines, the couple that gave me the piece of paper with this psalm on it. 

  • My military experience tested me physically and mentally.
    • Susie and I had been married less than a year. I was well fed and my body showed it, which translated into major issues when dealing with the physical rigors of basic training. 
    • The mental whippings that came from Drill instructors and TAC Officers in Officer Candidate School were difficult.
      • As a result, my request was not always, protect me Lord. It was more often, why Lord, why do I have to deal with this?
      • I would later recognize that there was a purpose behind all if what appear to be nonsense. 
      • Even in this situation, God had a place and there was opportunity to experience his peace and comfort.
    • During OCS there was time to think about the inevitable. I was being prepared to lead men into combat, which could mean me losing my life in the process. 
      • It is interesting that the Lord provided me with a distraction. My best friend and wife followed me to OCS. You need to understand what this meant to me. She was willing to make a sacrifice so she could support what I was having to do, even though we could not live together while I was in training. 
        • Through her, the Lord provided me some comfort and distraction. I knew that I had her support and that she was not far from me. 
        • Bunker experience

 

I’m not going to take the time to relate to you all my experiences but I can say, through all of this, the why Lord became a repeated question time and time again, particularly when I was shot and made it, but my point man did not with not much time left in country and a new child at home that he had not seen yet. The Lord’s answer through all of this and after all of this to this day is, don’t question why. Just recognize that my arms will be around you through all of your experiences to keep you safe at all times. Take my hand and, although the road may be rough, I will lead you on a safe journey. I will not give you anything that you cannot handle.

You see, I came back a different person. In a number of ways my life and attitudes had changed. I was angry inside, somewhat confused. I was on guard, I didn’t want to talk, but my family and church family and, most importantly, my Lord said to me, we love you just the way you are. Acceptance by family and others, including the small church family group, that we became a part of, was huge.

I truly believe that the Lord’s protection, care, and comfort comes from those around us, close to us, and those who love us. I have no doubt that the Lord Led Bill and Phyllis Devine to give me \the reminder through Psalm 91 what the Lord would provide to me in difficult situations. I have no doubt that the small church family group was His way of saying, there are folks who will have their arms around you. It is important for us to be God’s messenger of comfort and care for those who may be in distress.

I have been a witness to God’s faithfulness and responsiveness to those who rely on Him. Therefore I know He will do the same for you if you rest in Him.

~ Fred Ewald