Previously, in part three of this article, we saw three main benefits of dwelling in the presence of the Lord – Prosperity; Stability; and Safety and Provision. This final part of the article – dwelling in his presence, presents the ULTIMATE BENEFIT PACKAGE of dwelling in the presence of the Lord – the utmost, wholesome benefit and blessing of dwelling in the presence of the Lord.
The psalmist in Psalm 91 starts the chapter by presenting the status of this person who dwells in the presence of the Lord. From the onset he reveals to us the kind of person who enjoys God’s rest, the coolness and protection of being under the shadow of the Almighty. This person knows his position and relationship with the Lord – The Lord is his refuge, his fortress, He is his God, and in Him he leans, relies and confidently trusts in (see Part 1 for more of this).
Verses 3 to 16 of Psalm 91 are founded on the premise of verses 1 and 2. These outline what I call the Ultimate Benefit Package. Let’s look at each of the specific benefits constituting the whole package.
Ultimate Benefit 1: Deliverance
“For then he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.” (Verse 3). As you dwell, as you inhabit and rest in the presence of the Lord, he will deliver you from all that the enemy strategizes against you. It doesn’t matter in what magnitude, it may look like just a trial, or it may be life threatening, the Lord will deliver you from them all.
Ultimate Benefit 2: Protection
To protect is to shield from, to cover against evil or danger. In verse 4, the bible notes that, “(Then) He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge. His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.” Part b of verse 4 is one of my favourite scriptures in the bible. Looking at both the context of this article and the fact that it is my favourite scripture, we see that God’s truth and faithfulness are a shield and a buckler. A shield and a buckler are weapons of war. When I think of a shield, most times I remember our police organs such as GSU when they engage with calming riots especially by the university students. During such instances they will always use a shield to protect themselves against anything aimed and thrown at them. The beauty of the shield is that it is movable – it can be lifted at different angles and directions to counter the opponent’s weapons. Now, God’s truth and faithfulness (authenticity and constancy, unchanging state), is your shield, you who dwell in His presence. You can use it to counter every weapon the enemy throws at you – you can use it against sickness, against rebellious spirits, against all manner of arrows the devil throws at you. Besides, God will cover (protect, shelter) you under his wings, his feathers. Under these, you will find refuge (safety). What a great benefit!
Ultimate Benefit 3: Boldness
If one is not bold, they are said to be fearful and timid. They are afraid – afraid of things not turning how they expect – afraid of poor health, afraid of lack, afraid of danger, afraid of failing. In the absence of fear, one is bold. When you dwell in the presence of the Lord, you do not have to fear. “You shall not be afraid of the terror of the night, nor the arrow (the evil plots and slanders of the wicked) that flies by day, Nor of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.” (Verses 5 and 6).
Naturally darkness and night come with fear – these two present a change from the norm. With darkness, for example, you can’t see unless you are facilitated by some form of lighting. Mobility is reduced and interactions with people are minimized. If you were working during the day, you have got to prepare to get home before darkness and night falls. Night is a time to sleep, a time to rest. Whereas this applies to natural circumstances, spiritually, there are circumstances that present night and darkness. A time when one is incapacitated for one reason or another – a time when you can’t see, a time that all you see is darkness. Spiritually, the kingdom of darkness is ruled by the devil – so he will scheme and strategize to keep believers outside of the light of the kingdom of God so that they cannot understand God and his ways. He blinds those who have not yet established a relationship with God so they do not come to the kingdom of God’s light.
The devil’s intention is to keep you in darkness so he can attack and inflict you with sickness, with confusion, with emotional torture, with doubts about God and His promises – and anyone in such bondage for sure is in the dark. At night when one is asleep, their guards are down. And the devil wants to use this opportunity to hit at them.
For a believer, it is not just about the darkness and the night, the psalmist also points out that we shall not be afraid of the “destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday.”
You know, we can expect that since we are done with the night, and beyond, the day is here, then we are free. We do not experience leave alone expect any attacks from the enemy – it is day after all. I can see! I am alert! But looking at verse 6, there are two key words right in the middle … “sudden” and “surprise”.
A day is not like a night. During the day, there is light, we can see, one does not walk around groping into things – there is clarity. One has confidence in what they do. Spiritually, a day (and light), presents a holistic status of well-being. You have this great relationship with the Lord. You even know for sure that you can’t and you do not need to fear anything. You are a believer, and you are well connected with God’s word. You are prosperous both physically and spiritually. You are stable – you are good. You are enjoying the benefits of the dwelling in the presence of the Lord!
The devil, also knows that you are stable, and that you actually dwell in the presence of the Lord! For this reason, he will not scheme anything normal to hit at you, he knows you “can see”, you are alert. You are facilitated with the light of the day, the light of the word of God. So what will he try and do? He will strategize on “suddenlies” and “surprises” at noon! When it is brightest! When you least expect an attack from him! At the peak of your faith walk, at the peak of your job, at the peak of your personal and family development, he will bring “a sudden” attack, a “surprise” attack. These strategies are not what you expect to see at night, no, they are crafted, they are skilled. And their main aim is absolute destruction and death. And really, this is what the mission of the enemy is – to steal, kill and destroy!
But the good news is – when you dwell in the presence of the Lord, (as discussed in part 1), when you make the Lord your habitation, when the Lord God is your expectation, your trust – you shall not be afraid of any forces of darkness! Whether by night or day! You are under the shadow of the Almighty! You are under cover! Glory to God!
Dear one, you might be feeling feeble, discouraged, to the extent of giving up. By the grace and mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ, I charge you you not to give up. Lift up your eyes, your spirit to Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our Salvation. Establish and affirm your relationship with him. Let him be your Lord and God, run to him as your refugee and fortress. Let him be your dwelling place and all these benefits, and much more shall be yours, in Jesus Name! Amen.
…God’s ultimate benefit package continues in Part 5…. Do not miss it out!
Have you been blessed, inspired, encouraged, or wholesomely impacted by this article? Please leave a comment. Kindly also share it with someone else for the same effect. Let’s allow the word to dominate.
God’s peace and grace; Amen.