Psalm Chapter 91 presents the world as a battle ground where various evils occur. The passage mentions about the “terror by night“,”arrow that flieth by night“, “pestilence“, and “destruction“. Woe to him that walks about with blindness in such a terrible place. Apostle Paul described the situation as a war with evil spiritual forces of darkness-“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph.6:12).
In those ancient times cities or nations used to have fortresses or towers. These were places of safety. They were characterized by thick walls and high raised portions on the wall wherein a watchman would stand to observe and alert people in case of any approaching danger.
In case of danger and you were outside the gates, you would run into the fortress for your protection.
As a Born Again child of God you also need to live in the fortress of God’s Word. This world is dark and our true protection lies in the revelation of God’s counsel for our lives. When one develops a closer walk with God he or she will live by the speaking of God in his life. When God reveals his counsel to you, that gives you joy and out of that joy comes strength. The revelation of God’s will gives you sight to see and walk, not as a blind man but one who sees. That is not the situation for many people. Their lives are open for the devil to play around with. They are naked before forces of darkness. But a believer walks with God and is actually hidden in Christ – “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col.3:3).
When you live by the counsel God reveals to you, what you do is being done in the name of the Lord. As a believer “whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col.3:17). That name is your protection and no amount of devils can defeat that. The name of the Lord is his presence and hedge around you; it is your ultimate tower of protection – “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Pro.18:10).
Now, having explained the above, let us read Psalm 91. Note that the word used in the Hebrew text for “secret place” is sether sithrah and refers to a shelter of protection. It is because of this that other versions like NIV states, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty“. When you read the whole chapter you will realise that the shelter being referred to is actually a fortress or tower. The Jerusalem Bible puts it very well as follows:
If you live in the shelter of Elyon and make your home in the shadow of Shaddai, you can say to Yahweh, ‘My refuge, my fortress, my God in whom I trust!
And verses 14 and 15 continues to say:
I rescue all who cling to me, I protect whoever knows my name, I answer everyone who invokes me, I am with them when they are in trouble; I bring them safety and honour.
These verses clearly strike a chord with what we read in Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe”.