Vince Dancer has done a study combining two commentaries on Psalm 91. Here are his thoughts for your consideration. Psalm 91 (Ideas from John Robert Stevens and Charles Spurgeon)
There is controversy concerning the writer of this Psalm. Some have thought it is a Psalm of David but most consider it more likely written by Moses during the 40 years in the desert. It is often referred to as the Soldier’s Psalm because of it’s referral to battle and pestilence which often follows war even in modern times.
The Psalm is normally divided into five divisions:
The state of the Godly Psalm 91:1-2
Their safety Psalm 91:3-8
Their habitation Psalm 91:9-10
Their servants Psalm 91:11-13
Their friend Psalm 91:14-16
Verses one and two talk about a personal relationship with God. These verses are a statement of trust. We who give all and dwell with the most high will have blessings that others do not receive. This is not to say we shall not have strife in this life. We shall find comfort under His care and greater knowledge for he will be with us always. (Matthew 28:20) (Psalm 139:7–12)
It is difficult to shake the feeling that we have to be personally adequate and sufficient for every situation. We can foresee that today, tomorrow, or in the weeks to come, certain problems will come that we will be inadequate to meet. There may be bills coming due for which there is not enough money. There may be decisions to be made for which the wisdom is lacking. Whatever the need, He is the One to Whom we must come. We must put our trust in the Lord and learn to hide and dwell in Him.
When we are assaulted we must learn to take shelter making God your fortress. The tides of evil forces can batter themselves against that fortress but you will be safe within its boundaries. An example of this from the Old Testament would be Job. For all of Job’s laments (Job 3:20-26), he still kept faith in God. He looks to God always even in misery.
Verses 3-4 talk of the protection we will have if we learn to trust in God for all things. The fowler is most likely a reference to Satan (the adversary). For it is not just the obvious things we have to have protection from but also the subtle things. [I’m just doing it once….] Once is all that is needed for a snare to be triggered. Then there is the noisome pestilence. Fear is the greatest killer even during a plague. The pestilence here is not necessarily a physical illness but an illness of the spirit. (Psalm 37:4, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:7) Faith here is divided into two types. In the first, we put ourselves with God and under his protection by becoming more aware of God in our lives.
The second puts us out ready to fight the adversary focusing on him and fighting him.
(Psalm 91:5-8) From this, we lose some of our awareness of God and this might also be considered a snare. Here I am fighting the adversary! (Psalm 91:5–8) Do you worry constantly? Why should you worry when God knows when a sparrow falls? Is He not everywhere? We will see others fall but we will prevail because of the protection of the Lord.
Verse nine does not say that nothing bad will happen but that EVIL will not fall on the believer. (Romans 8:28) Look at the story of Joseph. Thrown into a well by his brothers then sold into slavery by them. They meant for evil to happen but God used it for good.
Verses ten and eleven God sends His emissaries, also known as angels, to aid us in battle. They are a bodyguard to protect us keeping our body, soul, and spirit safe from harm. We do not know all that is done for us in the spiritual realm. Right now, angels may be around us warding off attacks on our minds, bodies, and souls. When we get to heaven we may be able to see what was done for us which we could not see with the limited sight we have now.
Verse twelve: This is a true promise… even the Devil used it to tempt Jesus in the wilderness. If we stub our toe what can happen? Could a nail be broken and infection set in? What could happen from there? If you are diabetic or won’t get proper care for such a minor thing the answer is the loss of a limb or even death. So, the writer is telling us that angels will protect against even the smallest injury lest it becomes catastrophic.
Verse thirteen talks about trampling the cobra, lion, and serpent (dragon). We all know the how a cobra or lion is, they look for weakness and attack boldly. We know how to defend against those attacks. How about the serpent or dragon? The dragon is imaginary you say. Yes, it is in the imagination of our brain and mind. How do we fight such things? In Psalm 16:8 David answers this question. He knew the significance of his life, God had raised him up for a purpose. He did not fear for his own safety but knew that God’s plan would not be thwarted. We belong to God. He will be there when we go into battle and not allow His plans to be thwarted.
Verses fourteen through sixteen is God responding to those who wish to grow closer those who are after His heart. We have promises in these verses. Those who love God will be rescued and protected, set high above the rest of the world. When we call on Him with earnest and soulful prayer we will be answered. We must pray for answers to come from God. Honor God and He will honor you. Then those who have taken shelter in mind, body, and spirit will be rewarded with salvation and long life.
In the end, the more we practice looking to God and giving Him our love. Practice being in His presence. The more aware we are of Him and that He is with us at all times and in all circumstances the greater peace we will have and we will draw on that for the protections He has promised.