Underneath The Sheltering PsalmsRelated Media
All of us look for shelter when seemingly surrounded by troubles. The believer’s genuine place of safety is in communion with the Lord. Several Psalms deal with the need and desire for shelter.
In Psalm 27, David opens his psalm with a declaration of his confidence in God. So confident is he that he can declare:
The LORD is my light and my salvation –
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life –
of whom shall I be afraid. (Ps, 27:1)1
No matter how great the difficulty may have been, David’s underlying desire was to “dwell in the house of the LORD” (vs. 4), because he is certain that:
When evil man advance against me
to devour my flesh,
When my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
Though war breakout against me,
even then will I be confident. (Ps. 27:2-3).
David assures the Lord that “I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.” He then goes on to plead with the Lord, “For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name” (Ps. 61:4-5). As Futato observes, David “was … the Lord’s anointed, reigning as the Lord’s vice-regent on the earth. Reigning in the presence of God entailed being guarded by God’s unfailing love and faithfulness.”2
David could make such prayer requests to the Lord because he was certain that the good Lord shelters believers due to of His concern and with His care:
How great is your goodness
which you have stored up for those who fear you,
Which you bestow in the sight of men
on those who take refuge in you.
In the shelter of your presence you hide them
from the intrigues of men;
In your dwelling you keep them safe
from accusing tongues. (Ps. 31:19-20)
As Van Gemeren has correctly remarked: “Yahweh is ‘good’, for he works things out righteously for those who fear him” (cf. Ro 8:28).3 So it was that David could declare at a time when he suffered at the hands of others:
But I called to God,
and the LORD saved me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He ransoms me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me. (Ps. 55:16-18)
Doubtless such was hinted at previously when he remarked,
Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I will fly away and be at rest –
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm. (Ps. 55:6-8)
Accordingly, another psalmist could say:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust”. (Ps. 91:1-2)
Remarkably, the Lord himself concludes his words saying:
“Because he loves me” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation”. (Ps. 91:14-16)
For as all of this was the case in the days of the psalmists, it is no less true for today’s believers as the hymn writer expresses it:
Under His wings, O what precious enjoyment!
There will I hide till life’s are o’er;
Sheltered, protected, no evil can harm me,
Resting in Jesus, I’m safe evermore.
Under His wings, Under His wings,
Who from His love can sever?
Under His wings my soul shall abide
Safely abide forever.4
1 All scripture references are from the NIV.
2 Mark D. Futato, “The Book of Psalms”, in the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, ed. Philip W. Comfort, (Carol Stream, Il., Tyndale House, 2009), VII:61.
3Willem A. Van Gemeren, “Psalms”, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, eds. Tremper Longman II and David E. Garland, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), V:309.
4 William O. Cushing, “Under His Wings”.