Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1 (NIV)
I don’t know if there’s an intended connection, but it’s significant that the phone number for an emergency, 911, is numerically equivalent to the month and day when the emergency services of the medical, police, and firefighting units of New York City and Washington D. C. were challenged by a catastrophe of horrific proportions.
As you know, thousands lost their lives due to the hijacking of American aircraft by terrorists, and the associated attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Millions more were directly impacted by the events and will forever remember the heartache and despair associated with one of the most dismal days in the history of the United States of America.
Of course, like many others, I endeavoured to make sense of it all by turning to God. During a time of prayer His Spirit directed me to His Word. I knew exactly where to turn – to 911. Picking up my Bible I opened it to Psalm 91:1 and read that “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Now I don’t know how this verse impacts you, but it’s a wonderful comfort for me in troubled times – a balm for the shock or anger that pommels my emotions when I’m glued to a television news coverage about a terrorist attack and the aftermath.
For even though the world is taking severe blows at the hands of terrorists, Psalm 91:1 testifies to the fact that God is still in control. He’s the One to whom we can turn. The One in whom comfort is found and strength restored. He’s the One who can never be shaken. The One who will never collapse. And the One who will always be there for us.
For God is “Almighty” – there is nothing in this world or in the heavens above that can prevail against Him. He is the “Rock” (Psalm 19:14), our “support” (Psalm 18:18), the One who “set the earth on its foundations” (Psalm 104:5), the One who “will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22), the One whose “love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1), our “stronghold in times of trouble” (Psalm 37:39), our “refuge” (Psalm 91:2), “an ever present help” (Psalm 46:1), the One who meets “all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19), and the One who gains “the victory and . . . will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 60:12).
Now that’s not to say these promises are for everyone. As indicated in the rest of Psalm 91 the promise of verse one is conditional – specifically for those who trust in the Lord. It’s only when “you make the Most High your dwelling” that “no harm will befall you” and “no disaster will come near your tent.” And it’s only when you love Him, acknowledge His name, and call on Him, that He will rescue you, protect you, be with you in times of trouble, deliver you, honour you, satisfy you with long life, and show you His salvation (cf. Psalm 91:9-10, 14-16).
So “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5. Then when you do, you’ll find that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7.
Yes, you needn’t be fearful in light of terrorist attacks, or in any other troubled times, if you’ve placed your trust in the Lord. For as we know from Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High” has an assurance of the permanence of God, the power of God, the protection of God, and the provision of God.
According to the Book – that’s a 911 worth remembering!