For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11
Generations of believers have turned to the Psalms for comfort in times of trial. The imagery of Psalm 91, in particular, provides strength during hardship. One verse in this chapter draws more attention than others due to its infamous reference by Satan in Luke 4:10. But what is the meaning of Psalm 91:11? And how does the 91st Psalm apply to our lives today?
Let’s take a look.
The Context of Psalm 91:11
In Psalm 91, the psalmist uses a device called tautology—to say the same thing twice using different words. It is a tool poets, authors, and lyricists use to drive home a point or emphasize a theme.
We see it used throughout the passage. Verses five through six tell the reader that they need not fear the terrors that clothe themselves in darkness. The metaphor of a bird shielding its young from harm can be found in verse four. Psalm 91:13 proclaims that the listener will tread on the heads of serpents and lions. Each couplet of this psalm is meant to offer reassurance.
When viewed through this lens, we can see that the writer penned this psalm to remind the audience of God’s power. God does not merely love us while lacking the power to deliver us from harm. He has the desire to save and the strength to do so.
The Meaning of Psalm 91:11
This verse can only be understood when read in the context of verses nine and ten. In Psalm 91:9-10, the writer promises that those who take refuge in God will be protected, no harm will overtake them. Verses one and two, as well as fourteen through sixteen, echo these thoughts. By rephrasing this idea three times, the writer sets up a flashing neon sign to draw our attention to this truth—refuge in God brings safety.
In the first half of the Psalm, his faithfulness is highlighted in the analogy of a mother bird. He is using an earthly parallel of devotion to paint a picture of a heavenly truth. Birds are fierce protectors of their young. In the shadow of their wing is rest. When we arrive at Psalm 91:11, he connects the dots from a protectiveness we can understand to a love we cannot comprehend—one that would command angels to our side.
Verse eleven answers the unspoken question of the listener: How can God do this? How can he save? Because he has an army of angels at his call. Because he can shut the mouths of lions, turn aside arrows, and fend off tens of thousands. God is incomparable; he is nothing like the gods of the nations that surrounded them. He is not merely a god of earth or sky. He is a God of galaxies. Our focus, as we read, should not be on the angels, but on the God who can marshal them. He is in whom he should trust.
The Psalm 91:11 meaning shows that we can trust in God. He will command angels concerning you and will protect you.
How Psalm 91:11 Applies to Your Life
Alone, this psalm cannot be applied to our lives. It must be taken in the context. While Psalm 91:9 and 91:14 offer the application we seek, I prefer how it is stated in Psalm 91:1 when it reads, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
It is not in seeking safety that we find it; it is in seeking God that we find safety. Hardships will come. Pain exists. Yet, when our refuge is in God, rather than a relationship, a substance, or a role, there is rest. He is our shelter, our shield, our salvation. We must remember that. Only then can we find peace and hope.
What, though, does taking refuge in God mean? As God is not a place but a person, connection is essential. Once we learn to develop a relationship with God, it can grow, and we can learn to trust him with our fears, our stresses, and our hopes.
A parent-child relationship is a perfect parallel. To the best of their ability, loving parents shield their children from physical harm, but they also provide an emotional and relational safe space. The arms of a parent should be a secure place to fall. God is a good Father. He invites us into such a relationship.
I invite you today, whether you believe in God or are on the fence, to seek refuge in the God who “will command his angels concerning you.” You can practice this by spending a few minutes a day pouring out your fears to him. Whether it be in a journal or in prayer, share what troubles you and listen. Expect that God may answer your prayer, provide wisdom, or give you peace. This is a way to take shelter in him.
I would love to hear about your experience with this exercise. You can leave a comment below or email me at: [email protected]
Now check out: The Psalm 46:1 Meaning (god is our refuge and strength)
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