1 You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
2 will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.’
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4 he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
6 or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling-place,
10 no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14 Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
15 When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honour them.
16 With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.
The psalms have an interesting reputation.
I don’t often get a chance to read through the psalms, honestly. Usually I kind of speed through them, which honestly, I probably shouldn’t. The psalms are not meant to be read; they’re meant to be sung. They’re poetry, and poetry is simply words that have more weight together than they do on their own, or set into prose. That said, I really am glad for this psalm.
I think I need reminding every once in a while about the steadfastness of God’s love. And while I’m not often fond of military imagery, I really appreciate this one.
In my head, when I read this psalm, I see Helm’s Deep from the Lord of the Rings.
In the book and the movie, Helm’s Deep is set up as this impenetrable fortress, a place where the people of Rohan can be protected from the forces of evil. Sure enough, the forces of evil come, and they are beset by thousands upon thousands of menacing orcs and uruk-hai. When all looks hopeless, Gandalf arrives with a host of horseman like avenging angels to save the people hiding in the fortress.
They still beset me at all times. It’s in Lent that I need to learn how to trust more, to let go, to not feel hopeless when I feel surrounded. God is faithful, and I take joy in that refuge that God offers. Thanks be to God.