I love Psalm 91. It has been one of my favorites for many years. I especially love it in the Complete Jewish Bible because it uses the actual Hebrew names of God. Meditating on the Psalms, or any Scripture for that matter, brings such a depth of insight and revelation. Reading and studying the Word is good too, of course, but I find meditation satisfies my soul like nothing else. The rewards are more than worth the time and effort it takes!
In these first two verses, two places and two actions are mentioned. Living in the shelter, and spending nights in the shadow. It uses three different names of God. ‘Elyon means “God Most High.” Shaddai means “Almighty,” or “All Sufficient One.” And Adonai is translated as “Lord.” Each of these describes a different nuance of God’s character and nature.
The word live means to dwell, to abide, to be inhabited; it can even mean to marry. Shelter refers to covering, secret place, a hiding place, or secrecy. Spend your nights literally means to stay or lodge somewhere overnight. Shadow literally speaks of a shadow or shade; protection.
We are to abide or dwell in the revelation that God is Most High. He is above everything else and we can hide, be covered, and secretly live in Him. He is our covering. God Most High covers us, hides us, protects, and shelters us. He inhabits us through His indwelling Spirit.
Night symbolizes times of darkness, even distress, yet He is All Sufficient for every need. He is Almighty over every problem. His shadow or shade can only be seen in daylight. It is always light when He is there, which is always. Spending the night also speaks of temporary lodging. Difficulties, though they come, are short-lived and fleeting as Paul described in Romans 8:18 and 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning! (Ps. 30:5)
When we truly know Him as Lord (Adonai), we will experience Him as our refuge and fortress. In the place of true surrender to His leadership will we have peace that He has our very best interest at heart. We can trust Him, no matter what may come against us, for we know He is always for us. You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You. (Isa. 26:3) His name is likened to a strong tower we can run into for protection. (Prov. 18:10) We are hidden in Him. (Col. 3:3)
A fortress is a place of protection in times of war when the enemy is trying to beat down the door. Spiritually speaking, it is a place in God that is impenetrable. The enemy cannot breach those walls. He cannot touch us there. Rather than trying to fight the enemy, we can retreat into Him. We can hide in the secret place of His love, strength, and might.