What does Psalm 91:1 mean?
ESV: He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
NIV: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
NASB: One who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will lodge in the shadow of the Almighty.
CSB: The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.
NLT: Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
KJV: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
NKJV: He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Verse Commentary:
A "shelter" provides safety from a storm or enemy. The term "Most High" comes for the Hebrew el'yon' and specifically implies something "upper," "above," or "highest." The implication is that God is superior to all other powers and supreme above any other deity. There is no safer shelter than what the Most High provides!

The reference to God as "Most High" is seen elsewhere in Scripture. Genesis 14:21–24 famously records Abram's response to the king of Sodom when he offered Abram a reward for rescuing hostages. Abram said he had sworn to the Lord, God Most High, promising not to accept anything from the ruler of that infamously depraved kingdom.

The psalmist refers to the "shadow" of God. In literal terms, a shadow provides little protection, itself. The imagery, however, is of someone who is close enough, and protected enough, that the shadow of their protector is on them. Further, the psalmist will "abide" there, implying a committed, consistent closeness with the Lord.
Verse Context:
Psalm 91:1–4 declares the writer's trust in the Lord as the Most High and the Almighty. He sees God as his defender and faithful protector. This passage uses a wide variety of terms suggesting security, such as "shelter," "refuge, "fortress," "shield," and "buckler." Attempts to use these words as an absolute guarantee of personal safety were refuted by Jesus. He countered that interpretation when Satan tried to use later verses in this psalm as part of a temptation (Matthew 4:5–7).
Chapter Summary:
The psalmist expresses his trust that God is a source of safety. He uses various dangers as symbols of the terrors which God's people do not need to fear. When God has resolved to protect someone, nothing can overcome that safety. Jesus refuted inappropriate use of this promise when being tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:5–7). Those who love God, and honor Him, can count on His provision and protection, and know that nothing happens without His approval.
Chapter Context:
This psalm includes similar phrases to psalms 90 and 92. The theme of this song is trust in God, a common theme in Scripture. Notable parallels can be found in 2 Samuel 22:31, Psalms 9, 37, 40, 84, and 118, Proverbs 3:5–6, Proverbs 14:26, Isaiah 26:3, Nahum 1:7, John 14:1–6, and Hebrews 11. In Psalm 91 the writer reveals what the Lord does for those who trust in Him. Verses 11 and 12 were cited by Satan when tempting Jesus in Matthew 4:5–6.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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