Under His Shadow, Part 1 - Bob Sawvelle

Happy New Year! A word the Lord has put on my heart for 2019 is ‘confidence.’ I believe 2019 is a year to face challenges confidently, trusting God’s promises completely. As believers, we can confidently abide in God and his promises irrespective of uncertainties we face. 2019 is a year to remain confident in God and his word! With this in mind, let’s examine Psalm 91.

Psalm 91 describes the security and confidence believers can enjoy through their faith in Christ. Psalm 91 is both a prayer and declaration of trust in God and his promises.

This psalm does not promise that believers will have a carefree existence. The function of Psalm 91 is rather to appeal to people and persuade them to have complete trust in God.[1]

Consider the “insecurity the Israelites faced. They had no insurance, no welfare, no pension plans. Their livelihood depended on the weather. Their nation, located on the land bridge between Asia and Africa, saw frequent military traffic, which often put their security in jeopardy. Into this frightening world, God speaks the promise of protection in Psalm 91.” [2]

God Almighty

Verse 1 of Psalm 91 sets the tone for the remainder of this Psalm or Song. From the Passion Translation, verse 1 reads:

When you sit enthroned under the shadow of Shaddai, you are hidden in the strength of God Most High.

The phrase “sit enthroned” could also be translated or “He who dwells, or “O, you who sits enthroned.” The Hebrew word used here, yashab, is often associated with one seated as royalty. It is translated in Ezek. 27:8 as “leaders or rulers.”

Consider that in Christ, you are now seated with him as royalty! You are a royal ambassador, a priest and king for God. You sit enthroned with him, not as a co-equal with God, but as an adopted son or daughter who is now seen as royalty in Christ. You can be secure and confident in God!

Let’s examine Shaddai (from the Hebrew šadday), taken from a Hebrew root word with many expressive meanings. Shaddai or El Shaddai is the eighth name God attributed to Himself.

Shaddai first appears in Genesis 17:1, “When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Walk with me and be trustworthy.” CEB 

This passage relates to the promise of the birth of Isaac, and God changes his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of a multitude). God also confirms his covenant with Abraham.

Later in Exodus 6:3: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty (or El-Shaddai), but by My name the Lord (or Yahweh or Jehovah) I was not known to them.” NKJV

Therefore, Shaddai or El-Shaddai can mean, “God Almighty,” “God of the Mountain,” “The God Who is Enough,” “The One Who is Self-Sufficient,” “God the Destroyer of Enemies,” and “The All-Powerful.” Shaddai signifies God as our source of all blessing, power, and deliverance. 

God revealed himself as El-Shaddai in situations where people are hard pressed and need assurance. In Genesis 28:3, Isaac asks El-Shaddai to bless Jacob as he goes to obtain a wife, in Genesis 35:11, El-Shaddai reaffirms the Abrahamic covenant with Jacob, and affirms his new name Israel, just prior to Rachel’s death, and in Genesis 49:25 Jacob blesses his son Joseph before his death.

A simple definition for El-Shaddai could be “He is the mighty God who is able to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.”

Verse 2 of Psalm 91 reveals that God is our stronghold and shelter, our great confidence:

He’s the hope that holds me and the Stronghold to shelter me, the only God for me, and my great confidence.” TPT

A worship song speaks of God’s care and our confidence in him, “My confidence is your faithfulness…”(from Yes and Amen, Housefires). Amid challenges and uncertainty, our confidence remains in El-Shaddai, the Almighty God who can do for me (or you) what I cannot do for myself! That’s good news! In today’s vernacular, “God’s got this, trust him confidently people!”

He will rescue you from every hidden trap of the enemy,and he will protect you from false accusation and any deadly curse. His massive arms are wrapped around you, protecting you. You can run under his covering of majesty and hide. His arms of faithfulness are a shield keeping you from harm. TPT

Do you see the promise? God promises to rescue you from the enemy’s traps, including false accusations and even deadly curse or disease. You can run under his covering, some translations say wings, which speaks not of God having wings, but of the wings of the cherubim resting on the mercy seat. The implication is that we can always come to the mercy seat and rest without fear.

You will never worry about an attack of demonic forces at night nor have to fear a spirit of darkness coming against you. Don’t fear a thing! Whether by night or by day, demonic danger will not trouble you, nor will the powers of evil launched against you. TPT

Verses 5–6 are seen by many Jewish scholars as a reference not merely to pestilence and natural dangers but to the realm of spiritual darkness that would come against God’s servants. These spirits are equated to “arrows that fly in daytime” or “a pestilence that walks” in the darkness. God’s sheltered ones are kept from the harm that could come from natural sources or supernatural sources.

Jewish teachers recommended Psalm 91 for repelling demons. Both Jewish and Christian mystics believe it’s in the night season that most demonic assault occurs. Psalm 91 was also used to discourage God’s people from the practice of witchcraft, but rather to trust in God, El-Shaddai.

Even in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed, you will remain unscathed and unharmed. You will be a spectator as the wicked perish in judgment, for they will be paid back for what they have done! When we live our lives within the shadow of God Most High, our secret hiding place, we will always be shielded from harm. How then could evil prevail against us or disease infect us? God sends angels with special orders to protect you wherever you go, defending you from all harm. If you walk into a trap, they’ll be there for you and keep you from stumbling. TPT

Supernatural intervention and angelic help are the norm for the followers of Christ.

For example, just look at Acts 12 how the Apostle Peter, in answer to prayer, was delivered from prison by an angel. It is one of many Bible stories of supernatural, angelic intervention in behalf of God’s people.

There are many stories today of deliverance, just like we read about in the Bible. One account I read once was of a young Army Lieutenant who was shot in the chest during battle. He was presumed dead by his friend next to him, who then picked up the Lieutenant’s rifle, and along with his weapon, and began to fire at the enemy and repel their attack. He then went to his friend, only to discover that he was still alive, only knocked unconscious by the bullet! The bullet had pierced the Lieutenant’s shirt and struck his Bible, where it traversed and stopped at Psalm 91:7, “Even in a time of disaster, with thousands and thousands being killed, you will remain unscathed and unharmed.” TPT What an amazing miracle story of protection and deliverance from evil!

You’ll even walk unharmed among the fiercest powers of darkness, trampling every one of them beneath your feet!

The phrase “fiercest powers of darkness” is from the Hebrew which includes the words for “lions,” “snakes,” and “dragons” (Heb. basilisk) as the three great symbols of satanic power. Luke records Jesus as using similar language:

Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20 NLT

The Greek literally reads snakes and scorpions, which represent demonic powers. God promises to deliver us from the fiercest assaults of the enemy as we trust him confidently.

For here is what the Lord has spoken to me: “Because you have delighted in me as my great lover, I will greatly protect you. I will set you in a high place, safe and secure before my face. I will answer your cry for help every time you pray, and you will find and feel my presence even in your time of pressure and trouble. I will be your glorious hero and give you a feast. You will be satisfied with a full life and with all that I do for you. For you will enjoy the fullness of my salvation!”

The last three verses of Psalm 91 give a beautiful promise of God’s care and protection for us. They demonstrate God’s commitment to answer, accompany, rescue, honor, and bless with a long life those who love him.

Next week in part 2, I want to look closer at the Promises of Psalm 91.

Remember, 2019 is a year to be confident! Our confidence is in God Almighty! Trust God completely and remain in his steadfast love and care!



For a more in-depth look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message, Under His Shadow, Part 1:


[1]Willem S. Prinsloo, “The Psalms,” in Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, ed. James D. G. Dunn and John W. Rogerson (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003), 409.

[2]Stephen J. Lennox, Psalms: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan Publishing House, 1999), 281.



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