He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. - Psalm 91: 4 (NIV) Continuing in Psalm 91, the Psalmist speaks to us about two more of the glorious characteristics of our Lord, His safety and His faithfulness. The first promise in verse four is that God will, “cover you with His feathers.” Birds protect their young by covering them with their feathers. They do this to keep their offspring safe and warm. They do this to protect them from the elements, as well as from any danger that might befall them. They do this because their young cannot do it for themselves. This is the imagery the Psalmist wants to convey and it contains several key parts. First of all, the image reinforces the fact that we are God’s children. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. - John 1: 12 (KJV) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” - Romans 8:16 (KJV) As God’s children we can expect the protection from our Father that the Psalmist speaks about here in verse four. Too many Christians do not walk under this protection because they do not understand the nature of the relationship. We can tend to walk under constant condemnation, usually stemming from religiosity or the accusations of the enemy. We think like the prodigal son thought when he was returning home – that since we do not deserve to be treated like a son, we will accept being treated as a servant. But the Father in His infinite grace and mercy runs to meet us, slip a ring on our finger and sandals on our feet. A grand feast awaits us for now we have come home. Secondly, the image reinforces that we cannot do this on our own. We cannot expect that within our own efforts we will find protection in this world. It is a harsh and unforgiving world. The protection we might think we enjoy is fleeting at best. Yet one of the most common mistakes we make as believers is in thinking we can do things apart from our Father: Trust in the Lordwith all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your pathsstraight. – Proverbs 3: 5-6 (NIV) Other translations make clear that God will make our paths known. Let’s be honest – life is filled with decisions and more often than not our current life is merely a product of decisions we have already made. Quite often we face forks in the road of our journey with multiple choices for paths we can take. If we lean to our own understanding we will usually find out that we were mistaken. Sometimes, the damage is life-altering. The Bible says there is a way that seems right to man but it leads to death. God however knows the exact path to take – every time! This verse just continues the message we have received throughout this Psalm. If we find ourselves dwelling in the secret place of God’s presence, abiding in Him as our fortress – then we can expect to be protected from the snares of the enemy and to enjoy the safety found under His very wings. Then we will see our paths made straight before us and know which path to take. Continuing the theme of the safety of The Lord, the next promise in verse four is, “under His wings you will find refuge.” As the offspring of the bird finds it’s refuge under the wings of his parent, so we will find our refuge under the protection of Almighty God. Too often in this world, we turn to God when it is either convenient for us, or when we have messed it up so bad we have nowhere else to turn. The Psalmist is promising here that if you want that safety, that refuge, you need to look no further then to God your Father. Notice however that the requirement is that you must be under His wings. The young birds have no qualms with who their parent is. They do not doubt their parent. They do not question their parent. They have complete trust in who their parent is and what their parent will do for them - they simply trust. God requires the same from His children. You should not doubt your God. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. – 1Thessalonians 5: 24 (NLT) Listen! The Lord’s arm is not too weak to save you, nor is his ear too deaf to hear you call. – Isaiah 59: 1 (NLT) And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1: 6 (NLT) The Lord is our refuge and we can rest comfortably in His peace, if we will trust in Him and have faith in who He is. He started the good work in your life and He is faithful to complete it. The last promise in verse four is, “his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Once again the Psalmist uses two words that are closely related in describing a characteristic of God. A shield is an item of defense, used to protect oneself in warfare. Interestingly, the dictionary also defines it as, “a person or thing that protects.” Thus a shield can also be a person, in this case, God. A rampart is defined as, “a broad elevation or mound of earth raised as a fortification.” The faithfulness of God will indeed raise you above your circumstances as a means of protection. We are in warfare every day in this world but not in the conventional sense. The Bible says that we are at war against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. The struggle we face every day is a spiritual one and the warfare is spiritual. In this war we cannot rely on conventional defenses but instead we must have a spiritual defense. That defense, portrayed by the Psalmist as a shield and rampart, is found within the faithfulness of God. It is God’s faithfulness toward His children that will serve as our shield and will raise us above the fray, to the victory we already have in Christ Jesus. Far too often we forget that we already walk in that victory. When Christ died for our sins, His words confirmed it, “it is finished”. So while the battle still rages, the enemy has already lost. We need to remember that, when the accuser comes against us. We need to reflect back to our defense and raise ourselves above the battle, by relying on the faithfulness of God. Psalm 91 verse four provides us with great riches in the promises of God. He is our safety but we must trust Him. We must not only go to Him when it is convenient, or inconvenient. God is not an ATM, where we can withdraw promises when we feel the need. We should be living in those promises so that when the storms of life come against us we do not have to “turn to God”, because He will already be at our right hand. He is also our defense and raises us above our circumstances through His faithfulness. As Christians we need to realize in the heat of the battle, that we have already won, through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who remains always faithful. Amen! Rev. Anthony.