Resting in the Shadow of the Almighty: Psalm 91

I became a believer in guardian angels long ago and verse 11 of this Psalm promises For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

I was new  on my job at Speedwell Motor Company in Beaumont, Texas. I had taken a check from a customer for $152.00, and it was returned, “Account closed.”  I had tried writing to the customer and the letter was returned, “MOVED, NO FORWARDING ADDRESS.”  I had not moved Melba and family from Aztec and I had just moved into our new home in Port Neches.  The man had told me he worked at the Hang Out Bar on the west side of Port Arthur. When I drove home I was half way there and decided to go collect the hot check that night.   I checked for address and located on my paper map, the latest one for the area.  At 8 PM I headed south.

As I drove from Port Arthur to West Port Arthur I noticed that everyone’s complexion was of the darker persuasion.  I stopped at an intersection and asked some fellows for directions. They looked at me like I were from Mars, turned and walked away.  While I sat there waiting for the light to change a voice called out.

“Mr. Pinney, Hey Herb, what are you doing down here?” Then he said, “Remember me; I was in Speedwell looking at a Rover 3500S last week.”

He looked familiar, but I didn’t remember his name but he was friendly and maybe he could help me find the street number.  Most places had no number showing.  I told him about the check.

He told me, “I know you are from New Mexico, but no white man belongs in this neighborhood after dark, especially tonight.  Give me the check; I will collect it and bring the money by your office.”

I hesitated and was not sure what to do; I could cover the amount. Just then, a knife fight broke out just 25 feet away at a liquor store.  I was convinced and handed my benefactor the check and beat it.

The next morning I arrived at Speedwell and the shop and parts were open; I opened the showroom and took my briefcase and morning paper to my office.  On my desk was a clean white envelope with my name. In it was $152.00 in US bills, no note, nothing else.  No one in the shop saw a well-dressed Black man go up the shop stairs to the showroom.

I went back to my office to read my paper before my sales force arrived as well as the customers. I opened my paper and the headlines told of a white man shot in West Port Arthur last night on the street I was seeking.  I went to my follow-up notes on customers from the week before and I had no follow-up on a Rover customer from Port Arthur.

I so believe Paul was right in Hebrews 13 and entertaining strangers that might be angels.  I have had similar experiences on the highway in Oklahoma, Colorado and New Mexico.  When you abide in the shadow of the Almighty, you are dwelling in the power and presence of God—A God  that wants to be a 100% God for His 100% Christians as described in Isaiah 58.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God  in whom I trust ().

Most boys and some girls built themselves a fortress when their birth years are marked in single digits.    I was no different. We bought a house that needed remodeling on Loma Drive in Hermosa Beach. I loved the place. It was four blocks above the Pacific Ocean, a fast four minutes on the bicycle and later when my Packard’s battery was dead from too much radio listening. The downhill cross street was an easy push, then starting the car on compression was a snap.

The house next to ones on the north side was very old and occupied by an elderly widow that was glad for kids to play in the giant eucalyptus trees in her back yard.  The giant eucalyptus tree was great to climb and even better to build a fort in.   Even better were the abundance of long, narrow leaves that hid all eyes from you hiding high in the tree.

It was here I built my 6th grade fort.  It was here I could hide out from the critical eye of some and the adoring eyes of baby brother and sister.

It was here that I could apply my imagination and dream myself around the world. To this day I love the smell and taste of eucalyptus oil and medicines.

Every adult needs a refuge and a fortress where they can abide with God and His Word that hedges them in.  God can build a hedge around us just like he did Job who was upright and blameless in his generation. A major farmer, shepherd, importer-exporter, and mining engineer. He was a good father, husband and priest for his family and workers. But God had a greater position for him and to get him ready. He allowed Satan to put loss and hurt on Job.


  The Egyptian world history records for the 18th and 19th centuries B C name Job (Ayyabun) as co-regent with Kushar and Zabilanu of the united kingdom of Moab, Edom and Uz. This was approximately 1850 BC. This would be while Job was in his late hundreds. History speaks of this being a period of prosperity and power for this kingdom. It was this kingdom that Pharaoh of Egypt feared in .  Since Goshen was on the Eastern border of Egypt, Isarael would either be the first line of defense against Enemies to the east as this kingdom was. Or they would be allies that opened the door to an invasion.  Since these nations were kin to the Israelites, pharaoh feared the worst and started genocide against the Hebrews.

There are times that God has a special assignment and he goes to those he can be 100% God to because they are 100% in for God. At times God has to come into their fortress and prepare that person by harsh discipline to be ready for an international job for God. This is what happened to Job.  The book of Job not only mentions how he was blameless and upright, but he was a man of proven abilities. God needs men or women with proven abilities so God can use them in the ongoing work of our world.  Some times he hurts the ones he loves to prepare them for something greater. This is what he did to Mary and Martha during the time of Lazarus’ sickness.  This is why Jesus cried on the way to the tomb. He had hurt them so badly when he wouldn’t heal Lazarus.  By his delay he established being able to be crucified on the Passover hour of the lamb being killed, symbolic of being the “Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday ().

The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord, Job and Proverbs tells us. If we wisely fear God we will become Isaiah 58, 100% disciples.  If you listen to people talking, they are afraid of sickness, government, accident, animals, and so much more.

Fear for your life can be very real.  A brilliant and beautiful lady in the Old Testament book of Esther was very afraid.  She was Queen of the largest kingdom of the world, the Persian Empire.  She had been reared by her older cousin Mordecai, and they were Jews that had stayed in Persia after the captivity.  Haman was a close adviser to King Xerxes; he was an Agagite and hated all Jews.  Esther had not revealed her ethnic background in her rise to being Queen.  Agagites were decedents of King Agag that Samuel had to kill because King Saul had disobeyed God and refused to kill him at the proper time.  Disobedience has long fingers and hundreds of years later an Agagite is back center stage.  Haman had horn-swaggled the king into making an order that would result in all Jews in the 127 nations of the Persian Empire being killed.  Mordecai had heard about the deal and asked Esther to go to the king and intercede for her people.  For Esther to appear before the king unbidden could mean her death. With this temperamental king, death was a real possibility.

Esther asked Mordecai to ask all their people to fast and pray for her and she would get her maidens to join her in fasting and praying for her life and success. Mordecai had told her just maybe she came to the kingdom for a time such as this.  Esther had responded, “If I perish, I perish.”   Esther had reason to be afraid.

After the fasting and praying Esther prepared to go before the king; she is not only beautiful, she is alluring. She picks her gown carefully and just the right perfume and makeup; then she walks up to within sight of the king and makes her stand; the king sees her and at once beckons her to approach him. She made it, with God’s help, past the first hurdle.  The king wanted to know what she wanted and he wanted to give it to her. But the laws of the Medes and Persians could not be broken even by the king, so her game plan must be good and a winner. She invites the king and Haman to a private banquet.  She is building famine suspense for the King. At the supper she does not ask for the lives of her people yet; she invites them to dinner again tomorrow evening. The king’s suspense is off the charts by this time.

The next night at the second banquet the king is ready and Queen Esther asks for her life and the life of her people. The king is angry at himself and his officials for making such a foolish law and goes for a walk alone in the garden. Haman realizes he is caught in his own trap and he comes on strong for mercy and falls all over the Queen just as the King is coming back in to the Queen’s quarters. Now it looks as if Haman is attacking the Queen and he ends on his own gallows and the Queen is granted her request, and cousin Mordecai is made Prime Minister in the place of Haman, and a new law is sent out that the Jews could defend themselves and the problem is solved by bringing God in to partner in the situation, no need to fear. But remember everyone did their part along with God.  Working with God is always a partnership.

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him ().

How valuable is it to have God as your rear guard, to always answer when we call out for help and to be a deliverer in times of trouble,

Biblical promises are always conditional.  So many Christians feel that God is not listening to them and promise scriptures like Psalm 91 are lies told by God or the Bible is not reliable when the trouble is these 100% promises are for 100% Christians. Isaiah 58 gives the formula for this promise from the lips of God. God says, if you do this:

6 “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? 8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. 9 Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I… The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame ().

Verse 14: The mouth of the Lord has spoken. There are the terms of the deal and the promises of God.

If you want God to rescue and protect these are the terms. Then:

  1. Your  light will break forth like the dawn.
  2. Your healing will quickly appear.
  3. Your Righteousness will go before you.
  4. The Glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
  5. You will call and the Lord will answer.
  6. You will cry for help and he will say, “Here am I”.
  7. The Lord will guide you always-and satisfy your needs.

There is no sweeter deal anywhere. God said, “The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”