Devotional against Fear: focusing on Psalm 91 in the CJB version
Day 1: Psalm 91:1-6
“You who live in the shelter of ‘Elyon, who spend your nights in the shadow of Shaddai, who say to Adonai, “My refuge! My fortress! My God, in whom I trust!” — he will rescue you from the trap of the hunter and from the plague of calamities; he will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his truth is a shield and protection. You will not fear the terrors of night or the arrow that flies by day, or the plague that roams in the dark, or the scourge that wreaks havoc at noon.”
This is one of the first psalms that I memorized as a child. When I was ten, I was still afraid of the dark and of forests. I feared creatures in the dimness, cougars, wolves, bears… Even though I’d never seen them, the few trees between the clear driveway and the dog’s pen felt like a dense and impenetrable forest. Seriously, it was three little pine trees, and maybe five steps.
When I was thirteen, I had to walk a short quarter kilometer to close our gate. The driveway along that stretch has many trees overhanging it, and growing close to it. To top it off, it was dusk. I was afraid. I’d been told to walk it, to close the gate, but I was afraid, panicked.
I began speaking the words of this chapter, repeating them as I walked to the gate. After I reached the gate, the fear vanished. I was still cautious of deep and dense trees, but as of then I was no longer afraid of the dimness of evening or the close growing forest I was surrounded by. The repetition of these verses gave me courage whenever I had fear related to darkness, and the natural world.
We do not need to fear plague, the “arrow that strikes by day” and night. The natural world is under God’s control and power. We do not need to fear it, particularly if we are respecting our governing authorities and taking adequate precautions according to the scientific understanding available to us. We have knowledge for a reason, and it is to keep us safe and not let us give in to fear.
If you feel fear today, over the situation at hand, over life, or over location. Or if you have an on-going and irrational fear, take authority over it with this passage and these verses. Recite them, write them out, or memorize them. For we live in the shelter of the Most High, and abide in the shadow of The Almighty, we say of The Lord, my refuge and fortress, my God in who I trust.