The Promises of Psalm 91 Are Not For Everyone

Preface: Cornerstone is memorizing some or all of Psalm 91 for the month of May.  It’s not too late to join us!  You can let us know you are joining with us by signing up here.  Each week a different staff or ministry leader is writing a short reflection on part of the Psalm.  Below is Pastor Billy’s reflection on verses 9-12.


The Promises of Psalm 91 Are Not For Everyone


Every single verse in the entirety of Psalm 91 has one thing in common: the promise of divine protection.  Read those 16 verses over again and find one verse that is not directly related to this promise.

The second half of the Psalm brings us into familiar territory reminding us once again that the Lord is our dwelling place.  But here the psalmist adds a most important detail which forms the very foundation of all the promises laid out in this Psalm.

We discover in verse 9 that all of these promises for protection, deliverance, and rescue are not made for every believer.  These are conditional promises.  We see this in a single word– “because” as in,

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—

    the Most High, who is my refuge—

no evil shall be allowed to befall you,

    no plague come near your tent.

We are protected, we are delivered, we are rescued only when we make the LORD our dwelling place.  Charles Spurgeon put it so well, “The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God (Treasury of David, Vol. 2, p. 88).”  The LORD is a dwelling place, but we must enter into that dwelling! Let us, therefore, lean on the Holy Spirit he has put within us and strive by faith to enter into that shelter.  Jesus has already opened the doors for us.  The place is fully prepared.


The promise of protection is further expounded,

For he will command his angels concerning you

    to guard you in all your ways.

On their hands they will bear you up,

    lest you strike your foot against a stone.


This is not the promise, by the way, of a single guardian angel but rather a promise that God will utilize his angels – plural – in service of those who abide in him.

This psalm in particular can be dangerous in the wrong hands.   For instance, the repeated promise of deliverance from pestilence (c.f. verses 3 and 6), should not be seen as a license to take unnecessary and foolish risks.  The devil himself used verses 11 and 12 in a vain bid to tempt Jesus to throw himself off of the top of the temple (cf. Matthew 4:5-7).   He was, in essence, saying to Jesus, “If God has promised to protect even your foot from striking a stone, certainly he will keep you from harm if you jump off this building!” Jesus didn’t buy it – you shall not put the LORD your God to the test.  And neither should we buy it. We trust in his provision, but we do not test that provision.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do we learn from the word “because” in verse 9?
  2. Read Matthew 4:5-7. How did the devil twist the words of Psalm 91:11-12?
  3. How has God used the words of this Psalm to encourage you?
  4. What obstacles must you face in order to make the LORD your dwelling place?