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    The Porch for March 10 19

    Lent 1 – Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
    I will raise you up on eagle’s wings.


    Poetry, imagery, language, metaphor – you read poetry differently

    Psalms tend to “move” – from plea to praise, from lament to thanksgiving, from articulation of hurt to submission to God


    Live – dwell, remain, abide
    Shelter, hiding place, cover, secret place (like in Ps 139, womblike)
    Almighty – el shaddai
    Shadow – under the protection
    Abide – to lodge, pass the night

    Say to – say of
    LORD = Yahweh

    Because – this is the word that the whole psalm rests on – because you did this you are blessed, because you trust, because you abide

    Befall – meet, encounter, approach
    Scourge – stroke, plague, disease, mark

    Guard – keep you, observe you, watch over
    Ways – road, journey

    Hands – literally the palm, the hollow of the hand
    Dash your foot – Do you think this is literal? What might it mean?

    Adder – or cobra, a venomous snake
    Tread – again, do you think this is literal, or perhaps like our idea of walking all over someone – “don’t tread on me”
    Trample – like tread – to oppress – power over

    Those – is actually “because” again, like in v.9
    Love – delight, desire, long for
    Deliver – bring into safety, bring into security
    Protect – to set on high, as in too high for capture
    Know my name – suggests a deep relationship! Intimacy.

    In Hebrew this verse is structured as: Because he loves me I will deliver; I will protect because he knows my name.

    Call – as in cry out
    Rescue – remove, draw out, draw away from
    Honour – curiously it also means heavy or weighty

    Long life – lit. length of days
    Satisfy – sated, filled, fulfilled, to have excess
    Salvation – interestingly this is the Hebrew word yeshuah (which is Jesus’ name)


    An “amulet” psalm – people would write parts of the psalm out and put them in amulets to wear as a kind of protection and reminder of God’s protection

    What might have inspired the psalmist to write this?

    There’s much hyperbolic language – why?
    What does that communicate to us?

    Is God a refuge for you? How?

    Scholars pair this with Psalm 90 and suggest 91 is the answer to the challenges of 90. Thoughts?

    El Shaddai – the root shad can mean both mountain and breast – interesting earthy imagery. Usually translated as God Almighty, but if the feminine breast imagery was used we might say God All-nurturing.
    Might that feminine imagery change the way you see the whole psalm?

    Summarize this psalm with a few words. (e.g. God cares. While I want no suffering, God will be present when I suffer.)

    Read Luke 4:9-11

    “The testimony of Psalm 91, then, is not that God’s people are immune to suffering, especially when that suffering comes as a result of folly or sin. Instead, it is that God will not ultimately let suffering or even death separate us from his love and care.”

    Who is speaking at the beginning?
    Does that change? Where?
    What is the effect of that change? (this happens in psalms all the time!)

    In v.10 it says no evil or scourge will come – so why are people crying out in v.15?
    (1-13 is the confession of faith – 14-16 is God’s promise and reality check)

    How do we avoid the bad theology that says “If you have enough faith you’ll never suffer, and God will bless you”?


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