91:9 Because you have made the LORD your refuge, the Most High your dwelling place,
91:10 no evil shall befall you, no scourge come near your tent.
91:11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
91:12 On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
91:13 You will tread on the lion and the adder, the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
91:14 Those who love me, I will deliver; I will protect those who know my name.
91:15 When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble, I will rescue them and honor them.
91:16 With long life I will satisfy them, and show them my salvation.
Because most modern churchgoers spend less time reading the psalms than they do hearing Gospel lessons read to them in worship, we know parts of this psalm because we have heard them coming out of the Devil’s mouth. That’s right. The Devil. Well, our pastor or lector, quoting the Devil, in the story of Jeus’s temptation in the wilderness. Satan tempts Jesus to test God by throwing himself off a high place, since God’s angels will prevent even his feet from being hurt.
In the psalm, why does God command his angels to have charge over this person? What has the person done to merit God’s complete protection? The person being written about has made the Lord her/his refuge, has made the Most High their dwelling place. This person has loved God and known God’s name.
So if somehow we wanted to have the protection of the Lord and all the angels, we would want to begin by taking refuge in the Lord, by making the Lord our dwelling place. How do we do that? How even might we love God and know God’s name?
It seems one way to know God and live in him as we would in a dwelling is to pray. A little bit every day. We might start very small. We might be very brief. But do it for a few minutes routinely. As we get used to it, the time might lengthen, but that may not matter to God.
Now “praying” sounds rather holy. It may be holy, because God is on one end of the communication. But it can be quite normal. About quite ordinary things. Every morning I try to get a couple thousand steps in toward my daily goal. To motivate me, I have a music playlist from the 70’s funk group Earth, Wind, and Fire that gets me moving. I am so grateful for their immense talent and energy I thank God for them as the playlist begins and marvel at the arts that God has created and inspired throughout the ages. My prayers of praise to the Lord begin with funk music. But they take me to praising God for much, much more, blessing God’s name for the many gifts of life. Praying out of thanks begins a day that continues in thankfulness. Think about what you appreciate and try thanking God for it every morning for a little while and see what happens.
Gracious God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for being willing to help and protect us if we just manage somehow to live in you and know your name. Help us to use your name as we pray and do it often, no matter what we are thanking you for. Amen.