1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Because I love words, and because sometimes things get lost in translation, let’s take a close look at the original Hebrew of the four words I put in red above.
Yashab is translated in most Bible versions as dwells, meaning lives in, inhabits, remains. Shelter is a less poetic translation of the Hebrew and the original gives a more romantic feel: secret places. The underlying premise is that you don’t occasionally visit the shelter (or secret places) of the Most High, but you constantly remain there. It follows then that you will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Rest is from the Hebrew word luwn which is more often translated as remain or abide or literally to continually lodge. Now you have a comforting picture of constantly living in the secret sheltered place of Almighty God where you can fully abide.
He can be your refuge and your fortress. These two words are exactly what they seem to be. A refuge is a sanctuary, safe haven, shelter or retreat. A fortress is a stronghold, a well defended place of protection.
This is an excellent Psalm to read and study when you are in need of emotional and spiritual strength. Here is Psalm 91 in the most terrifically modern version I could find, The Message:
91 1-13 You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,Say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!”That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe; his arms fend off all harm.Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night, not flying arrows in the day,Not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left, no harm will even graze you.You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home,Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.If you stumble, they’ll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path.14-16 “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, “I’ll get you out of any trouble.I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me.Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times; I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!”