King David was the youngest of his seven brothers. When we first encounter him in scripture he is a teenager. He tells King Saul that he has spent years looking after his father’s sheep. This was lonely and dangerous work out on the hillsides at night, sometimes far from home. He had to face wild animals. He had become an expert with the slingshot, a simple device that in trained hands could hurl a large stone with deadly accuracy. When a big cat came after him or his charges, David could bring it down with his slingshot before it got close. If the shot only stunned the animal, he finished it off with his sword. David became skilled with these weapons, he learned courage and bravery, and he developed a deep faith in, and reliance on, God. David grew up to be a skilled military commander, he led from the front. He was also a skilled musician who wrote many songs praising God. In his late thirties he became king over all Israel. He lived a long and fulfilled life.
Keep David’s experiences in mind as you read this psalm of his.
Relate David’s words to your own situation where a deadly
pestilence stalks day and night.
Use David’s psalm to guide your prayers:
You who live in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.’
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
or the arrow that flies by day,
or the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
or the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your dwelling-place,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
Those who love me, I will deliver;
I will protect those who know my name.
When they call to me, I will answer them;
I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honour them.
With long life I will satisfy them,
and show them my salvation.
(Psalm 91 NRSVA)