Bible Promises · Psalm 91

Psalm 91:1 YOU Dwell and Abide

I’ve always thought of myself as a peaceful person (my family would challenge this idea)…that I enjoy peace and am restful when there is not a lot of chaos going on around me. My husband took our 6 younger children to the beach with my inlaws for a week. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

This was my moment, I was going to enjoy the peace. I was going to get so much done. I had my list ready. I was going to sit, drink coffee, meditate, write, read a book…you know, whatever I wanted, without interruption or distraction..or so I thought. 

I got up in the morning and did read my Bible with a cup of coffee. It was nice. I was even able to exercise afterwards. Wow, amazing! But as I tried to settle in to get things done, I found that I had a lot of distractions…things I remembered I wanted from Amazon and Walmart…better get those ordered. Oh wait, I better take a shower before I start. I should fill that dishwasher before I start. Oh, I haven’t eaten yet…let me find an apple and peanut butter. Better now. Oh wait, I should make more coffee…it has been over 4 hours since my last cup. Didn’t I look up an “online distraction” software yesterday…what was that called. I need to find it again. Surely THAT will help me stay focussed. Haha! Can any of you relate? I may enjoy the quiet in my house currently but I am lying to myself if I say that I am peaceful or at rest…on my own…just because my little people are not here. I have plenty of inner busyness that prevents peace. 

As the title of this piece conveys, I was going to continue thoughts on Psalm 91…specifically the words…Dwell & Abide. I could not sit down…sit still to start writing which is so interesting because of how that connects to the words “Dwell and Abide.” Let me show you what I mean. 

Psalm 91:1 says: 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (“Elyon”)

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.(“Shaddai”)

What does it mean to dwell in the shelter of the Most High?  I dwell in my home. When I hear that word, I think…I dwell in my home..I live there. 

And then I think of all the things I DO while living in my home. I wake up there….I go to sleep there and everything in between. I rest there and work and think and create and talk to my family. I DO all of that in my home that I dwell in. I exist and stay there. In my my mind, Dwelling is just a short leap to DOING

Now lets look at what “dwell” actually means. “Dwell” is the Hebrew word “yashab” (H3427 in Strongs) and it means “to sit, remain or dwell.”

 I love the picture of sitting in the shelter of The Strongest God. I am doing nothing but sitting there under the shelter of his protection. I am choosing to stay in the shelter instead of running out physically or mentally to fight the battle on my own with whatever great idea I come up with.

This is echoed in this verse in Exodus 14:14:

“The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.”

This morning, I realized that I’m fairly terrible at just sitting still doing nothing. DOING Feels Productive…SITTING & RESTING feels lazy. Even when my body is sitting, my mind is not resting…it just keeps do…do..doing. The Lord is teaching me that REST is a WEAPON. My fight is to enter and stay at rest. 

Let’s look at the rest of the verse:

Psalm 91:1 says: 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (“Elyon”)

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.(“Shaddai”)

So now we see the word “abide” here. Again, when I hear the word “abide,” I’m thinking of something similar to dwell…you stay or dwell or abide in a house for example. 

Abide” comes from the Hebrew word “luwn or liyn” (Strongs 3885) which means “to stop…usually overnight” and implies “to stay permanently.” 

I love it when the Bible repeats an idea multiple times in a short span of text…it is like God saying, “Hey, I told you something important. Did you hear me? Let me say it again another way!”I do this with my kids too! 

And right here, I hear God saying, I want you to come and sit under my protection in my shelter and I want you to STAY THERE. Don’t move. 

We will see a pattern of 24 hours several times in Psalm 91 and we see it here in the first verse. Come sit (daytime) and then stay there (overnight implication). We are invited to this place of protection…this relationship of protection 24/7 all the days of our life. We can come like small children to a loving parent and trust that our Father will take care of our needs. 

So today, I invite you to consider how the Most High God wants to provide a place of rest for you. We all carry burdens around but our Father wants us to stop trying to do it all on our own…in our own understanding and come sit with him and stay there. 

This passage is not just talking about a physical act..it is something we do in our mind. We sit…we stay…we dwell…we abide in our mind. I invite you to try something…to quiet your own mind…to set aside the to do list and the shopping list…to block out the background noise…for one minute.You can set a timer if it helps.  And when you do, ask the Lord to speak to you. And what do you hear?

Here is some of what I heard…I think its for you too:

“I love you. I love you how you are right now. You are special. Today is a good day that I have made for you. I am with you now and the next moment and the one after. I enjoy spending time with you and I want good things for you…..”

In fact, the words kept on going when the timer went off. He is always speaking to us if we listen.

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Psalm 91:1-2 It’s All About His Names

In 2002, my husband and I were expecting our first child. We knew absolutely nothing about being parents, but we were so excited. And of course WE were going to do this right. Logically, good parenting starts with a good name. Our evening conversation would be interspersed with possible names for this new little one.

Should we pick one that reflected my husband’s Scottish heritage or should we pick a Biblical name. Maybe it could be both. Family members joined in the fun suggesting all kinds of ideas as well. This baby would be the first grandchild on both sides, so expectations were high…at least I felt like they were. I didn’t want to mess up this name.

So part of every great brainstorming session involved us bent over a computer scrolling through names and their meanings or flipping through a tattered copy of “Baby Names.” Names were discarded for having strange meanings like “dark warrior” or meanings that read more like a map “from the Oak Valley.” Slowly a list of “possible” names started to emerge.

It narrowed further when we found out it would be a boy! Finally, we chose the name “Ian.” It was derived from the name John (Biblical) and was Scottish in origin. But more importantly to me, it means, “God is gracious.” I had had a miscarriage prior to this pregnancy which was such a dark time of loss and questioning. So in this season of new life, this name captured so many things: dreams for our son, our deep appreciation for this blessing and a growing understanding of the character of God. This NAME carried meaning and expectation and that was why we chose it.

Many years later, I was introduced to Psalm 91. As I previously shared, it was a game changer for me. It was a pivot point that changed my life forever. As I read, I loved the protective imagery and strong language…abide, dwell, refuge, fortress, but my eyes mostly slid past the different names God. After all, most English translations don’t really make a distinction between the names. It is hard to tell if they mean the same thing or not…Most High, Almighty, Lord…God. You get the picture…they sound grand and big…and they are all names of God.

Anyway, at some point I was listening to teaching on Psalm 91 by Joseph Prince and he was specifically teaching about the names. What? The names? Dig out the Strongs Concordance…what is he talking about? Here is what I found. Read the first 2 verses with me:

Psalm 91:1-2 in NASB says:

1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (“Elyon”)
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (“Shadday”)
I will say to the Lord(“Jehovah”), “My refuge and my fortress,
My God (“Elohim”), in whom I trust!”

Now, when I actually looked those up, here is what those words mean! (plus a bonus name we will look at in a future post that comes from verse 16)

Name of God in HebrewMeaning from Strong’s Concordance
Most High = Elyon (5945)Superlative God – surpassing all others – Supreme. Above all other powers and authority.
Almighty = Shaddai (7706)All Powerful Omnipotent
Lord = Jehovah (3068)Self Existent One – Eternal
Elohim (430)the Supreme God (plural form)

Yeshuwah (3444) (vs.16)

salvation, health, deliverance, help, prosperity
Hebrew Names of God & Jesus in Psalm 91:1-2, 16 with
Strong’s Concordance numbers

If I read those verses again…they read differently with the meanings inserted. 

Psalm 91: 1-2
1He who dwells in the shelter of the Supreme God who surpasses all others in power & authority
Will abide in the shadow of the All Powerful One
I will say to the Eternal Self-Existent One, “My refuge and my fortress,
My Supreme God, in whom I trust!”


The deck is stacked here in the first two verses. God is demonstrating by the use of His names that He is more powerful than anything or anyone else and He exists independently of the anything happening here in the world. The names chosen here demonstrate His strenghth, power and give us confidence that He is more than able to do what He claims in these verses.

What I realized for me though is this…All that is fine and good…He has some pretty great names. Did I believe Him? Did I actually trust that He was saying true things about Himself? None of the rest of the words or other verses really mattered if I didn’t. I thought I trusted Him….but as I considered….struggled through past hurts and disappointments, I knew in my heart that I did not.

I came to Jesus when I was 4 years old. I loved Him with all my 4 year old heart. But over the years, lots of teaching (some good, some not), disappointments, and self-doubt led to confusion. I came to realize through this time of confusion, that the foundation for my life was not ALL on the Word of God. I had built my life on the traditions of the church, the opinions of others, the teachings of man AND the Word of God. And the reality is, those things did not all line up. They were not the same. I could dress my family up in their Sunday best, take care of my family and parrot quality teachers, but at the end of the day, that was it. As I gradually came to the realization that I did not know what I believed, it all started to crumble.

I knew that I needed to rebuild my faith on the Word of God alone. I needed to learn who God is, who He says I am and what the Word of God says. Psalm 91 was my road map for rebuilding my faith. It starts with His names. I encourage you too look them up for yourself. Maybe pull out your Bible and pencil them in next to Psalm 91.

I use a Strong’s Concordance as well as other sources. A good online one is Blueletterbible.org. I invite you to look up these names and consider for yourself who God wants to be to you!