*Scripture verses covered in this section's commentary are noted in italics

Psalm 91:14-16 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Psalm 91:14
  • Psalm 91:15
  • Psalm 91:16

When we trust and obey God, we are delivered from the adverse result that comes from walking in sin. God’s purpose in all things is to rescue, honor, and satisfy His people with the final outcome of a fully completed salvation, despite all that threatens the soul.

Up until this point in psalm 91, we have heard only from its writer. In the three closing verses, however, the psalmist recedes into the background as Yahweh Himself speaks: Because … I will. If not the how, there is a reason that explains why God acts.

In the midst of our own troubles and suffering we commonly ask, “Why me?” It is a plaintive query reflecting loss of direction and faltering hope in the face of adversity. In verse 14, Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him, I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name, the Lord provides a response to a more positively framed question, “How can that be me who is delivered?”

The answer to “How can this be me who receives all this protection?” is answered by God: Because he has loved Me … because he has known My name. Here is the explanation of the Lord’s personal involvement in the mundane as well as the extraordinary affairs of His own people. The way to gain the most protection from God refers back to the earlier verses of this psalm: trust in God. Take shelter in His wings. Dwell with Him, trusting that He is our fortress.

Loving Yahweh, following after God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength is the path to living out and experiencing our new life in Christ (Deuteronomy 11: 13-14, 22; Matthew 22:37; Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27-28; 1 Corinthians 2:9). Knowing God’s name alludes to investing wholly in a relevant personal, loving relationship with Yahweh. Jesus disclosed the singular way to encounter this warm relational unity with God the Father in the post-resurrection era: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

To know Jesus is to know God: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). The way to experience eternal life is to know God through a walk of faith (John 17:3). Believers receive eternal life as a gift through faith in Jesus (John 3:14-16). But the experience of that life comes through knowing God, and knowing God comes through walking with Him in trust.

There are three things we humans control: who we trust, our perspective or attitude, and our actions. Trusting God begins a virtuous circle. It allows us to see things truly, which leads us to trust in the One who is trustworthy. This then leads us to take actions that are obedient to His word, which is always for our best.

The question then arises, what of those who have believed in Christ, been born again of His Spirit, but do not walk in belief? Scripture indicates that those who walk in willful disobedience are chastised by God, who turns them over to the lusts for which they desire. He removes His protection, and allows them to be judged by giving to them what they asked for. We see this in Romans 1:18-26, where it is said that God “gave them over” to their lusts. This is said to be His “wrath” (Romans 1:18).

God’s protection is for those who loved Me. To love God is to keep His commands (John 14:15). To love God, and obey Him, results in us being one whom God will deliver. God will set that person securely on high, because he has known my name. To know God’s name indicates a close fellowship in walking with Him. To place that person securely on high could tie with the great rewards promised to those who live as faithful witnesses, and are said to be overcomers (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

Security and deliverance are the ageless, unassailable hallmarks of God’s redemptive and eternal character. They are the incontrovertible evidence of the Lord’s sovereignty over all spheres of creation and life, including the most personal happenstances. I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high… These promises rise from the core of God’s character: love (Jeremiah 31:3; Micah 7:18; 1 John 4:16).

Those who wholeheartedly follow Yahweh may rest confidently, securely in His promises (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 37:28; Romans 8:37-39). God always keeps His never-failing word (Proverbs 30:5; Isaiah 40:8, 55:11; Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25). Now, in this later age, the Lord’s everlasting, securing, and redeeming Word is fully revealed in Jesus Christ (John 1:1-4; 10:30).

The Lord continues: He will call upon Me. We human beings are social animals. In short, we wither in spirit when left alone for too long. While we may thoroughly enjoy and profit from occasional periods of solitude and unfettered privacy, we tend to blossom and be at our best when we are part of a team. Like musicians honing and improving upon expressive melodic skills through regular rehearsal with other musicians, we grow as individuals when we play our part in something greater than just ourselves.

We also improve and grow when we are routinely supported, challenged, and spurred on by others (Proverbs 27:17). The Christian church, from its very beginnings, emphasized “we” over “me” in everything from worship to discipleship, from evangelism to the service of others. The core purpose of church is to meet together in order to stimulate one another up to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:23-25). The word translated “stimulate” could also be translated “provoke” or “challenge.” We sometimes need a proverbial kick in the proverbial pants in order to get our lives in order, and do our best.

There can hardly be a lonelier, more crushing experience to the human soul than calling out but receiving only the numbing chill of deathly silence in return. To be truly alone is to taste hopelessness in full measure, to be imprisoned by despondency. Thankfully, the Lord is always with us.

When we call upon Him, the Lord says I will answer. With the Lord, the faithful petitioner will always be heard and can always be assured that God answers when called (Psalm 34:4; James 5:16). He will answer out of His sovereignty; God is not a genie in a bottle. But He will answer.

Centuries after the Psalms were written, in response to the enduring trustworthiness of Yahweh Who answers, the prophet Habakkuk would unflinchingly declare steadfast faith in the Lord despite prevailing troubles:

“Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.”
(Habakkuk 3:17-18)

Even more than communicating a response, Yahweh also promises—and so, delivers—redemptive companionship, especially in life’s challenging situations. I will be with him in trouble. The Lord’s presence is not that of a disinterested spectator nor a mandated provider, but of an active, willingly involved advocate.

To those who love and follow, God says I will rescue him and honor him. God’s purpose in all things is to rescue, honor and satisfy His people with the final outcome of a fully completed salvation despite all that threatens the soul. God even promises to those who love and follow Him that with a long life I will satisfy him. We can take from this that following in God’s ways will lead to a longer life on this earth, but more importantly, will lead to a life that is full of satisfaction. We find our greatest fulfillment when we do what God designed us to do. And God, our creator, knows our design better than we. Therefore, it makes logical sense that trusting Him completely is for our best.

The Lord’s activity on behalf of His faithful people is perpetually ongoing. It may be that in the moment we are not able to see or understand the endeavoring of the Lord for our good. Yet, God is always at work to complete in us every good thing that He has purposed (Psalm 138:8; Philippians 1:6).

The apostle Paul gained a new perspective on sight and faith as a result of his encounter with the Risen Christ. Despite the pain that may obscure our ability to see the work of God in the midst of our suffering, we are assured that God’s eternal purposes for the redeemed cannot be derailed:

“Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

This psalm that promises the Lord’s divine protection and provision to all those who love and follow Him ends with the promise that God will let him see My salvation. The word salvation depends on context to know who or what is being delivered, and from what they are being delivered. God’s salvation has three tenses.

Those who believe in Jesus, having enough faith to look, hoping for deliverance, are delivered, or saved, from the penalty of sin (John 3:14-16). For any believer, this salvation is something they have in hand, and can know. So this would be fulfilled by God at the moment of belief.

The future for any believer still living on earth is the blessed hope of being resurrected to a new and incorruptible body, even as our Lord has received a new body (1 Corinthians 15:49). This is a salvation we look forward to (Romans 13:11). Every believer has the blessed hope to see this.

It is likely that in this psalm, for the one who loves God and follows His ways, they will see His salvation by being delivered from the perverse and destructive consequences of sin. When we trust God and follow His ways, we are delivered from the adverse result that comes from walking in sin (death and slavery) to the wonderful blessing of God’s ways (life) (Romans 6:23). When we walk in the flesh, we sow to the flesh, and reap corruption. But when we walk in the Spirit we sow to the Spirit, and reap life and peace (Galatians 6:8).

Having trusted in the Lord’s promise of salvation, having committed the large and small details of life entirely to God in Christ, Paul encourages us also to remember that now “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). The Lord has spoken; we can rely on His Word (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

Biblical Text

14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.
15 He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With a long life I will satisfy him
And let him see My salvation.”

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