1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
The Advantages of the Secret Place
A Secret Place in God provides…
A shadow that covers us, Psalm 91:1
A refuge that provides security, Psalm 91:2
A rescue from being trapped, Psalm 91:3
An impenetrable shield, Psalm 91:4
A Secret Place in God means…
We are not to fear nightmares, Psalm 91:5a
We are not to fear serious accidents, Psalm 91:5b
We are not to fear mysterious disease, Psalm 91:6a
We are not to fear visible disaster, Psalm 91:6b
We are not to fear what happens to others, Psalm 91:7
We are not to fear what happens to the wicked, Psalm 91:8
A Secret Place in God is a place…
Where we are with the Most High God, Psalm 91:9
Where we are free from damage, Psalm 91:10
Where we are guarded by angels, Psalm 91:11
Where we are carried by angels, Psalm 91:12
Where we are able to stop anything harmful, Psalm 91:13
Where we love God, and God delivers us, Psalm 91:14
Where we call God and God answers us, Psalm 91:15
Where we see God’s salvation and experience real life, Psalm 91:16
These are photos of eagles nearby in a local reservoir,
high atop a power line tower.
The Advantages of the Secret Place
by Pastor Clinton Macomber
A secret place… what a wonderful place! It is a place where we can escape the duties and cares of this world. It is place where we can relax and think about things. It is a place that no one knows about, but maybe a very close friend. It is a place where those that are not wanted are not invited, nor welcome.
Growing up boys like to have a fort or a tree house to play in. If they don’t have that, a special hideout up in some tree or bush serves the purpose. Sometimes all it takes is a sheet thrown over a small table where a child can hide and come out and yell, “Boo!!!”
God offers a secret place for those that come to Him and abide in Him. It is such a place where we learn to rest in His love and care. It is a state of learning that the things in life are under His control, and we need not fear them. It is a place where we come to realize that as long as we remain close to God, by honoring His Word and following His ways, and having a close relationship with our Savior, we can be prepared at His table for what will come our way.
This is the place that enabled great men like George Washington to be able to stand in the midst of a battle, leading our forefathers in battle against a cruel aggressive government, against the greatest military machine in the world, against the most scientific and well supplied armies in the world. And even though quite a few horses might be shot out from under him, and his clothing may be riddled with bullet holes, and many a soldier was ordered and tried to shoot him down, George Washington found God offers a secret place to those who obey Him, and follow Him into action.
Now, God’s secret place is not a place to escape responsibility. It is not a place where we are free from illnesses, sorrows, and physical suffering. It is not a place where we can hide out when we have sinned or broken laws. It is a state of mind that carries us through the events of life, and enables us to focus on God and His will, rather than on our own wishes.
This Psalm is quoted by the devil in the temptation of Christ. A eloquently states what this should mean to us:
This Psalm is that from which the Devil dared to tempt our Lord Jesus Christ: let us therefore attend to it, that thus armed, we may be enabled to resist the tempter, not presuming in ourselves, but in Him who before us was tempted, that we might not be overcome when tempted. Temptation to Him was not necessary: the temptation of Christ is our learning, but if we listen to His answers to the devil, in order that, when ourselves are tempted, we may answer in like manner, we are then entering through the gate, as ye have heard it read in the Gospel. For what is to enter by the gate? To enter by Christ, who Himself said, “I am the door:” and to enter through Christ, is to imitate His ways.… He urges us to imitate Him in those works which He could not have done had He not been made Man; for how could He endure sufferings, unless He had become a Man? How could He otherwise have died, been crucified, been humbled? Thus then do thou, when thou sufferest the troubles of this world, which the devil, openly by men, or secretly, as in Job’s case, inflicts; be courageous, be of long suffering; “thou shall dwell under the defence of the Most High,” as this Psalm expresses it: for if thou depart from the help of the Most High, without strength to aid thyself, thou wilt fall.
A Secret Place in God provides…
A shadow that covers us
Psalm 91:1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
The secret is in where we dwell. Some people “dwell” at work. Others “dwell” on fishing, or sports, or entertainment. Some dwell in a drug and alcohol stupor. Some dwell in fantasy or a world that is make-believe and all lies. We cannot “dwell” in two places at the same time. We have to learn to dwell in the secrets of God and His word. This is the place we were created to dwell in at all times. Dwelling in any other place is a distortion and warping contortion of the way God made us, and result in severe damage to ourselves and others. It is a sin to dwell elsewhere for the Christian.
But what is the reason we need to dwell in God’s secret place? First of all it is above the dangers that lurk everywhere. We get a ‘birds-eye’ view of things, and can see things and take necessary precautions. This is an amazing feature of birds that can fly. They seem to want to perch as high as they can do so. Chickens might be too heavy to go very high, but just getting up 8 feet to a perch is a whole lot safer for them than remaining down lower. Eagles are incredible because they can perch so high in the sky, and when they fly they can see so far away in incredible detail. We read that “they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles…” Here we read that we are to dwell in the secret place of the most High! This is in heaven, far higher than any eagle can go!
But what is the benefit? We can rest in the shadow of the Almighty God. There is one big problem birds have. They can only go so far in a tree and they are exposed to the heat of the sun and the risk of being seen by flying predators. We do not have those limits in God. When we go to His place of spiritual repose, we find a shelter not only that is above the problems of this world, but one that is still sheltered. But this is no ordinary roof, it is the shade that the Almighty God creates and provides.
Jonah was a prophet that was told to go to Nineveh and tell the people of God’s impending judgment. After travelling the huge multimillion citizen city, making the announcement, there was a massive repentance. God could not destroy the city at that point.
But Jonah, feeling his deed of service was done, went to a hill to wait and watch the destruction of this much hated people. He dwelled on what he wanted, and God sent a little gourd to shade the prophet in just one night. But the next day the gourd withered. Jonah was very upset and cursed the gourd. The point is that the prophet was supposed to find his shelter in God. Everything else withers away and leaves us exposed. Our ideas are so fleeting and temporary, they only give us temporary comfort. God’s will and ideals are eternal and secure. What He does is lasting and right.
A refuge that provides security
Psalm 91:2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
It does not take long for an animal to learn where the place of refuge is provided. It is a place where it does not need to worry about certain threats and surprises. We, however, as humans are very stubborn. We think we can build our own place of refuge or rely on the refuge someone else may give to us. We easily become bitter against God because the refuge we chose that He told us not to use, did not work out! Yet, it is not God’s fault we are so ridiculous when it comes to spiritual matters. He has given us the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us, moment by moment, yet we turn a deaf ear to spiritual leading and so suffer the consequences of not abiding in God and finding the value of trust in God.
A rescue from being trapped
Psalm 91:3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
There is one whole book of Scripture dedicated to helping in this one area, the book of Proverbs. Yet, many a Christian has never read the book let alone a chapter of it. In it wisdom begs that its children listen and learn every proverb given.
An impenetrable shield
Psalm 91:4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
A bird will go to a great extent to see that the nest is completely comfortable for the little chicks. It will work many long hours hunting down soft items to weave into the twiggy structure. Quite a few birds will even use the down off their own bodies to soften the nest. Then, under the strong insolating and soft structure of the wing, and body the chick is protected and covered from all harm. A mother hen would rather die herself than let any harm come to her own chicks.
God treats those who come to him for refuge as a bird would treat its young. Not only are we in the image of God, we need God to provide us the way to behave and act to survive.
This is something that is being lost in commercial farming. With birds being raised in an incubator, and milk animals being taken from their mothers right after birth, the animals grow up not knowing how to act properly, and when they have young, they make horrible mothers and parents. We are the same way. Because we do not learn from God how to parent and handle the affairs and circumstances of life from His example, we make horrible citizens and even worse parents. A farmer will often have to intervene to try to force the parent to parent and the child to respond to guidance.
A Secret Place in God means…
We are not to fear nightmares
Psalm 91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; …
To properly understand this passage, there has to be an understanding of the original word for fear. This is to place a value on something that is more than another. The proper fear is one of reverence and respect for God to the point we will not be swayed by anything man can do to us. This is the fear taught by the Lord Jesus:
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The Hebrew midwives had a greater fear of God than the incredible appearance and show of power of the Pharaoh who demanded they kill the Hebrew baby boys as they were born. As a result the Pharaoh of all the mighty empire of Egypt had to take other measures to insure the baby boys were killed. This is a proper fear of God.
The great pages of history are stained with the blood of many hundreds of people that reverenced God more than any human threat hurled against them. Age never mattered. Status in society did not matter. They dwelled in the secret place in the Most High and did not fear human tortures and death enough to commit blasphemy and deny their Lord and Savior.
So, the message is that when we are in the presence of the Most High, nightmares do not hold enough of a power over us to be a threat to our comfort and well-being. They are meaningless noise in our physical lives, and do not stir us spiritually.
We are not to fear serious accidents
Psalm 91:5 Thou shalt not be afraid … nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
The sudden things that come at us during the day do not gain that much respect from us, because of our learning and trust in the power and glory of God. Our reverence of Him is so great that sudden accidents during the day mean little to us. They are simply a sudden accident that overtook our bodies or lives and will pass and mean nothing.
We are not to fear mysterious disease
Psalm 91:6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness;…
This covers the afflictions that seemingly come out of nowhere and you wake up with some physical condition. It is like the vermin that crawl around at night that bite or sting you and leave you with malaria. Maybe a deadly snake that makes it to your bed and bites you and leaves you near death’s door. These type of things don’t really bother you, because you know you are in God’s care and He will keep anything serious away from you, simply because of your love and dedication to your Almighty Creator.
We are not to fear visible disaster,
Psalm 91:6 …nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
This is a fear of the things that you can see coming their way to you. It might be something like the waters of a flood in a terrible rain storm. First you see puddles getting larger than they normally would get. Then you start to see whole fields turn into what looks like a lake, and you know you must go for higher ground to save your life. This is no life altering event to the child of God, because even though your house may be destroyed, your car ruined, your precious things of this earth lost, the real thing you dwell on is your home in Heaven where these things have no lasting meaning or impact. Everything you may endure is just a “thing” and everything you lost is just “things.”
We are not to fear what happens to others
Psalm 91:7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
This category is found so many times in history, as the above, that the message cannot be missed. Even though a person may see everyone around him falling dead to some vile fever, or plaque, there is no need of becoming hysterical, or bitter, or giving up in life. Instead it is important to keep doing what God has given to do. Let come what may, your life and ministry are in His hands and He will see that you are safely conducted to His presence when it is time to leave this earth to enter Heaven for ever.
We are not to fear what happens to the wicked
Psalm 91:8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
God does not promise that we will not have to see some real ugly scenes in this world stained and shredded by sin, but He does promise that a lot of it will only be felt through visual contact, because much of the suffering and disasters are brought upon people that refuse to become holy, and to go to God to live and move. As a result of their rebellious nature and overwhelming belligerence against God’s Almighty blessing and provision, they bring great and horrible disasters upon themselves and those with them.
A Secret Place in God is a place…
Where we are with the Most High God
Psalm 91:9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
What a privilege! God is with us, when we are with Him! There is nothing that can compare with that! Life means being with people that are not really there for you when you need them. Many are lonely even though they are surrounded by dozens of people that even pass greetings to each other. The results are painful. Even parents may be too busy chasing down money, education, paying bills, trying to get something fixed to pay attention to their own children. The result is that you become a wall flower and watch your parents working desperately and not able to feel needed or a part of their lives.
Things are different when you get close to God. He is a father to the fatherless, a provider for the widow. He replaces the lost things of this world with many times that in heavenly things.
Where we are free from damage
Psalm 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Evil is something that damages and destroys. It harms a person and destroys them. In God, everything works for our spiritual good and benefit. Everything has a reason, and we can rest assured, that it has a limit.
Where we are guarded by angels
Psalm 91:11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
We are not aware of the spiritual host, but it is real and we do not see the half of what is going on around us that is invisible to us. The result is that the more our sight is on the things we see, the less we are tuned into the spiritual battle that rages around us.
The closer we are to God, the more charge His angels have in protecting us. The farther away we stray the less protection is there.
Where we are carried by angels
Psalm 91:12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
The protection that comes to the child of God is not just a spiritual protection, but even a physical one when needed. When we are doing the work of God, even our foot might be kept from landing where it might be shattered.
Where we are able to stop anything harmful
Psalm 91:13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
The protection extends to times when in His service a deadly animal may inflict deadly harm. The harm will not be deadly when God has more for us to do. Even better, we may experience a time when we can defeat the harmful animal.
Where we love God, and God delivers us
Psalm 91:14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
God says that when we set our love upon Him, he delivers. He also brings us to His secret place, when we know Him from having a close daily and moment by moment relationship with Him.
Where we call God and God answers us
Psalm 91:15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
Notice we are not to expect to escape all trouble, we however have a guide and help in trouble. When we call to God, He hears, answers and delivers us, and brings honor to us for making a proper choice. God is not obligated to honor those that do what is expected and right, because that is foundational to life and living. However, when that which is common to man comes our way, he have the way to maneuver the situation and come out a winner from it.
Where we see God’s salvation and experience real life
Psalm 91:16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
The final benefit to following God is having a full life and satisfaction knowing you walked with God through it all, and the chance to see God’s saving power personally and in others.
So, what is the context of all this? This is the second psalm in the fourth book of Psalms and corresponds to the book of Numbers. There we have the goodness and severity of God given. When Israel as a nation turned to God and begged that He deliver them from the maniac Egyptian killers, He did. He sent to Egypt 10 plaques that mostly tormented the Egyptians and not the Israelites. For instance it was totally dark in the Egyptian towns, but in the Israelite towns there was light. The diseases were upon the Egyptian animals but not Israelite. Finally the death of the firstborn happened to Egyptians, but not to the Israelites who were observing the first Passover feast.
The Israelites were ordered to leave Egypt, but the Pharaoh changed his mind and sent what was left of his army after them with the powerful chariots and horses and the fearsome and ruthless soldiers. It terrified the Israelites, who blamed Moses for their predicament, even though God was leading with a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day. Even when the Israelites seemed and felt trapped, between a mountain, the Red Sea, and the Egyptian Army, God slowed the progress of the army by removing their wheels and made it so they could not see their way. God opened the Red Sea so the whole nation could escape to the other side of the Sea. And in the morning as the Egyptians closed in on them, after the Israelites were escaped, the army drowned in the Red Sea before they reached the other side, as the waters returned to their normal level and flow. So the Israelites did not experience the suffering of the heathen Egyptians, but did live and see it.
We have a choice. Join the heathen practices of this world and suffer from it, or join in a dwelling of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
The Guarantee to the Righteous
Nothing can damage the life in God’s Highest secret place.
Psalm 91:10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
The righteous person’s inner nature has the calming hand laid upon it.
Psalm 112:8 His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies.
The righteous and wise person has a sure footing in life’s pathway.
Psalm 121:3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Proverbs 3:23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
The righteous person has the assurance of a safe and quiet life free of harmful activity.
Proverbs 1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Proverbs 12:21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
The person that carefully monitors what he says avoids a lot of trouble.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
The righteous person is promised a peaceful and restful dwelling.
Isaiah 32:18 And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places;
Righteousness comes from following the Lord Jesus.
Jeremiah 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
Thou, O Lord, art my refuge. (R.V.) Psalm 91:9
The structure of this psalm is often obscured. It begins with the announcement on the part of the chorus of the general truth that to dwell in the inner place of fellowship is to abide under the protection of Divine Power.
Twice the psalmist speaks. In the second verse we hear him saying:—
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress,
My God in whom I trust.”
In the ninth verse he breaks in again:—
“For Thou, O Lord, art my refuge.”
And each profession on his part is followed by the outburst of the chorus with an enunciation of all the blessings which most certainly will accrue.
In the last three verses [Psalm 91:14-16] God Himself is introduced, assuring his child of all that He is prepared to do and be. Have you ever said definitely, “O Lord, Thou art my refuge”? Fleeing from all other, have you sheltered in Him from the windy storm and tempest, from the harrow by day, and pestilence by night, from man and devil? You must avow it. Do not only think it, but say it. Keep saying it because it is true, rather than because you feel it to be true. Not only in the midst of sympathizing friends, but in hours of loneliness, desertion, and opposition.
In a farm, in which I am interested, we have an incubator, the artificial heat of which hatches hundreds of little chickens; but there always seems a great lack in their lives—no mother’s call or wing. They invariably remind me of those who have not sheltered under the wing of God.
---Frederick Brotherton Meyer, Our Daily Homily (Redding, CA: Pleasant Places Press, 2004). Vol. 3, page 91.
Monday, Psalm 91:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 9:1-4
There comes a time and place when we are able to abide in the shadow of God, because we find God an incredible refuge and strength. Paul could confidently defend his position because it was in God, and God had endorsed it publicly. There is a sickness among those that call themselves Children of God, in that they will often credit God with telling them to do what is contrary to Scripture, and by means that is contrary to Scripture. God does not work outside the laws He established and shared with us. It is important that we not blaspheme God by claiming He told us to do something, when we simply want to do it. Instead we learn to abide in the secret place of God and from there do as He would have us to do. Only then is God our defence and protection, and only then can we honestly defend against a naysayer.
Tuesday, Psalm 91:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 9:5-9
When we abide in God, then we do not need to fear the assaults that come our way. Instead we can stand firm and give convincing proof of the place we have in God. We do not need to fear the reproach of others, but are able to give an answer systematically and convincingly of God’s will and way. It is in this manner that God shields us in times of trouble. We can rest assuredly in God’s way being right and proper.
Wednesday, Psalm 91:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 9:10-13
There is an amazing amount of power available to the child of God, but that does not mean we tempt God and use it. God chooses when to use His power on our behalf, and does so when we least expect it. We are doing the work of God, we can expect the power of God to become evident. This is the great hope that we have, and which drives us to remain faithful. This hope in God enables us to see the wicked destroyed, but not actually have to experience it.
Thursday, Psalm 91:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 9:14-18
God offers incredible protection to His child when he finds shelter in God’s secret place. God’s work offers special privileges, but these may not be needed because of God’s provisions and to make sure there are no misunderstandings about motives. Just because something is possible for us, does not mean that it is proper for us to do. We have to consider more than ourselves when serving God.
Friday, Psalm 91:11-13 and 1 Corinthians 9:19-22
God promises to make sure we do not hurt ourselves while in His care, and that we will find we can defeat any foe. This is important to know in our work of testifying of God before other people. As we follow God, our lives are filled with so much, we can easily relate to a wide variety of people, and so offer them the power of the gospel in a way they will understand.
Saturday, Psalm 91:14-16 and 1 Corinthians 9:23-27
Although God works to protect us, it is so that we can run courageously ahead in doing what He tells us to do. We do not need to worry about ourselves, but instead the work He gave to us. It is in this manner that we can win the prize God has for us. God’s protection is not so we can hide out and do nothing with the days we have, but so we can obey and accomplish His will.
Psalm 91 in Life
The following are clippings of people in our lifetime that have found this psalm of great value.
During World War II, an American soldier in the Philippines was shot by a Japanese soldier. The bullet, aimed at his heart, hit his Gideon New Testament and stopped at Psalm 91.
During the production of The Passion of the Christ, “Mel Gibson was behind the wheel of his silver Lexus, negotiating the nightmarish traffic on the Santa Ana Freeway, when a car pulled in front of him and immediately hit the brakes. Gibson stopped and stared at the offending car’s license plate. ‘Look! Look at what it says!’ The car’s license-plate holder bore the inscription ‘Psalm 91.’ Gibson said that on that very morning, one of his associates had urged him to read the Psalm 91, and that he’d been moved to tears by it.”
From Favorite Scripture Texts of Famous People by Frederick Barton, (Redding, CA: Pleasant Places Press, 2005). Page 69.
J. M. THOBURN, missionary bishop of the Methodist church in India and Malaysia 1888 to 1900, author of Light in the East and Christless Nations:
“I have no permanent favorite among the Bible passages but nearly always have a verse or verses in mind, suited to the emergency of the hour or day. At present I am drawn to Psalms 91:14-16.”
D. L. MOODY’S favorite Psalm was the ninety-first. When in November, 1892, he and his fellow passengers on the steamship Spree were threatened by a billowy grave he preached to a most attentive audience from the words found in verses fourteen to sixteen. They called upon God and he answered them, “and delivered them.” [Psalm 91:14–16]
From AMG Bible Illustrations, electronic ed., Logos Library System; (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 2000).
The Shadow of His Wing
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Ps. 91:1). Two Americans were crossing the Atlantic and were singing the hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul.” They were joined by a third man having an exceedingly rich tenor voice. When the music ceased one of the Americans turned to this third party to ask if he had been in the Civil War. The man replied that he had been a Confederate soldier. “Were you at such a place on such a night?” asked the first man. “Yes,” he said, “and a curious thing happened that night; this hymn recalled it to my mind. I was on sentry duty on the edge of a wood. It was a dark night and very cold, and I was not a little frightened because the enemy was supposed to be near at hand. I felt homesick and miserable, and about midnight, when everything was still, I was beginning to feel weary and though I would comfort myself by praying and singing a hymn. I remember singing this hymn—
All my trust on Thee is stayed
All my help from Thee I bring
Cover my defenseless head
With the shadow of Thy wing.
After I had sung those words a strange peace came down upon me, and through the long night I remember having felt no fear. “Now,” said the first man, “listen to my story. I was a Union soldier, and was in the woods that very night with a party of scouts. I saw you standing there in the woods, my men focused their rifles upon you, but then you sang out that song. We listened. We never fired. I said, ‘Boys, put down your rifles; we will go home. I couldn’t kill after that.’”
Angel Beneath the Waves
Charles Herbert Lightoller was tall, sun-bronzed, and handsome, possessing a deep, pleasant speaking voice. His mother died during his infancy, his father abandoned him, and he ran off to sea at the age of thirteen. By 1912, he was a respected seaman for the White Star Line and was assigned to the maiden voyage of the greatest ocean liner ever built, the Titanic.
He was just drifting off to sleep on April 14th, when he felt a bump in the ship’s forward motion. Hopping from his bunk, he soon learned that the Titanic had struck an iceberg. As the horrors of that night unfolded, Lightoller finally found himself standing on the roof of the officer’s quarters, the water lapping at his feet, as he helped any and all around him into lifeboats. Finally, there was nothing left for Lightoller to do but jump from the roof into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic.
The shock of the 28-degree water against his sweating body stunned him. As he struggled to regain his bearing and swim away from the ship, he was suddenly sucked back and pinned against a ventilation grate at the base of a funnel that went all the way down to Boiler Room 6. He was stuck, drowning, and going down with the ship.
Suddenly Psalm 91:11 came clearly to his mind: For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways.…
At that very moment, a blast of hot air exploded from the belly of the ship, shooting Lightoller like a missile to the surface of the ocean. At length, he managed to grab a piece of rope attached to the side of an overturned lifeboat and float along with it until he pulled himself on top of the upside-down boat.
He turned and watched the last moments of the Titanic. Her stern swung up in the air until the ship was in “an absolutely perpendicular position.” Then she slowly sank down into the water, with only a small gulp as her stern disappeared beneath the waves.
There were about thirty men atop the lifeboat, and together they recited the Lord’s Prayer, then Lightoller took command of the boat and guided them to safety.