Every once in a while a light turns on in my mind. This takes place most often when I learn something important that I did not know before. This happened to me recently when, after reading the Bible all the way through 25 times, I learned that Psalm 91 is known as “God’s Shield of Protection” and also “The Soldier’s Prayer”.
Thankfully, I was enlightened when retired Major Gen. Ron Chastain had the program at the prayer meeting that I attend each week. Ron served in the military and spent a year in Iraq. He told us, “I relied on Psalm 91 the year I was there.” He went on to tell us about a fantastic book by Peggy Joyce Ruth that goes over this chapter verse by verse, to explain God’s protection. It’s titled “Psalm 91: God’s Shield of Protection.”
Please allow me to share these selected verses with you from this chapter, beginning with verses 1-5: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fort: my God in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.” Then verses 9-11: “Because thou has made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither any plague come near thy dwelling, for He shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all thy ways.”
This is a great Psalm. I encourage you to read the complete text when you have time. Perhaps the best story regarding the protection of Psalm 91 is the true story of Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, the greatest fighter pilot of World War I. He enlisted in the Army in 1917 -- the year the U.S. declared war on Germany. In April 1918, he shot down his first plane, and a month later he had shot down his fifth, to become an ace. Before the war ended, he was credited with shooting down 17 German fighters, five highly defended observation balloons and four reconnaissance planes.
Now, here’s the story of God’s Shield of Protection. After the war, Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson sent Rickenbacker on a tour of air bases in the Pacific Theater of Operations. He was provided an older B-17D Flying Fortress. The B-17 left Hawaii and strayed hundreds of miles off course while on its way to a refueling stop on Canton Island. When their estimated arrival time came, there was no land in sight. They were forced to ditch in a remote and little-traveled part of the Central Pacific Ocean. Miraculously, the plane stayed upright long enough to allow the crew of eight men to get into three small rubber rafts. The only had eight oranges, and no water.
During the following days the sun burned the men, and at night they would almost freeze. The rafts were tied together. A private on the crew had a Bible in his pocket. On day 2 they started morning and evening prayer meetings. They took turns reading Bible passages. They confessed their utmost secrets and sins to God. There were initially some non-believers, but not after day 8.
They prayed for deliverance. Within an hour a sea gull landed on Rickenbacker’s head, and he was able to catch it, they picked and ate it, then caught two fish with the entrails. It rained that night and they had fresh water. On day 24, American planes found and rescued them. All their needs were met and they all became believers in the power of God and Psalm 91. In view of this true story, read it today and you will understand why.