Do you sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with fear? Something within your spirit says things aren’t right. You’re unsettled. Uneasy. And totally unable to go back to sleep.
Maybe that was you last night. That was me. A bad dream woke me up and I just couldn’t shake it.
It’s what you do in those moments that matters. Do you lay there and rehearse all the possible worst case scenarios of reality? Do you dwell in darkness and allow the fear to fester? Or do you tap into the power you have to turn on the light, drown out the darkness, and call on the power of your Almighty God who knows EXACTLY what is happening?
I laid in bed for over an hour in the middle of the night and I prayed. God began to lay very specific people and situations on my heart to talk to him about. And I’m telling you they were heavy. Have you ever noticed those “in the middle of the night” concerns are the big ones. The ones you can’t carry on your own. The ones you can’t fix. Yeah, I bet you have those too.
I prayed against any attacks of the enemy. I prayed against any open doors that he might be trying to creep in through. I prayed for God’s protection and provisions over the ones on my heart. Then let me tell you what happened next …
Laying there in bed, I had an image flash in front of me. I’m not a person who often receives visions, so this was very different for me. The image was clear. White background with the black bold print capital letters XCI.
Enough laying there, it was 2:30 in the morning, and it was time to get up and get serious about these promptings. Uncertain of what these letters could be, I turned to the google. I typed in “Spiritual meaning of XCI” and hit search.
My search had 724,000 results. Page one all showed the same thing. Psalm XCI. Yes, this is what God was leading me to. But he wasn’t only leading me there for my matters, he was leading me there for yours too. I know this is as much for me, as it is for you. For your late night wakeups of fear and uncertainty. For where the enemy has been seeking to attack you and your family. Psalm XCI is for us.
To my surprise, this wasn’t a secret code I had seen. It was roman numerals. XCI is the number 91. Why would it most certainly be Psalm 91? Because Psalm is the only book in the bible with that many chapters.
So, let’s read Psalm XCI together today and see what God wants us to know.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
3 For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
5 Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
6 Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
7 Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
8 Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.
9 If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
1 no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
1 For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
2 They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
1 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
4 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
5 When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
6 I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
Isn’t this the ultimate “peace be still, stop worrying and just rest, my child” scripture from our heavenly Father who proves he cares about every detail of our lives? And isn’t this for you? Isn’t this perfectly time for you, right here and now.
Let’s examine and apply some of these verses today.
It begins with “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” This doesn’t say those who occasionally visit when things get really bad. It doesn’t say those who only come seeking when they’re desperate. It says those who LIVE in the shelter of the Most High.
When seeking God and drawing close to him becomes your daily way of living, this is when you rest in his shadow. This is where you find peace and confidence. Courage and strength is build here in his shadow. And honey, you only get in his shadow by coming in close to him.
Why is it we only come in close when we are lost in every other way? We only seek him when nothing else worked. We only drop to our knees when we are knocked there. And God says, I’ll take you any way I can get you. I’ll let it all happen if that means my girl comes back to me.
So here you are, seeking him today. Drawing in near to him. Dwelling in his shadow. And God says STAY HERE. Stay here with me when this mess is fixed. Stay here with me when the threat is gone. LIVE in my shelter, don’t just come visit.
I absolutely love getting to meet podcast listeners during my travels. It fills my soul with such delight to see the faces and hear the stories of you beautiful people around the world who gather to listen. Time and time again, I notice a common thread. You tell me you started listening when you needed to hear from God. When you were going through a hardship. When life came crashing down.
Is that what brought you here too? You needed God to get you through this. You needed his word. You needed his guidance. And now you’ve found it. You’re here, you’re drawing near to him. You’re dwelling in his shadow and you feel the difference. GIRL, STAY!
STAY WHERE YOU FOUND HIM. STAY WHERE YOU HEAR HIM. STAY WHERE YOU’RE GROWING IN HIM. You don’t draw near to get your ‘fix me up hit’ then run off again. Live in his shelter instead of just visit when you need him, and then you will rest in his shadow. His light will shine all around you, making sense of what was nothing but darkness before. You will be strengthened here. You will be guided here. You will be restored here.
Hear God this morning as he says, “My girl, don’t run off when things are better like you did last time. Stay with me. I have so much here for you.”
Psalm XCI says “he will rescue you from every trap.” You know the thing about traps is, you don’t see them. You could never trap an animal if the animal saw the trap. It is hidden. It is covered. It is disguised. And that trap is usually baited.
Your enemy has set traps for you. Traps you don’t see with bait dangling. Bait like “just take this, it will make you feel better.” Bait like “have a little drink of that, it will take the edge off.” Bait like, “watch this, it’s exciting.” Bait like, “keep scrolling, you don’t have to engage.” Bait like “eat this, it’s just one day.” Bait like, “what does it matter, everyone else is doing it.”
And it’s a trap you never saw. A trap that leaves you addicted, ashamed, stuck, overwhelmed, disgusted, and checked out with a trail of destruction behind you.
And that is exactly what the enemy wanted. He doesn’t want you free. He doesn’t want you healed. He doesn’t want you showing up with confidence and courage. He doesn’t want you resting in peace. Heck, you might be a threat to his nasty plans of little life living.
But God will rescue you from every trap. Have you asked him to help you recognize the bait that has lured you in? Have you asked him to help you resist the temptations and avoid the traps set for you? If you are trapped, know this, that is not God’s plan for you! His plan is to rescue you and set you free.
If your child is trapped, God’s plan is to rescue them and set them free.
If your husband is trapped, God’s plan is to rescue them and set them free.
If your sister is trapped, God’s plan is to rescue them and set them free.
2 Peter 3:9 “God is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”
God doesn’t want any of us to be stuck in the traps of the enemy and destroyed by our continual taking of the bait. Not you, not me. Not my child, not your child. Not your husband, not my husband. Not my sisters, not your sisters. NONE.
What if instead of judging each other and watching each other fail, we asked God to show us how to lovingly offer encouragement in a way around the trap the other one can’t see, away from the bait they have been tempted by. God, show us how to do that!
One more verse from Psalm XCI, the one that really caught my attention at 2:30 am after waking up from a bad dream I couldn’t shake, God’s word says “Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night.” When God wakes you up, the intent is not for you to be afraid and worry. The intent is for you to stay close to him, rest in his shadow and seek how he wants to use you to intercede.
What if middle of the night wake ups are your invitation to partner with God in a mighty work?
Your prayers are an allocation of God’s power. When you pray the name of Jesus over a situation, God’s power is directed there. When you pray for God’s intervention in a person’s life, God’s power is flooding that life immediately. It’s happening.
So really, what an honor it is to wake up in the middle of the night with a prompting from the creator of the Universe to rest in his shadow, be comforted by his wing, and allocate his power where it is needed.
I’m so grateful I was awake for all those hours last night, remembering not to worry, not to toss and turn, but to draw close and be used by him for situations and scenarios I may never know about. For traps that were completely avoided and bait that was resisted, all because one was willing to allocate God’s power through prayer when prompted.
I encourage you to study XCI today or over the weekend. That’s the Roman numeral 91, which will lead you to Psalm, the only chapter 91 in the Bible. There’s something in there specifically for you.
I have found that because I stay close to God, in good times and bad, I am promised a constant safety under his protection, which brings me a holy serenity and peace of mind, even when I wake up from a bad dream and can’t go back to sleep.
What will XCI show you?