1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Psalms 91)
When a Christian needs reassurance, Psalms 91 is a great solace. With striking imagery, the author drives home the protection that can be found in God. The shadow of the Almighty becomes a resting place for man. The illustration provided is that of chickens following their mother hen and the instinctive reaction they demonstrate to run to the mother’s side where an outstretched wing protects them from danger.
Man with his many limitations, needs the reassurance of finding refuge in the arms of God. It doesn’t take long for man, despite his proclaimed self-sufficiency and innovation to find himself facing situations where he is totally helpless. Be it threats from enemies or raging epidemics, be it situations gone out of control or unexpected turns of events, there is rarely a person who does not feel inadequate. The fear that can turn to paranoia or the inadequacy that turns to desperation can ruin one’s productivity and saneness. Man needs help and that help is found in the shadow of the Almighty.
Is God all-powerful to change things in this world? Without a doubt, God is sovereign. There is nothing too difficult for him. Yet, he operates in a world that is ruled by the prince of darkness, Satan; not because it was intended to be that way, but because over a period of time, man’s incessant sin has given Satan authority in this world. And so we see sickness and pain, we are faced with violence and selfishness and we constantly wrestle with dangers and terrors that are described by the psalmist. In a world controlled by Satan, the only safe place to be is the dwelling-place of God.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge– 10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. (Psalms 91)
Making the most high your dwelling simply means to be found in his house wherein we obey the rules of the household. You cannot dwell in a person’s house until you agree to live by the rules of the house. Every time we decide to disobey, we step out of God’s house and into danger. Yet within his house where his shadow is cast, there is absolute protection. Security is not in obtaining what money, contacts or technology can achieve for you, but in obeying the Lord and being found in him within his house. And as we do that, staying where his shadow is cast, no matter how ferocious or dangerous the situation might appear to be, God’s angels and his presence will keep us safe.
Does that mean we will never go through difficulty or danger or sickness? No, but through them all we will see the hand of God delivering us. And we will be asked to do nothing and taken nowhere beyond the will of God. The book by Elisabeth Elliot, describing the life and martyrdom of Jim Elliot was interestingly entitled, ‘Shadow of the Almighty’. Jim died in his attempt to take the gospel to the Auca Indians, but while doing so, was conscious of the fact that God’s will was being accomplished- he was very much within the shadow of the Almighty.
As we tread through life, there are unseen dangers at every corner. To be able to live life to the fullest, to shrug away these threats and to indeed fulfill our calling, we need to bring ourselves to the shelter of the Almighty wherein under his protective shadow, we can truly live.
- GATHERING COURAGE
- SEEKING FEAR