Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Aware of His Shadow and Presence


Psalm 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."


God is a shelter, a refuge when we are afraid. The writer's faith in God as protector would carry him through all the dangers and fears of life. This should be a picture of our trust-trading all our fears for faith in him, no matter how intense our fears. To do this we must "live" and "rest" with him (Psalm 91:1). By entrusting ourselves to his protection and pledging our daily devotion to him, we will be kept safe.

The verb to dwell means "to remain, stay, tarry, endure, have one's abode." It suggests continuance and permanence.

Jesus identifies His disciples as those who "abide" or "dwell" in Him through eating His flesh and drinking His blood (John 6:56). They also dwell in His Word (John 8:31). Above all else, they dwell in Him as branches dwell or abide in the vine (John 15:7-9). This abiding life, to live and remain in Jesus, is the New Testament counterpart to "dwelling in the secret place of the Most High." But what is that "secret place?" It is a "covering," a "hiding-place," a "shelter." It can refer to the temple (Psalm 27:5), but only because God's presence is there (Psalm 31:20).

This secret place is the intimacy of God's presence; it is our secure communion with Him. By dwelling or living in the surrender of un ceasing worship and prayer (1 Thess 5:16-17 ), we are like Moses, who was put in the cleft of the rock and covered with God's hand while His glory passed by (Exodus 33:22).

God's presence in verse Psalm 91:1 leads to His protection. The person who dwells in the secret place "shall abide ["lodge") under the shadow of the Almighty." The metaphor is that of a mother hen who gathers her chicks under her feathers. David prays, "Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me" (Psalm 17:8-0).

In response to God's promise in verse Psalm 91:1, the psalmist now gives his confession in verse Psalm 91:2. He will say to Yahweh, "He is my refuge and my fortress," or, better, in direct address: "God, my refuge and my fortress." The imagery here is military; God is his defensive position against all enemies. Moreover, He is personal, My God. The psalmist concludes, "in Him I will trust" ("feel secure, be unconcerned").

The theme of this psalm is now clearly established; God will give complete security and victory to the person who dwells in Him and puts his trust in Him. Intimacy and faith will bear this fruit in our lives.


Exodus 33:1-3 The LORD said to Moses, "Depart; go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, 'To your offspring I will give it.' (2) I will send an angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (3) Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people."

God told them to go on to the land He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He would keep His promise and give them the land. He would drive out their enemies, but "I will not go with you." This is a stunning statement that stops you dead in your tracks. "In other words, 'you can have my promise, but not my presence.'"

I am afraid there are times we are move concerned about God's Promise than His presence. Moses declared later in Exodus 33, "Lord if you do not go with us then we do not want to go further. We don't want the Promised land without Your presence." May that be the cry of our heart today. May we not attempt to go forward without dwelling in the SHADOW of the Most High. To dwell in anyone's shadow, you have to be pretty close and AWARE of where that shadow is.

I believe God wants us to be aware of His Shadow and dwell there, so we will be aware of His presence today. Without God's presence I don't want to go forward!


"Lord, You truly are the air I breathe. You are my everything. Please forgive me for the times I haven't lived like that is the truth. I am so sorry for the times I have seemed more interested in Your PROMISE than Your PRESENCE. I want to dwell under Your Shadow today. I want to be very aware of Your presence. You allow me to go through somethings to remind me that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Thank You for that promise and reminder. In Jesus' name, amen!"


Glenda McMath said...

You have stirred within me a desire to abide more in the secret place. Such an incredible devotional. You really need to pray about becoming a writer. Your study of God's Word is so applicable and personable. So many people don't realize that about Scripture. Publish a devotional book! Do it for God! And do it for the people God loves that need to understand His Word better! :) Love you!