The Shelter of the Most High
Psalms 91:1-8 (KJV)
In the wake of the increasing acts of violence and dangerous situations happening in the United States, and especially as a response to our recent school shootings I decided to begin blogging on the subject of divine protection. Growing up on the mission field has given me some experiences and ample opportunity to practice walking in this area of faith. To go along with my insights and experience-sharing I will select a passage of Scripture with each blog to use as a foundation and spring-board. I hope that you will feel free to ask questions and share whatever you find useful with as many as possible.
I also want to emphasize that in no way is any of this “sharing” meant to condemn those who did not experience “protection from harm”, or to place blame on anyone for not “using their faith” in this area. On the contrary, my desire is to provide a resource for individuals and parents to shore up their faith in the area of divine protection. We live in an evil day, but Isaiah 61 promises us that we can arise and shine because our light (our Lord and Savior) has come and the glory of the Lord has indeed risen upon us. Our light will grow brighter as the world and the people enslaved therein falls into gross darkness.
The stories I will share are not in chronological order, and the principals/topics are not arranged in any particular order. Consider this like a round-table, campfire setting. Join me as I tell my story, share what I’ve gleaned, and join the discussion – He who promised…is faithful (Heb. 10:23)!
I had always wanted a horse, and for my 13th birthday my parents had bought me one! Castaño was not much of a horse, but I was so petite my father wanted to make sure I didn’t have too much horse to handle. For a while I rode bare back (we hadn’t gotten a saddle yet) and the horse’s bridle was made of rope…no bit (and really none was needed, he was such a gentle horse). I hadn’t owned my horse for long when I decided to venture off our property and go for a ride down one of the dirt roads in our rural area.
Thinking back to that day I remember feeling a little uneasy as I steered the horse toward the unfamiliar path. I wrote it off as me being over cautious and being stubborn turned him toward the path. I didn’t get far, though. Castaño, a normally obedient and docile horse, became belligerent and refused to go where I directed him. Much like Balaam, I tried digging in my heals and even tapped him with the end of the reigns…to no avail. Suddenly Castaño turned toward home and took off running at full gallop. That horse did not stop until I was delivered to the front door!
Later that evening my parents tortured me with the local news. My dad used to sporadically make me watch a program, read a book, or engage in some other activity that I was not interested in. Being very prophetic, I’ve found all those times were shortly followed by me needing that information or skill – it was maddening, but I learned young not to question it. On this particular night the news was covering a rape/homicide that happened earlier in the day…on that very path I was trying to take, a young girl was raped and murdered! I will not deal with the “Why her and not me?” question and the other “Why wouldn’t a just God protect the other girl as well…?” Those are not for this blog.
This blog is about the lesson(s) I learned from this experience:
1) It is because of His faithfulness that we enjoy safety.
2) Parents can “cover” their children with a cloud and fire.
3) We often ignore God unintentionally.
Consider the following Scripture:
Ps. 91:1-8 (KJV)
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.
Let’s look at this Scripture one verse at a time:
He that dwells in the secret place of the most High…
I find it interesting that preceding all the promises of protection this verse address a specific group of people: “Secret Place Dwellers”. So, what is the secret place? The sages say that Moses wrote Ps 91 as he dwelt in the secret place (insert Hebrew) of the Most High, in the “midst of the dark cloud (Ex. 24:18), a place of sacred and holy concealment. The thick clouds are a “hiding place” for him (Job. 22:14). Notice that the one who “abides” in the secret of the Most High dwells in an ascended place of rest – being lifted up above the surrounding madness of this fallen world of flux and shadows. The Hebrew word means to lodge or to sleep (abide), connecting it with death and resurrection. By dwelling in the death and resurrection of Jesus, God will shield you with His Presence and make evil powerless before you. The Hebrew word “Most High” is Elyon which comes from the root word meaning “to ascend”.
Through the blood of the spotless lamb we have access to the “ascended places” the very throne room of the Father, King is available to us. We have but to tune our hearts and open our spiritual eyes to His overwhelming presence in us, through us, and all around us (Eph. 4:6).
The key to this Divine protection is our “dwelling” (lodge or sit down) in a place of “Divine Presence Awareness”. That secret place, is an ascended state (Col. 3:1-3) which results in “abiding” under the shadow of the almighty (El Shaddai). The word “abide” is also interesting. It means to rest or sleep and is connected by some Hebrew scholars to death and resurrection.
Since God hides himself in this world (Isa. 45:15), we must humbly seek His face to enter into the place of His holy concealment in all things. God is Elyon – High above – but He dwells “with the lowly and the broken of heart” (Isa. 57:15). Therefore the LORD our God is called Shaddai – our Sustainer, Provider, Refuge, and Home. Just as we can be surrounded by the “shadow of dealth”, so we can be surrounded by the “shadow of Shaddai”. Like a powerful eagle brooding over her chicks, so Shaddai covers you with wings of protection (Ps. 91:4).
To put it in more 21st Century terms – He is our force-field, and cloak of invisibility.
When you “abide” in the secret of Elyon – the Ascended One – you are concealed by the dark clouds of His Glory, and the Presence of Shaddai overshadows you…The LORD will save you from the ensnaring trap and from the devastating pestilence (Ps. 91:3). By abiding in the truth (faithfulness) that God’s Presence pervades all things at all times – you become a “stranger” with the LORD in this world, a “sojourner” (1 Pet. 1:1).
What does this have to do with Divine protection? EVERYTHING! If we are to walk as Elijah did, as Daniel did, and Paul did then we must develop an awareness of our hidden state in Him. We must engage our faith, trust, and confidence is His Divine force-field about us. We must tune our ears and open our eyes, for He is ever speaking, ever revealing, and ever present. We must rend from our hearts, minds, and belief systems that we are EVER alone. That we go somewhere He is not. That we are EVER hidden from His sight.
I am (and from a child have been) often aware of this “invisible to the naked eye” bubble of God surrounding me, within me, and flowing through me. As such, fear is a very rare occurrence for me. In our next blog we will discuss the nature of peace and it pertains to Divine protection.