He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Psalm 91:1-2

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

“He who dwells” – what does it mean to dwell? The Hebrew word is yâshab, and it conveys the sense to settle, to continue, to endure, to remain.

“secret place” – what is this place? The Hebrew word is sêther, and conveys the sense of a hidden, protected place.

“shall abide” – what does it mean to abide? The Hebrew word is lûn, and it conveys the sense to stay permanently.

“shadow of the Almighty” – what does the shadow provide? The Hebrew word is tsêl, and it conveys the sense of defense, shade as from a beating sun.

This is a mighty promise from the Lord, but it is not a “convenience store” promise. It’s not something you just drop by and pick up because your provisions are getting a little low. In order to “live continuously” in God’s “hidden” protection and “permanently” stay under His “defense”, we must make our home there: we must build our house and make it our base of operations, the center of our life and activities.

The shadow of the Almighty is not a chain of petrol stations scattered across the world’s landscape waiting for us to stop briefly. It’s a hidden, protected place near His heart where we take up permanent residence. Only those committed to Him are willing to dig deeply and set a secure foundation in that place. One who has neither the time nor the desire to put forth the effort merely sets up a tent. It should not be surprising, then, that such a one lives “like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

v. 4b-5

His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, He is not only your shelter; these verses speak of battle. He is your shield (used as protection against arrows and other flying objects) and buckler (a second, smaller shield used for blocking blows); thus you shall not be afraid of terror attacks by night, nor of arrows that fly by day.

v. 14

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. God has set His love upon you from the beginning; “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” (John 3:16), and when you set your love upon Him He will deliver you: He will set you in a high place where the enemy cannot touch your soul.

What an amazing promise! What an incredible gift! “How wonderful and beyond our knowing, O God, is Your mercy and loving-kindness to us, that to redeem a slave, you gave a Son.” (from the Exsultet of the Easter vigil).

Is His presence worth seeking? Is His secret place worth the sacrifice of your time and effort? Is it not a small price to pay, considering the huge price Christ paid for you?

Word of God: speak!

Non nobis Domine+

by Fr. Dana Jackson

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