“He/she who dwells in the shelter of Most High”
Psalm 91: 1-6, 14-16
Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 91 which talks about people who dwell in the shelter of the Most-High and resting under the shadow of the Almighty. “Under the shadow of the Almighty”, can you imagine us being under the shadow of the Almighty? Can you feel the rest, comfort and protection, being under the shadow of Almighty? God wants us to know that we can come under the shadow of Almighty, where there is no harm, deadly pestilence, danger or Satan’s trap, but only liberty, rest, peace, and comfort. Through our given text, I pray that some of you can find courage, being uplifted of your spirit today and find solace in God if you are heavy-hearted because of your children, grandchildren or life circumstances you are in.
Psalm 91, verse 1 says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most- High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”. What does it mean to “dwell” in the shelter of the Most- High? In its original meaning, “dwell” means “sitting” as in staying, and the “shelter” means “hiding place”, “residence” or “secrecy”. We should know that the residence or the hiding place of the Most- High in our text is referring to the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle of the Old Testament. We see the connection of verse 1 to the Holy of Holies from its use of the word “shadow” which is an allusion or indirect reference to the outstretched wings of the cherubim covering the ark and mercy-seat. So, it can be read, “He/she who dwells like the ark in the Holy of Holies will be under the immediate shadow and protection of the Divine Majesty”. Verse 4, says, “He (the Almighty) will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”
From these verses, we can see the sure protection of the Most-High providing shelter and refuge by covering ‘them’ with His feathers and gathering ‘them’ under His wings of the Almighty. The feathers of mercy and grace covering them up and they are being gathered up under His wings of love and compassion that knows no end. Who are they? Those who make God their habitation and shelter, their dwelling place, having access to God, having an intimate relationship with God, worshipping in the Holy of Holies, living a life of constant communion with God. They are the ones who are being protected and who are resting under the shadow of the wings of the Almighty.
There is a big difference between those who are making God their dwelling place and those who are not. Those people, who are sitting, staying and dwelling in the Holy of Holies, in the most intimate place having intimate relationship with God, constantly being in the holy presence of God, cannot be the same as those who spend their time in the outer court of the tabernacle and coming to God as a guest. Which side of people do you identify yourself with? Do you make God as your dwelling place having a constant and intimate relationship with God? Or do you stay in the outer court, nearby Holy of Holies and come to God as a guest once in a while? As you know, the tabernacle or the temple of God in the Old Testament was separated between the Holy of Holies and the outer court. No one could come to the Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of God, other than the high priest who made the atonement for sins of people through animal sacrifice. The rest of the people were to be in the outer court waiting to be redeemed and they were required to come to the temple at least three times a year.
That was the Old Testament time. There is no excuse for us not coming into the Holy of Holies since we can come to God anytime anywhere because of Jesus dying for us on the cross. Matthew 27:51 shows us that when Jesus died on the cross the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the outer court was torn from the top to bottom. No longer we have to stay in the outer court, but we can come directly into the Holy of Holies, and having an intimate relationship with God provided that we are covered by the blood of Jesus. We can come to the Holy of Holies only by the blood of Jesus Christ, which makes us righteous before God because of Jesus’ blood that washed away our sins.
But the problem is, there are still people who stay out in the outer court, coming to God as a guest once in a while. If we stay in the outer court, there is no way we can comprehend the love of God. Christ blood has little meaning to us if we do not dwell in the Holy of Holies. Only in the Holy of Holies, we can see the ark of God on which we find the mercy seat of God, where the blood of the lamb is sprinkled. If we spend time dwelling in the inner sanctuary of God having an intimate relationship with God, we understand more and more of the mercy, grace and the love of God expressed in Jesus the Christ whose sacrifice is the culmination of God’s love. Jesus Christ who was/is one with God, the creator God because nothing was created apart from Him, the Word of God, died for us to save us from the damnation, the hell-fire.
The blessings that are listed in our given text today, –being rescued from the fowler’s snare, from the deadly pestilence that stalks in the night or the plagues that destroy in the midday—are not for all believers. Only those who dwell in the hiding place of the Most-High.
From our text today, we see that those people who dwell in the shelter of the Most-High can say in verse 2, “He is my refuge and fortress and my God in whom I trust”. Their trust in God is based on knowing the depth of God’s love and God’s Almighty power. How many of us can really say that “God is my refuge and fortress” in the midst of the life storm that threatens our very existence? Without knowing God’s love, –how much God has loved us, by dwelling in the presence of God, we cannot really trust in God to be the rescuer reviving our soul and body.
Secondly, verse 14, if we stay and dwell in the inner sanctuary of God having an intimate relationship with God, then we can love God and acknowledge God’s name, –all God’s characters, all God’s capacities, and abilities and power.
Thirdly, verse 15, if we dwell in the Holy presence of God knowing deeply who God is, then we can call on the name of the Lord knowing that God will save us; God says God will answer and save us from all troubles and life threats. Calling on the name of the Lord is a sign that we do not give up on hope in the face of great storms in life. We defy what the world dictates us to believe. The world says that there is little hope for alcoholic and drug or game addicts, people who have contracted with incurable diseases, incorrigibly conditioned children in our eyes, but God says, “Nothing is impossible with God”. This faith one can have only by dwelling and residing in the inner sanctuary of God. May God bless you to listen to the message that God speaks to you today!!!