The events of September 11, 2001 have forced people to confront their deepest fears. Who or what do we really trust when all else fails? Where do we go when there seems to be no where safe?
Psalm 91 speaks directly to every person's fears and need for Safety and Security. Though the original author of this Psalm is not clearly known (Moses being one suggestion), it is clear that God's Protection of those who draw near to Him was uppermost in his mind. In Psalm 91:1-2, we find a description of the ultimate place for Safety and Security!.
1. The Safest Place is God!
"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
In the first verse, the Psalmist declares that the one "who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty'." From the very beginning, the writer uses visual and descriptive words of familiar things to express spiritual truths and realities. The visual picture painted is of one being sheltered in the safest place of God, and thus protected by His Presence.
The word translated "shelter" in the NIV is translated "secret place" in the KJV. It speaks of a place known only to God! When faced with danger, we automatically cover ourselves, or at least shield ourselves from harm. Can you imagine covering yourself with God? Can you imagine being shielded by the Might and Power of the Almighty? Where no evil can harm nor even reach us? That is what the psalmist is speaking about here! That is ultimate Security, and only in God will we find True Peace.
The one who "dwells" or lives in God's secret place will be protected by His Almighty Presence! But let no one misunderstand this Truth. It is not the one who claims to dwell in God's Presence that will be protected, but the one who truly lives there! The one who wanders beyond His "shadow" into the realm of the world should not expect His protection!
2. The Safest Practice is to Trust God.
"I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
The key to entering God's secret place is simple: Trust God and acknowledge Him as your refuge and fortress! This second verse is easy enough to say, but very difficult to do when "danger" is tangible and near! When threatened, we too often become controlled by our fears that melt our trust in God. We too easily trust in our own strength and intellect to save us from danger, but fail to recognize where our real protection lies!
Perhaps this is because God is invisible. But invisibility does not mean absence! The one who acknowledges God's Presence, though unseen, and Trusts in His Protection, is the one who lives in His Peace. God is my Refuge! God is my Fortress! In Him should we Trust!
Admission into God's presence has always been by faith, and never on the basis of how deserving we are! Otherwise, we will find ourselves forever cast out from God's Holy and Perfectly Righteous Presence! The One who dwells in Light Unapproachable can no more welcome the sinner as oil can mix with water. On the contrary, God's Righteousness repels sin! But the one who receives God's Son, Jesus Christ, and believes that Christ died for his sins, will be transformed into God's child and transferred into God's Presence. It is this child of God who is permitted sanctuary in the very secret place of the Most High!
Remaining in God's presence is also by faith! Hebrews 11:6 states, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." In relation to Psalm 91, we must believe that God is our Refuge and Fortress. Our Security is ultimately in His hands! Do you really believe this?
1. Seek Shelter in God's Presence
Post September 11 ideas sprang from our need for safety ... refrain from flying, stay away from high buildings, wear latex gloves, etc. But the nagging fears persisted, What would be next? How could we really ensure our well being? Again, the ultimate place of security is not behind the might of man-made barriers or defenses, but within the shelter of the Most High God!
Have you sought to be near to God? Have you requested God in song to bless America, but like others, have not turned to Him in humility ... admitting your weakness and utter inability to save yourself? Acknowledge that God alone is your refuge! He alone is your shelter! Then ...
2. Trust God to Deliver You!
For certain, God is able to safeguard us from terrorists' plots, but as we will learn in Study 2, there are more sinister adversaries and plots aimed to destroy us! Only Faith in God can deliver you and I from these destructive forces. If you have never acknowledged God as your Refuge, Protector and Savior, consider praying the following prayer to Him right now. I promise that if you willingly admit your sinfulness before God, and believe in your heart in God's Son, Jesus Christ, as your Savior, God will hear you and bring you into His secret place today!
A Prayer of Faith
"Dear God Almighty, I declare that You alone can save and protect me from destruction. I admit that I have sinned against You many times, and ask Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ, your Son, died for my sins, and acknowledge Him now as my Savior and Lord. Receive me into Your Presence, and put Your Spirit in me, that I may Know You and the Love, Hope and Peace that You alone can bring. I pray in Jesus' Name, Amen!"
If you have already trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior, my question to you is, "Have you trusted Him as Lord?" Many Christians have not made this crucial decision, and therefore live outside of God's "shadow" in the realm of the flesh and the world. If you truly desire to experience God's Peace, draw near to him and live daily in the reality of His Presence by faith! You may not see Him, but if you are a child of God, He is with you always and will never leave nor forsake you!