Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dwelling in the Shelter -- Resting in the Shadow

"He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1.

I have been pondering and praying Psalm 91 for some time now and wanted to explore today, what does it mean to "dwell in the shelter of the Most High" and "rest in the shadow of the Almighty?"

To "dwell" means to live in. To take up residence. To set up camp and hang out there, with God the Most High. We can do this through reading the bible, praying and keeping an awareness of who God is. To dwell with God means to spend time with God; to try to live and breath the reality of Who He is in our lives. We are to dwell in the "shelter" of God. A shelter is a place of refuge from the storms of chaos and uncertainty that may be blowing around us.

Psalm 27:4-5 gives us a picture of what that may look like. "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in His temple for the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling ..." Live. Gaze. Seek. And as we do, we will know that in our troubles, He will keep us safe.

And what about to "rest in the shadow of the Almighty?" As I work on dwelling, how do I rest? In the Hebrew language "shadow" is often used as a metaphor for protection against oppression. As the shade of a tree protects from the oppressive heat of the sun, so does the shadow of God Almighty protect us. This is sometimes hard to believe, isn't it? Especially when there seems to be so much difficulty and heartache, and yet, we can not understand the ways of the Lord. We can trust that nothing slips through the hand of God, the very hand that provides the shadow, that is not for our good and for His glory.

Isaiah 49:2 says, "In the shadow of his hand he hid me," and Isaiah 25:4 says "You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat."

Dear reader, a storm may be raging around you right now, and I want to encourage you that God is your shelter. Run to Him and dwell in Him. He will protect you from whatever threatens to harm you. And He is the shade that comforts you. He will cool you with His love and provide rest for you from the oppression and weariness and pain.

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