Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Secret Place of the Almighty--An exposition of Psalm 91

Are you being ruled by fear? Do you feel alone as you face trying times in life? Read with me Psalm 91, and let's look together at how the Lord protects all those who trust in Him. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (v. 1). Let this psalm guide you to that fortress who is God, while you find your way through unknown and dangerous territory.

When we face very difficult problems in life, or when we suffer physically, it certainly isn't easy to say like the psalmist, "I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust" (v. 2). But it is a motto every Christian can make his own in times of fear, anxiety, and confusion.

This psalm says that if we draw near to the Lord, and live in His presence, He will cover us with His protective shadow. "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust" (v. 4). In the same way a hen beckons her chicks to hide under her wings, the Lord calls us to His side to shield us from the dangers that are out there. He will deliver us from the snares and traps of Satan, and from anyone who makes it a sport to deceive us with false teachings (v. 3). His wings protect us from sin and its eternal consequences.

Many think they are safe enough without God's protection, and slowly begin to pull apart from their congregation, not participating in the work of the church, not attending church regularly, or even failing to attend any church at all, preferring to face the trials of life without the advice and the help of their brothers and sisters. This is why the Apostle Paul tells us not to forsake "the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25). We know what happens when we separate a glowing coal from the fire. Away from the other coals, it soon begins to cool down until it looses all its heat and all its glow. Under normal circumstances, a person who does not meet with other believers will become cold. The Bible says that the last days will be dangerous times, and we need to dwell within the refuge God has prepared for us through the church, so that we can survive spiritually.

When we are born again, and we leave the old way of life, God will free us from our superstitious fears if we let Him. Satan and his servants are powerful beings that desire to subdue every person who does not trust in the Lord. Satan uses certain people to harm and cause fear in others (v. 3), because he knows he can use fear to control them. We must forsake all our superstitions because now God is our refuge (vv. 5, 6). Let's show our enemy that now we can trust in the Lord. God will not fail us!

While under God's protection we can observe what occurs in the lives of others who choose not to trust in Him. We will see that those who lives in sin will accumulate many painful consequences, something that doesn't happen to us anymore because we have left sin behind, and live in the light (vv. 7, 8). God does not promise that we will not suffer physically, and that we will never have problems, but He wants to help us see that when we trust and obey Him, He will bless us, and will not allow anything to happen to us without His divine permission. "Thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" (vv. 9, 10). What a relief to know that the great God of the universe cares so much for us that He sends His angels to watch over us! It doesn't matter how hard or dangerous the circumstance may be, the Lord will make sure we have the victory (v. 13).

The Lord Jesus teaches us that the most important commandment is, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind" (Matthew 22:37). Verse 14 of Psalm 91 says that if we obey this commandment, and set our love on God, we will be delivered and honored, because we know the Lord.

If you are about to give up, thinking that the Christian life is too hard, don't be so foolish (borrowing from someone else's words) as to gamble your eternal destiny for the comforts and pleasures of this temporal life. Maybe the Lord has chosen to bring you into His presence tonight or tomorrow. Surrender your fears to Him, and He will hold you up even in the hardest moments of life. He promised, "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him" (v. 15). Let's not give up, because if we are faithful, the Lord also says, "with long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation" (v.16).
-Translated and adapted from article "El que habita bajo el Altísimo", Luz de la Vida

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