Psalm 91:1 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Where do you live spiritually? What do you call home? When we read “live” or “dwell” in our Old Testament, there are a couple of different ideas the writer might have in mind. Sometimes a word is used which refers to “tenting.” The Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob spent most of their lives in tents. It meant that they moved around quite a bit. My family likes to go camping and live in a tent. But we wouldn’t want to live that way all the time. Tenting is and should be a temporary thing.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High” is the person who is there to stay–permanently. This is more than temporary lodging. This is home. A tent or even a nice hotel room might provide adequate shelter. But none of us is inclined to mistake them for home. We realize that even a house isn’t the same thing as home. When we dwell in the shelter of the Most High, then we have found our permanent home.
But just what does that mean, to live in God’s shelter like that? We know that God is present everywhere, but we are not able to see or find him in the vast expanse of nature, other than the fingerprints he has left on creation, the evidence of his power that remains in what he has left behind for us to use. That is not the same thing as meeting God or living with him, and so it is not there that we find our home with him.
Nor is the psalmist referring to our heavenly home in this context. Even now we are at home with our Lord when we are in his word. When we are gathered to worship, then we are dwelling in the shelter of the Most High. When we gather for Bible study, then we have come home. We are living in our home when God’s word and prayer sanctify our breakfast table, our supper table, or the last moments of our day before we close our eyes for sleep. This same shelter accompanies us through the day when our thoughts go back to his word to guide our choices and rule our behavior. When this is where we have found our home, then we are safe with God.
It ought to be clear to us, then, that many people are spiritually homeless. They are completely vulnerable to the demonic and worldly elements around them because they do not live in his word. They may be wandering aimlessly from one idea or belief to another. They may have taken up more or less permanent residence in the seedy motel of immorality or reside in the rickety old shack of self-righteousness. In any case their souls are exposed, these buildings are collapsing around them, and they will perish forever if they don’t get out in time.
We shouldn’t think that this same danger is far from us. Many of us know where our true home is, but we spend less time there than we should. We may visit the shelter of the Most High from time to time, maybe even weekly. But can it be said that we dwell there? Can it be said that God’s word is the place I call my home?
And what do we get for our journeys away? Worry, anxiety, stress, fear, guilt, ulcers, sin, failure, hurt, and trouble. And those are the small problems. Wander far enough away, and hell itself can be added to the list.
At home with the Lord, all we know is safety from these things. His shelter is composed of certain promises that guard our hearts, guard our souls, and even guard our bodies. His gracious forgiveness of all our sins for Jesus’ sake is the key element in the security we find at home with him. But from that grace flows every other promise he gives to grow our faith, to be our life’s companion, to feed us and clothe us, and to protect us from anything that could result in our ultimate harm. When I have found my home in these promises of his word, then I know that I am safe with God.