“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.“ Psalm 91:1
What does it mean to “abide in the shadow of the Almighty”?
I read this quote recently that has resonated within me about God’s shelter:
“…knowing when it’s dark there is a greater shadow of God’s wings sheltering me…”
(Psalm 23: The Shepherd With Me by Jennifer Rothschild)
Can you picture that? There may be this great, terrifying and evil darkness that almost swallows us up whole but then we can open our eyes and see that the Lord stands in front of us and we are covered in a greater shadow of His shelter.
There are many scriptures speaking of standing in God’s shadow (I suggest you look them up…Psalm 17:8, Psalm 36:7, Psalm 57:1, Psalm 63:7, Isaiah 9:2, Hosea 14:7) and you wonder, how do I get there? How – when I find myself stuck or overwhelmed or in the center of turmoil – do I stand in God’s shadow?
Sometimes, when I go for a walk with my nieces and nephews, some of them hold my hand while others might run up ahead. The sun can get pretty hot during the daytime and, if there’s no breeze and no shade, it can get pretty unbearable. If one of them complains about the sun or the heat, I’ll tell them to stand in my shadow to give them some shade; get a little reprieve from the sun. If they’re holding my hand, that’s pretty easy; they don’t have to move too much in order to stand in my shadow. But if one of them is running up ahead complaining about being in the sun, they will need to double-back in order to stand in my shade.
They have to be in the same vicinity as me in order to stand in my shadow.
See where I’m getting at with this?
We need to be close to God in order to be shadowed under His wings.
Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I feel distant from God. That doesn’t mean I’ve strayed completely out of His shadow. What I’m saying is, the further and further we stray - the less time we spend in His presence, the more time we put Him behind us - the more visible we become to predators flying overhead.
Does that make sense?
To be in God’s presence is to be enveloped in His very person.
He is the personification of peace. He is our powerful protection. He is the source of love and joy. He is the solid rock on which we stand. And when the going gets rough, we need to trust Him.
When we are with God we are covered in His shadow.
When we are walking with God, and He begins to lead us through rough terrain, do we stick our feet stubbornly in the ground and refuse to move one more step? Do we let go of His hand and run and hide behind a thorny bramble? Do we try to find shelter somewhere else that may look better than standing next to God because where He is looks too hard for us to handle?
When things get tough, are we wanting to stray from His shadow knowing that being in the vicinity of God, we are to walk through the valley of shadow WITH HIM, or wanting to flee from those trials and run away from His protection?
Friend! To be in God’s presence is to be in God’s will. To be in God’s presence – even if it looks like He is leading you through an uncomfortable situation – is to be protected from the unknown because you are walking with an unshakeable God who is ALL-KNOWING.
So, what does it mean to “abide in the shadow of the Almighty”?
To draw ever nearer into His presence. To lay your head on His chest and hear His heartbeat. To be fully surrounded by Him so that all you see IS Him. To trust Him knowing that whatever next steps He leads you in, is for your good.
Sit in His presence and meditate on His Word (Ps 1:2). Allow Him to transform you completely (2 Cor. 5:17). Trust in Him that HE DOES ALL THINGS WELL (Rom. 8:28). Know that He will never leave you nor forsake you (Deut. 31:6). That He has plans not for evil but to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).
Friend, if you find yourself far from God’s presence, don’t let another second go by without running into the shadow of His shelter. Draw near to Him. Fellowship with Him. Share your hurts and fears with Him. Trust Him knowing He loves you and cares for you.
Abide in His shadow.
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
For He will deliver you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, not the destruction that wastes at noonday.
…Because You have made the Lord your dwelling place – the Most High, who is my refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
…because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. when he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.“ Psalm 91:1-6, 9-11, 14-16
~ Kissy Black