The Lord, Our Refuge and Fortress (Psalm 91:1-2)
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. ²I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."—Psalm 91:1-2
Right now, writing this blog in the midst of the July 2012 heat wave across the Midwest, the concept of shadow seems especially desirable. Shadow can mean relief from the scorching heat of the sun, like what we see in Psalm 121:5–6, “the Lord is your shade… the sun shall not strike you by day.” (See also Isaiah 4:6)
But even more than relief, shadow is a place of safety and protection. That’s how the author explains this idea of the shadow of the Almighty in verse 2. He calls the Lord, “my refuge and my fortress.” In fact, Abraham’s nephew Lot used the same word when he told the men of Sodom that his guests have come under “the shelter of my roof” (Genesis 19:8). Our refuge is the Lord, it is in his fellowship through Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:12; cf. 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 John 1:3).
This is where we desperately want to be. The shadow of the Almighty God is a place of rest and relief. It is a place of safety and security. It is the place described in detail in the rest of this psalm.
Who gets to enjoy this glorious shadow. The answer is, “he who dwells in the shelter of the Most High.” Does this sound a little like circular thinking? Maybe at first, but there are some clues in the psalm that might help us think with the author.
Verse 9 uses very similar language: “You have made the Lord your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge.” Here it seems like the author is talking about a purposeful pursuit of the Most High. Notice the phrase, “You have made.” This dwelling place has been sought out with intention.
Or look at the very end of verse 2, “my God, in whom I trust.” I think the author is telling us that one way we can be purposefully dwelling in the shelter of the Most High is by trusting in God.
Far from circular, this is solid biblical logic. Who is the person who enjoys the rest and relief, the safety and security found in the shadow of the Almighty? The one who is pursuing their dwelling in Him by trusting Him. We make an intentional effort to dwell in the shelter of the Most High when we, in an act of faith, trust in our God.
Trust in God, and find yourself in the shadow of the Almighty.
What are some areas of your life that you desire to see covered in the shadow of the Almighty? Where do you desperately long to find refuge and safety in the mighty fortress of God?
Are you dwelling in the shelter of the Most High today? Another way to ask yourself that question is, “Do I trust God to be my security, even when life hurts?”