About a while ago, together with a friend of mine we went and had an hour consultancy with a style specialist about ‘what to wear’ based on our body shape and colours we attracted.
The whole thing was really interesting, who though clothes could be such significant to our confidence and composure?
“Dress to impress’ was an expression that the style specialist used quite often. She explained how our clothes give us certainty and confidence in ways we relate to ourselves and the world. Our God is dressed in majesty-meaning, grandeur, power, authority, dignity, stateliness, and splendour. He is of eternity, His beauty and magnificence will never go out of fashion. He rains and rules forever.
There has never been a time or not it will be that out God is not sovereign over all. He is sovereign over things that scares and the ones that satisfy us. He is robed and ruling. Can we offer praises and thanksgiving to him who truly deserves our honour and lives?
My husband has a fascinating fondness for the Palm tree. He cherishes every kind and shape of them wherever he sees them. It is the evergreen of these tall and elegant trees that attract us. For the middle Eastern, the palm tree is the queen of trees. It’s used to illustrate beauty, vitality and majesty.
If you observe the ‘holy’ places in Azia and Eastern hemisphere you will notice that the courts and walls of these places are decorated with palm trees.
The psalmist illustrates the righteous men and women with this tree. Like the palm tree, the righteous are steady and strong. They stay tall and thrive planted in the presence of God. For where the presence of God is, there He dwells and makes it His home. The people planted in God’s presence alike the palm tree grow slow and steady, they are not shifted easy by bad weather, wind or winter. They flourish and grow, they are cool and collected, they produce fruit year after year. We may get old, but the fruit we produce as we remain planted in God’s presence will be fresh and last forever.
Christianity is defined by many in the Bible and history as the best adventure of their lives. A journey of thrill and joy, pleasure and peace. None of the people dismisses the pain, but that is nothing compared with the joy that they shared. If we have lost the joy of our salvation my friend, if we have become lethargic and lazy in our faith, then we have forgotten the promises of God on our joy and thrill in Him. Our spiritual capacity is not measured by education or intellect, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is in us than we are limitless in manifesting Him through us. So, when we see a problem, when we encounter a battle, when we feel ineffective and unable- do we see ourselves as the solution or do we look to God to fulfil His promises?
If we look to God, He has given us the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit will captivate us and comfort us with wisdom and joy.
Sabbath, this rest day set by God is more like a monotonous day nowadays. It conveys mostly with the ‘going to church’ day which for many families is a challenge in itself. It brings stress and rushing and much more work than rest. This Sabbath psalm starts not with getting ready for church, but with opening our mouths with thanksgiving.
Giving thanks is not just a simple appreciation for God’s creative power and presence, but also a wonderful way to uplift and liberate us.
Many of us feel low and bound because we wait to give thanks to God only when we participate in communal worship. Personal praise and thanksgiving are at the core of our joy and strength in God.
For thanksgiving is not just a delight, it’s a defence weapon also.
When we praise and give thanks we keep the enemy at bay and we invite God to lead us through the day. We wake up remembering His love and go to bed singing of His faithfulness. It’s a spiritual routine that weakens monotony and lethargy.
We speak so much about God’s love for us, as we should do, but what about our love for him. These three last verses in this glorious psalm remind us that our love for God should not be just a cheap word or emotion we express, but a daily choice.
God is sparking a blessing to his people and all that starts with Love.
Not just any love but a love that chooses to set the heart on God. A love that cleaves to God in walk and talk. A love that listens intently, thanks gernerosley and adores God abundantly. It’s a commitment with time and treasure. We rush to ‘claim’ God’s deliverance, protection, honour and rescue but do we know him? Intimately, personally?
God speaks here as a tenderhearted mother, caring and sacrificial toward her child who is sick or in trouble. Do we know God that close like a child and mother relationship? Do we know His voice and presence? Have we set our love upon Him?
Oftentimes we are disappointed by God because we have prayed Psalm 91 over us and our loved ones and still bad things happened.
This idea that we can ‘assure absolute protection’ by quoting scripture is not all accurate. Jesus himself, the Word, who knew all scripture was tested by the evil one in the desert and also tortured and killed by man.
Many Christians throughout history and us ourselves can testify that God protects us ‘in the trouble’ not ‘from trouble.’ Jesus himself said so ( See John 16:33 ) The word of God is powerful and alive, able of teach us, instruct us, correct us and trains us ( See 2 Timothy 3:16-17), but not for manipulating.
God promises to be with us at all times, bad and good, sickness and health, richer or poorer, in trails and triumphs. We love His word, we learn His word, we live His Word, we submit to His Word. We don’t make the Bible work for us, we work ourselves through the Bible. That way Jesus has promised to keep us from falling and to present us before God faultless and pure. We may stumble, but we never fall from his arms.
I have heard this psalm many many time quoted and memorised and cited in times of fear and anxiety. It’s like a ‘lucky charm’ for many Christians. It’s almost used as ‘I just need to say it and God will do it!’
We think that just by knowing this psalm or parts of this psalm we will be protected from harm automatically. But, I believe that before we go to the ‘protection details and claims’ we need to first ‘dwell and ‘rest’ in God.
Dwelling in the secret place of Most High is about habitually residing in God’s presence. It speaks of nearness and intimacy, of closeness and confidence. Resting in His shadow speaks of walking closely with God ( think about it, we have to be close to someone if we are to be under their shadow)
As Christians we don’t just blubber mindless words and phrases, we stand in the authority and presence of God as new and righteous people who have been given access and proximity to His presence by our Lord Jesus Christ. Standing like that ( dwelling before declaring) we shall not fear, for God is our refuge and strength, He is our protection and place of safety.
If we seek God together, we shall heal also together. In these concluding verses of this psalm the people are pleading God to restore and heal them. They have gone through trouble and tensions, they have tasted God’s ire and disappointment, now they ask for his favour.
They long for God to show himself in full splendour and glory to them as community. They believe that God can wound, but he can rightly heal also (See Isaiah 30:26) They all understand that God’s blessing is the secret of purposeful living and his presence more precious than gold.
All our work and achievement, if they are in Him they will last forever, all else time with devour. We need to understand this before is too late.
It is difficult for us to imagine time different from the frame which we are used to. When we are young time is not running quick enough for us, and then later on, time is flying like a rocket.
We think we can control time, but we simply can’t. What we need is God’s wisdom to teach us to live well in the time given to us. I use the plural tense here because I believe we have a community responsibility when it comes to time managing. We confess together, we pray together, we worship together, we celebrate together, we live together… so, together we must follow God for wisdom and time governing.
We are people that like to live for the moment. We forget God and leave Him out of our lives. That’s what we need each other, to asher us back into the urgency of time. We need the community of believers to remind us constantly that: A life lived for God is a blessed life.
Moses, the author of this psalm writes this sentence as one of the very few people in the Bible who many of us would say spend most of his life as ‘homeless.’ I understand Moses a little, we have moved home more than 16 times the last four years. Home is a comfortable feeling.
Moses and the Israelites had a home, but that was a home of bondage (in Egypt). So, in faith, they left their homes and wondered for more than forty years in the desert. Home was not comfortable, there was dust and noise and desert storms that battered their tents frequently. It was anything but home to our understanding. Still, he calls God his dwelling place, his home and refuge. For he has understood that in God we can never be unhoused, neither can anyone take us out of his hands (John 10:29).