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).
Just because we can’t feel God’s presence does not mean that he is absent. In life, we could be surrounded by gravel and grief, still, God promises to be present with us in the middle of trouble.
Ethan’s ( The writer of the Psalm) confidence was not in the absence of darkness, but in the one who watched over him in the dark.
It was dark and gloomy on that Friday when Christ was crucified. The weight of our sins crushing on his shoulders. The earth breaking and the sky shaking, God did indeed turned away from Jesus then. Jesus’s cried out for help and comfort but all he got was a deaf ear from God. There was no help for him, just silence. God was dealing justly with all our sin and guilt and shame. He was nealing that on the cross, yes, on Jesus so that we who believe and hope in him will forever have God’s ear, attention, love and help.
So, when we we don’t understand God, even when we don’t see Him, because of Jesus we can say- I trust you Lord. We can perhaps say also, “I do not understand you in this situation Lord, but I understand why I trust you.” Though uncertainty may encompass me and the darkness bid me see that no God is there, I can trust Him nonetheless.
Becoming a parent myself has helped to understand a lot of things when it comes to parent and child reletionships. It’s difficult sometimes as a child to understand when you do something wrong and your mum tells you that she loves you, but you still have to pay the consequences of your behaviour. It was confusing hearing my father saying that he would not allow me to go to my friend’s home today, but I could go tomorrow. My attitude had prevented me.
God, also, a loving father himself makes us ‘face the music’ we have chosen to play. His love remains and he never leaves us, never forsakes us, still His word prevails always. But when we walk not on his path, when we choose to ignore his principles, then we are confronted with our choices.
The good thing remains that God is with us and through Christ, we will never be lost and left to our own devices for long. Holy Spirit guides us and enable us to do his will.
God does not break his promises. He chose David, an overlooked shepherd boy to rule his people and through him, he brought Jesus.
Jesus is the true David so to speak. God bestowed strength on him to endure the cross. God anointed Jesus as the Messiah, the anointed saviour. God appointed Jesus and sustained him always. The enemy never won with Jesus, he was defeated. God’s faithfulness love and strength were poured in Jesus. Jesus is the firstborn of many brothers. The covenant made between God and Jesus and us will never be broken. Jesus throne will last forever. ( see verses 19-29)
What makes these promises even more wonderful is that if we are in Christ, those promises are true for us too.
How many of us can say with Paul that ‘By the grace of God I am what I am’? ( See 1 Corinthians 15:10) How many of us can dedicate to God all our hopes and dreams, all our zeal and success, all our achievements and prosperity?
Who owns the glory of our strength? The flesh and the Spirit wrestle together in our mortal bodies wanting all the glory. Only one of them can handle it, The Spirit. When we say ‘ all we are and have we owe to God’ we position ourselves in the most powerful place. GOD is our strength and glory, GOD is all we are. There is no need to perform or manipulate, no need to stress and burden ourselves with weights we can not carry, for in Jesus we are and have it all. When the glory of God is our strength, we are the most glorious.
The presence of trouble in our lives shouldn’t silence our praise.
What we magnify, we live out. When praise is hard, defiance adoration must take place. Let every complaint and confusion be turned into thanksgiving. Let every feeling of abandonment and rejection turn to God’s unfailing love. Let every deceit from man find comfort in God’s faithfulness. There is no one like our God! There is no one in heaven or earth compared to him. So, let us sing of his goodness when surrounded by troubles. Let us lift his name on high when our name is trampled upon. Let us give glory to God when all within us can’t but want to do the opposite.
Defiant adoration magnifies God and places every problem in the right focus and place. As we praise we are assured by God’s presence and power, promises and provision in the middle of problems and pestilences.
God is in the darkness with us. Oftentimes he does not send us the light but speaks to us in the dark. Darkness, from personal experience and reading about the believers in the Word, is a place to listen more than speak.
God reveals himself to us in the darkness like nowhere else. We will notice that his light will shine even brighter when we come out of any dark season. Unless we know God in our season of darkness we will struggle to make good sense of Him in the light. Darkness eliminates everything else until there is just God and us. It’s not just a place where we are learning God, but also a place where we are unlearning to do life in our strength.
Darkness for many of us comes as fear, uncertainty and reluctance. Often, God allows us to make darkness our ‘friend’ so that we will not fear it and allow it to intimidate us any longer. He is the light in any darkness we face. Jesus faced the thickest and deepest darkness ever existed so that we will be fearless in facing anything with him.