Beside the twenty-third Psalm as a favorite passage for many believers stands Psalm 91 in all its intimacy and promises. It draws you into the presence of God beginning at the first verse so let’s settle in and explore the depths of this chapter.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalms 91:1 ESV
I had a love/hate relationship when I studied Hebrew but those classes really paid off as I studied those key words. Let’s begin with dwells. The Hebrew verb is intensive, that means it’s strong, and it’s reflexive, you do it to yourself. To dwell means that you make yourself find the time and place to be with God. You choose to remain in His presence and stay there for a while. Dwelling with God is settling into that secret place, His shelter, and hanging out with Him. As you intentionally linger you give Him opportunity to speak life into your heart. This strong word means that you force yourself, if you have to, to settle down in a quiet place for a period of time and just be with God. You make your own schedule so find some time for the Most High God, even if it’s in the car on your way to work; it’s worth it.
El Elyon, Most High God, is a name whose meaning infers that you have no other gods higher than His place in your life. Other gods? Yes, that extra hour of sleep, checking your email or FaceBook, even reading or listening to the news can steal that precious time you’ve set aside for God. When you intentionally make God your priority every morning, He becomes Most High and you’ve learned to dwell in His shelter.
The second part of this verse is another Hebrew word, similar to dwell, however, this word indicates that it’s progressive: abide. In other words, you continue doing it, and as you learn to abide your trust in Him increases; you’ve entered into His shadow. You’ve experienced shadows, they’re not the real thing, they’re an image of it. Isn’t that what God originally created? We were made ‘in His image’ and ‘His likeness’. We’re not God but we learn to reflect Him as we sit in His shadow. The more you dwell and abide the more you’ll act like Jesus; isn’t that true?
The Psalmist chose another name for God in this verse: Almighty, El Shaddai. He’s full of power, strength, and might within Himself. Whatever we need, He has it. He’s not only all-sufficient, He’s self-sufficient. He doesn’t need us but we undoubtedly need Him.
Be intense today, carve out time for God in your busy schedule, and stick around. Whatever you need today He’s there, in that place you’ve chosen, ready to fill you with whatever you need. He’s El Shaddai, the all-powerful God Who has chosen to spend time you; enter into His protective shadow.