“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Psalm 91 is a Psalm of trust. The writer declares the presence of the Lord to be his heart’s true home. Dwelling in the shelter of the Most High results in rest for the weary wanderer. Rest comes from the assurance that God is worthy of our trust, a reliable refuge and fortress.
The latter verses in the Psalm take what feels like an uncomfortable turn, making wild leaps from trust to unsettling certainties. If I trust, if I make God my refuge, if I dwell with the Lord…no harm shall befall my tent. This has often been the psalm recited over soldiers marching into battle or chanted by Christians as a talisman against the plague in the Middle Ages. Is that the promise? A free pass from hardship and trouble? A get-out-of-trauma free card? I can feel the cynicism slither in, can’t you? But what about that one person who was so faithful…? How about when that happened…?
But there, tucked away in vs. 15 God says, “He will call on me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble.” Presence.
Perhaps this passage is not a guarantee of deliverance from hard things, as long as we pop the right coins of faith in the machine. Perhaps this passage is calling us to re-orient our sense of home and safety and deliverance altogether, around not a favorable outcome, but rather around a quiet intimacy with our ever-present Lord. It is an intimacy rooted in God’s love for us (vs. 14) and God’s unending desire to demonstrate his redemptive intentions toward us.
How does it feel to be truly “at home?” Explore how your senses respond to home, whether a concrete or imagined experience. Can you imagine yourself at homewith the Lord?
In what ways might you be wrongly oriented around a “fix-it Jesus” and avoiding the less-flashy, but oh-so-persistent presence of a God who suffers with us?
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