God is so very good! I’ve been enjoying His goodness a lot lately. And still, I’ve been missing it a lot! It seems that the past few months have been tremendously busy. The pace is accelerating and I don’t always know how to slow it down. I’ve been pretty consistent about keeping my time with the Lord and have thoroughly enjoyed His goodness during those times. Yet in the flurry between times with the Lord, I am aware that I’ve lost my connection with Him. Of course He is still there and I know I can trust Him to always be there, but I’ve lost my sense of His nearness. So I’ve been missing Him.

There are times when my husband and I can spend the whole day together and at the end of the day I feel a sense of missing him. That’s when I realize that while we were near one another all day, we weren’t connecting. That’s the experience I’ve been having with God between those times of enjoying His goodness.

In my busyness, I also have not been sleeping well. There have been too many nights in a row in which my brain doesn’t fully shut down. I’m sleeping, but in my sleep, I’m still trying to work out the issues of the day. I’m waking frequently and struggling to get back to sleep. So I’m dragging during the day and when I’m over-tired, I usually feel a bit queasy. So as my friend from Texas would say, I’ve been feeling “puny” lately.

So one morning while in the midst of this, my Bible fell open to Psalm 91 and God spoke to my heart. (Which, by the way, isn’t how God usually speaks to me. He usually speaks through my systematic reading of Scripture. Today He changed it up a bit.)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 (NLT)

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High…” God is pointing out to me that I’m not “living” in His shelter throughout the day. I’m visiting each morning and often in the evening. Most days I love those visits. But like a visit to my grandma’s when I was a kid, when the visit was over, we packed up and left. After my visit with the Lord each morning, I’m packing up and moving on with my day.

The word translated “live” means to dwell, to settle in, to remain or abide or to tarry. It also means to marry. (Strong’s Talking Greek & Hebrew Dictionary).

We’re not to just visit with the Lord, we’re to live in Him. And we’re not to live with him as roommates, but intimately, as spouses.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 (NLT)

When I move from one project to another at work, I take all the paperwork associated with the first project and put it in a stack and move it to a corner of my table. Then I pull the paperwork associated with the second project from its spot on my table and move it to my desk. I’ve fallen into the trap of doing the same thing with God. Mentally, I’m stacking my “God project” neatly in the corner of my table and moving the pressing matters of the day to the front and center of my desk.

God is so good! He’s been putting up with this from me for longer than I care to admit. He’s been patiently waiting for me to find my way back to Him. He has been patiently waiting to do what brings him joy. Luke records the words of Jesus in this passage:

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:32 (NKJV)

Did you catch that? God is waiting patiently to give me the kingdom. He wants to do it. But I’ve only been visiting with him. He is waiting for me to move in, to live with Him – or rather, to live in Him. When I do that, I will find rest. I really need that rest!

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 (NLT)

Now the word translated shelter is “sayther” and can also be translated “covering” or “secret place.” In fact, you might be more familiar with the New King James Version translation of this verse:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1 (NKJV)

So what is this secret place? Where is this “sayther?” I had an idea where this was going, but I wanted to find it in Scripture. Scripture took me to where I expected to end up, but the hunt was worth it. Listen to these verses. In each case, the Hebrew word translated “secret place” is the word “sayther.”

4One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple. 5For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:4-5 (NKJV/NASB)

What was the tabernacle? It was the tent of the Lord’s presence.

19How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you. 20In the secret place of your presence you hide them from the intrigues of men; in your dwelling you keep them safe from accusing tongues.
Psalm 31:19-20 (NIV/NASB)

“In the secret place of your presence…” The secret place is the presence of God.

15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:15-16 (NIV)

The secret place we were made was not our mother’s womb, although that’s the final place where we were formed, but Scripture says that God formed us before the world began. We were first formed in the presence of God – it is there that all our days were determined. It was there that we were given the gifts and talents and personality that is unique to each of us. Wow! I was formed in the very presence of God. So were you!

The secret place, friends, is the presence of God. So let’s create our own translation of Psalm 91:1 –

Those who live – settle into, remain, not just visit – in the presence of the Most High – those people will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1

This verse that is so familiar to many has an exciting meaning to it. It is a promise – that those who dwell, who live, who settle down, in the presence of the Most High God – Elyon, the Supreme God – will find rest. The word translated “rest” means remain permanently. When I learned that, the first passage that came to mind was John 10:

27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, 29for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.
John 10:27-29 (NLT)

No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. Those who settle into the presence of God will remain permanently in the shadow of the Almighty.

Which brings us to the last word we’re going to look at – “shadow.” The word also means shade or defense. In other words, it means under the protection of. When we settle into God’s presence, we are covered by Him. He defends us and protects us. No one can snatch us from His hand. No one can harm us. He is the Supreme God, Elyon, God Almighty, El Shaddai.

This single verse says so much. When I put the full meanings of the words into the verse, this is what I get:

Those who settle into or remain in the presence of Elyon, the Supreme God who is above all other Gods, that person will remain forever under the protection of the Almighty God.
Psalm 91:1 (SJH)

It’s because of this sentence – this first verse of Psalm 91 that the Psalmist can write verse 2 with confidence.

I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Psalm 91:2 (KJV)

When we settle into the presence of God and stay there throughout the day, we can confidently face the challenges of this life because we know – we know – that we are under His protection. He is our refuge. He is our fortress. He is our God who is faithful and worthy of our trust.

God is so good. In the midst of my busyness, He stopped me in my tracks to remind me that He wants me to live in His presence, not just visit for a few minutes each day. He wants to give me the Kingdom. What a deal! What a good God!

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