Today: [Psalm 91] Do We Know What the Secret Place is in God? Psalm 91 speaks of the secret place of God. It is a place where the believer is uniquely protected, favored and hidden from the assault of the enemy. We can read this psalm and assume it automatically applies to us but when you read it fully that may not be so. To be in the secret place requires a certain posture before God, and attitude toward His voice and His presence. In this study we look at what the secret place actually is and determine whether or not we are in truth abiding there.
[Psa 91:1-16 KJV] 1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, [He is] my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, [and] from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth [shall be thy] shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; [nor] for the arrow [that] flieth by day; 6 [Nor] for the pestilence [that] walketh in darkness; [nor] for the destruction [that] wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; [but] it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, [which is] my refuge, [even] the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I [will be] with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
Psalm 91 is one of the most quoted psalms in the bible. The suggestions as to who wrote it include Moses, David, Hezekiah, Solomon and others. It is interpreted by some as a messianic psalm relating specifically to the favor of on the Messiah himself. Most consider it as a psalm of protection applying to all men everywhere who put their faith in God. Some Jewish traditions recite this psalm before bed and in particular exorcism rituals. During the middle ages it was included in the readings for good Friday.
Verse 1 opens up with a reference to the blessings that accrue to the man that dwells in the secret place of the Most High. Now we can read this for its poetic value but it is good to ask ourselves what IS the “secret place of the Most High”? Jesus spoke along similar lines in John 15:
[Jhn 15:4-7 KJV] 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
The word “abide” used by Jesus means to “continue, to endure, to remain as one – not to differentiate”. That is very illuminating. It reflects Jesus’ own sojourn with the Father when He said in John 5:19 that He only did what He saw the Father do. We tend to think of walking in God’s will as discerning the “grand plan” and applying ourselves to it. However walking with God and in God’s plan is a much more intimate thing that simply implementing our perception of what God would have us to do on a daily basis. Abiding in Christ is an intimate, day by day, moment by moment walking, interacting, listening and responding to what the Father would have us to do. This is what it means to abide in Christ. It is a living, constant ongoing dependency maintained by focus of mind, heart and spirit upon the mind of God continually throughout the day.
What is the secret place of the Most High? Psalm 31:20 speaks of the secret of God’s presence. 1 John 4:16 tells us that dwelling in God implies dwelling in love because God is love. Song of Solomon 2:14 speaks of the bride of Christ being hid in the secret place behind the stairs, in the cleft of the rock where she hears the voice of her beloved, remarking that His countenance is altogether lovely. Psalm 27:5 says this:
[Psa 27:5 KJV] 5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
The pavilion is described as a clandestine meeting place, a hidden mountain location – a place of privacy, protection and secrecy. Jesus may be referring to this in Matt. 6:2 when He speaks of prayer as a secret thing, not demonstrated openly but in a closet away from public eyes. Ezek. 7:22 speaks of God’s complaint that the secret place was polluted by robbers. What would make one a robber of the secret place of God? Perhaps that would refer to those who only want to take something away from the secret place rather than see it as an abiding place of intimacy and communion.
Verse 1 goes on to say that when we repair or resort to the secret place we abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Now what IS the shadow of the Almighty? It is important to know this because all of the protection and blessing referenced in the psalm come about in our lives because we are under this shadow of God’s presence. The name for Almighty is El Shaddai meaning “all powerful”. It comes from a root word describing “one who does violence, one who despoils, devastates, assaults and utterly ruins…” Now this doesn’t apply to us but it speaks of what God does to the enemy when we take up our abiding place in Him.
Psalm 17:8 speaks of God making us as the apple (pupil) of His eye and hiding us under the shadow of His wings. Psalm 36:7 says that we may put our trust under the shadow of His wings. Psalm 57:1 says that we make our refuge under the shadow of His wings until the calamities of life are passed over us. The root word of the word shadow here describes God as hovering over us and covering us with His image. It is the same word used when God said He would make man in His likeness. This gives us insight into what God had in mind in creating man. It was more than making a man to look like Him but rather making a man whom He would place inside His likeness or shadow as His native dwelling place. That tells us that when Adam knew he was naked what he was really saying is that he knew the shadow or likeness of God’s presence had been withdrawn from him because of disobedience.
In the second church that I pastored in my lifetime we had a watchword. We declared that our guiding principle would be that “His presence is our priority”. The programs, activities, and ministries we involved ourselves in were completely wrapped around enhancing, honoring, lifting up and entering into His presence. We decided that anything that took away from His presence, or that functioned well outside of His presence we would jettison as part of our activities as a church. Over the course of 5 years our church evolved into something very different from what most people experience when they attend services on Sunday.
Our refuge is in the Lord – in His presence. Under His feathers – His wings we find a place of trust. What does trust imply? Trust implies that when you call He answers. Trust implies that everything you say and do becomes effective as if the Father said them or did them. Trust means that you are in a posture of rest not expecting to be ambushed by the enemy because the destroying hand of God is working in your behalf against every strategy of hell against you. This suggests to us that prayers offered from a position outside of abiding in Him and reclining in His presence may go unanswered when otherwise God would be immediately disposed to act in our behalf if we were abiding, posturing ourselves in a place of dependence and sequestration in His presence.
When we are under the shadow of His presence the terror that comes by night or the arrow that flies by day will not torment or reach us. The pestilence and destruction that rages at noon day will not intimidate or concern us. A 1000 can fall at our side and 10,000 at your right hand and it will not reach you because you are abiding in the secret place of the Most High.
We need to consider if we actually know what this secret place is. If we have any question whether or not we are abiding there – then likely we are not. If we are puzzled by the idea of being hidden in the Lord’s pavilion then we may not have ever visited there. In the prophetic words I’ve given over time when I mention the pavilion of the Lord I get many questions and e-mails because people don’t seem to know what this is. If we were abiding there we would instantly know. If we are not abiding there then we are unnecessarily vulnerable. The take away from this psalm for us then is by all means and with all haste and urgency we should see to it that we come to an understanding of what the secret place actually IS in God and to determine if we are in fact posturing ourselves there and being hidden in this special, unique and altogether available place of favor and protection.
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