He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty…He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall find refuge (Psalm 91:1,4).
When it’s raining, we hoist an umbrella or head for cover. When it’s storming, we want to be inside – under our roof – where there is protection from the wind and the lightning. In order to be able to get under an umbrella, under cover, under our roof, we need to be close enough to do so. If we are a long way from our home, don’t have an umbrella, and there is no cover around, we are vulnerable to whatever the threat is. You cannot be covered if you are not where the cover is.
That’s why the psalmist organized his thoughts the way he did in Psalm 91. In order to abide under the shadow of the Almighty or in any way expect the protection of God, we must dwell in His secret place. We must be where He is.
The Old Testament book of Ruth tells the story of a widowed Moabite woman who accompanied her widowed Jewish mother-in-law as she returned to her home land of Judah. Ruth had obviously seen something in her mother-in-law Naomi to cause her to trust in Naomi’s God. Although Naomi attempted to get Ruth to stay in Moab, Ruth declared, Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God (Ruth 1:16).
The beautiful ending of the story is that in the land of Judah, a relative of Naomi’s husband became Ruth’s and thus Naomi’s kinsman redeemer. Boaz recognized that Ruth’s faith was in his God and that she trusted God as Jehovah-nissi (God my banner, my covering, my protection). Boaz told Ruth, “The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge” (Ruth 2:12). Later, Ruth petitioned Boaz to take your maidservant under your wing, for you are a close relative (Ruth 3:9). Boaz married Ruth and they became the grandparents of King David, who played a huge role in the lineage of our Savior Jesus Christ.
Our God is not a distant God. We can be close to Him and we can abide under the shadow of His wings. That’s why Jesus came – so that we could know God and His love. Jesus’ desire was that we would want to seek His shelter and abide with Him. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing” (Luke 13:34).
© Stephanie B. Blake