A Devotion for 4 February 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“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.” (Psalm 91:1-12; all scripture quoted is from the king James Version)
Dear Reader: Do you enjoy that assurance represented in the title of this Devotion? If you are in Christ, and truly so, you do indeed have that assurance without question or doubt. These are the regenerated children of God to whom the words of the Psalmist has direct reference. The ‘Secret Place of the Most High’ is that hidden place unseen and misunderstood by the world, but fully known in the secret chambers of the heart where only God can enter. It is the very throne of the Almighty. The heart of the believer is His Temple. The Almighty is able with absolute power to not only save but to keep those whom He has called and chosen in His Son Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:3-5)
A child born of its parents has no say in its option of birth, and neither does the begotten ‘again’ of the Lord. Note the term ‘again’. We must be born again in Christ by the unction and calling of the Holy Spirit. It is not self-initiated, but a God consummated rebirth. It is the power of the Lord working in us that draws us near and evokes the faith of the believer. The imagination of men is always evil continually, but it is the efficacious working of the Holy Spirit that is the prime mover in bringing them to a new birth in Christ. The heart of man continues to remain a weak vessel, but the walls of the Temple of the Heart are fortified by faith. “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8) That grace is irresistible in the heart of the elect and it comes from God, not of ourselves. The result of that grace is to be more and more like Christ as we think with His Mind and grow closer to His side (sanctification). Our good works are His, not ours, and give evidence of the One in whom we have placed our trust.
Each man, woman, and child of this life is appointed a time of dying and a repository for the soul – that will be a matter closed to further question at the moment of death. If secure in the faith of Christ, that repository will be like unto that of the beggar, Lazarus (Paradise). If not a child of God, that repository will be the same as the Rich Man (in Hell) who was intentionally oblivious to the suffering of Lazarus. When that man died, he was buried in the earth – his forever home – and woke up in the fires of Hell. But Lazarus, on the other hand, was given an angelic escort to the Paradise of God. In which home are you making your bed, friend?
Becoming a son or daughter of God through adoption, we begin to exhibit the traits and qualities of our Father in Heaven. Will there yet be temptations that arise? Of course, our Lord was tempted with dreadful measure in the wilderness, and so will all who follow Him. Will that temptation overcome us? No, the fervent follower will always overcome the temptations of the world, but let not pride – the crowning sin of sins –deceive you into believing yourself good. There is none good but God. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it..” (1 Corinthians 10:13) Just know that it is the power of God in you that resists carnal temptations and not the force of your own righteousness.
As the shadows of life lengthen (and they begin to do so at birth) let us begin to make provision for our only possession (the soul) and its final abode with God. So many today are deaf to the Voice of God having their ears stopped with indelicate music and language, and the minds filled with the wicked thoughts foisted on them by the world and its society. His Way is the safe Way. It is the place and Ark of refuge. As the Psalm says, “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 92:3-4) Remaining in the sanctuary of His care, we are guarded from evil and made satisfied in joy.
In his devotion expounding on Matthew 6:6, Oswald chambers wrote of the Secret Place:
“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
Jesus did not say, “Dream about your Father who is in the secret place,” but He said, “…PRAY to your Father who is in the secret place….” Prayer is an effort of the will. After we have entered our secret place and shut the door, the most difficult thing to do is to pray. We cannot seem to get our minds into good working order, and the first thing we have to fight is wandering thoughts. The great battle in private prayer is overcoming this problem of our idle and wandering thinking. We have to learn to discipline our minds and concentrate on willful, deliberate prayer.
We must have a specially selected place for prayer, but once we get there this plague of wandering thoughts begins, as we begin to think to ourselves, “This needs to be done, and I have to do that today.” Jesus says to “shut your door.” Having a secret stillness before God means deliberately shutting the door on our emotions and remembering Him. God is in secret, and He sees us from “the secret place”— He does not see us as other people do, or as we see ourselves. When we truly live in “the secret place,” it becomes impossible for us to doubt God. We become more sure of Him than of anyone or anything else. Enter into “the secret place,” and you will find that God was right in the middle of your everyday circumstances all the time. Get into the habit of dealing with God about everything. Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and “pray to your Father who is in the secret place,” every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God.