Devotion for 1 March 2023 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. 2I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Psalms 91:1-2; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
I have never put much stock in mega-churches for I have yet to witness one such church that has not traded their heritage in the word for a legacy of red porridge. Gigantic growth of a church is not always God’s will for that church. But it may also be true that God is bringing them, as He did Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, by putting hooks in their jaws to draw them out for destruction (See Ezekiel 38:3-4).
The secret place of the Most High is not a crowded venue. It is populated by the remnant of His elect and not the whole cloth of professing Christianity. Some who read this may not be well-pleased with my comments, but, if so, they are free to find a church on the Broad and Wide Way that will satisfy itching ears.
God is my Fortress and Secret Place – my safe-house among the enemies of the Kingdom. He is my Rock of Salvation that is the same for all who put their trust in Him – even the Children of Israel in the Wilderness until now. “And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:3-4) All who claim sanctuary in that Rock may not be accepted if they allow the spiritual oil of their lamps to burn dry. “But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.” (1 Corinthians 10:5)
Where is this Secret Place of the Most High, and what is His fortress? During the days of Noah when the fountains of the deep were broken up and rain poured from the heavens in torrents, men, women, beasts, and the serpents of the wilderness fled to the highest ground they could find, but it was not high enough. This world’s refuge is never high enough. More than merely a Fortress, I consider the Secret Place of the Most High to be a special kind of fortress such as a Citadel. According to the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language, a citadel is defined as – A fortress, typically one on high ground above a city.” Its granite walls rise to the heights of the ramparts that overlook the surrounding garrison and city. The Citadel on the Hill is the secure fortress overlooking the surrounding terrain that affords safety to the occupants and denies entrance to the enemy. WE live our lives in the world, but not as part of the world. When the enemy threatens, the watchman on the wall sounds the alarm (it must sound continually in our nation today) and the inhabitants of the city escape to the mighty Citadel above. Our Lord Jesus Christ is our Citadel. It is to Him that we flee in times of peril, but not just in such times – we must make our claim to His benefits of salvation offered freely in grace – at all times.
The Kingdom of God, like the nations of this world, is subject to the same threats of betrayal and treason to which Christ was subject at the betrayal of Judas. There are those who dress as we dress, speak as we speak, act as we act, and whose lips speak wonderful things while their heart is far from God and His Kingdom. These are those whose High Treason undermine churches by the defiling of the pure Word of God. The very prophecy God spoke of Gog may apply to our own beloved land if we forget the Providential Hand that has guided us through many dangers and on far-flung battlefields. America has historically been defended, not so much by arms and military might, as by spiritual power enforced by faith and dedication to God. Even our cities, unlike many in the old world, have not required walls of defense about them – neither our private dwellings. However, this may not remain so if we allow our walls of faith and trust in God to crumble:
The prophecy uttered against Gog is not one isolated to one people alone, but to all who partake of the sins of God: “I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.” (Ezekiel 38:11-12) We meet the description very well. We are a people who have dwelt safely in unwalled cities. We, too, are the people gathered from all peoples of the world. Our predicament in face of our present decadence is fearful and gloomy. But there is a salvation for such a people as we are – the Citadel on the Hill, the High Fortress of our God and the rock of our Salvation. There is safety in that Rock – “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” (Psalm 46:1-3)