THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH. Part I of Psalms 91, a Devotion for 23 August 2017 Anno Domini
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 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. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.” (Psalms 91:1-8; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Why is the place of God’s protection called a “SECRET PLACE?” I believe it is because few people either seek the favored protection of God, or will accept His Sovereignty. The path to this security is not to be purchased with money or political power, but must be sought for its own essence of love, faith, and devotion to the Father of Lights. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and FEW THERE BE THAT FIND IT.” (Matthew 7:14) There must have been thousands gathered outside the ark when the rains of the Deluge, and fountains of the deep, erupted to drown all living. They searched in vain for the HIDDEN DOOR of salvation and could not find it, for God had closed the door and not Noah.
I am reminded of the TIMELINESS in answering the clarion call of God to His Elect people. Time is not a heavenly, but an earthly, commodity. Heaven exists in a timeless eternity, but we are disposed to live out our earthly lives in the space, time, and matter continuum. God created this environment as a means of training up His people in the way that they should go. In this life we are undergoing the ‘basic training’ for full field duty in Heaven. We will never again have as much time as we have at the moment of our reading this devotion. When landing an aircraft, a good pilot will seek to land at the first part of the runway because he knows that all of that runway which is behind is of no use at all. That is just like our lives. We must live each day as if it were the LAST day of our former life, as well as if it were FIRST day of our remaining life. Once the Angel of Death stands by our bedside, and the shadows lengthen, there is no longer time to say “I love you” to those whose lives are touched by yours – no time to ask forgiveness of those you may have wronged.
Why is the SECRET PLACE of the Most High so difficult for some to find? It is because it is not painted red or international orange. It does not resemble any place that we have ever seen before. It is not a destination for which we can purchase tickets to enter. It is an INVISIBLE place known only to God and those who abide in Him. Growing up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we were subject to occasional storms of great intensity – infrequently, tornadoes even. Our family had a concrete room dug into the mountainside into which to flee when the storm became violent and threatening. Those spiritual storms of life are even more violent and threatening than those of the meteorological variety. We must have a place of safety to flee for shelter. In fact, the Christian LIVES in that place of safety from the storm. There is not safer place than a FORTRESS! “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” WE have claimed the latter words of this verse as our national motto, but it only has application when we really MEAN it when we say it. You may enjoy reading the account given by a junior officer of the U.S. Army of an experience he had in combat:
“A lieutenant in the United States Army on some far-off battle front and his buddy were sent out on an important mission. When the enemy discovered them, the lieutenant faced them, saying to himself, “Lord, it’s your responsibility now.” As he reached for his carbine, a shot from one of them struck him in the breast and blasted him down. Thinking he was dead, his pal grabbed his carbine and blasted away with both guns. He received three bullet wounds, but when he finished not one of the enemy was left. The lieutenant wrote his sister in Pennsylvania: “He was amazed when I rolled over and tried to get up. The force of that bullet had only stunned me. Dazedly, wondering why, I pulled my Bible out of my pocket and in utter muteness looked at the ugly hole in the cover. It had ripped through Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and kept going. Where do you think it stopped? In the middle of the Ninety-first Psalm, pointing like a finger at this verse, ‘A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.’ I did not know such a verse was in the Bible… In utter humility I said, ‘Thank You, precious God.’” — Knight’s Master Book of New Illustrations
A mother hen will cover her chic lets with her feathers when danger approaches. She will do so until her death if necessary – even a fiery death of the forest. But the wings of God are indomitable and invincible. “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.” Being sheltered beneath the wings of the Almighty is dependent on our trust for if we are fearful and flee from that shelter, our protection is voided.
There are many specters of the night that can haunt the soul of the faithless, but none such can disturb the man, woman, or child whose heart is fixed upon the Lord. We may even walk on water if we lose not our focus on the Master of the Ocean Seas. “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” Darkness may obscure many pits and dangers. The day makes our own presence more visible to the enemy, as well. Both noonday and midnight, we need that shelter of God’s Almighty Wings. We do not seek that protection only when the darkness dawns, but also in the bright and happy sunlight.
When we witness the devastation on the spiritual battlefield of life, we are to take no counsel of our fears. The God of the bright day is also the God of the dark night. He is ever-present in both daylight and darkness. Though the casualties of our spiritual warfare mount on every hand, and deserters are not a few, we must take heart that victory belongs to the Lord, and in Him, we have victory, too. “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.” The dangers of the enemy’s slings and arrows are a mere illusion to those who trust in the Lord. Yes, many who are without faith will perish, but not the elect of God. “Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
Perhaps the Secret Place of the Most High is well illustrated in an event that took place off the coast of England and in the English Channel almost five hundred years ago. England had undergone a great spiritual awakening with the coming of the English Reformation. Queen Elizabeth I had reinforced the newfound faith embodied by the Protestant Church. Catholic Spain, however, under Phillip II, undertook an invasion of England. Perhaps the greatest naval force ever assembled for that time, the Invincible, or Spanish, Armada comprised of 130 ships of Men of War, weighed anchor for England under the able command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia.
The English navy, under the command of Lord Charles Howard and Sir Francis Drake, had no such formidable force with which to counter the Spanish thrust. But they did have faith and prayer. The English peoples turned out to pray with fervent intent as the Armada approached the south of England. Sir Francis Drake held his small fleet in reserve until the Spanish Armada dropped anchor at the port of Calais awaiting further communications from the ground forces of Spanish Netherlands under the Duke of Parma. This was to be the land forces employed to invade England once the Spanish Fleet had conquered all English naval resistance. However, the plans of men may not comport with the will of the Almighty. At Calais, the Armada was greatly damaged by fire ships released by Drake whose naval assets had a favorable wind advantage over the Spanish. The Spaniards lost one third of their naval vessels as a result of these fire ships (and unfavorable wind currents along the coast of Scotland), and were damaged so badly, that they limped home to Spain, forsaking the ground forces who were embargoed by the Dutch navy, and England was saved by an Unseen Hand.
The Providence of God guides nations and nature to conform to His immutable Will. Not only does the Providence of God intercede in the political state, but also in the lives of those individuals whom God has called and chosen to Himself. It is with the faith we have in this principle that allows us to seek the shelter of God’s Wings, and remain in that place of safety.