He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalms 91:1 ESV
Where is the shelter of the Most High? How do we draw close to Almighty God, to abide in His shadow?
To be in someone’s shadow implies a closeness to the person. Shadows also imply a place of hiding, or relative safety. Verse 2 states this thought as the LORD is referred to as a refuge and a fortress.
I will say of the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalms 91:2 ESV
We immediately see closeness and a relationship of trust, in a place of safety. As we read on we learn that God is our deliverer in verse 3.
For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from deadly pestilence.
Psalms 91:3 ESV
And we learn of His faithfulness in verse 4.
He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
Psalms 91:4 ESV
Our shield of faith is based upon His faithfulness. The reasons we can have faith in Him, and trust Him to be faithful, is that we can believe that He is who He says He is, and we can trust that He will do what He says He will do.
I had an incident one night when I was in Harlem, in New York City, at about 9:00 on a Friday night a number of years ago. I was on a corner talking to people as they went by, and all of a sudden it seemed as though there was an 8-foot bubble around me; I was covered. God spoke to my spirit, saying, “When you are where I want you to be, doing what I want you to do, when I want you to do it, My peace and safety is beyond measure.” That experience was a springboard for my faith and trust in God as He led me into new activities on behalf of the kingdom of God. I may have been on a street corner, but I was also in the shelter of the Most High.
A shelter is “something that covers or affords protection” according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. It also defines shelter as “a position or state of being covered and protected.” I was in a state of being covered and protected.
The interlinear bible on Bible Hub translates “the shelter” as “the secret place” and is #5643 in the Hebrew Strong’s Concordance, cether, meaning, a covering, hiding place, secrecy.
First and foremost, at our moment of salvation, we are covered by the righteousness of Christ Jesus. These are the garments of salvation.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks
himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
Isaiah 61:10 ESV
So we are marvelously clothed and adorned in the sight of God. The prophet Isaiah goes on to speak of righteousness and praise raising up among the nations.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all nations.
Isaiah 61:11 ESV
We are that righteousness. Paul sums it up this way in his letter to the believers at the Corinth.
For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
We, without the salvation in Christ, have no righteousness that would allow us to enter into the presence of El Elyon, God Most High, the Father.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 ESV
It is only through Christ that we can enter into the presence of, or have access to, the Father.
In episode 12, Clothed in Christ, I speak of the armor of God and what it represents. Every piece of armor represents attitudes and or behaviors, defending ourselves, fellow believers, and the kingdom, moving against darkness, wickedness, and the opposition kingdom. The armor and weapons are wielded in faith, defending one another, and advancing the kingdom of God.
One such piece of armor is the breastplate of righteousness. We are covered in Christ’s righteousness. The defense side of this weapon is to assure us of our freedom from guilt and shame in the face of attacks from the enemy. The offense side of this weapon is to understand our righteous standing in authority and power in Christ Jesus.
Check out episode 12 for a thorough look at the armor of God.
I spend a lot of time on righteousness because it is, I believe, the gate which has been opened to us, through which we enter into the presence of God. Jesus is the way, that narrow gate.
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life,
and those who find it are few.
Matthew 7:13-14 ESV
That said, I also believe the secret place of the Most High is another area of this presence which we must seek out once we pass through the narrow gate. Scripture talks about seeking and finding God. Though some may believe this concerns our pre-salvation state, that does not preclude us from seeking intimacy with God after our day of salvation.
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
Proverbs 8:17 ESV
What is it to be diligent? Again, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, diligent is “characterized by steady, earnest, and energetic effort: painstaking.” Can we apply those terms to our relationship with the Father? Our passion and our desire to be in a relationship with God should be leading us along those lines.
Diligent is often used in describing our activity with God:
- Diligently listening to the voice of God and doing what is right in His eyes – Exodus 15:26, Isaiah 55:2, and others
- Keeping your soul diligently, not forgetting – Deuteronomy 4:9
- Teaching God’s ways to your children, and others – Deuteronomy 6:7, Jeremiah 12:16 ESV
- Diligently keeping the commandments of God – Deuteronomy 6:17, Psalms 119:4, Zechariah 6:15, and others
- Diligent prayer – Deuteronomy 13:14, and others
- Diligently doing the work of God – Ezra 5:8
- Seeking God – Psalms 77:6
- As a watchman, diligently – Isaiah 21:6-7
- Being diligent to confirm your calling and election – 2 Peter 1:10, 2 Peter 3:14
Are we diligently seeking God? Steadily, earnestly, and with energetic effort?
I have said that there are two things that I believe new believers need to learn. One is to learn how to properly worship, and the other is to develop an intimate relationship with the Father.
A pastor once asked me why I say we must develop an intimate relationship with the Father, when Christianity is about our relationship with Christ. My take is this: Christ is our Savior who leads us back into a loving relationship with the Father.
As we saw in John 14:6, no one goes to the Father but through Christ. This implies that through Christ, we gain access to the Father. Jesus also instructs that we will be praying to the Father in His name. we discussed what it is to be in the name of Jesus in episode 36, The Name of Jesus, which was part one of the five-part Holy Trinity series.
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to
John 15:16 ESV
“In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you.”
“In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came
John 16:23, 16:26-27 ESV
Christ Jesus, in His righteousness, that righteousness that covers us, leads us into an intimate relationship with the Father. We are the body of Christ, or one with Him if truly redeemed. We are the bride of Christ, or one with Him as husband and wife become one. At our salvation we become intimate with Christ. Jesus leads us into the presence of, and a relationship with, Almighty God, as we are with Christ.
And what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and
seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to
Ephesians 1:19-20 ESV
Christ was seated at the right hand of the Father after his death, burial, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. And God, through our salvation, has seated us with Him.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved –
and raised up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might show the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in
Ephesians 2:4-7 ESV
We are seated with Christ, as we are the body of Christ. When our spiritual ears are open to hear this, and our spiritual eyes are open to see this, we will realize the presence of God and dwell in the secret place of God Most High.
How do we pursue God?
- In truth: studying the Word of God
- In spirit: entering into the presence of God
- Through worship: acknowledging God for who He is
- Through praise: acknowledging God for what He has done and what He is doing
- In faith:
- Believing God is who He says He is (episode 30)
- Believing I am who God says I am (episode 16)
- Believing God will do what He says He will do
- Through obedience in love (episode 24)
- Developing a relationship with God (episode 25)
God does not hide Himself from those in Christ, as we saw, He will be found by those who diligently seek Him.
First we need the key to unlock the gate, which is salvation. The gate is Christ Jesus, through which we access the Father, and by which we gain the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit assists us in communicating with the Father. Holy Spirit is the very presence of God within those who believe. Do you think you can get by without Holy Spirit? Well, maybe, but oh what you will be missing.
Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to those who believe.
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth,”
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
John 14:16-17a, 26 ESV
“even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
John 14:17 ESV
The apostle Paul confirms that Holy Spirit inhabits those who believe.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
1 Corinthians 6:19 ESV
Holy Spirit prays to the Father on our behalf, especially when we are at a loss for what to pray.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who
searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Romans 8:26-27 ESV
And it is not the Spirit only, but also the Son who intercedes for us. This is speaking of Jesus being our high priest.
Consequently, He is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
Hebrews 7:25 ESV
And Paul affirms this to the believers at Rome.
Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died – more than that, Who was raised – Who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
Romans 8:34 ESV
Two-thirds of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, and the Son, intercede before God on our behalf. What more could we ask for? How about the fullness of the Godhead abiding with us. We already know the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us.
Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to
give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Deuteronomy 31:7-8 ESV
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5 ESV
“teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20 ESV
And the Son and the Father will abide with those who seek Him and abide with Him.
No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in
you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that He made to us – eternal life.
1 John 2:23-25 ESV
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”
John 14:23 ESV
Pursuing God begins in Christ Jesus the Son. Salvation is the beginning of the journey. The salvation we receive is a gift from of the Father (the “of whom” of the Trinity), because of His great love for us.
Pursuing God proceeds through Christ ( the “through whom” of the Trinity), the narrow gate, or the way, the truth, and the life.
Pursuing God is undertaken by the faith and power in the Holy Spirit (the “by whom” of the Trinity), that enables us to believe and to overcome all obstacles.
Pursuing God doesn’t really have an end. It is a constant path of discovering new depths of God in an ever-deepening relationship with Him. Review the many names of God in episode 30, Who God Says He Is, and begin your journey into a relationship that is not found anywhere else in time, space, and all eternity.