1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”
Our Dwelling Place
Have you ever read a book for the second or third time and noticed some detail you had previously missed? Maybe one that was painfully obvious? Upon my (Andy’s) fourth reading of the Harry Potter series, I realized something about the mirror that Harry looks into and sees his parents, the Mirror of Erised. Well, “Erised” is “desire” spelled backwards. It is the mirror that shows you what you most desire. When I told my wife and co-author, Stephanie, this, she simply responded, “Yeah. How did you miss that?”
Sometimes the circumstances of life will affect what people notice. This is true as we read the Bible as well. I’ve read this psalm dozens of times but given little thought to the mentions of pestilence and plague in verses 6 and 10. Pestilence and plague were never on my radar as threats until 2020.
At the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we felt sad about not getting to travel anywhere, even outside our county, so Stephanie did the one thing that would make her feel better – she set up our camping tent in our guest room, layered in blankets and pillows, and covered it with white Christmas lights. For the first few weeks of us having to stay at home, that tent was where we napped, read books, just laid back and gazed up at the twinkly lights.
Stephanie discovered a trick through Google Images that made it look like a bear was shuffling around outside our tent. No one can feel really unsafe when sleeping in a tent indoors while a virtual bear rears up outside your vestibule, but I’m struck by verses 9 and 10 of Psalm 91: “Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.”
This doesn’t mean that Christians are immune from Covid-19 or that nothing bad can ever happen to Christians. But it does mean that plagues and pestilence, evil and death will not have the last word for Christians. God is our dwelling place. We dwell in the shelter and the shadow of our heavenly Father. He is our Creator, the author of life. He is still providing for us, taking care of us in all circumstances.
Yet, what is even more amazing than our dwelling place being with God is that God made His dwelling place with us. In His incarnation, Jesus, the Word of God, became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus made His tent with us. And more than that, Jesus allowed evil to befall Him, took on humanity’s plague of sin and suffered the consequence of that sin even though He didn’t deserve it. He died. Yet, Jesus rose from the dead, and we look forward to the day when Jesus returns and makes His dwelling place with us once more, only this time it will be permanent. We shall dwell in the shelter of the Lord forever in paradise, where there will be no plagues, no pandemics, no sin, no death.
- Where has been your favorite vacation?
- Where is a place you like to “dwell” besides your own home?
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for sending Jesus into our world to dwell among us. Continue to protect us from all the dangers and evils of the world as we await His return. Amen.