Comfort for Today: The Lord is our Shepherd – Part Two – Our Refuge and Fortress.

Psalm 23 ends by saying “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (v. 6 ESV).
Psalm 91 begins, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (v. 1).
Just before the crucifixion, Jesus instructed his disciples, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me” (John 15:4).
Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’”
Can you see the pattern here? Proverbs 18:10 promises, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous [person] runs into it and is safe.”
Preparing his disciples to face the testing of the crucifixion, Jesus encouraged them by saying, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me” (John 14:1).

The shelter, or secret place, of the Most High that we read about in Psalm 91:1 is not some faraway heavenly location that we can only enter if we are super-spiritual monks who pray for eight hours a day and fast six days a week. The psalms were written between around 1140 and 586 B.C. by various authors including Moses, Solomon, David and others.  Although King David was empowered by the Holy Spirit as a prophet to envision and write about the crucifixion in Psalm 22, he did not comprehend the mystery of the Church and the salvation of the Body of Christ.
Paul described this mystery in Romans 16:25-27, “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
The mystery was kept secret for long ages, even though it was spoken of by the prophets who did not fully understand it or know when the things they envisioned would take place. Peter describes how the prophets, and even the angels, desired to understand the mystery of the Church: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:10-13).

Everything in the Old and New Testaments ultimately points to Jesus. In the Old Testament and the gospels, the mystery of the Church was hidden inside Christ - until the day of Pentecost when God breathed life into his Church, in Acts chapter 2.
As the Church, we abide in Christ, and he abides in us. Jesus himself foretold this before his crucifixion: “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20). “In that day” refers to the moment that we receive the Holy Spirit at salvation. As Jesus said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18).
The secret place is actually found in Jesus, and the mystery of the Church is that Jesus is also inside us. We contain the secret place of the Most High, because God’s Spirit dwells in the Holy of Holies, and once we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, he sends his Spirit to dwell in our hearts. We are the Temple of God and he dwells in the Holy of Holies within our hearts. God is in us, and we are in him. Paul wrote, “Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Therefore, in the same way that we don’t have to put on and take off the Armor of God to be under his protection, we don’t have to try and figure out how to enter in to the secret place of the Most High. We are always protected by God’s armor and we abide forever in his shelter. The problem is not that we don’t know how to get there. The problem is that we don’t know where we are and under whose wings we can find refuge!
And Beloved Friends, the enemy constantly takes advantage of our ignorance in this. His desire is to confuse us with a spirit of fear, while God has already given us his Holy Spirit of power, love and a sound mind. The enemy doesn’t want us to claim God’s promises, and he doesn’t want us to use our faith in God’s promises as our testimony. Remember in Part One of this series, we read in Revelation 12:10-11 that the Saints of God overcome the enemy by the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony? Our testimony comes from our faith and trust in God.
Once we are covered by the Blood of the Lamb through salvation, all of God’s promises become yes and amen for us, and it is our birthright to trust in them. When we trust that God is who he says he is and that he will do what he says he will do – and that we are in him who he says we are – then the schemes of the enemy – his fiery darts – cannot confuse us and make us afraid. Therefore, when we realize that we do dwell under the shelter of the Most High and that God is our refuge and our fortress, and when we pray the promises of protection that God provides for us in Psalm 91, our hearts and minds are strengthened and we are not afraid. When we trust God and are not afraid, the enemy must flee from us, because he knows that in the presence of the Blood of Christ and the Testimony of our Trust in God, he has no power and no authority.
Now that you know this, you can be empowered to pray the promises of protection in Psalms 23 and 91 over yourselves, your families, your loved ones, and the whole Body of Christ with confident faith in Almighty God. Because no weapon that is formed against us can prosper. That is the inheritance of the servants of the Lord (Isaiah 54:17).
Psalm 91:
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge. His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord our dwelling place – the Most High who is my refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, the plague will not come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.
Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.

 

 

 

 

All scriptures are from the English Standard Version translation.

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