Today, there is a message being screamed from every headline, television, radio and magazine in the country. It’s a message that can be summed up in a single word. DANGER!
Given this barrage of impending doom and disaster, is it any wonder more Americans than ever suffer under record levels of anxiety and fear?
In the process we’re ever on our guard. Ever watchful. Always suspicious. Sadly, this is often as true for Christians as it is for unbelievers.
Many have come to believe that living in fear is simply part of life. If you’re one of them, I’ve got startling news for you. You don’t have to live that way. Some believers have discovered a way to live in absolute peace and safety. They’ve found an invincible shield of protection far more powerful than any security system.
They know beyond a doubt that no violence, disease or disaster can touch them in a lasting or harmful way. They lie down in peace and arise in confidence.
Who are these fearless ones? Those who have discovered the key to living in the “Secret Place” of God. But this is not a select or divinely favored group. You can join them. Any believer can. In the next few pages, I’ll take you to God’s Word and show you how.
Moses’ Song of Safety
In the 91st chapter of Psalms, we find a remarkable set of verses. Whereas most of the psalms came from the pen of King David (by inspiration of the Holy Ghost, of course), this is one of the psalms of Moses. He wrote it during the 40 years the nation of Israel was wandering in the wilderness.
Those long years in that hostile, barren wilderness gave Moses a special understanding and appreciation of God’s divine protection. Without it, the people he’s been called to lead wouldn’t have survived a week. He’d seen water spring from a rock, food fall from heaven and shoes that didn’t wear out, even after decades of walking over rough terrain.
He’d seen seas part and the greatest army of his day destroyed in a single hour. He had experienced deliverance from hostile tribes and wild animals. He had been guided through unknown territory by a pillar of fire sent from the very throne of God Himself. Yes, Moses knew a little bit about the protecting hand of God over His servants.
The 91st Psalm is born of Moses’ personal experience with God the deliverer. Notice the first verse: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Immediately, Moses tells us of a special place he calls “the secret place of the most High.” We’re told it is possible to “dwell” there. The Hebrew word translated “dwell” literally means, “to stake a claim to” or “to remain.”
The Secret Place of God is not a place you can slip in and out of from hour to hour. It’s not a position that is attained one moment and lost another. No, to truly abide in the Secret Place requires living there. It’s a lifestyle.
What is the result of living in this Secret Place? The second half of the verse tells us you “shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Does God really cast a shadow? He may, but that’s not what this verse is talking about.
Throughout the Bible, the concept of a shadow is used to symbolize God’s anointing and covering presence.
In Luke 1:35, we’re told the Holy Spirit “overshadowed” Mary when she conceived the Son of God, Jesus. In Luke 9:34, we’re told a cloud “overshadowed” Peter, James and John when they were with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. In both cases, a shadow typified the presence and power of God coming into contact with human flesh.
When you dwell in the Secret Place of almighty God, you are covered with His power, presence and anointing. And as we’ve seen, it’s not just an occasional thing. You live there.
Ask yourself, “What would such a person’s attitude be toward life? With what mindset would they face the day?” Verse two gives us the answer.
“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
When a person lives in the Secret Place, he or she can’t help but proclaim the fact of God’s protection.
Many sincere Christians believe God has allowed them to get sick, experience disaster or face hardship because He wants to teach them something. They don’t see God as their shelter from calamity. They see Him as the source of it.
These people are strangers to the Secret Place. Tragically, most don’t even know it exists.
A Place of Deliverance
Moses certainly didn’t buy into the old “God is making me sick to teach me something,” myth. Of the person dwelling in the Secret Place, he declares: “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence” (Ps. 91:3).
In biblical times, the fowler was a person who had trained a hawk or other bird of prey to go out, kill and retrieve an animal. The fowler literally hunted game with these deadly birds.
Here, the fowler is used as a metaphor for Satan, the enemy of our soul. The Bible frequently refers to him as a predator. Peter said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
The devil has some deadly traps set for the unwary believer. Moses is saying that the person who abides in the Secret Place, will not fall prey to these snares of the enemy. Then he goes on to include deliverance from the “noisome pestilence.” That’s a fancy King James’ way of translating the Hebrew phrase havvah deber. It literally means “onrushing calamity or plague.”
We’ve seen some pretty devastating examples of onrushing calamities and plagues in this country in recent months. To the average person, these are enormously frightful events. But not for the dwellers in the Secret Place. They rest in the calm assurance that “surely” they will be delivered when disaster suddenly strikes.
How well protected is the believer who abides under the shadow of the almighty God? According to verse four, he is covered by the “wings” of God Himself.
“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
Of course, the Word isn’t suggesting that God literally has wings and feathers. Once again, Moses uses a metaphor to show in word-pictures how secure this believer truly is.
In nature, when a storm arises, adult eagles with eaglets in the nest will go gather the helpless birds and blanket them securely under their wings. Under the protecting span of those powerful pinions, the tiny birds are so protected from the efforts of the storm they may not even be aware that one is blowing.
This is the image the Holy Spirit wants us to grasp. When the storms of life blow, God’s desire is to cover His children with His wings and keep them safe. It is His true heart’s desire. You can trust those wings. But this haven of protection is only available in the Secret Place.
Protection From Violence
The second half of the above verse talks about God’s truth being “a shield and buckler.” This uses military equipment to represent two different types of protection available to the believer.
Obviously, the “truth” referred to here is God’s Word. There is no other standard of truth. Jesus, the living Word, said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
A soldier in Bible times would use his shield to protect himself from a flurry of arrows or spears. It represents a source of protection from large or numerous threats.
The buckler, on the other hand, was a protection that was strapped around the wrist. It was small and light and, therefore, ideal for quickly fending off or blocking small attacks from single arrows.
God’s Word offers both kinds of protection. Immerse yourself in it and it will provide protection from any size or type of assault the enemy may launch against you. His truth will be your shield and buckler.
Freedom From Fear
Once you begin to realize the strength, diversity and comprehensiveness of God’s protection in the Secret Place, the obvious result is peace. With God overshadowing and covering you with His wings and with His truth as your shield and buckler, nothing in this earth can make you afraid. That’s precisely the psalmist’s next point.
“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” (v. 5-6).
These verses describe two different types of attacks. One that comes at night – it can’t be seen, and one that comes in broad daylight – you see it coming. In the Secret Place, you won’t be afraid of either one of them.
No matter which type of attack the enemy tries against you – the full, frontal assault or the blind-siding sneak attack – you will not fear them.
This freedom from fear is important. Fear actually acts as a magnet in the spiritual realm to attract the very things you fear. Job discovered this truth and exclaimed, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me” (Job 3:25).
Fear is the reciprocal of faith. Faith is your belief in God’s power and desire to do good in your life. Fear is your belief in the devil’s power to do you harm.
Just as faith activates God to bring the good things for which you are believing, fear activates and looses the devil to bring the very things you fear. This is why it is vital that you learn to abide in the Secret Place of God. For only when you are free from fear are you truly in a place where the enemy can’t touch you.
“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” (v.7-8).
Source: Living Safely in a Dangerous World by Mac Hammond
Excerpt permission granted by Mac Hammond Ministries