Benefits of Abiding
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Ps. 91: 1
David here gives 2 things. He first qualifies who this passage applies to (because contrary to public thought, this doesn’t apply to everybody). Then he shares the benefits that come to those who this applies to.
The first thing that stands out in David’s qualifying statement is the verb “dwell”. It, denotes significant time spent. This is for those who make a silent, peaceful repose someplace. The idea is to take enough time to relax and rest there. So far, I don’t think there is anyone who would mind this. Having a place that one can be at rest, and be at home and relaxed is what many would search for and pay a high price for. I can hear many of you say, “point me to it before I pay for this vacation that I know will not give me the time required or the opportunity to rest like what is referred to here!” So glad you are interested.
The next thing that David points out is where this peaceful, uninterrupted time takes place. It is in the SECRET place of the Most High. I know that feels a little unkind. I tell you about this place, spike your interest and tell you it is a secret! Hold your horses. What David means by secret is that it is the practice of those things that are relationship builders with God that are not readily seen by others. It is not the public going to church and singing loudly in worship that is reflected here ( although those are great and highly recommended as well). David here speaks of those virtues that are made into regular practice where no one goes but you and God!
Wait, do people even do those anymore: personal prayer life, quiet reflection on the word of God studied not for being the smartest person in Sabbath School, not the study for a well thought out, well preached sermon, but instead to simply know Him more? As rare as that is in our society, the passage further reminds us that it is not the time that is hurriedly done to place a check mark on the daily to do list item that says “God”. This is time spent DWELLING WITH HIM! It is a regular place that one rests and spends time stretched out comfortably in the presence of God in activities hidden from everyone but God and you! This is the heart of real and intimate worship and it has benefits that far exceed the those that come from a merely casual “stop by God” kind of relationship. Dwelling facilitates growing and feasting on His word.
The rest of the verse says, “…shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” The word abide lends to a sense of permanency. Spend regular time with just Him and in turn you will earn a permanent place under the shadow. What a picture! When my daughter was younger, I would tell her to stay in my shadow as a measure of how close I needed her to stay to me. It meant close enough to reach out and take hold of or shield or hide her. God says, the regular practice of time spent in His secret place, earns us God’s close care and protection…SPECIAL PROTECTION!
Another benefit is that the shadow is not merely close, its intimate! When young Mary asked the angel Gabriel how she would become pregnant since she had had nothing to do with any man up until that point, the response was, “the power of the Highest will overshadow you…” The shadow of the Almighty, shows an intimate quality of relationship whereby God stays close enough that He may birth His character within you, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, born within us! The more time spent dwelling and abiding, the more God can trust us with…even more of Himself! The benefit comes when what have been strongholds and areas of difficulty in my life begin to slip away and lose their appeal as they are erased and replaced by the indwelling of God’s nature.
Someone once wrote it this way:
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
Perhaps the author of this wonderful Him was reflecting on the benefits of abiding. Begin your abiding today.