We are 10 days into 2022 and whether we are ready or not, it’s time to engage a new year, new resolutions, new opportunities, and new challenges. But some of us may not be ready to face 2022 because we are still trying to grapple with 2020 and 2021 and the constant upheaval the last two years brought to us. King David said this:
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NIV
There are two things you can do right now to build your confidence for 2022 even though we are uncertain and unclear about how things will turn out. If you do the first one, you automatically get to do the second one:
Hang Out. David says whoever dwells in the Shelter of the Most High … To dwell is to spend time and hang out in a designated place. He says it is a shelter, a secret place, a hiding place. In that place you are under the cover and protection of the Most High. The word for Most High is Elyon. El Elyon means the Most High God. It refers to the characteristic of God that is above everyone and everything. This name describes his position as sovereign majestic preeminent God.
Chill Out. If you Hang Out in that secret place, then you automatically get the benefit of rest or relaxation. When you might feel stressed, worried, anxious, nervous, doubtful, and uncertain it is hard to rest or relax. But, if you Hang Out in the Secret Place, the Hiding Place of God’s presence, you get to rest and relax even in the most challenging circumstances.
Rest. David says you will find rest in the “shadow of the Almighty.” Rest means to lodge, to spend the night, to live in, abide, or make your home. The best rest you will ever have in life is that time you can make your home with God wherever you are. I don’t know about you but to rest rather than be restless is a profound blessing.
Shadow. The shadow is the Shade of the King, which provides protection for his subjects. Now, it is hard to think about Shade in the winter, but we know what shade can mean in the Texas summer.
The Almighty. The shadow of the Almighty is enough to guarantee rest for us in challenging times. King David uses a different name for God when he calls him the Almighty. He uses the word Shadad, which means to overpower or destroy, referring to God’s absolute power. This describes God as the one who triumphs over every obstacle and all opposition.
El Shadad, means God is the Lord God Almighty. This is our God who is our all-powerful and all-sufficient sustainer. We know him as provider supplying, nourishing, and satisfying his people with their needs as a mother would her child.
The Rabbinical interpretation of Psalm 91 was a “song for evil encounters, for illnesses, and various pestilences.” The Jewish priest would read this Psalm as an entrance liturgy to welcome worshippers who came to pray to Yahweh for deliverance from life-threatening conditions, who sought protection for his or her family in the sanctuary from the onslaught of diseases.
Application. So, what does this really mean for us today?
Protection. It teaches us that protection is available to us from the dangers we will face this year. The imagery of this Psalm is that of a trap that is about to snap shut, arrows that will fly, and plagues that stalk through the dark of night. And yet, we can be assured of God’s protection over us. We should be reminded that the Lord God Almighty, the one who has all power over everyone, and everything is protecting us.
No Limits. The second principle taught here is that God’s protection has no limits. His security is available day or night and wherever we go or travel, even amid social chaos and physical threats.
So, first Hang Out, then Chill Out. The only way you can do this is to trust him personally.
This kind of trust in the “Most High God,” in the “Lord God Almighty” leaves behind every earthly fear, every human doubt, and all concerns and lifts us up above the depressing realities of life to the hopeful place of faith, of confidence.