Shelter and Shadow

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalms 91:1 ESV

This is a verse on God’s protection. His protection can come in the form of a shelter or a shadow. When you think of a shelter, you visualise a fixed stationary facility with all round coverage against the heat and the cold and any form of intrusion. It stands solid, is unchanging and will always be there for all those who need to come under it for protection. It is physical – it applies to the protection of real physical needs we have – a health challenge, a relationship challenge, a financial challenge and any real-life situation you can name.

God’s protection can also come in the form of a shadow. Something not physical but you know it is there because you can feel the protective effect. God also protects us over issues that are not so physical. These include inner turmoil such as fear, depression, bitterness, anger, nervous breakdown or other emotional upsets that weigh down our human soul and spirit. When you come into His protective shadow, God will release His peace to cushion you off from the intensity of the inner turmoil. Phil 4:7 reads, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Shadow also changes its position. It does not mean that God’s protection is not consistent. Sometimes to appropriate God’s protection, we need to move with Him in the seasons of life. You move with His shadow. (He led Israel by the pillar of cloud and of fire in the wilderness). God may not want us to remain stationary sometimes but to move in a new milestone of our destiny. You may need to change a life style, kick off a habit, get into a fellowship with friends or fellow believers. So don’t stubbornly remain in the hot sun when God’s shadow moves and signal a need for movements in your life. 

The word “Dwell” tells of a home – a sort of relationship. It is not a “touch-and-go” search for a cover in a shelter, like a bus stop. But it is to be a permanent dwelling place – a home where relationship exists and thrives! God wants to protect you as His sons & daughters in His house, not as random strangers at a bus stop. 

Reflection Pointers:

  1. Do you realise God’s protection is always available for His children? Whether it is an external physical threat or an inner turmoil, come to His shelter or shadow and seek refuge.
  2.  Protection is a “family” thing that a father will always give to his children. The more closely you relate to the Father, the more certain and confidence you are of His protection.  

His Unique Pathway Reserved for You

“When the Red Sea saw you, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths. The clouds poured down rain; the thunder rumbled in the sky. Your arrows of lightning flashed. Your thunder roared from the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world! The earth trembled and shook. Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters— a pathway no one knew was there! You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.”

Psalms 77:16-20 NLT

We are all familiar with the biblical account of the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, forming a dry escape path for Israel to evade the pursuit of the Egyptian army. The Psalmist further elaborates on the majestic power and control of the Almighty over all the elements of nature to bring about deliverance to His people.

“Red Sea” speaks about intimidating circumstances one encounters where there seems to be no way out and is actually at wits’ end just like the Israelites standing between a formidable ocean in front and the pursuing Egyptian army behind. All of us may have a fair share of our very own “Red Sea” experiences. But like how He showed up for Israel right at the crucial moment and turned the situation around, God is going to do similarly for you, His child. There is no Red Sea in your life that God cannot divide and lead you safely to the other shore! 

“A pathway no one knew was there.” The escape route across a dry sea bed fronted by 2 vertical bodies of waters had not been seen before. It was so unique and was reserved to be the escape path only for the Israelites. So will God’s escape pathway be for you! God’s assigned journey for you is only unique to you. The other person may not walk the same journey. God’s creativity brings us into different journeys. There is no need to envy other people’s journey neither do we impose on others to walk in our journey. One journey may not be better than another. It’s just God’s unique way & plan for one’s life. When the Egyptians tried following that Red Sea journey the Israelites took, they were drowned! 

Reflection Pointers:

  1. Dear friends, are you at a circumstance in life where there seem to be no way out? God is waiting for you to call upon Him. Just as His love for Israel was enough to bring Him to divide the Red Sea, He will do the same for you in creative ways! 
  2. If you are confused of why God did not work things out in the same way as He does for another person, and that you wish so much you have a same deal, think again! He is working His tailor-made solution only for you and you alone. You never know, the ultimate unfolding of His plan will bring you into a sense of great awe!

God’s Hearing Distance

“Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth, I call to you when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah”

Psalms 61:1-4 ESV

King David was a seasoned praying man. Yet there were moments when he would plead for God to pay attention to his prayers especially when he somehow felt a distance existed between God and him. But that did not stop him to keep praying.

God hears us as He would hear King David when he prayed to Him from a “distance”. Many of us would have experienced this “distance” moments. Sometimes, we create the distance when we deliberately run away from God, or when we felt God isn’t interested in us anymore, or when we sink so low under life’s circumstances that we forget there is a hearing Father out there who eagerly longs for His children to speak to Him. 

God does not have a problem of a hearing distance. He doesn’t need a hearing aid to hear even though you are speaking from a “distance” as though from the end of earth, as David put it. He only needs a sincere heart to align with the sincere voice!  If you have an overwhelmed heart of conviction & contriteness there is where you qualify most to be heard by God! Psalms 145:18 tells us that “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” 

In this prayer, David asked for protection. He asked for a high rock and this seasoned praying man knew exactly what he was asking for and he also knew God would and was capable to accede to this request. Like David, we can learn that when God protects you, He would give you a rock and not a bush and it is a high rock that tower over you making sure you are well covered from enemy attacks. A high rock is also a vintage view point over your enemy but you will have to climb it as it is higher than you. With that rock towering over you, you are not only at the defensive but it is also a point you can plot your offensive over the enemy. It’s a position of victory! Therefore, a time under protection is also a time of preparation to fight back. Do something behind the rock that is taller than you. Prepare to push the darkness once you overcome your circumstances! 

Reflection Pointers:

1. If you are feeling God is so far away, its time to call from that “distance” you are currently     in, in truth and sincerity and that distance will disappear.

2. Are you in a circumstance that laid you down and you feel so vulnerable? Believe that  God can plant a rock to protect you and prepare you for a victory over the circumstance.

You are Significant!

During the early portion of the Covid 19 pandemic, every day we were bombarded with statistics of the number of people infected, hospitalized and those who unfortunately succumbed to the infections. The authority used these statistics as yardsticks to measure the severity of the pandemic and as triggers to launch different coping strategies, including border closures and lockdowns. 

Statistics translate real people into digits. Sadly. It takes us a moment of reflection to realize behind each statistic is a life – a father or mother, a son or daughter, a husband or wife, a brother or sister, or a just someone’s beloved friend. And behind every human face lies a story of the owner of that face, perhaps not known, not seen, not read of by others. But God reads it because He created it! Each human life is more than a statistic, much more!

Today, I was reading chapter 1 of the book of Matthew. This first 17 verses laboriously list a long narration of names from Abraham to Joseph marking the genealogy of Jesus. I usually skip such portions to get to the next part of the verses that dwell on more interesting narration. However, I was prompted to reflect that these names are listed because they represent significant input God had placed along the journey of His divine plan, culminating to the birth of our dear Saviour, Jesus! God sees them as worthwhile to be mentioned and as a matter of fact, God sees each and every of His creatures with worth and value. The way God looks at us is wonderfully announced by Jesus Himself in Matt 6:26 – “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

You are significant! So is the one sitting next to you in the train. There is no reason to downgrade your self-worth, neither that of another person. Riches, grades, intelligence, popularity doesn’t define a person. Neither will poverty, bad grades, disabilities or ordinariness. God has a unique plan for every life and He being so creative, very often we stand in awe at the ways He works in and around our lives. Problem is sometimes we believe and see it only from hindsight because we are not walking by faith a lot.  Remember what He promised in Jer 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope”.  God makes significant human beings and launches them in significant journeys in His divine plan.

Dear friends, if you are feeling lousy about yourself somehow, come to Jesus and let Him bring you to a new perspective of real value and worth of your life and that of others!