SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH
READ PSALM 91
Psalm 91 has a reputation for being the psalm that people turn to when they are in need of help or deliverance.
It’s known as the “9-1-1” or “emergency” psalm that you turn to when scared, in trouble, or in need of God’s help.
Let’s look at it in closer detail.
Psalm 91:1: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
What is the SECRET PLACE of the Most High?
A SECRET PLACE is somewhere you go to hide, where no one, including your enemies, can find you.
And this “secret place” happens to be the “secret place” of the Most High.
The place we go to for refuge, is GOD HIMSELF.
& The “SECRET PLACE” is also a picture of PRAYER IN SOLITUDE w/ God.
In Matthew 6:6, Jesus tells us to pray in SECRET to our FATHER: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
Without turning to God & seeking Him in the SECRET PLACE OF PRAYER …
… we cannot expect to get help or to be delivered, from our deepest & most trying circumstances.
Hebrews 4:16 also says: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
In Matthew 7:8 Jesus also said: “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
God wants us to lean on Him when we are in trouble or facing difficult situations.
When KING ASA went to battle, as described in 2 Chronicles 14, He didn’t only rely on his MIGHTY MEN OF WAR to win the battle, but he called upon the name of the Lord.
2 Chronicles 14:8-12:
8 And Asa had an army of men that bare targets and spears, out of Judah three hundred thousand; and out of Benjamin, that bare shields and drew bows, two hundred and fourscore thousand: all these were mighty men of valour. [total of 580,000 men].
9 And there came out against them Zerah the Ethiopian with an host of a thousand thousand, and three hundred chariots; and came unto Mareshah. [total of 1 million + 300 chariots].
[Asa’s men had bows and spears, Zerah’s men had horses pulling chariots].
10 Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.
11 And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee.
[It is NOTHING for God to help us, whether the problem we face is small or OF GREAT MAGNITUDE.
It makes no difference to God.
God is the God who created the universe, all matter, & space, & time OUT OF NOTHING.
So whether our problems are GREAT or SMALL, it literally makes no difference to God.
Continuing in VERSE 12, after ASA cried unto the Lord his God, the Bible reads: “So the LORD smote the Ethiopians before Asa, and before Judah; and the Ethiopians fled.”
Asa relied on God when he was outnumbered in both force & in strength, in both men & chariots.
ASA fled to the SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH & received deliverance.
But, later, just a few chapters later … (in the next battle) …
Instead of relying on God, ASA made a league with the King of Syria for his defense, & relied on the strength of men & sheer force to deliver him.
In 2 Chronicles 16:7-10 we read:
7 And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.
8 Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? yet, because thou didst rely on the LORD, he delivered them into thine hand.
9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.
10 Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.
Not only do we see a sharp contrast between ASA relying on men instead of on God this time, but also blaming God’s messenger for his own faults.
Psalm 20:7 says: “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”
Be sure your trust is in the Lord today, and not man.
Psalm 32:6-7 says:
6 For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
7 Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.
Another Psalm I love to turn to when I am in fear or troubled.
1 … God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
So the SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH should be our only hiding place.
It’s where we are to turn when we need help.
SO, YOU CHILDREN, for example, I want you to get into the habit of turning to God in prayer when you need help.
Don’t try to live this life on your own strength. You will fail.
God is the only one with the power to save us.
Get into the habit of turning to him for everything that you do.
& THE BIBLE SAYS that when we dwell in God’s Secret Place …
… that “WE WILL ABIDE UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE ALMIGHTY”.
That means that we are so close to God, that His shadow falls over us.
It is a metaphor of drawing close to God.
It’s also a metaphor for how small we are in light of God’s greatness.
When you stand next to a great tall tree, you rest under its shade, because you are underneath it and next to it.
It’s the same w/ God.
We draw close to him in proximity and He covers us with His infinite greatness.
Being under GOD’S SHADOW is a picture of GOD’S COVERING & PROTECTION.
& IT’S THE OPPOSITE of the SHADOW OF DEATH.
21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.
We will either abide under God’s shadow or the shadow of death.
That’s also a PICTURE OF OUR ETERNAL SALVATION.
Psalm 23:4 says: “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me.”
We are also under God’s shadow, when He covers us with His wings, as we see in Psalm 91:4: “He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust …”
Now, God does not have literal wings or feathers, otherwise, we would also have wings & feathers …
… because we are also made in God’s image.
The Psalmist is using metaphor to describe God’s ability to protect us.
This is a picture of a MOTHER BIRD in whose wings baby birds find safety.
Psalm 63:7 says: “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.”
When Boaz met Ruth, he blessed her with these words, in Ruth 2:12: “The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.”
Jesus referred to the same imagery in Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”
Yet they rejected Him.
He wanted to be the Psalm 91 God to them also.
When God covers us inside His wings, He is taking us to His Secret place, where we are safe from all harm.
Earlier in Psalm 91:3, the Bible says: “Surely, he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and the noisome pestilence.”
A FOWLER is someone who HUNTS & TRAPS BIRDS …
So this is a picture of GOD sheltering us under HIS wings, when the FOWLER is pursuing us or our ENEMY is laying in wait for us.
The imagery works together in the Bible.
Psalm 124:7 says: “Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.”
Psalm 91:3 also says that God will deliver us from the “noisome pestilence”.
PESTILENCEIS DEADLY DISEASE & SICKNESS which comes upon a person suddenly & unexpectedly.
But what is a “NOISOME” Pestilence?
At first, I’m thinking, how is pestilence noisome? Like as in “noisy”.
But that’s our modern vernacular getting in the way.
NOISOME actually means NOXIOUS, as in injurious, detrimental …
… and when associated with disease, it can mean FOUL, PUTRED & SMELLY.
THE SNARE OF THE FOWLER also symbolically represents the temptations of the devil which entrap us through sin.
& the NOISOME PESTILENCE represents sin & death …
… All of which God has promised to keep us safe from when we follow Him & obey.
Proverbs 4:20-22 says:
20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.
21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.
22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
Exodus 15:26 says: “And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.”
And in the New Testament, we are told that when we are sick to go to our elders and request their prayers.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
And why does the Bible says to call for the ELDERS?
Because the Elders are likely to be living a life pleasing to God, as elders & leaders of the church.
That’s the IDEA anyway.
James 5:16 says: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
I heard 1 pastor say that ONLY HE can anoint the sick with oil & that the members of his church don’t have the authority to do so.
But that kind of a pastor is undoubtedly on a POWER TRIP.
& you might ask if I believe that God miraculously heals the sick today.
And I say absolutely. Yes.
Otherwise, James 5 wouldn’t be in the Bible, it wouldn’t be in the NT.
But such healings can be extremely rare.
Ultimately, health and wellness emanates from God as we live according to His will & obey him.
Exodus 23:25 says: “And ye shall serve the LORD your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
Psalm 91:2 says: “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.”
A REFUGE is a PLACE OF SAFETY.
It’s a place where people go who have nowhere else left to go.
A FORTRESS is a fortified place or a strong hold.
It’s a place of defense against enemies.
So when we are in trouble, we run to the safety of GOD’S SHELTER, HIS REFUGE & HIS FORTRESS.
In Psalm 91:4, the Bible says that God’s truth is our SHIELD & BUCKLER.
These are all defensive terms, from a fortress to a shield & buckler.
A Buckler is also a type of shield, so these are used interchangeably as a defense against blows & attacks from an enemy.
SO GOD IS OUR DEFENSE.
Psalm 18:2-3 also says:
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
All of this depends on us calling on the Lord for deliverance.
The best prayers are, at times, the simplest prayers, which pour forth from PURE HEARTS.
Sometimes, JUST A CRY FOR HELP, is the strongest, most effective you can pray.
9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
10 And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
Psalm 37:5 says: “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.”
Psalm 107:19-20 says:
19 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.
20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
When David fled & was delivered from the hands of Saul, he didn’t boast in his own skill in battle, or in the skill of his men.
His boast was in God.
2 Samuel 22:2-7:
2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
5 When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
This is a recurring theme throughout Scripture and especially the Psalms.
2 Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me.
3 For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
Psalm 71:3 says: “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”
In Jeremiah 16:19, the prophet Jeremiah says: “O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction …”
Psalm 59:16 says: “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.”
Proverbs 14:26: “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.”
The Bible repeatedly paints a picture for us, of us as refugees, with nowhere else to turn, but to God …
Psalm 91:5 says that we shall not be afraid of the TERROR BY NIGHT.
God’s protection extends to both daytime & nighttime.
God has created the night for rest & for sleep, but most crimes also happen at night, from robberies, to break-ins, to murders …
… to the sinner living wantonly under the cover of darkness.
IN TIME OF BATTLE, there would also sometimes be SIEGES while soldiers slept.
But for the Godly, the night is a blessed time of peace, rest, & rejuvenation.
24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
25 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh.
26 For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
CONTINUING IN PSALM 91:7-8:
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
This verse reminds me of all the terror & all the evil that has befallen America.
We see so much evil with our eyes.
God commands His Word to keep us safe, while allowing evil to befall the wicked in front of our eyes.
IT’S A PICTURE of God’s JUSTICE & JUDGMENT for the sinner …
… and MERCY & GRACE for the saved.
Especially in today’s age, when many of us are concerned about the downfall of our nation …
… and the rise of the New World Order …
… what a comfort to know that even in the midst of tragedy, God will place a hedge of protection around us & protect us.
CONTINUING IN PSALM 91:9-12:
9 Because thou hast made the LORD, [which is] my refuge, [even] the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
Last week, I preached on how we are STRANGERS & PILGRIMS passing through in this land …
… a people without a home, pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus …
BUT TO MAKE GOD OUR HABITATION is to MAKE GOD OUR HOME.
We see over & over in the Bible that no harm will befall the righteous, when they make God their their HABITATION:
Proverbs 12:21: “There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.”
1 Peter 3:12-13 also says:
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
Psalm 121:7: “The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.”
Proverbs 1:33: “But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.”
Proverbs 19:23: “The fear of the LORD tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.”
CONTINUING IN PSALM 91:11-12:
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in [their] hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
First and foremost, this is prophetic of Jesus.
When Jesus was tempted of the devil in the wilderness, Satan quoted Psalm 91.
We see this in Luke 4:9-12:
9 And he [Satan] brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
Jesus answered back with Scripture and the devil left him.
IN ADDITION TO PROPHETIC FULFILLMENT …
I also firmly believe that God does commission His angels to watch over & protect His people at strategic times & moments.
Psalm 34:7 says: “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
Angels fought alongside Israel against Syria.
The Bible says directly in the New Testament, in the Book of Hebrews Chapter 1:14: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”
When Elisha’s servant feared for the outcome of battle, the Bible says in 2 Kings 6:16-17:
16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
There is even Biblical evidence that God STATIONS ANGELS AROUND CHILDREN.
As magnificent as it may seem, there is Biblical evidence for it.
Jesus Himself said in Matthew 18:10: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.”
So, we thank God even for His supernatural protection!
CONTINUING IN PSALM 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”
Several passages come to mind.
Before David slew Goliath, he said to Saul in 1 Samuel 17:34-35:
34 … Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know any young man who can kill a lion & a bear with his bare hands.
David didn’t do this by might alone, but by faith in the strength of his God.
WHEN JESUS SENT OUT THE SEVENTY to preach the Gospel, He said similar words to them, perhaps alluding to Psalm 91.
In the previous verse Jesus had just mentioned Satan falling as lightening from heaven.
And in Luke 10:19, He says: “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
And in v. 20 we see that this was ultimately a reference to Satan & his demons: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
Psalm 91:13, again, says: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder …”
And adder is a venomous serpent.
Treading upon a venomous serpent, contains a striking resemblance to Jesus treading upon the head of the serpent.
This refers back to Genesis 3:15, which from the very beginning, contains the seed of the Gospel: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Ultimately, God has entrusted us w/ power & authority over the Satanic realm, in the name of His Son.
This is why we also see the word, “DRAGON” mentioned in Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”
THE DRAGON, being a reference to Satan.
I ALSO DO BELIEVE, HOWEVER, that the “DRAGON” mentioned in this verse was also a literal creature.
There’s no reason to believe otherwise, since the same verse mentions other literal beasts, like the LION & the ADDER.
It is very likely that the DRAGON mentioned throughout the Bible 34 times, is what we would today think of as a DINOSAUR.
At the very least, it would have been some kind of REPTILIAN CREATURE.
The first time a DRAGON appears in the Bible is in Deuteronomy 32:33: “Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.”
And so we see it is associated with an asp, a venomous snake, and a reptile.
& these DINOSAURS or DRAGONS or MYSTERIOUS REPTILIAN BEASTS were not around millions of years ago as science-falsely-so-called would have us believe …
… but thousands of years ago, in the time that Psalm 91 & the BOOK OF THE LAW was written.
CONTINUING IN PSALM 91:14: “Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.”
And that name is Jesus.
Philippians 2:10-11 says:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
PSALM 91 is ultimately about KNOWING JESUS & making Him your refuge.
Acts 4:12 says: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
PSALM 91 is the 911 psalm for believers, and believers only.
It’s exclusive, & we have access to God through faith alone in Jesus Christ.
CONCLUDING PSALM 91, vs. 15-16 says:
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
THE BIBLE PROMISES that EVEN IN DEATH, we are NOT separated from Him.
Romans 8:38-39, you are all very familiar with this passage:
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
& There are so many verses on God’s desire & ability to protect His people, that we don’t even have time to cover.
There’s Isaiah 41:10: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
There’s Psalm 5:12: “For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”
There’s Psalm 34:15, 17:
15 The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
17 The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
PSALM 91 is ultimately about placing ourselves under the care of God’s divine Providence.
PSALM 91 teaches us that …
Those who live a life of committed to close communion with God …
… will receive His constant care, protection, & blessing.
Are there exceptions to the rule? Yes.
God sometimes has reasons for what He allows, and so we must trust His sovereignty.
CASE-IN-POINT: Christians are sometimes martyred for the faith …
But this is for the greater glory of God & a great glory for the Christian.
… I don’t often quote the works of others, but this is particularly edifying.
So I’d like to close w/ the words of Matthew Henry, a theologian & minister, who wrote just over 300 years ago, about Psalm 91: “The psalmist assures believers of divine protection, from his own experience; and that which he says is the Word of God, and what we may rely upon. Observe, 1. The character of those who shall have the benefit and comfort of these promises; … They are such as make the Most High their habitation, as are continually with God and rest in him, as make his name both their temple and their strong tower, as dwell in love and so dwell in God. It is our duty to be at home in God, to make our choice of him, and then to live our life in him as our habitation, to converse with him, and delight in him, and depend upon him; and then it shall be our privilege to be at home in God; we shall be welcome to him as a man to his own habitation …”