Spirit of Grace Ministries
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The Secret Place

By Dennis Pollock


In this brief study, I want to look at a few verses from one of the classic Psalms, a Psalm known and loved by nearly every Christian. No, I'm not talking about the 23rd Psalm, although that is no doubt the most beloved Psalm, but today I want to look at Psalm 91, which is often known as the "Protection Psalm." This Psalm is all about God's protection.


Why do Christians love this Psalm so much? The answer is simple – we are all faced with dangerous situations in our lives, seasons where our family, our health, our finances, or even our lives are at risk. On the surface, things don't look especially promising, and we are keenly aware that we desperately need God's grace, God's protection, and divine intervention in our lives. And this Psalm 91 promises exactly that, for a certain group of people. At one point in my life, I could quote this entire psalm and pray it nearly every day over my family.


There is no deviation, no rambling, and no straying from the main point in this Psalm. The writer starts out talking about God being the refuge of His people, and never departs from that theme. Let's look at a few of the verses. In the first verse, we read:


He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalms 91:1).


Dwelling and Abiding


Two key words are used here at the beginning of this psalm: the word dwell and the word abide. Both words mean nearly the same thing. To dwell is to live; to abide is to remain. So if you dwell somewhere and abide there, you make that place your home and you stay there, year in and year out. In this case, the man or woman who dwells and abides in God's "secret place" is going to live and remain under His shadow.


On a bright, sunny day, we will have a shadow that follows us everywhere we go. It never strays and is never far away. We never see our shadow detached from us, twenty or thirty feet away. It is always permanently attached to us, and everywhere we go, our shadow follows. Run as fast as we like or as far as we can, we can never remove our shadow from us, not even a single inch. Our shadow is permanently joined to us.


The psalmist is declaring that this closeness represents the way we must be toward God. We must determine to live in His shadow, in a place of closeness, proximity, and intimacy with our Creator, that nothing can separate us. He calls this position "the secret place of the Most High," and spends the rest of the psalm declaring just how wonderful, how safe, and how blessed it is to live here.


The Secret Place


Interestingly, this place of safety is called a "secret place." It is a place not many people are aware of, a place that is unknown and unsought by most of the people of the world. You must have divine insight to know this wonderful secret place, and if it is revealed to you, you are greatly blessed.


In verse 2 we read:


I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress;

My God, in Him I will trust." (Psalm 91:2).


In verse one he talks about any generic man or woman who lives in this wonderful place, but now he declares that he, himself is one of those dwellers, calling God his refuge and fortress, and announcing his resolve to trust in Him. "Trust" is the Old Testament version of faith. What was trust to the Old Testament believers in God is now called "faith" or "belief" in the New Testament, and we are urged to believe in God and Christ. Jesus told His disciples, "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me," (John 14:1), which could just as easily be translated: "Trust in God; trust also in Me."


Divine Benefits


The Biblical inference by Jesus and throughout the Scriptures is crystal clear: there are amazing benefits to those who put their trust in the LORD. Or to say it another way: when we put our trust in the LORD, God does things for us, protects us, defends us, and provides for us in ways that go far beyond what He would do if we had not trusted and believed in Him.


In verse 2, two words are almost synonyms of each other: refuge and fortress. Both speak of a place of safety where no evil person or calamity can get to you. You are secured behind high, impregnable, unassailable walls, and once you can get through the gates into that fortress, you know that all is well. You are safe and you will be safe just as long as you remain in the fortress.


In Israel, there were two types of cities, walled cities, and unwalled cities. You can guess which type was safer. If you lived in a walled city, no man or band of men could break through to kill or imprison you. As long as those walls held strong and there were skilled soldiers, bowmen, and spearmen standing around the top of them, it would take a major invasion to bring harm to the inhabitants of the city. And the psalmist is painting a picture of a fortress built by God with walls so high, so strong, and so wide that no army in the world could ever penetrate them. In other words, if you can just figure out exactly where this safe, secure, secret place is, and make it your home, you will enjoy protection for as long as you stay there.


He is our Secret Place


Of course, this secret place is not really a city or a geographical place; it is God Himself and His Son Jesus Christ. No evil man, no massive army, and no number of demons can penetrate God, and therefore when we make God our refuge and our fortress, we are eternally and everlastingly safe. In Proverbs, we read: "The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe." (Proverbs 18:9).


The ancient Israelites faced enemies that carried bows and arrows, spears, and swords. Today we normally face other enemies, like depression, financial ruin, terrible sicknesses that threaten our lives, serious marital problems, and children who are living rebellious, immoral lifestyles. But whatever form our enemy takes, our precarious positions call for a safe, secret place, a fortress with high, strong walls that can be a defense and a refuge for us.


Through the New Testament Scriptures, we have come to realize that our protection is not merely faith in God the Father, but also in His Son Jesus Christ. God has made Jesus our "secret place of the Most High." Just as the psalmist speaks of abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, so Jesus exhorts us to abide in Him and declares that if we do, our prayers will be answered and we will bear much fruit. In John 15 we read:


If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:7-8).


Dangerous World, Dangerous Life


We live in a world that is filled with danger. But the greatest danger people face is to live out their lives unreconciled to God. Men and women rise in the morning, do their work, go out with their friends, and go home in the evening, all the while living with the wrath of God resting upon them. They have no idea how much danger they are in. Their sins, their lies, their selfishness, and their sexual immorality have separated them from a holy God and if nothing changes they will die in a Christless, hopeless, spiritually dangerous condition, and face God's judgment seat to receive the penalty for their sinful, selfish, immoral lives.


But when any man or woman runs to Jesus, the gates to that Fortress open wide for them and then shut behind them once they are inside. They are now safe, they are now secure, and they now live in a forgiven, justified state brimming with the hope of eternal life. All is well for those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High and abide under the shadow of the Almighty – those who abide in Jesus Christ.




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