CONFESSION: GOD’S PROTECTION
91:1 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Verse 1 answers the question, “To whom does this psalm apply?” The promise of victory, which is its theme, is for the person who “dwells in the secret place of the Most High” (see Gen. 14:19–20 for this name of God). It is for no one else. The verb to dwell means “to remain, stay, tarry, endure, have one’s abode.” It suggests continuance and permanence.
p 158 Jesus identifies His disciples as those who “abide” or “dwell” in Him through eating His flesh and drinking His blood (John 6:56). They also dwell in His Word (John 8:31). Above all else, they dwell in Him as branches dwell or abide in the vine (John 15:7–8). This abiding life, to live and remain in Jesus, is the New Testament counterpart to “dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.” But what is that “secret place?” It is a “covering,” a “hiding-place,” a “shelter.” It can refer to the temple (Ps. 27:5), but only because God’s presence is there (Ps. 31:20).
This secret place is the intimacy of God’s presence; it is our secure communion with Him. By dwelling or living in the surrender of un ceasing worship and prayer (see 1 Thess. 5:16–17), we are like Moses, who was put in the cleft of the rock and covered with God’s hand while His glory passed by (Ex. 33:22).
God’s presence in verse 1 leads to His protection. The person who dwells in the secret place “shall abide [“lodge”) under the shadow of the Almighty.” The metaphor is that of a mother hen who gathers her chicks under her feathers. David prays, “Hide me under the shadow of Your wings, from the wicked who oppress me” (Ps. 17:8–9).
In response to God’s promise in verse 1, the psalmist now gives his confession in verse 2. He will say to Yahweh, “He is my refuge and my fortress,” or, better, in direct address: “God, my refuge and my fortress.” The imagery here is military; God is his defensive position against all enemies. Moreover, He is personal, My God. The psalmist concludes, “in Him I will trust” (“feel secure, be unconcerned”).
The theme of this psalm is now clearly established; God will give complete security and victory to the person who dwells in Him and puts his trust in Him. Intimacy and faith will bear this fruit in our lives.
The blessings here promised are not for all believers, but for those who live in close fellowship with God. Every child of God looks towards the inner sanctuary and the mercy-seat, yet all do not dwell in the most holy place; they run to it at times, and enjoy occasional appraoches, but they do not habitually reside in the mysterious presence.