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"He who dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." — Ps 91:1
What is "the secret place of the most High?" It is the same spot, of which Asaph speaks in the seventy-third Psalm—"Until I went into the sanctuary of God, then understood I their end." It is the spot, of which the Lord speaks in Ezekiel—"I will be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come." Then this "secret place" is the secret bosom of God. It is an entrance by faith into Jehovah, by a spiritual manifestation of him, leading us into a spiritual acquaintance with him. "The secret place of the most High" is that solemn spot, where Jehovah meets with the sinner in Christ, and where he opens up to him the riches of his mercy, and leads him into his bosom, so as to read the secrets of his loving heart.
It is called a "secret" place, as only known to the those to whom it is especially communicated. It is called a "secret" place, because none can get into it—no, nor desire to get into it—except the Lord himself, with his own mysterious hand, opens up to them a part in it, sets them down in it, and sweetly blesses them in it. Then to be in "the secret place of the most High" is to be brought into something like fellowship and acquaintance with God—something like communion, spiritual worship, divine communion; so as to know something of him experimentally, and "run into" him, as "a strong tower," and there feel solemn safety.
"A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you." Ps 91:7
When Noah was shut up in the ark, Noah and the favored few, you know how they were tossed about, the rains coming down from heaven, the waters rushing and dashing below. The windows of heaven were opened and the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and while they were thus dashed upon the waters, not a drop came in unto those who were within. "It shall not come near you." So you see the believer may be surrounded with troubles, and yet "it shall not come near him."
And there is something more in the expression used in reference to the making of the ark—"And shall pitch it within and without with pitch" (Ge 6:14). Now, it is a most remarkable fact that the word pitch in Hebrew signifies also atonement. Now see, the pitch with which the ark was daubed within and without kept every drop of water out. This very expression for pitch in the Hebrew signifies also atonement; and is it not the atonement that keeps out the water? Can anything but the atonement keep the soul from the waters of God’s wrath and from the floods of vengeance that shall sweep away the world with the ungodly? There is nothing but the atonement, and that bears up the soul, and keeps out every drop of rain. "It shall not come near you."
"Many sorrows shall be to the wicked, but he that trusts in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about." "And not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." "Received the atonement." This is it, to have the "atonement." God cannot twice exact payment for the debt. He is satisfied; he has declared that he is well pleased with the righteousness of his beloved Son. He exacts no more; his justice demands no more, and, therefore, fury is not in him.
"I will set him on high, because he has known my name." Ps 91:14
A man must know the Lord’s name before ever he can feel any real love to him. Now this is needful, this is what the Lord does for his people, he causes them to know his name. "They shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest" (Jer 31:34). "They shall all;" they shall. The Lord has declared it. They shall know me. Now what is the name of the Lord? When God revealed himself unto Moses, did he not say, "I AM THAT I AM?" This was the way God taught Moses his name, and we may gather from it that whatever God is, that is his name. God is holy, God is just, God is merciful, God is a God of love. Now the sinner must know this. He must know that God is a pure and holy God, and at first when he is beginning to learn this lesson, he is completely astonished and appalled by it. It causes him to shrink away and hide himself from God. "How can I appear before God, who is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity?" he cries. And so you see it brings distress into his conscience.
It is the first work of the Spirit to "convince of sin," and a sense of God’s holiness is that which brings us this conviction—our sin and God’s purity. How can the sinner appear before and approach to God? And while he is under the terrors of the law, he is full of distress, and at times, perhaps, wishes he had never been born, and at other times he is tempted with hard thoughts of God, reaping where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not strawed. This is how God is seen in his perverted mind. The devil is at him, and tries all he can to harden his heart against the Almighty. But the terrors of the Almighty have taken hold of him, and he tries many ways to get these arrows extracted; but all his tugging and pulling only make the wound worse. And so he goes on until he is brought to see that God is a God of mercy—and this is revealed to him in and through the Lord Jesus. This is what clears up the mystery—when he sees Christ bleeding on the cross. Here he sees God is both a just God and a Savior. God is pure and holy, and exacts to the utmost farthing all the enormous debt he owes, and yet to the bleeding, broken heart, he, through Christ, can and does manifest his mercy.
"With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation." Ps 91:16
It is not in the number of our years that we shall find preparedness for death. It is not the longer a man lives the more will he be satisfied. No such thing. Then what can the promise mean? Why, that God will satisfy his people with their length of life, whether long or short. God takes his children home at all ages, and he always satisfies them. He always brings them to see and feel that this life is empty and vain, and that it is better, far better, to live in his presence. You may be harassed by the thoughts of death, and be in bondage through the fears of death; and you may be saying, "How will it be with me then?" I will tell you.
If you are a child of God, I firmly believe you will not be removed unwillingly and reluctantly, but you will be willing in the day of the Lord’s power. You will be willing to breathe out your soul into his dear hands, to whom you will commend your spirit; you will be willing to be with Christ, which is far better. You may not now be willing. If you pluck at an unripe apple, it resists the touch, but let it be fully ripe, how little, how slight a touch will cause it to drop from the tree. You shall be gathered as a shock of corn in its season. Why, a farmer will not gather in his grain until it is fully ripe; and do you think the Lord will gather his grain into his heavenly garner and it be in an unfit and unripe state? We cannot think it. Be that thought far from us, as it is far from the Lord.
"With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation." Ah! the soul will never see it unless the Lord shows it him; but the Lord will show it him. He says he will. "I will show him my salvation." What can he want more? All that he may want, all that he may need in his journey through this wilderness is there. Is there not a sufficiency? Is there not that which he feels is enough? If these promises be mine, be yours, and if they be fulfilled to you and to me, what more can we possibly want?
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Philpot, Joseph Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 91". Philpot's Commentary on select texts of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
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