“Shelter in place” This term has suddenly become a new reality and new normal for many of us. Granted we’ve all “sheltered in place” for a short time due to natural disaster, but the idea of sheltering in place for an unknown length of time because of disease seems to spark panic, fear, anxiety, and instability.
The questions of a shelter in place plan usually are, where are you sheltering and who are you sheltering with? Most of us would say, “Well, I’m sheltering in my home with my family.” But, Moses in Psalms 91 gives us a glimpse of a shelter in place plan far more protective than the shelter of our home and a shelter partner far more intimate than our family members. It’s almost like when God inspired Moses to write these verses in 1300 BC+-, He knew that in March of 2020 AD the people of this globe, forced to shelter in place with a disease surrounding us, would need this message. In fact the term pestilence/plague/disease is found 4 times in this short Psalm: (vs 3, 6 and 10 – in the NKJV disaster is translated “plague”)
Psalm 91NIV version (the bold is my addition)
1 He who dwells in the SHELTER of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–
10 then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
God lays out His “shelter in place” plan through these short verses. First He defines shelter for us. In verse 1 we see that our true shelter is owned by the Most High. He dwells there with us, in fact, His shadow penetrates the place and in that shadow we find rest. And more than being owned by the Most High, our shelter actually IS the Most High. Verse 2 tells us that He, Himself, is our refuge, a place of security and safety to run to and hide. Our shelter cannot simply be in a physical place, but must be in the person of an immutable, all powerful, Sovereign God. His presence alone brings trust and rest.
In verses 3-6 He begins to flesh out these shelter truths reminding us that day or night, pestilence or plague, there is no need for fear, that He has us covered. “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge;” If it wasn’t enough to be in His shadow, we find out here we are also under His wings. This is a picture of not only protection but also of intimacy as we are pressed in close to His heart.
But, He doesn’t stop there, on top of being in His shadow, and under His wings, the tail end of verse 4 reminds us of another added layer of His sheltered protection: “His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” We are also surrounded by His faithfulness; it is our shield and rampart protecting all around us.
Finally, His protection is further drawn out in the last 9 verses of the Psalm culminating in a list of promises shoring up His “shelter in place” plan:
-I will deliver him
-I will answer him
-I will be with him in trouble
-I will deliver him and honor him
-I will satisfy him
-I will show him My salvation
We are literally sheltered on every side; in His shadow, under His wings, surrounded by his faithfulness and shored up with His incredible list of promises this is sheltering at a whole new level.
These verses have brought me tremendous hope and peace in a time of uncertainty and fear. But, they are not alone in God’s Word. There are many others such as:
>Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge (shelter) and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
>Psalms 61:3 “For you have been a shelter for me, a Strong tower from the enemy, I will abide in Your tabernacle forever, I will trust in the shelter of Your Wings.”
>Psalms 119:14 “You are my hiding place (shelter) and my shield; I hope in Your word.”
So, next time you hear the term “Shelter in place” may it bring to mind these incredible verses and the reality of God’s perfect Shelter in Place Plan for those who know Him.