If you read about someone who stays in the shadows, that usually means something negative. Psalm 91 uses similar words in the second half of verse 1, but they’re used in an entirely different way! Let’s work our way through the rest of Psalm 91:1.
If you missed the first half of verse 1, it’s here.
So the verse goes on to tell us a little more about this person who has chosen to dwell in the Highest One’s shelter.
I think it’s significant here that the word choice is “will abide” rather than “abides” or “used to abide.” The word “will” indicates that the “abiding” follows the “dwelling” part from the first half.
What does the word “abide” mean? I looked at the meaning of the Hebrew word, and it is usually translated in a negative way! It has an aspect of stubbornness to it. Of someone who is stubbornly refusing to move.
But in this case, that stubbornness is good! When we choose to dwell in the shelter of God, we’ve only made a start. We’re going to be tempted to leave that shelter. When the storm eases and life seems easier again, we’ll be tempted to venture out of that shelter… where we can be caught unprotected and unaware.
Or maybe life continues to be tough, and somehow, something is tempting us to think another shelter is going to somehow work better. After all, our Enemy can easily offer an alternate shelter and promise to lay off the attack if we go there. Or maybe we’re even being tempted to join the opposition!
That’s why this next phrase is talking about stubbornness. We’ve got to stubbornly choose to stay there! Stay in His shelter!
In the shadow…
When I got to this part of the verse, the Holy Spirit reminded me of something I used to do when I was little. My grandfather was tall, and I didn’t like the heat of the sun in the summertime, so I used to try to stay in his shadow as we walked. It wasn’t easy, but to me, that little bit of shade — shelter — provided by his shadow was well worth the effort of trying to stay in it. And it took effort! I had to carefully watch what he was doing and where he was going in order to stay in his shadow!
So this person we’re talking about is not only stubbornly staying in His shelter, this person is also stubbornly staying in His shadow! Close to Him. Focused on Him so as not to accidentally wind up outside that shadow.
Of the Almighty.
The second half of the verse chooses a different name for God. The first refers to His position, but this one refers to His power.
He has ALL power. There’s nothing He cannot do!
How amazing is it that the One whose shelter we can stay in– the Highest One whose shadow we can live in– has all of the power?!
Now to Him who is Able to do exceedingly above all we can ask or think- Eph. 3:20