“Whoever lives under the shelterof the Most High
will remain in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord,
“You are my refugeand my fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”
Shelter…..shadow…..refuge….fortress…..all words that were extremely important needs in the life of David, the Shepherd-King. He knew what it was like to spend long stretches of time out in the arid, wide-open, unprotected lands, leading his father’s sheep to find good pasture. He lived the long, lonely days of moving sheep toward better feeding grounds, followed by long, lonely nights of creating enough of a safe place for the skittish sheep to be able to rest.
David was very familiar with living out in the open, without a house or any other structure that would provide safety for himself or his sheep. No roof, no walls, no door… no sense of safety. Windstorms blew, driving the stinging sands into eyes and skin, and scaring the sheep which scattered in fear. Shelterprovides a safe place within its boundaries. In this dangerous world, He is our immediate Shelter.
Shadows provide relief from the sun. In a dry land there are not many trees, and any shade is a treasure, breaking the intense heat of the sun. We all know the great relief we experience when, standing in the sun “cooking”, we step into a shadow. There is immediate relief in that moment’s shadow.
Shepherd David clarifies that the Holy Shelteris the place we must live…not simply visit or jump in and out of. It is safe there…immediately. Evil cannot touch us there. And withinthat Shelter is the Shadow of God Himself. It isn’t a “place.” It is an experiential reality of God’s Presence coming between me and the “heat” that could eventually be my doom. His “Shadow” doesn’t come to me. I must choose to step into that Shelter of His, and to then experience His Shadow where I find immediate relief, rest, and the clear evidence of His own Presence wrapping itself around me.
Experiencing His Shadow and Shelter, who could help but clearly acknowledge that He is my Refuge….my safe place from all that intends to destroy me. And more than refuge,(an immediate, temporary safe place in times of crisis,) . . . He is my Fortress! Strong! Impenetrable! Lasting through the ages. My Fortressis fully armed, prepared and intent to do battle for me. And while the battle rages, I am protected and safe within my Mighty Fortress.