We previously looked at Psalm 91:1 - He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. We noted that the doctrine which the verse teaches us is that all who entrust themselves into God’s hands can remain secure under His protection in the midst of all dangers.
I now want to unpack that idea a bit. We will do so by asking – and answering – three questions. They are:
• What it is to trust ourselves into God’s hands?
• How does this passage express and recommend this to us?
• How necessary a duty is this for Christians?
1. What does it mean to trust ourselves to God? Scripture commonly expresses this idea by the use of two words: (A) consecrating (B) committing.
A. Consecrating is devoting or giving ourselves up to His will. We see this idea in passages such as, “Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God.” (Rom. 12:1) Also, “Present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Rom. 6:13) Included in this is the idea of humble resignation to God’s sovereignty. “Here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.” 2 Sam. 15:26
B. Committing is entrusting all to Him and His care. The Psalms exhort us to this when they say, “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:5) The Apostles both exhort us to this and model it for us. Paul tells Timothy, “I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him” (2 Tim. 1:12) Peter reminds us, “Therefore, let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1 Peter 4:19)
The Puritan preacher, Thomas Manton wrote, “This is when the soul rests quietly in God by faith, as a man doth in his habitation, and we can go on cheerfully in the duties of our general or particular calling, knowing that while we are in God’s hands we are in safe hands, come what will come. We are not troubled about any event, but entirely commit it to God.”
Our trust is neither blind faith nor wishful thinking. It is grounded upon the two surest things there are, which are indeed one: God’s nature and God’s covenant. God is faithful is His very nature. He would never back out of anything that He has promised to do. But beyond that, God has made a covenant of grace with the elect. This covenant is made in Christ and rests upon the covenant of redemption made between the Father and the Son from all eternity. For God to not be trustworthy, He would have to not only betray us, but He would also have to betray Himself.
2. How it is expressed and recommended to us in this passage? The passage shows us
(a) The person that trusts
(b) The act of trust itself; and,
(c) The encouragement to trust
(a) The person that trusts is, “He that dwelleth.” Who is this? It is anyone who dwells. The invitation is open to all.
(b) The act of trust is expressed in the words, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High.” This person is one who dwells with God. It is foolish for an unregenerate person to say that he is trusting God. It is equally wrong for us to encourage an unbeliever to “trust God” in the difficulties of his or her life. The promise of Romans 8:28 applies with legitimacy only to those who are “called according to His purpose.” The invitation to entrust ourselves to God is open to everyone, but only the called find refuge in Him.
(c) The encouragements this passage gives us to entrust ourselves to God are three:
First of all, there are the titles given to God. He is called the Most High. This ensures us that all the enemies of the saints, be they ever so high are under God’s sovereign providence. No one is higher than God. When I trust Him, I am trusting in the Most High. God is then called the Almighty. This reminds us that His power extends to all situations. Nothing is outside the scope of His power. Even the most difficult situations we may ever face are being overruled by His sovereign hand. Romans 8:28 says that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who are called according to God’s purpose. Note well the words, “all things.”
Secondly, we are informed of the manner in which this help appears. It is called, “The secret of the Most High.” This is that special favor of God that the world does not know. It is further referred to as, “The shadow of the Almighty.” This suggests ideas such as protection, shade, refreshing – ideas which rise to the foreground later in the Psalm (v. 4).
Thirdly, we are told that it is given as a promise. It is permission to dwell in God. His throne of grace is always open to a penitent believer. “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37) Moreover, it is an assurance to us of safety. A child of God is not numb to or exempt from cares and troubles. But because he trusts God he can resign himself to God and rest satisfied in God’s providence however harsh it may seem.
3. How necessary a duty this is for all Christians.
Entrusting ourselves wholly to God is such a vital part of our Christian duty. If for no other reason than that we acknowledge God’s nature when we do. We only truly honor Him when we trust Him entirely. Beyond that though, our life of faith is enlivened when we trust God. Unless we trust God our soul will never be faithful to Him. When we seek His protection we will strive more to please Him. This is not servile fear; it is a simple fact. We will not have the confidence to seek God’s protection when we know that He has reason to be displeased with us. In addition to all this, trust quiets our hearts and minds. Scripture says, “Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.” (Prov. 16:3) The Apostle Paul admonishes us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 4:6, 7
Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will derive some practical application from this passage to drive home the doctrinal truth we have looked at over the last two posts.