Where To Run For Refuge

Learning To Dwell In The Lord

“How lovely is your dwelling place.” Psalm 84:1

Do you long for a place to dwell? A place to rest where you can feel safe? What does a dwelling place with the Lord look like? David talks about God being our dwelling place in a few of his psalms. Let’s explore some of them in Psalm 91. 

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (v.1).

God is our dwelling place. David says we can take refuge in the shelter of the Most High. And not only does God become our dwelling place, but according to Romans 8:11, God also dwells within us. As believers we can run to him and rest knowing he lives in us. Lastly, this verse promises us that his shadow will cover us. Hiding in the shadows is a way to find protection.

“I will say to the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust’” (v.2). 

God is our fortress—a fortress where we can feel safe and protected from our enemies. A fortress in David’s time typically had walls that were at least fifteen feet thick. When we are feeling pressed on every side, when yet one more thing comes against us, we have this promise that God will encompass us with his presence. And in his presence there is peace. 

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge” (v.4).

David switches tone and instead of describing God’s love as something strong and impenetrable as a fortress wall, he likens it to that of a mother bird. The imagery he uses shows a bird, presumably with its feathers and wings all fluffed out and her little ones nestled inside, safe and warm. Use this image to lean into God. Let his love surround you. Wrap yourself in his feathers of healing, warmth, and love. 

“His faithfulness is a shield and buckler” (v.4 ESV)

The Lord is our shield. David circles back to show us God’s strength in his protection over us. Most shields protect only one side, but God’s protection is all-encompassing, similar to the turtle formation used by Roman soldiers in ancient days. This military strategy involved a line of troops crowded together with their shields tightly aligned to cover their sides and heads. They were fully enclosed and fully protected from outside enemy forces.

When we find ourselves worn out and exhausted, whether from striving too hard or simply from life’s events, we can find a place to hide away and be still. Whatever you fear, know you are surrounded by God’s shield of protection.

David ends this psalm with words of encouragement from the Lord. Echoing Isaiah 41:17, he states: 

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

This is a beautiful psalm that reminds us how lovely his dwelling place truly is. When life is hard, remember he is all we need.

Carol Graft is passionate about teaching about Jesus and the Bible and is a consumer of books, tea, and coffee. @carolgraft

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version of the Bible. Verse labeled ESV is from the English Standard Version.

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