Shadow Of The Almighty

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1-2(NLT)

I am starting a new series on Psalm 91. This psalm is used for protection. Whenever you are in need of protection, read this psalm. It offers you the assurance that God is always on your side. However, you must never read it like the theologians. Theologians love nothing more than to pervert the Word of God. Whatever God had promised, they will inevitable point out some negative examples to show God to be a liar. Are they right?

The truth is, there are Christians out there who have failed to live happy, prosperous, healthy and successful lives. There can be many reasons for this to happen. As far as I am concern, I am not going to follow their examples. I look to God, not men, especially not theologians for my future. Therefore, as you read this psalm, do not allow negative thoughts or doubts like: How about so-and-so who believed and died? I don’t know about the so-and-so. All I know is my God is not a theologian. He does not lie. He will fulfill his promises.

Let us start. Verse 1 gives us the assurance of rest.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Let us look deeper into the terms. If we live in the shelter of the Most High, we will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Obviously, living in the shelter of the Most High is the condition that we must fulfill and finding rest in the shadow of the Almighty is the result of fulfilling this condition.

I shall start from the result. I have always believed in deciding in what I want to reap before I start sowing. So, let us find out what is the meaning of finding rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Is it good or bad? If it is good, then we shall proceed to live in the shelter of the Most High. Otherwise, we will not do it. I hope you will understand that God give us brains for us to use. We are to use our brains as we use the Bible.

When God speaks of rest, it means inner rest. It refers to the peace from the inside. You can be very busy on the outside and have peace from within. This peace will keep you from being agitated and do dumb things, which you will regret later. Many people suffered from burnt-out and stress due to the absence of inner peace.

Here is the truth. It is not the external work that causes stress. If external work is the cause, then everyone who do the same work will have the same amount of stress. The truth says otherwise. You can have many people doing the same work. Yet some are stressed and some are not. Why is that so? The answer lies in the varying degrees of inner peace in them.

If you still refuse to believe me, try this experiment. Go to work one day. Do not do anything other than thinking on how bad it is if you fail in doing your job. Focus on the worst case scenario.
1. You company goes bankrupt.
2. You cannot find similar jobs because you have been blacklisted.
3. All your friends and family members left you.
4. You end up begging at the streets.

You will be very stressed without even lifting a finger to do any real work. So, stress is nothing more than negative thoughts. If you want to live a stress-free life, you need inner peace. Inner peace can be found in the shadow of the Almighty.

What is “shadow”? When I was in the primary school in Malaysia, we have morning or evening assembly. Basically it was about all of us students assembled in an open field singing national anthem listening to some speeches. We were exposed to the glaring rays from the sun. Some smarter kids will choose to stand beside the tall ones to get protection in their shadows. They were using the shadows to shield them from the sun. As a result they were not as warm as the rest of us.

God provides us with his shadow where we can find relief from our trials and tribulations. When we rest in his shadow, we have perfect peace. The external world may be in chaos but we will still have peace within us. We will not allow the bad situation of the world to get into us because we believe he who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. Is this relevant today?

Currently, we are in an unprecedented financial crisis. Banks are facing huge financial problems and need to be bailed out by their respective governments. If these banks are from Third World Countries, I am sure all of us can understand. After all, they are not First World like the almighty West. However, these banks are not from there. They are from the great and mighty Western nations like the United States and Europe. How did they get themselves into such mess? The answer is greed. No matter how good the system is or how stable an institution appears to be, greed can destroy it all. Looks like there is not much difference between the people from Third World and the First World. There are the good and the bad.

This incident has resulted in many casualties. Many people have lost their life savings due to somebody else’s greed. In Singapore, we have many retirees who lost their life savings. Many of them do not know English and the only investment they knew of is to put their money in fixed deposits. As their savings grew, the bank’s relationship managers approached them. The managers convinced them to transfer their money to an alternative “safe” structural product that offers higher interest.

The result is a disaster. The collapse of Lehman Brothers had wiped out about 90% of the investments. If they fail to recover their money, many of them may have to work in McDonalds, collect empty cans or wash toilets until they die.

Welcome to the real world. We are living in the world at the time where things that are supposed to work, don’t. Nothing in the world is reliable anymore. How are we going to feel secure and be in peace? Looks like the only source of hope we can have is God. The only true rest is in his shadow.

In order to get into the shade of somebody’s shadow, we have to get close to this person. This is where the first part of Psalm 91:1 comes in.

1 Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91:1-2(NLT)

We have to live in God’s shelter. This means we choose willingly to rely on his integrity. When we are in danger, we trust in him to protect us. When we are sick, we trust in him to heal us. When we are facing recession, we trust in him to prosper us. In other words, no matter what sort of trials we are facing right now, we choose to trust in our God to fight for us and deliver us. Once you are able to do this, you will have peace that transcends all understanding in your heart. You will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

There are 2 names of God here: Most High and Almighty. Most High refers to God as the highest authority. This means no matter how big your troubles appear to be, God is greater than them all. He is the Most High. He is also the Almighty. He is capable of solving every problem that we can ever face. In short, God is able to deliver us and help us to overcome all the trials and challenges we face in life. The question here is: Are you willing to put your trust in him?

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