December 1, 2017 • Life for Leaders
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
When I was a boy, I loved playing hide-and-seek. Little made me happier than when I found the perfect hiding place, a secure enclave where no “seeker” would ever find me. (One of my favorite hiding places was up in trees, high enough to be completely concealed and, I might add, high enough to make my mother worry.)
In a way, Psalm 91 envisions such a hiding place. Our translation reads, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” The word translated here as “shelter” (seter in Hebrew) is sometimes used in the Bible when people are literally hiding. For example, when King Saul tells his son Jonathan that he plans to kill David (Jonathan’s friend), Jonathan tells David, “Tomorrow morning… you must find a hiding place [seter] out in the fields.” Psalm 91, therefore, begins by envisioning God as a hiding place, a place of safety and security, a place hidden from danger and harm.
Life is filled with challenges and dangers, with failures and tragedies. We who live this life in relationship with God are not immune to suffering. I think, for example, of friends who have recently lost loved ones. They grieve even in the midst of their gladness for what their friends and family members now experience with the Lord. Yet my friends are able to take their grief to God, to share it with him in the safety of his presence. They find reassurance, not only in the fact of God’s protection, but also in the reality of his comfort and love. In him, they find rest for their souls. They are indeed hiding in God.
I am also reminded of people I know who find shelter in God when their work life goes crazy. Maybe they have a bad boss. Maybe they face threats of layoffs. Maybe they have lost a key client. No matter the situation, they can find shelter in the Lord—not immunity from disappointment or pain, but protection for their souls and the promise of God’s ultimate blessing.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have there been times in your life when you have hidden in God? When? How did it feel?
What helps you to find shelter in God’s presence?
What makes it hard to believe that God is a hiding place for you?
In your work these days, do you need to find shelter in God?
Gracious God, how I thank you for being my hiding place, my place of safety and security. In you I find rest, even in the midst of life’s turmoils and troubles.
Yet sometimes I fail to hide in you, Lord, preferring to put confidence in my own strength and cleverness. Inevitably, I experience my own inadequacy. Forgive me, Lord, when I try to make it through life on my own.
Help me to turn to you in all times and situations, especially when I feel threatened or sorrowful. Help me to trust you more, to experience your safety and comfort.
Today, Lord, I want to pray especially for those who need your shelter. So hear my prayers for…
All praise be to you, Most High God, my shelter, my hiding place. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: A Psalm for Danny
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.