Under the Shadow of God

Under the Shadow of God

In the context of today’s society, living in someone else’s shadow is not a good thing. If you are in someone’s shadow, you receive less attention and you seem less important than them. In other words, you’re as good as invisible. Nobody would want to be in someone else’s shadow.

But God’s shadow is the best place to be. Why? Because under the shadow of God, we find protection, safety, and security.

Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. But what does it mean to “dwell?” Where is the secret place” of the Most High? What does it mean to abide under the shadow” of God Almighty?

What is the Message of Psalm 91To dwell means to reside, to lodge, or to stay quietly and securely.

The secret place of God is where the presence of God is; it is the holy of holies, also called the most holy place, which is a place of refuge from all the storms of the world.

To dwell in the secret place of God is to stay quietly and securely in the most holy place where the presence of God is (Psalm 46:10a).

And to abide under the shadow of the Almighty is to dwell constantly and continuously in the assistance and protection of God.

After properly defining the terms, we can then paraphrase Psalm 91:1 this way: “He who stays quietly and securely in the most holy place where the presence of God is shall remain constantly and continuously in the assistance and protection of God, refreshed and comforted by Him for all eternity.”

The Promises of God in Psalm 91:1

A. The Promise of His Presence

When we learn to dwell in the secret place of the Most High God, we are assured of His presence in our lives. But how exactly are we going to do that? King David has set the best example for us. What do we know about David? The name David in Hebrew means “beloved.” He was the youngest of the eight sons of Jesse (1 Samuel 16:10-11) and he was anointed to replace Saul as king of Israel by the prophet Samuel when he was probably only 16 years old.

David is the only biblical character who is remembered as “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14 & Acts 13:22). He was given this epitaph because of his strong and constant desire to know and understand the heart of God and to experience the glory of His very presence. David loved God’s habitation because he knew it to be a place of glory, joy, and peace (Psalm 26:8).

David, a man after God's own heartSo how did David learn how to dwell in the presence of God? He did it through the art of devotion. David learned the value of actively engaging with God and enjoying His presence.

David desired to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life so he could behold the beauty of the Lord and inquire in His holy temple (Psalm 27:4). Although David had a close and intimate relationship with God, he was not spared from trials and difficulties.

David had to run for his life and hide from King Saul for 8 years but through all those times he experienced God’s love and intervention; through all those times of distress, David experienced the Lord’s peace.

And over the process of time, David experienced God’s justice. Despite his trials and failures, David still maintained a heart-to-heart relationship with God; he feared God, and his heart was completely yielded to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. David knew God not only as a shepherd, provider, and Lord but also as a friend.

As children of God, I believe that we are all looking towards the inner sanctuary of God and the mercy seat, yet not all of us dwell in the most holy place where the very presence of God is. Yes, we run to it at times and find comfort and solace there but we do not habitually reside in there. We only want the experience and after that, we quickly turn around and forget about it.

When was the last time you came face-to-face with God during worship? When was the last time you experienced the glorious presence of God and did not want it to end? Was it only when you were first born again and converted?

Like David, let us be encouraged to establish a strong, personal relationship with God by maintaining an active life of worship and a healthy prayer life. Let us learn the habit of constantly and continuously dwelling in the presence of God.

B. The Promise of Protection under the Shadow of God Almighty

Daniel and his friends were four of the young men taken to Babylon when King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Judah and ransacked Jerusalem. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to strengthen his kingdom by training young men to serve in the Babylonian government.

1) There were three instances wherein Daniel and his friends were protected and preserved by God. First was when the king ordered all the wise men of Babylon to be executed because no one could tell nor interpret his dream.

In chapter 2 of the book of Daniel, we read that King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream he could not understand; neither could his counselors and wise men reveal or interpret the dream. The king got angry and ordered that all wise men in Babylon be executed immediately including Daniel and his friends (Daniel 2:12-13).

When the Commander of the king’s guard started putting to death all the wise men in Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact and asked what’s with the decree. Upon learning about the matter, Daniel went to speak with the king and asked that he be given time so that he might interpret the dream for him (Daniel 2:14-16).

After that, Daniel went to see his three friends and urged them to plead for mercy from God concerning the king’s dream so that they will not be executed. The mystery of the dream was then revealed to Daniel in a vision during the night (Daniel 2:17-19).

We learn from Daniel the importance of inquiring of the Lord first before doing anything else. Often times we do things out of impulse. We make plans and decisions without first consulting God. We assume that God will go along with it and so we do things according to our wishes. The common mistake that the children of God make is they try to get God on their side instead of getting on God’s side.

Do you want assurance of protection from God? Learn to do things His way, not your way. The assurance of God’s presence and protection is found under His shadow and only when we live in close fellowship with Him that we receive and enjoy these benefits.

Here’s a beautiful inspirational song by the New Creation Church based on Psalm 91.

2) In chapter 3 of Daniel, Daniel’s friends were protected and delivered by God from the fiery furnace.

King Nebuchadnezzar sets up a golden image before which everyone in his kingdom were to bow in worship (Daniel 3:1, 4-6). But Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down. This made the king angry that he threatened them that if they will not obey his decree they will be thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:14-15).

They refused to bow down to the golden image and were thrown into the fiery furnace that was heated seven times more. But God was with them and they were preserved from death, injury, or even the smell of fire (Daniel 3:19-20).

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew that the God they serve and worship is the One true God. They boldly stood up for their faith in God because they knew that God can deliver them from the fiery furnace and the king’s hand. Yet they also knew there’s a possibility that God will not come through for them. However, the thought of God not rescuing them did not change their decision to not worship the golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar set up (Daniel 3:16-18).

How strong is your faith in God? Are you willing to stand up for your faith even if it means losing your life? Are you willing to die for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 8:35)? Many Christians, especially in predominantly Muslim countries, are being persecuted but they were willing to die for their faith in Jesus Christ. They were given the choice to renounce their faith and convert to Islam or be killed by beheading.

Yet, they chose to die because they knew the God whom they have believed in the One true God, the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. May we be encouraged to stand firm in our faith and be faithful to God until the end.

3) In chapter 6 of the book of Daniel, we read how God protected Daniel in the lions’ den.

Daniel was believed to be in his 80’s when he was thrown into the lions’ den. In the early chapters, we learn that Daniel had been promoted to a high position. Through a life of hard work and obedience to God, Daniel had risen through the political ranks as an administrator of the kingdom of Babylon.

He was honest and hardworking; he was neither corrupt not negligent that his contemporaries became jealous of him but could not find any grounds for kicking him out from office (Daniel 6:3-4).

Daniel in the lions' denSo what did the other officials do? They tried to use Daniel’s faith in God against him and tricked King Darius into passing a decree to throw into the lions’ den anyone who prayed to another god besides the king during a 30-day period (Daniel 6:6-7).

But even upon learning of the decree signed by King Darius, Daniel did not change his habit. Just as he had done all his life, he went home to his upper room, opened his windows toward Jerusalem, and prayed on his knees three times that day (Daniel 6:10).

The other officials caught him praying to his God and told the king about it. Although King Darius loved Daniel, there was nothing else he could do and so Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den that sundown.

But God protected Daniel from the lions (Daniel 6:22). He was brought out from the lions’ den unharmed because he trusted in his God (Daniel 6:23). While those who falsely accused him were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their families. And before they even reached the bottom floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones (Daniel 6:24).

Daniel’s prayer habit tells us how important it is to maintain a healthy prayer life regardless of our situation or circumstance. If David was a man after God’s own heart, Daniel was a man of prayer. He clearly set an example of how Christians must constantly seek God and His wisdom. Daniel’s life was not only spared several times but he was also given the gift of interpretation and that is because he trusted God and remained in the presence of God, covered and protected under the shadow of the Almighty.

There are countries where Christians do not have the freedom to practice their faith and share the gospel of salvation. However, this should not hinder them from maintaining a healthy relationship with Christ. They are not supposed to go out and evangelize in the public squares but they can pray to God and gather together with other believers in the privacy of their homes.

Another significant aspect that we can see here is the fact that God prospered Daniel as a political leader under the reign of Darius and King Cyrus of Persia. This just shows that God does not forbid Christians from getting involved with the political affairs of this world.

In other words, God wants his people to get involved in politics for as long as they will use Daniel’s example. I discussed the topic of Christianity and politics more extensively in my article “Politics and the Bible: Are They Compatible.”

The Core Message of Psalm 91

Psalm 91 is a message of protection, safety, and security that comes as a result of permanently dwelling in God’s secret place. God’s secret place is the focus of Psalm 91 because all the promises and benefits promised in this chapter are only available to those who meet the condition of living in close fellowship with God.

To remain in one’s shadow, you have to stay as close as possible. In the same way, if you want to remain protected by God, you have to stay under His shadow. May we learn to dwell in the presence of God, abide under His shadow, and trust Him the same way that David and Daniel and his friends did. And be able to declare: “The Lord is my refuge and fortress; my God in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:2).

Recommended Resource: Psalm 91 for Mothers: God’s Shield of Protection for Your Children by Peggy Joyce Ruth

A Place of Total Protection for Your Family

Did you know there is a place in God–a secret place–for those who want to seek refuge? It is a haven of physical safety and security that God tells us about in the Ninety-First Psalm, the one place in the Bible where all of the protection promises of God are brought together.

In Psalm 91 for Mothers, Peggy Joyce Ruth guides you through a personal study of this psalm, explaining verse by verse God’s promises of protection, provision, and blessing for your children. Drawing from her personal experience as a mother and grandmother, she covers topics such as:

  • Accessing God’s shelter in times of danger
  • Protection from evils over which we have no control
  • Intervention of God’s angels on your child’s behalf
  • Teaching your child to call on God for protection

12 Replies to “Under the Shadow of God”

  1. You are very right.

    Living in the very presence of The Father through the Spirit that God poured on us in the name of Jesus is the best experience one could ever have.

    I tried imagining what the life of David could have been like and I was convinced that he had a string determination to love God and obey Him. The troubles and temptations were just too many for a fainthearted person to endure.

    1. Hi Dave,

      I say it’s a great blessing and privilege to be able dwell under the shadow of the Almighty where His very presence resides. And yes, it’s the best place one could ever be and the best experience one could ever have.

      David’s love and devotion to God were key factors in his obedience to Him. Although he himself had gone through so many trials and temptations, he came out victorious because God was always with Him.

      We too are assured of God’s protection and deliverance for as long as we remain under His shadow.

      God bless!

  2. How do we manage to stay in this place other than constant prayer? Are there any other ways we can use to develop these habits and keep our minds always on Him?

    Prayer is wonderful, but it is also hard at times, and at least to me, it never quite feels like enough. Are there any other ways to maintain this devotion even when threatened with something as horrible as being fed to the lions?

    1. You’re right Brendan. Often times we find ourselves struggling to communicate with God especially when it feels like God is silent and we find ourselves in impossible situations. I found myself in this situation many times too. But one thing we learn from King David is having a heart of worship that longs to honor and adore God. He definitely has set the best example of praising God not only through prayer but through singing, dancing, clapping and jumping before the Lord, even though his own wife despised him. Most of the psalms were written by King David in expression of his love, devotion and thanksgiving to God.

      Whenever you feel like prayer is not enough, you can connect with God by praising Him with songs. Express your thanksgiving to Him in hymns and songs of praise and worship. Remember all His goodness and express it in songs of thanksgiving and adoration. Or you can just listen and sing along to songs of praise and worship over the internet. This always works for me and I hope it works for you too.

      God bless you!

    2. Hi!

      The way to stay under the shadow of the almighty is to remain on the spiritual level that you go to in deep worship.
      Walking in the Spirit means to continue in that spiritual realm during your life eternal.

      God bless you

  3. Thank you for a very inspiring article!

    It reminds me that I may not have the heart of God just like David had, or I may not be a man of prayer just like Daniel was, but God’s love and protection for me is unquestionable!

    Just like the birds clench on the branches of trees during a storm, swaying in all direction as the hard wind blows, we too have to remain in God’s shadow and protection. He is always there for us in times of distress (Psalm 57:1).

    Thank you Lord for your loving kindness!

    1. Amen to that brother Jess.

      Perhaps there could only be one David or one Daniel, both of whom were able to touch the heart of God because of their sincere faith and whole-hearted devotion, but the promise of God’s presence and protection are for all believers who choose to dwell in His presence. Under the shadow of God is where we find refuge, peace and security. May we learn to remain and be still in the Lord.

  4. Psalm 91 is our universal prayer in EL Shaddai DWXI PPFI, a Catholic charismatic movement.
    I really like it because In that chapter and the following verses all important promises of God is in there.
    God is our protector and anyone who calls His name, God is always there to answer them.
    This Prayer is very powerful and His word helps me to be strong in all the trials that came into my life.
    I feel God’s grace many times in my life and until now He shows me His unfailing love though I am not worth it.
    Thank you for sharing the goodness of our God.
    God bless you

    1. Hi Maria, thanks for dropping by.
      The promises of God in Psalm 91 are real and they should motivate us to remain in the presence of God, right under His shadow where we are secure, save and protected. Whenever we are facing trials and difficulties, the promises of God give us assurance that He is always there to get us through every possible hurdle. 
      Nobody deserves the love and mercy of God but He gave it anyway because of His great love. May we be encouraged to continue in our walk with God. 

  5. Thank you for this article – a good reminder for everyone about not just the promise of God, but also His love and mercy towards us. Also, I like what you said:
    ” We only want the experience and after that we quickly turn around and forget about it.” — sadly, people seek His presence when faced hardship in life and when the smile on their faces are back, so easy for some to forget the greatness and kindness of our God. The sad part is, they turn around without even saying “thank you, God”.

    1. Shalom!

      It’s good to be always reminded of the promises of God that await those who dwell in His presence. God’s presence is the best place to be, right under His shadow where we are safe and secure, but sadly many of us only run to His presence when we are in trouble. We tend to look at God as a “quick fix” to our problems instead of sharing not only our sorrows but also our joy. 
      It’s so very true, we seek God only when we’re faced with hardships. But after we experience His presence and His peace we quickly forget and don’t even bother to thank Him. I hope we are more like David and Daniel who maintained a close heart-to-heart relationship with God and trusted Him in good times and in bad times. 

      God bless!

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