Rev. Miersma is pastor of the Loveland Protestant Reformed Church in Loveland, Colorado.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
What a song of blessed assurance and confidence. What a security and safety is confessed here. Well may we take these words upon our lips, utter them in faith, knowing in whom we believe. These words can come forth from our lips only if they are in our hearts by the operation of the Holy Spirit. Then will we put on the new man in Christ, and with joy live according to the will of God in all good works. As such we will understand the profound significance that all things are out of God, through Him, and unto Him.
This shout of security can be the portion only of those who have the God of Jacob as their refuge. This man is truly blessed, for he has an abiding dwelling place. Yes, a secret dwelling place, a home, with the Most High God. Therefore he is assured of a constant abiding place.
What a blessing to know that one dwells in the shadow of the Almighty. It does not matter what or who may rise up against him, for he knows that he is safe and secure. God is for him, therefore nothing can be against him. As the apostle Paul writes to the Romans, there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We immediately see what a rich confession we have here. Since this confession concerns God, it must be as rich as God is rich and wonderful. The object of our faith makes our faith rich in content. The psalmist illustrates this by the many terms that he uses to depict the richness of the Lord in relationship to those whom He protects. Various names are used to express this richness of confidence.
There is, first of all, the name Jehovah (LORD), which all by itself is very rich in meaning. No name reveals God’s covenant faithfulness more clearly than this name. It was revealed to Moses in the wilderness when Moses received the commission to lead the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. In faithfulness to His promise, God will bring His people to the promised land.
Jehovah also reveals God as the eternal God, with whom a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. This, in turn, reveals that He is unchangeable. “I am Jehovah (LORD), I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Mal. 3:6).
As the I AM, He is the self-existent One, who did not become, and who never has an end. God was never young, and He will never be old. He simply is the same yesterday, today, and forever. As such He dwells in His people as in the burning bush, without consuming them in His wrath or chastisement. When all seems darkest, then His faithfulness to His covenant promise will be revealed most strikingly. Then is the time of deliverance, when He shall reveal His strength in the time of our weakness. Israel was in complete bondage, but God, with ten mighty plagues, delivered them. This He did for His name’s sake and for His promise.
Jehovah has chosen His people from eternity. He will keep the seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Because of His faithfulness there remains even until this day a remnant according to election, that a faithful church shall serve Him even until the end. Because He is Jehovah, salvation is of grace.
The second name by which He is called is the Most High. When one looks at all the gods of the nations, at all of the history in which man would exalt himself, and at all the demon forces, one readily sees that God is the Most High. He really cannot be compared. God is GOD. Incomparably He is exalted in His own excellency and greatness. When we are surrounded by foes that would destroy us, it is comforting to know that God is the Most High. None can measure up to His strength and might. The great and the small, the good and the bad, the fruitful and the barren years, health and sickness—over all these things He rules by His providence.
Third, He is the Almighty. He is not only faithful, but He is able. It is not simply that He has a power and strength that is greater than all strength, but He is the strength that is the strength of all strength. This strength He gives to the weak of God’s children. We need not fear the pestilence, which is the manifestation of Jehovah’s power as He performs His mighty judgments over the wicked. That same power will lead us, through much tribulation, to learn the lesson of patient dependence upon Him.
This is our confession. That means that we say the same thing concerning Jehovah as He says to us concerning Himself. And it means that we say this from the heart, because we believe it. This is worship, our reasonable service of God. This confession must be taught to our children in the home, in the school, and in the church. They, too, must learn to confess this, that He is our strong tower and our great refuge.
This confession, then, will be a personal confession. I will open my mouth concerning what Jehovah means to me. I will tell the praises of Him who has called me out of darkness into His marvelous light. The psalmist does not say that men will boast in God, but that he will do this. Just note the personal aspect here. He speaks of the Lord, of Jehovah, as MY GOD. He is MY strong tower; in Him will I trust.
My confession will be that Jehovah has made me His own in sovereign election. I did not choose Him, but He has chosen me, that He may bless me in Christ Jesus with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, that I should be holy and blameless before Him. I will say of Jehovah that He is also the God of my children. He keeps covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations. I will say that in Christ He has redeemed me and brought me into His secret pavilion in Zion above. He has called me, justified me, and glorified me, and will conform me completely to His own image in true knowledge, righteousness, and holiness.
He is my refuge. He has a secret place prepared for me. This is a place that the ungodly cannot find and to which he will not flee. I have a secret place with the Most High God. This is under the blood of Calvary. Here is the never-failing love and mercy of God. With boldness and assurance I take my refuge there in the secret place prepared for me with the Most High.
Then the psalmist adds this, that He is my strong tower. He is my pavilion where, with the Lord, I am safe. Here I need not fear, for He is near.
Oh, what unspeakable comfort! I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to reach me in this secret place of the Most High or in the shadow of the Almighty. We may be accounted as sheep for the slaughter, being killed all the day long, yet nothing is really to our hurt. We are more than conquerors, for even then He shall send His angels to keep us in all our ways.
If this is our personal confession, then we will make this confession public. “I will say of the Lord.” I will speak of the Lord to others. I will tell others all about the great and secret place of refuge, which is the Lord. I will say of the Lord: MY GOD. He says in His law, in His covenant words: “I am the Lord thy God, which hath brought thee out of the land of Egypt.” As the covenant faithful God, as Jehovah, He also says: “I will be unto thee a God, and ye shall be my people. I will be unto thee a Father, and ye shall be unto me sons and daughters.”
Having these great and precious promises, we personally and collectively turn unto all men and speak of the greatness of God, and especially do this in the midst of the congregation. In the midst of the congregation I will say: “In Him will I trust. I will not fear what man shall do unto me. He will make my needs His care, for He is a faithful God in whose shadow I may dwell safely and securely.”
I will say this to my children. I will point them to the faithful Jehovah and have them too confess that the Lord is our refuge, our strong tower, and thus bring them by the nurture of the Lord under the shadow of the Almighty, in the secret place of the Most High.
Thus we confess our sure refuge in our covenant God in wars and in rumors of wars, in pestilence, nakedness, and the sword. For this God is our God; He will be our God even unto death.