Our Available and Helpful God – Dwelling and Abiding in His Presence - Thursday, February 14th

Our Available and Helpful God – Dwelling and Abiding in His Presence - Thursday, February 14th

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust …. He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark …. Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My salvation. Psalm 91:1-2, 4, 14-16

Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, saying, In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, ‘Give me legal protection from my opponent.’ For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, ‘Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:1-8

Today's thoughts from today's verses:

We have another Psalm today to help us with those particularly difficult troubles in our lives that we can’t make go away, that we are powerless against, and from which we experience a lot of pain and suffering. And once again we will couple our Psalm for today with a portion from our Luke passage. Remember that both the Psalm and the Luke passage are about God making himself available to us in times of need. First, we want to look at today’s Psalm and we will do so in the light of an analogy. Picture the mom who sends her young children off to school each day. At home they are safe and secure, but out there in the world of school, they are vulnerable and susceptible to the troublesome things they come up against day after day. The mom can only hope the experience of the home will offset the experience of the world. She pictures the good atmosphere of the home (including her presence, care, and influence) carrying over into the world of school. In our relationship with God, home is the sanctuary of quiet, alone times spent in his presence. The first words of our Psalm capture it this way: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High.” We need concentrated times of being in God’s presence (dwells in the shelter).

The atmosphere of the shelter of God’s presence (concentrated time with him) carrying over to life on the go (children at school) is captured with the next words of our Psalm: “will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Now granted when we are on the go in life, God is with us in a way that a mom cannot be with her children when they are at school. However, we need to keep in mind that our ability to be aware of God’s continued presence is limited when we are rightly concentrating on other things. It should be noted that we can develop an ability to be aware of him when we are on the go and we can stop and look to him (go home) in concentrated moments with him. But even so, the images of “dwelling in the shelter of the Most High” and “abiding in the shadow of the Almighty,” will help us remember how important it is to have a daily quiet time with God (shelter) that carries over (shadow) into our world of life on the go.

Developing this kind of relationship with God will make all the difference in how we are impacted by the particularly troublesome things we have been talking about this week. Notice the image of the mother bird in our Psalm. Use this image in your quiet times to help you picture yourself as being sheltered under His wings. In addition, use this image when you are on the go to help you picture yourself as being under the shadow of his wings. Regularly being in the shelter and shadow of God’s presence causes us to grow in our ability to love and know God. Notice from the rest of the Psalm how growing in our ability to love and know God opens the door for him to be at work in our lives in some pretty amazing and powerful ways.

I cannot help believe that the kind of relationship with God we have been describing in our dealing with today’s Psalm is the kind of relationship Jesus is calling his listeners to through his story. Recall the words that lead into his story, “He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.” It is today’s portion of Jesus’ story that gives us the heart of the story and the truth about God that can bring us to the place where we truly can pray at all times and not to lose heart. Like the widow in our story and like the Psalmist in today’s Psalm, we want the one who has the ability to act and meet our need to do just that. The widow called on a reluctant judge over and over again and he eventually provided legal protection for her. In contrast to the judge, we have God, who is willing and waiting to take care of us. Notice these words from our story, “now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly.”

Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:

Lord, thank you for these very special words you have spoken to me through your Word today. I know you are always at work bringing about that which is right and just in my life. Help me on a daily basis to experience being in the shelter of your presence and under the shadow of your presence. While your provision of solutions to my problems is great, change me so that I want you more than I want the solutions you provide. Right now, I choose to make loving you and knowing you the centerpiece of my life. Amen!

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