“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty…”
Today’s message is brought to you by that eternal and ever-present childhood game: Tag. You remember the game: running furiously to avoid getting “tagged,” until that moment you are “it” and you begin to chase the rest of the crowd. “No-Tag-Backs!” you’ll hear the children shout, just to make sure they can get away.
Of course there are countless varieties to the classic game:
Freeze Tag – once you’re tagged you are “frozen” in place until another person crawls under your legs.
Blob Tag – one person starts as “it,” but as others are tagged, they join hand-in-hand to create a large “it” blob
Toilet Tag – when you are tagged you must squat down to form the toilet and hold out your hand like a handle. To get back in the game, someone must flush you and make the flushing sound.
Then you will all remember crying “Base” just before you got tagged. Now, a good game leader will have established a base, if there is one. But when kids just get together and start playing, base” becomes whatever is closest to keep you from getting tagged; a tree, a wall, a rock, it doesn’t matter, just so long as it keeps you “safe.” Of course then, arguments ensue about the legitimacy of the base, how long one can stay, and how far away “it” has to stay from the base. Who knew Tag could be so complicated.
Now you be thinking, Pastor Ethan’s lost his mind… and you might be right. But there’s actually a point to all of this. When playing tag, having a pre-determined base could come in handy. It was a safe place, a place to catch your breath. I always thought, as a kid playing tag, that base was a cop-out. That was, until I needed one.
Wouldn’t it be nice if in this life, when thing are spiraling out of control, when everything is “tagging” you and you feel like you’re always “it” – wouldn’t it be nice if there were a place to call “base,” a hideaway, a safe place to go?
This is the promise of the Lord’s presence in Psalm 91:1-2. “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.’”
Now, before you all start singing “And he will raise you up on eagle’s wings…” consider for a moment what those verses have taught us about God.
God is a Shelter, a Refuge, a Fortress, He Hides us in the Shadow of his wings. All of these images tell us that the Lord is a secure defense for those who trust in Him. Keep in mind, you don’t need a shelter, a refuge, a fortress, a hiding place in times of comfort and ease. The image of God as savior and keeper are only meaningful for those who need to be saved and kept from harm.
We are never promised that we will not face adversity. In fact, Jesus said that those who follow Him must expect trials and tribulation (John 15:18-21). Paul even said that no one who seeks to be righteous will avoid persecution (2 Tim 3:12). We are not exempt from the storm, but we do have a shelter in the midst of it.
Today, whatever your facing, whatever storms are brewing, whatever “it” is chasing you down; run to Him who is your Shelter, your Refuge, your Fortress, hide yourself in the Shadow of His wings.
Sola Deo Gloria!