Saturday, October 17, 2009

living in the shelter of the Most High

My meditation today, this Lord's Day morning, is from Psalm 91.

"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare of the Lord:
He alone is my refuge; my place of safety;
he is my God, and I am trusting him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from the fatal plague.
He will shield you with his wings.
He will shelter you with his feathers.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor fear the dangers of the day'
nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday. ...
If you make teh Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you,
no plague will come near your dwelling.
For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you with their hands
to keep you from striking your foot on a stone. ...
The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me I will answer,
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue them and honor them.
I will satisfy them with a long life
and give them my salvation."

I claim this divine protection, and each of these promises today. The Most High is our God, our refuge and strength, in this time of trouble.

The dreadful plague that stalked the psalmist may be different from the plagues that confront us today - cancers, auto-immune diseases, infections - yet the experience of terror is the same. The need for a place of safety, and for rescue is as real today as it would have been to the writer of this Psalm.

The picture evoked by this Psalm is one of a present experience. Look at the verbs, and the statements attached to them:
living - in the shelter of the most high
finding - rest

the promises, that the Almighty will:
order protection
hold you
keep you
protect (again)
be with
rescue (again)
AND give salvation.

When I read God's word and apply it to life events as I experience them, I am aware that my professional knowledge is a filter that influences my understanding. Midwifery is not just about the birth of babies: it is about knowing and understanding life as God created it, and recognising the points at which that normal physiological process faces danger, threat, "trap", "terror", "plague", "pestilence", or "the disaster that strikes at midday".

The hope that the psalmist knew, and that has been known in every generation of God's precious people, is a living and active hope. The place of shelter; the surety of rest; the promise of salvation is ongoing in each situation that we face.