You Can Abide in the Shadow of the Almighty

Shadows. Does the word carry a negative connotation to you? It does to me, too. But shadows are not bad things in and of themselves. It’s all in who or what is casting the shadow that makes the difference. Find out about the best “shadow caster” of all.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”

Psalm 91:1 (NASB)

Generally, “in the shadow” is not a place we want to find ourselves. If we are in someone’s shadow, the connotation is that we are overlooked or under-recognized while someone else gets all the attention and recognition. Shadows, as in dark alleys, are places of danger where robbers or drug dealers lurk. The shadows are places where society’s outcast dwell, under freeway overpasses living in cardboard shanties. Even in Scripture shadows are depicted as dark places, as in the shadow of the valley of death in Psalm 23. So why is the psalmist encouraging  us to abide in a shadow? We’ll apply two “shadow-abiding” rules to sort it all out. It is great and glorious indeed to abide in the shadow of the Lord!

Abiding in the shadow – Rule #1

“Abiding in” by “abiding by”

To “abide in” means to remain, continue, stay.1  In other words, to abide in the Lord, is to always stay close to the Lord. The first part of our passage also provides a definition of sorts – to “abide in” is to “dwell in.”  In both parts of the passage, closeness to God is the key. The cool thing about staying close to the Lord is that it is always reciprocated. When we abide in Him, he abides in us (see John 15:1-9)! He never abandons us in our efforts to stay close to Him. We will never hear Him say, “Your efforts at closeness are not good enough, I’ll have to leave you, you don’t measure up.” So how do we stay close to the Lord? We glue ourselves to Him! The glue that holds us close to God is love demonstrated by obedience. Here’s where the “abiding by” part comes in. To “abide by” means to act in accord with, agree to, to remain faithful to.2  Our truest expression of love for God is our obedience to His commandments (see John 15:10). God loves us and when we return that love, we choose closeness with God.

Abiding in the shadow – Rule #2

Pay less attention to the shadow and more attention to that which casts it.

In Psalm 91 and elsewhere in scripture, we see a lot of important shadow casters that reveal it is indeed a good thing to be in the shadow of the Almighty.

The fortress (see Psalm 91:2)

God’s fortress casts a big shadow. A fortress is a place of refuge from attack. We all feel under attack at times. There are times when we encounter enemies we can’t face down alone. When you get right down to it, most enemies we face are those that we can’t effectively defeat on our own. In those times God’s fortress is the place to retreat to. The gate of God’s fortress is opened by a key – trust in God. With this key you can always retreat to His fortress and be safe and protected from anything you face.

His wings (see Psalm 91:4)

The image of the wings of an eagle covering over her young is often used to illustrate God’s love and protection for us.   Have you ever been out in the hot sun on a scorching summer day? Didn’t you long for a covering? A nice shady place provides respite from the oppressive heat and burning rays of the sun.  Sometimes the heat of life’s challenges just gets too hot to face. The shadow of God’s wings can protect us when the rays of life are too hot for us. God’s wings cast a cooling shadow.

The cross  (see John 15:13, Colossians 2:13-14)

If we abide in the shadow of the cross we experience His great love for us, that He would endure the pain and suffering of the cross, to pay the penalty for our sins. In the shadow of the cross, we are not condemned, but forgiven! He has paid the price! As we strive for Christ-likeness in our lives, we will fall short. He’s already paid. Abiding in the shadow of the cross will always remind us that there is no shame, just brushing ourselves off and trying it again. He’s already paid.

The stone that rolled away (see Luke 24:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:1, Philippians 3:14)

If we abide in the shadow of the stone that rolled away, we can rejoice! We know a resurrection day is assured for each of us! No matter what the predicament of the moment may be – pain, suffering, disappointment, loneliness, illness, addiction, you name it – a resurrection day is coming! Abiding in the shadow of the stone that rolled away will always remind us that no matter how damaged or outcast we may become on this earth, we will one day be brought into His presence and into fellowship with all the saints, past, present, and future worshipping Him in His eternal Kingdom forever!  Which brings us to. . .

The tree of life (see Genesis 2:9, Revelation 22:2)

In God’s original paradise, Eden, grew the tree of life. In God’s next paradise, the new heaven and the new earth, the tree of life will be growing. If we abide in the shadow of the Almighty, in the shadow of His fortress, in the shadow of His wings, in the shadow of the cross, in the shadow of the stone that rolled away, then we will forever stand in the shadow of the tree of life. That’s the truth.

If you dwell in the shelter of the Most High, if you choose to abide in the Lord, if you choose to abide by the Lord’s commandments, then you can abide in the shadow of the Almighty. In the shadow of the Almighty, you will be in the protective shadow of his fortress; you will be shielded by the shadow of His wings; you will know forgiveness in the shadow of the cross; you will rejoice in the shadow of the stone rolled away; you will forever dwell in the shadow of the tree of life!

That’s the YouTruth – You Can Abide in the Shadow of the Almighty

The Lord is Your Shepherd

Do you like being in charge? Me too. Are there times in your life when you feel like you’re not in charge anymore? I have times like those too. God has something to say to us about being in charge. During those times when we feel like we’re not in charge anymore, we’re right. He’s in charge. During those times when we feel like we are in charge, we’re wrong. He’s in charge then too

“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Psalm 23:1 (NASB)

The 23rd Psalm is probably the most familiar and most quoted of all 150 psalms in the Bible. It was written by David, King of Israel. Now if there was anyone in his time that understood what it meant to be in charge, King David was the one. But we find the opposite sentiment in his Biblical writings. We find a man that, while having a position of great power, openly confessed he was not in charge at all. Psalm 23 is a powerful expression of this truth. Let’s walk through it and discover what King David knew – God is in charge, completely in charge, and that’s a good thing.

The Lord is my shepherd

If we are sheep with a shepherd, we are not in charge of anything. The shepherd controls everything—where we eat, where we drink, where we rest, when we rest, if we rest, and so on. Now, sheep can survive without a shepherd, though probably not for long, since they are not equipped to protect themselves from any predator. It is best for sheep to have a shepherd. But having a shepherd by itself is not necessarily a good thing. If the shepherd is not very good at shepherding that may not work out so well for his sheep. We are fortunate, unlike sheep, in that we get to choose if we’ll have a shepherd and who that shepherd will be. David tells us in this psalm that he has a shepherd and that shepherd is the Lord. And a good choice it is! The Lord is not only a good shepherd but He is The Good Shepherd—He does everything for His sheep even giving His life for them (John 10:14-15).

I shall not want

A good shepherd provides for all the needs of his flock. The Good Shepherd provides everything we need; we will never be without anything we need, ever. Oh, but we love to use the word ‘want’ here don’t we? It says so right there in verse one! We may complain to God, “My cup of ‘wants’ is practically empty, what’s the deal?”

Listen closely. Hear that dripping sound? Or is it more like a rushing sound? Turn around and look! Those are our cups of needs overflowing like water over a spillway! Hear all that peace, comfort, goodness and mercy spilling out? With the Good Shepherd as our shepherd, we will always have more than we will ever need. We will have such an abundance of it, we will be able to (and will be called to) pour it into the cups of others.

He makes me, leads me, guides me

A good shepherd doesn’t pose choices for his flock to consider. The Good Shepherd doesn’t offer up suggestions or options either. The Good Shepherd makes us lie down in green pastures, leads us to calm streams, and guides us to the righteous path. He knows we will not find them on our own. He knows the world will scatter us from each other and drive us away from the things we need. When we stray, He will use the tools at hand, His rod and His staff, to bring us back into the fold. If we stray so far as to become lost and completely separated from the rest, He will search us out and find us, and even carry us on His shoulders back to the fold (Luke 15:3-7)! So He keeps the flock together and on the path that will keep our cups overflowing.

The valley of the shadow of death

A good shepherd knows that his sheep will not live forever. The Good Shepherd knows that we will all face death; we will all walk through the valley. Though we won’t want for that day to ever come, the shepherd knows it must. And when it does, The Good Shepherd will be there with us. When we walk through the valley because of the loss of a loved one, He will be there. He may even use His rod and staff a little to keep us walking because He knows we must continue through the valley to get to the green pastures and still waters on the other side. When we walk because our own time has come, He will be there. He may even use His rod and His staff a little to keep us walking because He knows we must continue through the valley to get to the eternal green pastures, the eternal calm streams, and  eternal banquet table that He has set especially for us.

He is the Good Shepherd.

He is the Great Shepherd.

He is the Greatest Shepherd of all. That’s the truth.

The Lord is your shepherd, 

You shall not want.

He makes you lie down in green pastures;

He leads you beside still waters.

He restores your soul;

He guides you in the paths of righteousness

For His name’s sake.

Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

You will fear no evil, for He is with you;

His rod and His staff, they comfort you .

He prepares a table before you in the presence of your enemies;

He has anointed your head with oil;

Your cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life,

And you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


That’s the YouTruth. The Lord is Your Shepherd