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In the Shadow of the Almighty
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Overview: The purpose of this Psalm is to elevate the hopes of the people of God as they face troubles that would otherwise break their spirits. Regardless of the nature of such troubles, their timing, or potential impact, those who trust in the Lord have every reason to abandon their fears by taking God at His word and calling upon Him in their time of need. The Lord promises deliverance and protection by His own power and through angelic means, thus committing Himself to His people at all times. If such grand statements fail to meet with our own experience, we should bear in mind that our relationship with the Lord cannot be nominal; our exposure to evil may not be minimal; our application of these promises is not trivial; and our expectation of salvation is not temporal.
01. If you are feeling afraid during this time, ask the Lord to be your refuge and your strength; call upon Him in your time of trouble; and rest assured that His promises are true.
02. If you are losing hope during this time, remember that a little faith goes a long way and that the Lord is more committed to you than you are committed to Him.
Questions for Discussion and Discovery
1. What does it mean to “dwell in the shelter of the Most High” and to “abide in the shadow of the Almighty” (verse 1)? How does this description of the true Christian differ from that of nominal Christianity? How does adversity work to expose our lack of trust or confirm our trust in the Lord?
2. How does this Psalm function to elevate our confidence in the Lord? As you read it, are you impressed by the poetic beauty of its stanzas? How does the wording of this Psalm (i.e., God as refuge and fortress) help us to accurately describe the greatness of God and the security of believers in Him?
3. As you read this Psalm, do you think it promises more than God actually delivers (see verses 9-10)? Why is it important for us to acknowledge the truths of this Psalm even when Christians experience difficulty, die during plagues, and are not always delivered from such struggles in this lifetime?
4. Note the role of angels in ministering to us on God’s behalf (verses 11-13). Since God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent, why do you think He includes the ministry of angels on our behalf? How can we rightly recognize the ministry of angels (though virtually unknown to us at the time) while giving full credit for our safety and salvation to the Lord alone? See Hebrews 1 for further insight.
5. In what way does the use of this text by Satan during the temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:5-7) function as a warning not to presume upon God with our safety? How would you respond to someone who suggests that God’s people are entirely immune from danger because of such promises in this Psalm?
For Further Reading: Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty (Harper, 1958; Hendrickson, 1989).