Welcome to the Welling, for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. The series is called The Enfolding. There is the enfolder, the enfolded, that’s you and me. And there’s the enfolding, what he extends to you and me.
This series comes from the depth of my experience as it reflects the psalmist experience. We do not know who the psalmist is. But he makes some declarations, some affirmations which deeply connect to us regardless of what experience and circumstance you and I face. And during a time when it is going to get a lot worse, it seems like this psalm can be of hope and help to both of us.
I mentioned the first episode that I had the privilege of memorizing the whole psalm. It’s built on the first two verses which says, “he who dwells in the secret place of the most high shall rest, shall dwell, shall abide, shall remain in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, he is my God, my fortress. The Lord who is my refuge, my fortress.”
Not only are there four metaphors for God there. We talked about them last time. Not only the majesty metaphor of the shelter and the shadow and the military metaphor of the sanctuary and the stronghold.
This psalm actually uses names for God. Many of you are aware that in the Hebrew culture a name was not simply a convenience for what can be an epithet. It was more like the capture of a character. That God was not some principle, some force, some idea up there. That God was true. God was real. God was there.
So in those first two verses, we have four names for God. Four Hebrew names for God. Pregnant with meaning because in that name that the psalm is captured so much is contained. Everything about God can be found in his name.
There’s about a dozen or so names. Some count 16 even 20 names for God in the Bible. But here are four just in the first two verses.
The first one is Elyon, God the most high. That this God has sovereign control over all things. I know you’re aware that when I speak to believers, I usually open with the words that I received in a welcome in Pakistan, the majority culture is not believing Christians.
A man in the dress that dominates that culture, you really cannot find out from the externals who he or she is, comes to me and says, greetings to you in the name of the most high one. In Pakistan, you do not know who is the most high one. But he finished it out and said the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the word here, the most high. Dwell in the shadow of the most high.
The second word, the name title for God in this first verse of Psalm 91 is that he’s the Almighty. You will remain in the shadow of the Almighty. The Almighty, the sustainer. Not only the sovereign one, but in the shadow the sustainer. The sufficiency of the Almighty. The sovereign one is sufficient. Sufficient for your situation and mind.
Then there’s a beautiful third personal, unique name for God used here. It’s called the covenant name, Yahweh. And this God, my Yahweh. This savior of yours. Where he belongs to you and you belong to him, a covenant, loyal, steadfast commitment to you. The one who’s above all, the sovereign, sufficient one has come to be the savior of the human situation.
Sometimes pronounced Jehovah or Yehovah the four consonants in the Hebrew language sometimes are forced into another set of vowels. The adonai set of vowels, a tetragrammaton. Adonai is even pronounced in its place. So they did it in English. They took the English vowels and put it in the English consonants and called Jehovah or Yehovah as Yahweh.
That’s the name by which God revealed himself and Exodus 3:14. It’s translated in many ways. I am who I am. I am what I am. I will be what I will be. I will be present as I am present. You and I cause to happen what I cause to happen. It’s to give you hope. It’s to give you a presence. It’s to give you power. It’s to clarify purposes to save.
Later on, he’ll say I will show him my salvation using this word. This is a person, not a principle, not just an idea, not just a proposition. But a person, a powerful person, who is always present to create, to care, to judge according to his purposes to save who was, who is, and is to come.
Sovereign, sufficient, Savior. [NON-ENGLISH]. And Yahweh is another word, name. Title for God is the word El. My God, the divine one. Elohim. The plural form is often used to show the complexity and the fullness, the intensification as one commentator says even the absolutization that he’s the god of gods, the highest one, the only one no one can compare with him. It’s the most systematic way to which the divine name can be ascribed and presented to us. Yahweh Elohim is often used together in both the Psalms and in Genesis and other places. Yes, there are other divine beings, but no one else should have my allegiance, my worship, than Yahweh Elohim– God Almighty.
Strong, secure, sufficient, sovereign, you’ve probably seen movies called Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. God says you can’t take my job. I will assign you what your role is. You can’t even call yourself Ramesh Almighty. And this particular God, who’s sovereign, sufficient, and savior and strong, he’s your dwelling place where danger can’t reach you. Resort to him. He’s your hiding place where danger can’t find you. We retreat to him, rest in him.
I’ve been finishing out each of these talks with a song that has been a favorite of mine and especially meaningful to me during these days. Amy Grant wrote a lovely one. You can go find it online. Says the Lord has will, and I have a need to follow that will, to humbly be still, to rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it, following my father’s will. Beautiful. Rest in it, nest in it, fully be blessed in it.
My dear friend, the sovereign, the savior, and foes, the believer, the God, all-sufficient one, the Almighty God, secures your well-being.