Welcome to Welling, for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. In a quiz contest with time limits, a contestant was asked this particular question. Which of the following species of birds does not build its own nest but instead lays its eggs in the nests of other birds? A, the condor. B, the buzzard. C, the cuckoo. And four, the vulture. The only bird which was not a vulture was the cuckoo, the others were all scavenger birds. Well, the contestant was put on the spot. She did not know what to do. She called for her lifeline. And eventually she said C, the cuckoo.
Well, she won. They asked her how she knew to pick the cuckoo. Well, she said, certainly the cuckoo does not build nests. It lives in clocks, cuckoo clocks. These are called brood parasites, where a female bird that lays its eggs finds other nests of other species then lays eggs in their own nests. They quietly search and they actually expect the new hosts to bring up the young.
I’ve got a great news for you. God is not going to place you in someone else’s nest. Now, you may try to fly off the nest but you can stay in God’s nest. And he will be your shelter and your shadow. Your sanctuary and your stronghold.
We’re in the series called The Enfolding. And here we are the first couple of verses of Psalm 91, where the enfolder is being so beautifully presented by the psalmist in metaphors and the names. The metaphors in both majesty metaphors and military metaphors, but also by name that he is the sovereign one. He is the sufficient one. He is the saving one. And he’s the strong one inviting us to rest in the sovereign Savior who unfolds you. Because your God Almighty secures your well-being.
That as we can go through life without anxiety and in peace and in hope with confidence, not in gullibility. But in the three wonderful concepts which I wish to share with you from the meaning of a personal, intimate relationship with God.
Look at Psalm 91. Verse two says, “‘I will say of the Lord’, does the Lord who is the shadow and the shelter. The one in whom he dwells. The dwelling place, the one in whom he hides. One to prevent danger, the other to protect in safety. “I will say of the Lord, he is my refuge and my fortress and my God’ And here is the fourth personal intimate declaration ‘in who I trust.'”
Notice, my, my, my. Later on in verse nine he says similarly the Lord is my refuge. The Psalmist says, you make the most high your dwelling. So we don’t want to forget the individualness of the Psalm. It’s a very personal Psalm. Isn’t that why it appeals to all of us believers all across the world, that there is a human divine dynamic? A little later on we’ll talk about the enfolder and the enfolded in relationship and conversation.
The declaration comes from a knowledge of God, from the love of God, and from a trust of God. The dwelling place, the hiding place. The very personal theology. My relationship to God has been so sweet. In the meaning of experience we discover the meaning of the relationship. My God in whom I trust, and after all, that is really theology. The general principle applied to the person, that is not merely academic, abstract, theoretical, and bookish. The theology may be applied, realized, embraced, beneficial truths.
He who, whoever– whoever dwells in the shadow of the most high. Whatever talks about anything. And wherever talks about any place. And whenever it talks about any time. And whichever it talks about any which thing. And however talks about anyway.
Whoever talks about any person, every person. That’s you. Whoever relates to persons. Whoever relates or persons who can make decisions. Whoever relates to persons who can make decisions and take actions. Whoever relates to any person anywhere, any specific person. He who, she who. Whoever.
In the analogy of the whos and whoevers of scripture, we find an open invitation, an open affirmation, an open confirmation. You look up the whoever’s of scripture and you notice that you are in the “whoever”. I am in “whoever”.
To make him the dwelling place of protection, the hiding place of prevention. We can know. We can love. We can trust him. My refuge, my fortress, my God. Makes it a very personal relationship. You see yours? Is he of most value in your life? Can you address him by name?
The four names that God has given of the 16 or so in this very Psalm Of the most high, the Almighty, God, Lord. He protects you. He delivers you. He blesses those who trust him. The sum of confidence and comfort, even counsel. It’s a wisdom Psalm. The Psalmist lives it.
So my invitation to you and my sisters and my brothers to make the sovereign one your security. Make the sufficient one your security. Make the saving one your security. Make the strong one your security.
He will be a quiet place for you. The private place. The hiding place. The dwelling place. The secret place. The secure place.
He conceals me as I rest. And he carries me as I move. Because of an extensive itinerant life often to the most challenging places in the world, I would wonder if my wife would ever stop me.
We would look at the .gov websites and overseas travel to the places I was going to was not recommended. Then Bonnie had a beautiful phrase, which lifted my heart as I once more said farewell to my family and the separation anxiety of leaving my wife and children would dawn upon me. She said to me, you are safest in God’s will. You could be here and get killed. You are safest in God’s will.
In concluding this particular episode, I point you to an early Hillsong version of Psalm 91 and some other parts of the Psalms. Simply says, “my spirit rests in you. You’re all I know. Embrace and touch me like a child. I’m safe in you. You’re my shelter through it all. You’re my refuge and my strength. Lord, I hide in the shadow of your wings.” Let’s rest in the sovereign one who unfolds us, for he the Almighty one secures our well-being.