I had an interesting dream the other night. Dreams are not unusual for me; they are just one of the biblical ways God speaks to me, clarifying things or bringing direction and insight. This dream was more like a parable, and it illustrated exactly what I have wanted to write about: Psalm 91.
Psalm 91 speaks of abiding and dwelling in the shelter of the Most High, of trusting in God and making Him our refuge. This Psalm rivals Psalm 23 in its popularity; just about anyone who has been to a church service, or read even snippets of the Bible, will be familiar with it. We send Psalm 91 to our troops on the field as a promise of God’s protection, and we quote it to comfort those in hard circumstances.
I have often wondered how to “dwell” and “abide” better; it seems like such a slippery task sometimes, given the demands we feel to be anything but still! Just making eye contact and listening to someone for more than a moment requires such discipline sometimes! (My husband can confirm this…)
Yet the reward God promises for abiding in Him is extraordinary – deliverance from a multitude of dangers. Here is a summary:
God also promises:
Well, I do, but like you, I don’t always succeed at this. So the Lord gave me a dream to illustrate the idea, and I hope it will be meaningful to you, too.
In the dream, I was with a couple of others who were invited to attend an outdoor training by a ministry leader known for walking in the Spirit. It was a brief but powerful lesson. In front of us was a bare concrete slab, and the goal of the lesson was to learn – you guessed it – to walk in the Spirit! (God sure does make these things easy for me to understand!)
Suddenly, wet footprints appeared on the slab, one by one, as an invisible being walked across the concrete. We knew the prints were made by the Lord. The Lord was not visible to us, but His footprints were. We were instructed to follow closely in those footprints, just like you might set your feet in someone else’s prints in the sand or snow.
Since it was a sunny day, we knew we had to move quickly and stay close, because the wet prints would soon dry and would no longer be visible. If we couldn’t see them, it would be impossible to “walk in the Spirit,” since we would have no idea where the Spirit went!
It was a powerful analogy, and it brought to life the scriptures in Psalm 91. Abiding in the Lord means walking closely enough to converse with Him (v.15). We need to literally be under the shadow of His wings (v.4). My friends and I had to quickly place our feet in His footprints, not allowing Him to move so far ahead that His wet prints faded away.
By “dwelling,” or walking, this closely with God, not only did we know where He was going and have the opportunity to go with Him, but we also benefited from His protection. By placing ourselves near Him, He became a shield to us, like a shield-bearer of old.
Abiding in God’s Word means that our faith causes His shields go up all around us to protect us from the myriad dangers we might otherwise encounter. This is confirmed in Ephesians 6:16, which says that the shield of faith is what quenches all the fiery darts of the evil one.
HE IS our shield, as Psalm 115 declares in triplicate: “HE IS our help and our shield.” (Psalm 115, 9-11; emphasis mine). “Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul would soon have settled in silence…In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:17-19).
I want to make it my lifetime goal to always follow the imprints of His Presence, to be close enough to hear His comforting whispers, and to be shielded and protected as His wings overshadow me. How about you?
c. Deborah Perkins, 2014
Deborah Perkins is passionate about connecting people with God. She writes about knowing God and hearing His voice at His Inscriptions. To subscribe to her blog, click here.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.