at home in and through Jesus

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 91:1

Psalm 91 is one of those striking psalms, picturesque, and easy to remember (especially in the old King James). What hits me about the promise here is how we’re simply to live (other versions) or dwell in the shelter of God. And in so doing find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Yesterday I was in the yard sawing and cutting off some branches and limbs of the two trees we planted in our front yard. It was a hot day, high noon. And while enjoying the sun, which is not a given where we live (we have many cloudy days), I certainly appreciated the shade. Certainly for relief, as well as protection from its damaging rays.

Here we have God’s promise of his presence to protect us as a shadow. In other words, God being near. Our responsibility is simply to dwell in that shelter, and so find rest.

One of my favorite memories of the past was visiting and spending a weekend at Saint Augustine’s House, a monastery. It is symbolic of God’s house where God is especially resident through the symbols in place, which depict realities. And actually God is present wherever his people are. Wherever two or more are gathered in his name. We are God’s temple, both individually, and together.

But the key for us is to live out what we are. And that begins by simply living or dwelling consciously, or deliberately in that existence. In faith, simply trusting in God. At home in and through Jesus.

 

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when left to ourselves

Elijah was a man as human as the rest of us (James 5). After the great confrontation against and God-given victory over the prophets of Baal with the verdict in Israel that the Lord (Yahweh) is God, Elijah ran off and hid from Queen Jezebel, who was bent on his destruction, and seemed to despair of life itself. He had been on the mountain, but now he was not only in the valley, but in the desert, so to speak. He was lost, out of sorts, and in despair. He had done God’s will, in a most contentious context, and God has brought about a great victory. But now it seemed to Elijah, all for nought. He was ready for his life to end.

On a much smaller scale, nothing in comparison, but nevertheless the case, I’ve been on a similar trek. I will do something which I either think might be God’s leading, or seems good at the time, only to not only want to take it back later, but to grovel in a kind of despair and regret over having done it in the first place. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. And it seems like what happened to Elijah, we can expect will happen to ourselves as we endeavor to live in faith and obedience in a world that is set against, and even hostile to such faith. Of course there can be a settled indifference in the world as well. But when push comes to shove, one can be sure the world will respond, and it won’t be pleasant.

When left to ourselves apart from God’s grace, we are going to be at a loss for sure, and our actions, or more precisely, our reactions, are more often than not going to be unhelpful.

In spite of himself, God supplied what Elijah needed at the time. He needed food and rest. And orders for his next task, or the sense of mission and how God was leading him beyond that time (1 Kings 18-19).

The God who is with us to help us do his will in the midst of opposition, will be with us afterward, and beyond. We are not left to ouselves. And not only did God not forsake Elijah, but a remnant of no less than seven thousand remained faithful to the Lord. We also have each other in Jesus.

Therefore we need to faithfully plod along, taking one step at a time. Intent on seeking God and endeavoring to live in his will, come what may. Assured that he goes before and behind us, and with us, each step of the way.