Daily Bible Reading Reflections

The Shelter and the Shadow

Today’s Bible reading is Psalm 91.

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psa 91:1)

Shelter is good, but shelter coupled with the shadow of the Builder is better.

Think of shelter as provision. A shelter provides overnight refuge to the weary hiker on the Appalachian Trail. A fortress provides protection to people who can’t defend themselves. Shelter is good. Our homes are to be shelters for our children. But what if a husband and father who has worked to provide shelter–a roof over the heads of his wife and children–decides to abandon his family? Shelter is good, but shelter coupled with the shadow of the builder is better.

If shelter is provision, think of shadow as presence. An absent father casts no shadow over his son or daughter. My shadow will not be seen where I am not present. Sadly, not all who are present to cast a shadow are shelters to the people around them. Too often, the presence of some is more like a storm that batters and erodes the hearts of those who need them most. Devastating harm can be left in the wake of their imposing shadow.

This is what makes Psalm 91 so precious. The same God who casts an unequaled shadow has the gracious desire to shelter his people. He is the perfect Provider who is powerfully present. “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge” (91:4). Just listen to what the Builder of the shelter says of the man or woman who abides in his shadow:

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.” (91:14)

I live in a house built by someone whose name I don’t know. I drive a car engineered by someone whose name I don’t know. I cross bridges designed by architects whose names I don’t know. But my Creator? His name I know. He is the Most High who has provided the shelter of my salvation. He is the Almighty who daily casts the shadow in which I was created to abide. Therefore…

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” (91:2)

Shelter and shadow. Provision and presence. Shelter is good, but when those in need of refuge are able to trust and abide in the very shadow of the gracious Builder? That’s the blessed best.