Have you ever had a “secret” place where you could go when you needed or wanted to be alone? I have always enjoyed alone time so finding a secret place was important to me but it was difficult finding a place to escape growing up in a Minnesota suburb. I finally found one to escape to as often as possible behind our shed in the backyard. I loved to lie on my back watching the clouds pass by, dreaming about life, talking to God, or simply being “quiet”. Sometimes I would draw, sometimes write, or most often, imagine life somewhere else. Unfortunately, I could not “dwell” in my secret place. It was simply the place I escaped to when I needed or wanted to be alone. It was a temporary “holding” place of peace, protection, and tranquility in an otherwise chaotic life.
There is a Scripture verse which brings to light the possibility of dwelling in a secret place instead of simply escaping to a secret place.
Psalm 91:1“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
We can dwell on earth and dwell in the secret place simultaneously. Discovering this was life-changing. Before basking in the glow received from the incredible joy of dwelling and abiding in this secret place, we must appreciate how elaborately Father created us. God intricately formed us as body, soul, and spirit. Basically, the body references physical being. The soul is made up of our feelings, desires, affections and aversions and our spirit is the seat of self. It is actually the source of any power, affection, or emotion. Our spirits connect with God’s Spirit as He dwells within us.
Scripture gives insight, differentiating our body and spirit. Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” John 6:63 “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
Our spirits are joined to God and His Spirit lives in our spirit. 1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.”
It was Mary’s soul (her affections, desire, and will) which magnified the Lord! Luke 1:46 “And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord!”
We are to love the Lord our God with everything within us, and we see our body, soul, and spirit rise up to love God in Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength: this is the first commandment.”
Scripture reveals the “eternal” aspect of our spirits in Acts 7:59 “And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” John 19:30 “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” Both Stephen and Jesus possessed their spirits but gave them up and we see how they live on.
This explanation of body, soul, and spirit enlightens us on how to physically live on earth yet spiritually dwell in the secret place. Our bodies are here, yet our affections and desires can be completely caught up in our heavenly Father, and our eternal spirits are focused on our Lord and Savior at all times.
Obviously we live in homes here on earth, yet God tells us to abide with Him spiritually. Dwelling in the secret place of the Most High literally means to “reside” with Him. As Christians we need to find this secret place and dwell with Him because out of this relationship we can effectively minister to people who dwell only in the midst of a fallen world. How do we find it? By seeking Him with our whole heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
When we find that secret place we must decide to dwell with Him. The secret place means a place of defense and protection. God speaks of “hiding” us when we find His secret place. We get to reside in a place of “protective custody” with the Most High God.
Psalm 27:4-5 “One thing I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple.; For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” 31:19-20 “Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, Which You have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men! You shall hide them in the secret place of Your presence From the plots of man; You shall keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.”
When we live in communion with God we are forever safe under his protection. This intimacy preserves holiness, peace, and security at all times when we live in His secret place. When we choose to “sit down” with God refusing to be moved, the things of this world become trivial in comparison with His greatness. We simply need to choose by faith to dwell and abide with God. One characteristic of a true believer is one who sits and stays in the secret place with Him. It is our true home, the only place we find to be completely safe and secure.
When our three older children were living at home and would begin to fight, tease, or mock one another, I was quick to remind them our home was to be a safe place, free of ridicule and judgment. It was a place where they could be completely who they were meant to be, take risks with no concern of teasing if they failed, and be unconditionally accepted and loved. Such is our dwelling place with God, a place of protection. It is a place we are free to be ourselves, free to grow, risk, learn, and love to be alone with our Dad. We have fun and converse with Him in the solitude found only in His secret place.
Abiding under the shadow of the Almighty tells us we dwell (abide) under the shelter (shadow) of the Almighty. As believers we can rest secure under His shadow as He shelters us from anything that would want to come between and distract us from dwelling in His presence.
Two Hebrew names for God are used in this one verse; Elyon and Shaddai. We dwell in the secret place of Elyon, the Most High God. Let the qualities of His name not be fleeting thoughts. He IS the most high God and we have the privilege of dwelling with Him. There is no one or no God higher than Him. When we grasp reality, we seize the truth nothing can harm us in the presence of Elyon. We abide under the shadow of Shaddai, our all mighty, most powerful God. We can rest, completely abandoned to Him because of who He is.
Unlike my childhood reality of escaping to my secret place, we not only gain admittance to God’s secret place, but we take up residence in His secret place under His protection. I pray you experience this wonderful habitation and learn to live in His secret place all the days of your life.