THE SECRET PLACE
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
There is something about hearing the word "secret" that perks up the ears of the most casual listener, and make him or her more desirous of listening than they were before.
There is something intriguing about being the only other person in the whole wide world to know the details about a certain person or situation that is hard for most of us to resist.
Benjamin Franklin once said these words:
"Three may keep a secret it two of them are dead."
The Duke of Wellington is best remembered as the general who defeated Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. During his earlier service in India, Wellington was in charge of negotiations after the battle of Assaye. The emissary of an Indian ruler, anxious to know what territories would be ceded to his master, tried in various ways to get the information. Finally, he offered Wellingtron a large sum of money. "Can you keep a secret?" asked Wellington. "Yes, indeed," the man said eagerly. "So can I," replied Wellington.
Today in the Word, July, 1990, p. 35.
We realize that we are living in tremendously challenging times, and with the recent events, there is an element of fear and concern that has gripped the lives of millions of Americans.
Life just wasn’t supposed to get this difficult as we moved into the 21st century.
In America, we had the idea that if the world had questions, we had about every answer there was to have, but we have also failed to remember that God was the one who prospered us in the first place.
Now, we know that as we are out living our daily lives, that the
I. WHAT IS THE SECRET PLACE?
II. HOW DO WE DWELL THERE?
III. WHAT IS THE SECRET PLACE LIKE?
people we are talking to are looking for some answers, and are living with fears that is sending shock waves through our economy, and is affecting the airline industry tremendously.
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington exacerbated a situation that was already getting worse, said David Wyss, the chief economist at Standard & Poor’s. In the past week alone, companies have announced more than 100,000 layoffs.
’’People are concerned about getting killed and they’re concerned about getting fired,’’ Wyss said. ’’That makes it awfully hard to spend money.’’
Hardest hit have been airlines and companies dependent on tourism, as Americans decided to stay close to home in the wake of the hijackings. That continued to be the case yesterday.
Delta Air Lines said it would cut up to 13,000 jobs, or 16 percent of its work force, and cut back on its scheduled flights. The third-largest US airline joined every major domestic air carrier except Southwest Airlines in cutting jobs and capacity in the wake of the attacks.
Delta chief executive Leo Mullin said the airline’s ’’load factors,’’ or the proportion of seats occupied on its flights, have been hovering in the low 30 percent range this week. Delta is carrying about 140,000 passengers per day, Mullin said, down from a pre-attacks average of 300,000.
We must realize as Christians that God’s word has not changed in it’s meaning or relevance in these thousands of years!
He is still the same God today that he was when the writer of this Psalm penned the words, "he that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty"
There is still a secret place, and there is still a peace in the midst of the storm that we can know as children of God, that is beyond human understanding or knowledge.
First of all tonight, we want to look at this question:
I. WHAT IS THE SECRET PLACE?
The first thought that may come to our mind when we talk about a "secret place" may have to do with the fact that there were many times that David was hiding from King Saul as Saul was continually making attempts for his life.
David knew what it was to be on the run as a fugitive not from "justice" but from a jealous and unGodly king.
As the jealousy of King Saul continued to burn hotter, and hotter, David had to continually be on the move, or risk his life being taken.
No doubt there were many places that David had designated as "secret places" deep in the wilderness areas and mountains where he could go and feel some sense of protection from the fury of Saul.
There were "safe shelters", and nowadays, we would call them "safe houses" where one can hide or be protected from the pursuit of the enemy.
We can take comfort in the fact that God can and will protect His people, and although we do not understand all of the "why’s" of what happened a couple weeks ago, we also do not know how many times we were protected just on our way to church tonight!
This protection is there every day, and in every way, and we have no concept in the natural realm what may be taking place in the Spiritual realm.
Also, there may be the thought here in the mind of David of the protection of God even in the midst of battle and warfare.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion...
In those days, when a battle was going on, and camp was being set up, the tent in the very middle of the troops was often the tent of the commander, or captain of the army.
If the enemy was going to get at the "braintrust" of the battle, and defeat the leader, they would have to break through rank after rank of the encamped army before they could get near the middle.
David could also have been saying that even though we are in the middle of a battle, we need to stay near the captain or commander-in-chief if we expect to receive his protection.
When the battle comes, it is good to know that we can put our faith and trust in "the captain of our salvation", and hide even in the secret place of His protection.
This "secret place" in the middle of the army was so inaccessible to the enemy that nearly the whole army would have to be wiped before reaching the middle of the camp.
I believe tonight that God still has an army, and He also has an army of angels encamped around us on a daily and nightly basis, and we have reason to feel confident in our God!
If the church cannot feel confident in these days, then I ask you who else can?
But as we read this, we must come to the conclusion that there is a greater meaning being conveyed here, and that is the most holy place of the tabernacle that is alluded to...
That place where only once a year, the High Priest would come and offer the blood of the atonement for the sins of the people.
This sacred chamber was not a place for just anyone to walk into. It was a place that was to be treated with the highest of honor and respect, and in fact the priest was the only one who was allowed to enter. Even then, he would have bells on the bottom of his garment so that as long as the bells were ringing, the people knew he had not been struck dead by a Holy God.
This lonely, empty chamber was a place where the footsteps of sinful man were heard only once a year, and it also spoke volumes in it’s silence of the separation that existed between a Holy God and sinful man.
There, between the cherubim the glory of God shone forth, and it was in this place that God dwelt among his people.
David had a desire to be near to the heart of God. But this leads to a question that must be answered. We have talked about the Secret Place, but:
II. HOW DO WE DWELL THERE?
Literally, no man ever dwelt there up to that point. David was not thinking about going into the Secret Place or presence of God we have just discussed, putting his feet up and leaning back and starting a discussion such as "Hey God"
We must look at what David is saying in a spiritual sense, because he knew that there was no way he was going to go and "live in the most Holy Place"
However, we do know that the whole house of Israel entered the most Holy Place in the person of the Priest who went in once a year to sprinkle the blood upon the mercy seat.
This was their representative into the Holiest place, and while they went on about their lives throughout the year, they always knew that the blood of the sacrifice had been sprinkled upon the mercy seat, and in a sense "were under the shadow" of the "Almighty" -
The Priest became their representative in the Holy Place, and was literally under the shadow of the Most High when he went in to offer the blood.
We also must realize today that Jesus Christ entered into the Holy Place not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with His perfect sinless blood, and this blood was to not just cover over, but would take away the sins of the world.
He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.
We must realize today that the only way we can enter into this relationship with God in the first place is because of the blood of Jesus Christ!
It is that same blood that keeps us, and promises us a dwelling place in the presence of God.
Without the blood, there is no fellowship. Without the blood there is no dwelling. Without the blood there can be no forgiveness of sin.
We too, enter there when "in the Name of Jesus" we come to God!
The moment we begin to somehow believe that it is because of our own merit or goodness that we are accepted into fellowship with God, is the moment we begin to lose fellowship with Him.
So, we have looked at What the Secret Place is, and What it is to dwell there, and now we turn to:
III. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF THIS INDWELLING
First of all, we understand that the Lord is Our Refuge in this dwelling place.
The condemnation fo the Law and the holiness of God would fasten upon us quickly if it were not for the refuge of this wonderful place ..
It is related that during the Civil War a Confederate soldier who was placed far out in a lonely wood to watch suddenly felt a strange dread and fear come over him. The moon was shining dimly in the deeply wooded place. And while it seemed strange and unwise, he felt constrained to sing softly the old song, "Jesus, Lover of my soul let me to Thy bosom fly," and the stanza, "Other refuge have I none." This he did, and immediately felt relieved of his fear.
A few years later, when the war was over, he was at a meeting and sang the same song. After the song, a stranger came up to him and said, "I never saw you before, but I have heard that voice before." Then he asked him if he sang that song one night during the war. Then he related to him how he and some of his men, who were Union soldiers, were hidden behind trees and had their guns turned on him and were ready to fire! "But," said he, "as we heard that song, ’Jesus, Lover of my soul,’ and, ’Other refuge have I none,’ I said to my men, Don’t shoot that man,’ and we slipped away and left you. I shall never forget the voice I heard that night."
There is only one refuge and that is Jesus, and we need Him at the end of the way.
The law is in fast pursuit of the one without God, but when Grace meets law, Grace wins every time!
The Grace of God through His son Jesus Christ provides us the "unmerited favor" that we need to make it through this life in victory, and on to the other side.
It can almost be compared to being inside of a cage only the lion is on the outside doing everything it can to get at you. The arms of the enemy cannot reach through and take away your Salvation!
When we are in this Secret Place, there is a confidence that rests upon our lives that can only come from a relationship with Jesus Christ.
In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
This confidence that we can possess in the Secret place hardly comes from pride in who we are, but it arises from a fear of the Lord, and a respect for His ways!
Confidence is seen in a little brother walking by the neighborhood bully with big brother right beside him.
This relationship not only produces a confidence, and boldness, but it also produces in us a delight, and a joy that leads one to say, "He is my God"!
I believe tonight that we still serve a God who is a personal God! Yes, He is still capable of running the universe while we ask him for help in the daily operation of our lives.
That’s why we are able to say "He is my God" He is My Refuge, He is My Fortress, He is My Deliverer!
God is a shelter, a refuge when we are afraid. The writer’s faith in the Almighty God as Protector would carry him through all the dangers and fears of life. This should be a picture of our trust—trading all our fears for faith in him, no matter how intense our fears. To do this we must "dwell" and "rest" with him (Psalm 91:1). By entrusting ourselves to his protection and pledging our daily devotion to him, we will be kept safe.
David was a man who was not ashamed to talk about this great faith and trust he had in God either.
He easily could have just said, "you are my Lord, and you are my refuge, etc." but the Bible reads that David was one who wanted to tell others about the relationship he had with God.
"I will say of the Lord..." This speaks of an open witness and sharing of the Good News with those around you.
The day we live in is crying out for people who will "say of the Lord"
There is nothing so convincing as that of a personal testimony.
A missionary in India was once teaching the Bible to a group of Hindu ladies. Halfway through the lesson, one of the women got up and walked out. A short time later, she came back and listened more intently than ever. At the close of the hour the leader inquired, "Why did you leave the meeting? Weren’t you interested?" "O yes," the Hindu lady replied. "I was so impressed with what you had to say about Christ that I went out to ask your driver whether you really lived the way you talked. When he said you did, I hurried back so I wouldn’t miss out on anything."
The sure fruit of dwelling in the Secret Place of the most high is that we will have a desire to tell others about the fellowship that has been restored through Jesus Christ.
The rest of this psalm is a prolonged testimony of the blessedness there is in store for the one who dwells in this Secret Place.
Surely he shall deliver thee!