Summary: Moses' Psalm, Psalm 90, the oldest Psalm in the book, tells us that God is a dwelling place and why we would want to take shelter in Him. Psalm 91 takes up the same theme and sheds light on how to take shelter in the Lord.
The Samaritan House, at which many of us serve food every week, is an awesome place, a place where people, who would not otherwise be, are safe and feed and taken care of for a while so they can find jobs and housing. We have some here this morning from the Samaritan House.
There is another place, another shelter, another refuge in which many of us here live. I live there. And in this shelter there is room for all and all are welcome. And it doesn’t have to be a place of just temporary residence. You can stay there as long as you want. I hope that anyone here who is not living in this shelter will move in with us today.
Deuteronomy 33:27 says, “The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms…” God is a dwelling place, a shelter, a refuge, with room for all. Maybe you can recall some the teachings of Jesus in John 15 and teachings in the letter of I John about abiding in the Son and abiding in the Father. We can move in to God, take shelter in God and abide there, live there. The Thessalonian letters in the New Testament both begin the same way. They both start off like this, “Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The Thessalonians Christians dwelled in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the place in which they lived.
But is God your dwelling place? Is He your shelter?
There is a sense in which we could say that God is the dwelling place of everybody. Everybody lives in God in a sense. Remember Paul, preaching to the pagans in Athens in Acts 17, said to them about the God who made the world and all things in it, “He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our very being…” Everybody lives in God in the sense that He’s omnipresent, He’s everywhere at the same time all the time and ruling over all things everywhere at the same time.
But there is also a sense in which God is not everybody’s dwelling place. Our dwelling places physically are our houses or apartments with insulated walls and locks on the doors, and conveniences like running water and electricity, and comfortable seats and beds, and we have our food and medicine and things we need there. And we live there for protection from weather and heat and cold and bugs and animals and bad people and other things outside. And we live there for our health and comfort and well being. Not everybody has a relationship with God where God is like that to them. Yes, everybody lives in the omnipresence of God. But only some people make God their dwelling place in the sense of like their home, their refuge, their fortress in which they’re safe and protected and blessed. When we talk about dwelling in God this morning, we’re talking about having a relationship with God where He is our safe haven.
We’re going to be mostly in Psalm 90 this morning, if you’d like to be turning there in your Bibles. And we’ll be in Psalm 91 a little bit too. A theme of both of Psalm 90 and 91 is that we need to make the Lord our dwelling place, our shelter, our refuge. And we’re going to answer 2 questions from these Psalms – why and how? Why would we want to take shelter in God? We can maybe build up for ourselves a shelter of money and possessions and friends and family and a good job and good insurance and a strong house in a good neighborhood and so forth. When we can have ourselves “covered” by all of that, why would we want to take shelter in the Lord? And how would we do that if we wanted to? How do you move in and live in God?
I. Why make the Lord your dwelling place
Psalm 90 is probably the oldest Psalm in the book of Psalms. The ancient superscription above this Psalm attributes it to Moses. “A prayer of Moses, the man of God,” it says. And we don’t have any reason to doubt that that’s what this Psalm was. This is the only Psalm attributed to Moses. And Moses of course lived way before David and Asaph and Solomon and the other authors of the Psalms. So this is probably the oldest one in the book.
v1 says, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.” I think Moses is speaking there on behalf of all of God’s servants through all generations. He’s speaking on behalf of people like him, people like Abel and Enoch and Noah and Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Rebekah and Jacob and Joseph and Joshua and Caleb. People of God through all the ages have had God as their dwelling place, their shelter. And then in the rest of the Psalm Moses explains why they have taken shelter in the Lord; why you and I would want to do the same. I see 4 reasons.