This year marks the 40th anniversary of Mars Hill Productions! In this devotional series, president, Fred Carpenter is reflecting on the important lessons of God that have guided us in ministry and led us into a deeper understanding of His ways.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a safe place? This is a story about the safest place on earth.
In 1985 Mars Hill was working on a film called Angel of Light. It dealt with the “New Age” movement and spiritual deception. One evening while in production, my wife, Nancy, and children were on the set. I could see that filming was going well past midnight, so I suggested to Nancy that she take the children home. She was driving our van, and on the way home, while stopped at an intersection, several men approached the van and started banging on the doors, trying to turn the handles and open them.
With the men pulling at the doors, Nancy hit the accelerator and sped off. Arriving home, she got out and went to open the side passenger door to let the children out. The van door was a little ajar and slid open easily at her touch. What kept those men from doing the same?
Nancy was still awake when I got home and related the whole story. We prayed together and thanked God for keeping them from harm, then settled down and went to sleep. Later that morning, while it was still dark, something woke me up. I felt as though someone was watching us. I sat up and saw two figures just beyond the sliding glass door from our bedroom to our patio.
One figure was clearly in focus and the other was behind and somewhat translucent. Both were imposing in stature and cast in bright light. I pinched myself to make sure I was really awake. Could it be? Angels! They did not speak, but a great sense of awe and then peace came over me. Like a flash of light on an unexposed piece of film, their image was etched in my mind. And then, they vanished.
Sitting there, I felt as though I was wrapped in an unseen blanket of God’s assurance. I knew beyond all shadow of a doubt, we had nothing to fear in producing a film that would expose the dark spirits that try to lead us away from God. Sliding back down into the bed, I slipped into a deep peaceful sleep.
Whenever I think back on that experience, I am reminded of Psalm 91:11, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.” What a great promise from God! In fact, the entire Psalm is filled with promises of God’s protection! I would strongly encourage you to become familiar with Psalm 91. But as you do, be mindful that all of these promises are conditional. They are promises to the person described in verse 1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High. . .” He/she is the one who will experience the promises of Psalm 91.
So how does one dwell in the shelter of the Most High? First, it is important to understand that no one can stand in the presence of God without receiving the gift of forgiveness that Christ purchased for us with His blood on the cross. If you’ve never done that, then I would encourage you to visit this link to learn more: Knowing God.
For those who have an unobstructed relationship with God, the question remains, how does one dwell in the shelter of the Most High? To answer this, notice that these words are not describing a personal relationship with God, but rather a proximal or dimensional relationship to God. To describe our personal relationship with God we would use words like Father, Savior, Comforter, King, etc. The words in Psalm 91:1 are describing where we are in relationship to God, “in the shelter of the Most High.”
Of course, we are not physically in a shelter, any more that we are physically in a “fortress” (Ps.91:2), or under His wings (Ps.91:4). In Psalm 91, God uses concrete illustrations from the three-dimensional physical world to teach us truths about a spiritual world that is just as real, though unseen. It is in a sense, a fourth dimension. And this is where we “dwell in the shelter of the Most High.”
Basically, these words are describing a person that is where he/she is supposed to be in relationship to God. It is another way of saying, “in the center of God’s Will.” All the promises of Psalm 91 are given by God to the person who is in this place. Safety and danger are less related to where we are in the three-dimensional physical world than where we are in that fourth dimension. It doesn’t matter if you are dodging bullets in a battlefield or relaxing in your favorite chair, the safest place to be is in a right relationship with God . . . in “the center of His Will”, in “the shelter of the Most High.”
Corrie ten Boom was a woman who understood what it is to live in close proximity to God. Surviving persecution and imprisonment in Nazi Germany, she was yet able to say,
“There are no ‘if’s’ in God’s world. And no places that are safer than other places. The center of His will is our only safety – let us pray that we may always know it!”
- A person will never be free from the fear of threatening circumstances until he/she has resolved the matter that there is no better place to be than in “the shelter of the Most High” and “in the center of His will”.
- Many of the promises we find in Psalm 91 are Messianic. They are fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Those who are “in Christ” can rejoice in these promises because Jesus fully and perfectly abided in God. His sacrifice on the cross has given us access to “the shelter of the Most High”.
Additional verses to consider regarding our proximal relationship to God . . .
Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.
Psalm 18:2 – The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
John 15:4 – “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.”