Psalm 91:1 (NKJV) “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
Do you have any secrets? Some secrets are fun to keep – like some secret gift we are planning to give someone we love on their birthday or at Christmas. Others are necessary in the sense of confidentiality, for to say some things we know in a public setting would betray a friend who may have confided in us. There are other secrets that have an evil nature, things like secret love affairs, secrets about cheating or theft, or some secret sin that a person engages in when no one can see them. Ephesians 5:11-12 refers to such things when it says, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.”
But then there’s another sense of the word “secret” that surpasses all the others. We see it being referred to in the passage above from Psalm 91 where it speaks of “the secret place of the Most High.” It tells us that it is a very blessed place of divine protection and it’s a place where a person can actually dwell. So do you know where this secret place is? Have you ever been there? Have you ever been to a place that just you and God but no one else know?
Jesus talked about this place in His Sermon on the Mount. Listen to how He talked about it: “When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-6).
So do you have such a place? Do you look forward to those times when you steal away all alone to spend time in secret with God? Do you spend time in the secret place talking to Him in prayer and pouring over the words He has spoken to you in the Bible? If we do, it will be evident in your life and mine. Certainly it is a good thing to come together publicly with other believers. In fact, God has commanded all believers to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). It is as we gather in such ways that we benefit greatly from the gifts of the Holy Spirit that have been distributed to each believer’s life. It is in these public settings that we so often learn from one another, pray for one another, encourage one another, and the list goes on. But if that’s the extent of our spiritual lives, we are missing out on what may be the most important aspect of all, i.e., the secret place.
You see, it is in the secret place that God so often deals with us most personally. It’s here that He teaches us specifically what He has for us at that moment in our life, thereby preparing us for how He would have us to love and serve others. Jesus modeled this, for we are told that He “would often slip away to the wilderness and pray” (Luke 5:16). In Matthew 14:23 we are told that “He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.” And in Luke 6:12 we are told of times when “He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” So, do you do that? Do you get alone with God so that you can pour out your heart to Him and He can pour out His heart to you?
In Mark 4 we have one of the renderings of Jesus’ parable of the sower. He spoke this parable as well as many other parables to great crowds in public settings. But then we are told this: “And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables” (Mark 4:10-11).
Do you hear that? Although Jesus said much of what He did publicly, the understanding of what He was teaching was given in intimate settings when He was with His disciples alone. These were obviously precious times. One wonderful example of this was when Jesus met two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus soon after His resurrection. In this wonderful story, which is recorded in Luke 24, Jesus reveals Himself to them “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Then, at their invitation, He entered their home to spend more time with them. When He suddenly left them, they said, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
So, have you ever had such times, times when your heart burned with the glorious truth God revealed to you as you dwelled with Him in secret? If not, you CAN experience this, for it’s available to all who would have it. For hasn’t God promised us that “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). So often, it is as we do this that we are prepared to share with others the things that He has taught us. It is those times in secret that will affect our thoughts and our actions that follow after, just as they certainly did our Lord and Savior as He set the example of spending much time alone with His Father (“and your Father” (Matthew 6:6)) in prayer.
May God help us to spend time alone with Him in the secret place, the shadow of the Almighty, that glorious place of instruction, protection, and blessed intimacy that is so wonderfully available to all.
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