What Does It Entail?
To dwell is synonymous with: to inhabit; to reside; to live; to settle. Dwelling also means thinking, speaking, or writing at length about (a particular subject). This article presents the subject of dwelling based on the above meanings. The article is majorly anchored in Psalm 91.
Before DWELLING on Psalm 91, let’s deviate a little and look at Isaiah 33:14-16:
“The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear. Terror seizes the godless.
“Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry.
“Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
Those who are honest and fair,
who refuse to profit by fraud,
who stay far away from bribes,
who refuse to listen to those who plot murder,
who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
these are the ones who will dwell on high.
The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance.”
In Psalm 91, the psalmist brings out the importance of dwelling (living, abiding, SETTLING) in the presence of the Lord.
Firstly, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand].”
A person dwelling in a place, is not in a hurry to leave or depart from that place – they reside there – it is their residence; where do they leave their residence for? As believers, we need to LIVE, TO INHABIT, TO SETTLE in the presence of the Lord, even in His secret place; a place where we are assured of who we are in Him; a place where our identify is affirmed. We need not have any doubts whatsoever of our relationship with God. We need to have a permanence perspective. Our living in the presence of the Lord is not a trial and error relationship with him, nor is it a “come-we-stay” sort of engagement – We dwell – We live – We reside and We settle in the presence of the Lord.
Like in the case of marriage, God instituted it as a permanent relationship (till death do us part). However, on many occasions, there are couples who are in “come-we-stay” relationships, yet this is not the way God intended it to be. Why do such couples embrace this kind of a relationship? It is because the relationship is based on a trial and error approach. The couples have not chosen to dwell, to settle with each other. They have not yet affirmed each other – there are areas that they are still watching and assessing to determine if they will truly embrace each other as spouse for life. As a result, a spirit (mindset) of permanence cannot be embraced easily.
Verse 2 of Psalm 91 notes that: “I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust!”
A believer cannot make the Lord God their Lord (Master), their refuge or fortress if they don’t completely trust in Him. If their hearts are divided – some thoughts are in another god (idol) – could be a job, an investment, a relationship or whatever else one esteems higher than God, and other thoughts are on God. Some help is seen to come from a different source other than God, while other form of help is seen (and expected) to come from God! Dwelling in the Lord, in His presence, cannot be achieved if one is not certain of who God truly is. However, as one completely surrenders and yields to the obedience of the Lord Jesus, it becomes easy to have him as the Lord over one’s life – a refuge and a fortress. Dwelling in the presence of the Lord requires a permanence attitude – it does not work with a come-we-stay outlook.
On the other hand, a sinner who has not yielded to the obedience of Christ is not stable. Indeed, they shake, they tremble with fear – they are afraid. “Which one of us”, they cry, “can LIVE in the presence of this all-consuming fire?” (Isaiah 33:14). Sinners do not have a fixed dwelling place – they are neither here nor there. Today they pledge allegiance to one person or thing, and tomorrow to another. This staggering attitude is also characterized in their thought system. They don’t dwell on God’s thoughts (His Word). Instead, they are always scheming evil. A person who does not embrace a life of integrity will always want to ensure that they say the same thing as they said to the other person. They want to protect themselves; as a result, they tell a lie. Is it only me, or have you been close to a person who while speaking on phone, they say that they are in a different place of town! For example, you are in a restaurant having a serious meeting with a client, or just having a good time with a friend or a family member. The person sited in the next table picks a phone call, and after the usual salaams, you hear, “Oh, I am in Nakuru, I will be coming to Nairobi this evening”. You are sited right inside Java in Gallaria! What do you make of that!
Sinners cannot DWELL in the presence of the all-consuming fire, the presence of the Lord! It is a holy place, it is a holy ground.
Who can dwell in the presence of the Lord? I will explore this in part 2 of this article. In the meantime, enjoy the Lord’s presence.
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