the secret of psalm 91

Dwelling in God’s Presence-Psalm 91:1 {Free Psalm 91 Print for 2024}

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Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by Sarah McCubbin

Psalm 91:1 talks about dwelling in God’s presence. I’ve always enjoyed peace and quiet, but as a mom of 9, that is a rare experience. My husband took our 6 younger children to the beach with my inlaws for a week. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

This was my moment, I was going to enjoy the peace. I was going to get so much done. I had my list ready. I was going to sit, drink coffee, meditate, write, read a book…you know, whatever I wanted, without interruption or distraction..or so I thought. 

I got up in the morning and did read my Bible with a cup of coffee. It was nice. I was even able to exercise afterwards. Wow, amazing! But as I tried to settle in to get things done, I found that I had a lot of distractions…things I remembered I wanted from Amazon and Walmart…better get those ordered. Oh wait, I better take a shower before I start. I should fill that dishwasher before I start.

psalm 91:1

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Oh, I haven’t eaten yet…let me find an apple and peanut butter. Better now. Oh wait, I should make more coffee…it has been over 4 hours since my last cup. Didn’t I look up an “online distraction” software yesterday…what was that called. I need to find it again. Surely THAT will help me stay focused. Haha! Can any of you relate? I may enjoy the quiet in my house currently but I am lying to myself if I say that I am peaceful or at rest…on my own…just because my little people are not here. I have plenty of inner busyness that prevents peace. 

As the title of this piece conveys, I was going to continue thoughts on Psalm 91…specifically the words…Dwell & Abide. I could not sit down…sit still to start writing which is so interesting because of how that connects to the words “Dwell and Abide.” Let me show you what I mean. 

What is the Secret of Psalm 91?

Many years ago, Psalm 91 became a foundational piece of my walk with the Lord as I learned that He is indeed trustworthy. I share that story in another post and encourage you to go back and read it!

If you know anything about Psalm 91, it is FULL of promises of God for us for protection from sickness, disaster etc. But there is a secret to unlocking the power in Psalm 91 and that secret is in the first few verses. Really. I’m not being weird (not much anyway.) There is a secret hidden in plain site. Verse 1 has two keys to this secret…Dwell & Abide.

Psalm 91 book Peggy Joyce Ruth

Key 1: Psalm 91:1 What Does it Mean to Dwell?

Psalm 91:1 says: 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (“Elyon”)

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.(“Shaddai”)

What does it mean to dwell in the shelter of the Most High?  I dwell in my home. When I hear that word, I think…I dwell in my home..I live there. 

And then I think of all the things I DO while living in my home. I wake up there….I go to sleep there and everything in between. I rest there and work and think and create and talk to my family. I DO all of that in my home that I dwell in. I exist and stay there. In my my mind, Dwelling is just a short leap to DOING

Now lets look at what it means to dwell in God’s presence. “Dwell” is the Hebrew word “yashab” (H3427 in Strongs) and it means “to sit, remain or dwell.”

 I love the picture of sitting in the shelter of The Strongest God. I am doing nothing but sitting there under the shelter of his protection. I am choosing to stay in the shelter instead of running out physically or mentally to fight the battle on my own with whatever great idea I come up with.

This is echoed in this verse in Exodus 14:14:

“The Lord will fight for you; you only need to be still.”

This morning, I realized that I’m fairly terrible at just sitting still doing nothing. DOING Feels Productive…SITTING & RESTING feels lazy. Even when my body is sitting, my mind is not resting…it just keeps do…do..doing. The Lord is teaching me that REST is a WEAPON. My fight is to enter and stay at rest. 

Key 2: What does it mean to Abide?

Let’s look at the rest of the verse:

Psalm 91:1 says: 

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (“Elyon”)

Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.(“Shaddai”)

So now we see the word “abide” here. Again, when I hear the word “abide,” I’m thinking of something similar to dwell…you stay or dwell or abide in a house for example. 

Abide” comes from the Hebrew word “luwn or liyn” (Strongs 3885) which means “to stop…usually overnight” and implies “to stay permanently.” 

I love it when the Bible repeats an idea multiple times in a short span of text…it is like God saying, “Hey, I told you something important. Did you hear me? Let me say it again another way!”I do this with my kids too! 

Free Psalm 91 Print

And right here, I hear God saying, I want you to come and sit under my protection in my shelter and I want you to STAY THERE. Don’t move. 

We will see a pattern of 24 hours several times in Psalm 91 and we see it here in the first verse. Come sit (daytime) and then stay there (overnight implication). We are invited to this place of protection…this relationship of protection 24/7 all the days of our life. We can come like small children to a loving parent and trust that our Father will take care of our needs. 

So today, I invite you to consider how the Most High God wants to provide a place of rest for you. We all carry burdens around but our Father wants us to stop trying to do it all on our own…in our own understanding and come sit with him and stay there. 

This passage is not just talking about a physical act..it is something we do in our mind. We sit…we stay…we dwell…we abide in our mind. I invite you to try something…to quiet your own mind…to set aside the to do list and the shopping list…to block out the background noise…for one minute.You can set a timer if it helps.  And when you do, ask the Lord to speak to you. And what do you hear?

Here is some of what I heard…I think its for you too:

“I love you. I love you how you are right now. You are special. Today is a good day that I have made for you. I am with you now and the next moment and the one after. I enjoy spending time with you and I want good things for you. Today is my day and I want you to enjoy every minute with your family…..”

In fact, the words kept on going when the timer went off. He is always speaking to us if we listen.

My Psalm 91 Story
dwelling in God's presence

Control Your Mind…Receive the Blessings

As we continue on this journey to look at the treasures in Psalm 91:1, it is essential to remember…Your mind is the Key to receiving the secrets of Psalm 91 and dwelling in God’s presence.

As part of a larger passage on controlling your thoughts, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10:5,we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Think about it…it is our job to bring our thoughts to submit to what Christ says…not what we see, not what we feel, not what we are worried about. We need to take what He says…and believe it above ANYTHING else.

This is what it means to dwell and abide…we can rest when we choose to bring our mind into alignment with what the Word of God says. We can choose to let God be God and step into a relationship where He is our Dad and we can rest as His kids.

If you are struggling to apply this truth to your life and you would like some help. I offer coaching in applying this truth to your life. Contact me to set up a session. I’d be happy to help.

Sarah McCubbin and her husband and 9 kids live in Ohio. She loves talking about all kinds of education topics and is passionate about helping families find the best education options in each season! Socially awkward growing up, she loves to help families teach life skills, social skills and leadership.

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