He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.…
There is some thing about the word "shadow" that always interests, for there never has been a shadow without the light; thus the "secret place" must be a place of brightness. It is a place where God is, for the nearest of all things to me in the sunlight as I journey is my shadow, and he who walks in my shadow or rests in it must be very near to me, so that when I am in the shadow of God I can reach forth my hand and touch Him; I can lift up mine eyes and see Him face to face. I know there is a sense in which God is always near us; He is in all things and He is everywhere; but there is something about the "secret of His presence" to which every one is a stranger until he has dwelt there.
I. THE TYPICAL REFERENCE must be to the holy place of the tabernacle, which the priests were privileged to enter; but Peter assures us that we have become in this new dispensation "a holy priesthood," so that it is possible for us to enter on that ground. For in the tabernacle just beyond the veil was a glory cloud, and all the magnificence that could be wrought in gold and silver, purple and fine linen; but I am persuaded that even that was as nothing when compared to that which awaits us when we enter the secret place of God.
II. It would be impossible for one to read the verses immediately following the text without being impressed with the fact that THE MOST REMARKABLE RESULTS WILL FOLLOW OUR ABIDING AND DWELLING IS THE "SECRET PLACE."
1. In the "secret place" there is peace. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," our Master said, "but in Me ye shall have peace." I have read that a certain insect has the power to surround itself with a film of air, encompassed in which it drops into the midst of muddy, stagnant pools, and remains unhurt. And the believer may be thus surrounded by the atmosphere of God, and while he is in the midst of the turmoils of the world he may be filled to overflowing with the peace of God, because God is with him. This is true whatever your occupation, if it is ever so menial. The Rev. F. B. Meyer tells us of Lawrence, the simple-minded cook, who said that "for more than sixty years he had never lost the sense of the presence of God, but was as conscious of it while performing the duties of his humble office as when partaking of the Lord's Supper." What peace he must have had.
2. In the "secret place" there is purity. I suppose we might have been with Jacob when in his dream he saw the heavens opened and beheld the angels going up and coming down and heard the voice of God, and we should only have seen the dreary mountains round about. I doubt not but that we might have been with Paul when he was caught up to the third heaven, and we should have seen nothing but the humble surroundings of his tent; and I doubt not but that if Paul were here he would see God here this morning, and he would have walked on the street with Him yesterday. Is not the trouble with ourselves instead of our surroundings or our times? Every permitted sin encrusts the windows of the soul and blinds our vision. And every victory over evil clears the vision of the soul, and we can see Him a little plainer.
3. In the "secret place" there is power. There can be no effective service that is not the outcome of communion. Our Lord's Day precedes the week of work, and this is always the plan of God. That wonderful fifteenth chapter of John is founded on that idea. We must abide first, and after that we cannot help but bear fruit. Oh that we might be so near to Him that we should be magnetized and charged with a spiritual force that the world can neither gainsay nor resist.
III. HOW MAY I ENTER INTO THIS "SECRET PLACE"? Cannot something be said that will make the way plain? It can all be summed up in this answer. None can "know the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him." Jesus Christ said, "I am the way, I am the door, by Me, if any man will, he shall enter in." There are some places in the Bible where the way seems plain. "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in Me and I in him."
(J. W. Chapman, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.