I just returned from a trip to the Kingdom of Shells, Sanibel Island, Florida. To me the marvel of a shell is in its endurance. It is a dwelling place, or refuge, that once housed a life of soft tissue. The destructible part, the mollusk creature that lived inside, is long gone. The shell is what remains. Made of the same chemicals that are the basis for rock, the shell has tumbled and rolled with the greatest of waves and arrived at the beach where I walk. A shell reminds me of God’s “shalls” and “wills.” Found not on the beach but in the Bible, these enduring phrases of promise are given by the Creator to His created. Psalm 92 reflects on a few of the more beautiful and hopeful “shalls” of God.
(1) “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.)
(2) 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.
(3) For then He will deliver you from the Fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
(4) Then He will cover you with His pinions and under His wings shall you trust and find refuge; His truth and His faithfulness are a shield and a buckler.
(5) You shall not be afraid of;
the terror of the night,
the arrow that flies by day (evil plots, slanders of the wicked,)
(6) the pestilence that stalks in the dark,
the destruction and sudden death that surprises and lays waste at noonday.
(7) A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand but it shall not come near you.
(8) Only a spectator shall you be (yourself inaccessible in the secret place of the Most High) as you witness the reward of the wicked.
(9) Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place.
(I’m having a brief interruptive thought as I read these words. Does it sound like these words indicate that if we make God our refuge He will be our refuge? Our freely made choice, the one we make when we choose God as our refuge, dictates God’s presence with us. We then become integral with Him like a mollusk and its shell.)
Let’s look at the rest of the “shalls and “wills” in Psalm 92.
(10) There shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent.
(11) For He will give His angels special charge over you to;
and preserve you in all your ways of obedience and service.
(12) They shall bear you up on their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone.
(13) You shall tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and serpent shall you trample under foot.
(14-16) God speaks about the man or woman who loves Him and chooses Him as their refuge.
“Because he (the man) has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high because he knows and understands My name ( has a personal knowledge of My mercy, love, and kindness—trusts and relies on Me, knowing I will never forsake him, no, never!) He (the man) shall call upon me and I will answer him; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.”
“Oh God, what beautiful “shalls” you have for those who trust in you. Even when troubles come, You promise to cover, deliver, protect, give refuge, stability, freedom from fear, ability to trample adversaries, support, courage, honor, limitless presence of You, satisfaction, and revealed salvation. How very awesome of You! In spite of all that tumbles around me, help me make my only refuge, YOU! Amen.”