In light of the recent events, I felt that it was important to address the persecuted church. I also wanted to touch on being bullied for our faith or harassed for our beliefs. What do we do when moments like these come? We Dwell.
As we have been studying Psalm 91, the word "Dwell" hit me. The Lord woke me up at 2:30 the other morning with what it means to dwell in the shelter. My mind has been blown with the revelations and scripture bunny trails He's been taking me down! What does it look like to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, in times of persecution?
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalms 91:1 NIV
The Hebrew word for dwell means, to sit, and to make one's home. But it goes even deeper than that. It means to be married to, to have a covenant with, or stay put. Dwelling in the shelter of the Most High and resting under His shadow means, we never leave His covering. But the thing about the shadow of His wings is that usually means a bird’s wings are spread to create a shadow. Could this mean the bird is flying? Could dwelling under the shelter mean we must follow where His Shadow is going? If we are making His shelter our dwelling place, our place of residence, then our home is a moving one. The foundation has wings. We see this with God leading the children of Israel with a cloud by day and fire by night. We know that He goes before us and follows us. He makes a way where there seems to be no way. He leads us through the valleys of the shadow of death. Our fortress, our strong tower, our hiding place, our shelter, is a mobilized Kingdom. Wild huh? This moving shelter will lead His saints into forbidden areas, where the gospel is not allowed, and death is the penalty. He sends them behind the iron curtain, past guards, breaking the laws of man, to save the souls of many. This mobile fortress goes with us to hostile workplaces, and atmospheres of rejection or being ridiculed for our faith.
The gospel has advanced because of persecution. Promotions have come because of betrayals. Purposes are revealed because of pressure. The more the enemy tries to squeeze and suffocate the breath out of the Word of God, only causes it to propel. Satan forgets his own tactic; that when he makes something appear forbidden, he is actually making it attractive. Dumb devil. The pressure of persecution can never decrease the Kingdom of heaven because the Kingdom of heaven is where God dwells. And no devil, government, or man has that kind of authority to stop a shadow from entering into a forbidden land. And if God is sending us into a dark place, he will cover us with His shadow, covertly getting us to our destination.
I have seen a spiritual law about persecution; it brings increase. Like the draw of an arrow or the storm that turns the blades of a windmill, the pressure of the winepress, and the grinding of the olives: all are examples of what appears to be destroyed but in essence, is creating something new!
A powerful picture for us to understand with the word dwell in this verse here:
“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Translation- He inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3
The same Hebrew word used for inhabit in Psalm 22:3 is the same word used for dwell!!! So, hear this- God is committed to living in our praise. Never leaving it. He is married to the place we make space for Him. He promises Himself. He inhabits, dwells, sits, lives, and stays put, in the praises of His people. This understanding of dwell brings a new light to this verse, “His praise will always be on my lips.” Psalms 34:1 NIV With praise comes His presence.
Praise is a weapon and now we know why. Because the God of angel’s armies’ lives, dwells, remains abides, camps out and is resting in our praises.
· Joseph was preserved in his persecution and God was with Him in each harassing moment with favor.
· Stephen was rescued in the middle of his persecution. He saw heaven open before he tasted death.
· Paul and Silas endured persecution. They were beaten and sent to jail, singing praises. It shook the earth and saved a soul.
· Paul was propelled by persecution. And though he was often at death's door, it held no authority over him until he finished his race.
· The three Hebrew boys, thrown into the fiery furnace, worshiping God, brought God Himself into the flames with their song.
Countless times we see the shelter come to the persecuted. A Kingdom mobilized because they knew that praise dispatched heaven. Our praise is the dwelling place for our King. Our lifted, surrendered, authentic, personal, adoration, invites and creates space for Him to land. To rest. To hover. To spread His wings. To abide.
Dwelling in the shelter is staying in the shelter not just hiding but abiding. His presence is in the Shadow. It’s in a song. It’s in a jail cell, a lion’s den, a furnace. It’s in an arena, and His presence is in a lineup before a firing squad. The enemy can not harness His shadow and he cant lasso a song of praise. Satan has no authority over a surrendered heart. We have already died to ourselves. Oh, may the persecuted church stay in the secret place! May His praise ever be on their lips. May they feel the presence of our Savior, the coolness of His shade in the heat of persecution.
Taking our hiding place with us, into hostile workplaces, or communist counties means no harm will come to our tent, even in our death. When persecution comes, the Kingdom of heaven is already in the moment.
“Precious [and of great consequence] in the sight of the Lord Is the death of His godly ones [so He watches over them].” Psalms 116:15 AMP
Precious in Hebrew means esteemed, costly, highly valued, influential!!!!! What a beautiful description of those who have paid the highest price for the gospel. There are no losses with Jesus, only investments. If one loses their life, they find it. When we die, we live. He watches over the life that served at all cost. Influential means having a great influence, significant, authority, and pivotal. King Jesus knows that His precious, costly, highly valued child, is influential in life and death. Influential and Significant is the death of His saints. That’s what this verse is saying. Their life was an investment in the salvation of others
When we live our life serving King Jesus, even in death, there are no losses, only investments. (read that again). Oh sisters, may we continue to pray over the persecuted church and those investing their lives for the Kingdom. Precious, influential, significant ones, may our life or our death be poured out like an offering to advance the Kingdom of God.
Tuck in tight under the Shadow of His wings girls, for the enemy cannot harness a shadow.
(heres the link to the teaching on praying for the persecuted)