Category Archives: Abiding

Safe Shelters

refuge-under-your-wingsIn my blog two weeks ago, I wrote about Yeshua as the Door of the sheep, and how He protects from us from all dangers.  Another closely related Biblical concept is that YHVH shelters us, but how does He shelter us?  In many places in the Psalms, David talks about YHVH sheltering us in His hiding place, for example:

  • Psalm 91:1 – He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty [El Shaddai].
  • Psalm 27:5 – For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His sanctuary; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me (the Orthodox Jewish Bible says that He will keep us safe in His Sukkah and shelter us in His tent)…He is our refuge and our fortress;
  • Psalm 32:7 – You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance;
  • Psalm 119:117 – You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word;
  • Psalm 144:2 – My lovingkindness and my fortress, my high tower and my deliverer, my shield and the One in whom I take refuge

Other scriptures speak about God sheltering us in His high tower, on a rock that is higher than us, or in his fortress, just to name a few of the graphic images He paints.  Many times David and others speak about YHVH as not only keeping them safe in His secret hiding place, but as actually being that hiding place, refuge, fortress, high tower, stronghold, rock, sanctuary, Sukkah, etc.  As an illustration of a high / strong tower, Sh’lomo says in Proverbs: the name of Yehovah is a strong tower; and the righteous run to it [Him] and are safe.  Now we are getting to the purpose of YHVH sheltering us in all these amazing ways: He is keeping us safe from the enemy.  Psalm 32:7 above provides one of the most beautiful word pictures of God’s protection in all of Scripture: He is not only our hiding place, but He protects us from trouble and surrounds us with songs of deliverance.

In Psalm 91, David says that no evil will befall him because he has made YHVH his refuge and dwelling place.  Because David is abiding under the shelter of His wings, YHVH has promised to give His angels charge over David to keep him safe against all physical and spiritual enemies and attacks.  In Verse 14, He says that because we know and trust in His name (Yehovah), He will set us up on high places (a high rock, high tower, etc.).  He also promises that no evil will befall us, no plague will come near our dwelling, and we do not need to fear the arrows by day or the pestilence that comes in the night.  Finally, in Verse 7 He paints an even more vivid picture of how he delivers us in the middle of great battles: “Though a thousand fall at our side and ten thousand are dying around us, these evils will not touch us” (NLT).

Even from the beginning, God has always been there to shelter us and keep us safe.  When He created the Garden for Adam and Eve, He created it as an enclosed garden that was protected on all sides against enemies.  The meaning of the “Garden of Eden” [Gan Eden] from Hebrew is a sheltered or enclosed garden.  There are many examples of how God has provided for our protection in His creation. For instance, the way an eggshell protects the baby chick as the strongest shape in the world, or the way a mother’s womb protects her unborn baby against environmental dangers.

When God saved Noah and his family from the flood, He once again protected them with an Ark that provided their covering and protection from all the devastation that was going on around them.  Another example of YHVH’s protection was the lamb’s blood covering He told the Israelites to apply to their doorposts to protect them from the angel of death.  In the end times, YHVH’s remnant will be sheltered in the protective rocks of Petra (Bosrah in Hebrew), waiting for our King, Messiah Yeshua, to come and usher us into the homeland of Israel.

As you think about all the ways YHVH protects and shelters us in His fortress or high tower, think about the Hebrew letter “tet”, which in the ancient word pictures represented a shelter for protection.  It is used in the word beten to mean the house that surrounds life (the mother’s womb), and in the word for trust (batach), which pictures us being safe inside the surrounding fence.  The word seter means a hiding place or covering, and from the ancient word pictures it literally means a secret hiding place.  Whereas the word for adversary (satan) means the snake that devours life, YHVH provides the seter hiding place which protects us from evil.  Would you rather be under YHVH’s wings which protect your life from harm, or the enemy’s snake-coil which devours your life?

Abiding (Part 2)

Abiding

Last week, we examined some of the definitions of the word abide (according to merriam-webster.com) and how Scripture verses on abiding in YHVH address each definition. We discovered that there is more to the word abide than is obvious at first glance. Here is a brief recap of last week’s blog. Abide can mean “to await”. We must await, or be on the lookout for, YHVH’s call to us so that we can respond promptly. Abide can also mean “to bear patiently or tolerate”. We must be willing to embrace opposition, persecution and suffering for the sake of our relationship with YHVH. A third definition of abide is “to accept without objection”. We must be yielded unconditionally to YHVH’s will for us.

Now, let us examine the final two definitions of abide to see whether Scripture also deals with these definitions. A fourth definition of abide is “to remain stable or fixed in a state”. In John 15:4-9, Yeshua explains what it means to abide in Him in this way.

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Branches on a fruit tree or a vine do not produce fruit by concentrating on the peaches or the grapes they are to produce. In other words, they do not sit on the vine or the tree and repeat “peaches, peaches, peaches, I must produce peaches,” but rather they are so connected to the branch or vine that they naturally produce the desired fruit. If we abide in Yeshua continually, then we will produce the fruit that Yeshua expects from us because Yeshua Himself will supply the fruit in us.

Notice also that the branches that do not produce fruit are gathered up and thrown into the fire. Many of us have the idea that if we have accepted Yeshua, we are “saved” and nothing else is required. If we half-heartedly read our Bible or pray occasionally, we will not produce the fruit that Yeshua is expecting from us. We then become useless branches to be gathered up and thrown into the fire. It is not enough to accept Yeshua once and think that is all that is required. We must continue to abide in Him, which means to be closely connected to Him in an intimate relationship.

In the physical realm, a branch that is separated from the vine or tree cannot be reconnected nor will it produce fruit. It will wither up and die and be thrown into the fire. In the spiritual realm, we may be able to separate from Yeshua for a time and then be re-attached later, but what is the result of such choices? When we separate from Yeshua, we automatically attach to the enemy. We will always produce fruit of one sort or another. The fruit of the enemy is an abomination to YHVH. When we stand before YHVH one day, we do not want to be associated with the enemy’s fruit. The fruit of the enemy is designed to try to undermine or weaken the kingdom of YHVH. We cannot serve two masters (Luke 16:13).

The final definition of abide is “to continue in a place” or “sojourn”. If Yeshua has returned to His Father in heaven and we are still here on the earth, how can we sojourn with Yeshua?

Therefore, if you have been raised up with Messiah, keep seeking the things above, where Messiah is, seated at the right hand of YHVH. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Messiah in God. (Col 3:1-3)

I recently heard a teaching at a class I am attending at Catch the Fire that illustrates how closely we are blended or melded with Yeshua. You are probably familiar with the story of the Israelites in the desert who were being bitten by poisonous snakes. YHVH had Moses make a bronze serpent on a pole. Those who were bitten by the snakes could look at the bronze snake and be healed. Many of us recognize that the serpent on the pole symbolizes Yeshua on the cross, taking on our sin and diseases and putting them to death in His body. But why a bronze serpent? Why not some other metal? Bronze is made by mixing tin and copper together. Once these two metals are united, they can never be separated.

Once we have been smelted with Yeshua, we can never be separated from Him. If Yeshua died on the cross, then we died with Him and we arose with Him triumphant from the grave. We are seated with Yeshua at the right hand of the Father. (Gal 2:20; Rom 6:4-6; Eph 2:6). In Colossians 2:20, we are admonished not to abuse our exalted position in Messiah.  You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world….

We must be ever mindful that we are blended with Yeshua and in Him we are exalted in glory. Therefore, we must live a glorious life as Yeshua did. Yeshua was constantly aware of His Father and saw His Father at work. Yeshua did the works of His Father (John 5:17, 9:4). We, who are seated in Yeshua at the right hand of the Father, must also do the works of our Father.

Scripture shows us that the word abide has much depth and meaning to us who are in Yeshua. It is not a word that we should skim over lightly for it contains a treasure trove of encouragement and instruction for us. Now when we read the word abide in Scripture, we can remember who we are in Yeshua and what it means for us to abide in Him and for Him to abide in us.