A Shelter for God’s People

“Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”
—Psalm 61:3

BECAUSE OF THE UNCERTAINTIES of human life, its trials and tribulations, sorrows and troubles experienced under the reign of sin and death, mankind realize that they need shelter. Hence, all seek such shelter as may be available, or such as they can contrive. For instance, in addition to a roof over their heads, people need shelter from financial worries, generally secured by money or real estate. They need protection from law breakers, hence the police forces of civilized lands; shelter from the forces of hostile governments, provided for in armies and navies. Such arrangements as insurance companies do a great deal toward bridging over the uncertainties of life. These, as well as many other things, secure for the human animal a measure of peace and safety.

When the psalmist says, ‘Thou hast been a shelter for me,’ he is the spokesman for the consecrated people of God, the Christian church of the Gospel Age. Whatever shelter we may enjoy along natural lines, resulting from some of the foregoing human ordinances and arrangements, is attributed by Christians not to chance or good fortune, but to God’s providences for his people; for it is largely through these means that God fulfills the Apostle Paul’s assurance, we have “the promise of the life that now is”; and again, the words of the Apostle Peter: “His Divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life”—all things which are necessary so far as the present life is concerned. Peter also adds, “and godliness”; that is, all we need in order to develop that godlike character as seen in our Lord and Exemplar, Christ Jesus.—I Tim. 4:8; II Pet. 1:3

While thankful for whatever shelter we may enjoy along natural lines, we realize that the special needs of the Christian are spiritual ones, and that the Lord’s people especially need shelter as New Creatures in Christ Jesus. This is doubtless what the psalmist had in mind when, reviewing past experiences, he said, “Thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.”—Ps. 61:3

Many illustrations of this shelter of the Christian are brought to our attention in Holy Writ. For instance, as a shelter from the great catastrophe of the Flood, which destroyed the “world of the ungodly” (II Pet. 2:5), God provided an ark for Noah and his family—a type of Christ. We are protected through Christ from the great antitypical fire which is to cause the present evil world to pass away.—I Pet. 3:20-22

As a shelter for Israel’s firstborn from the destruction of the tenth plague, God provided the blood of the Passover Lamb: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” (Exod. 12:13) This is a beautiful picture of the shelter from condemnation provided for the firstborn of the Gospel Age, the church of the firstborn, through the blood of Christ, our Passover Lamb.

Again, if a man had accidentally killed a fellow man, and was in danger of his life being taken in retribution by their next of kin—the Divine arrangement under the Mosaic Law—God provided six cities of refuge, to one of which the manslayer might flee for shelter until his case could be investigated. (Num. 35:9-29) This was a fitting picture of the refuge provided in Christ for all from (by) willful sin against light and knowledge.—Heb. 10:26


Another typical shelter was that provided for Elijah in the cleft of the rock at Horeb. The account tells us that after being awakened and provided with some special food by the messenger of Jehovah, Elijah went in the strength of that meat for forty days until he reached the mount of God. (I Kings 19:7,8) The true church, as the antitype of Elijah, reached the antitypical mount of God by the close of the times of the Gentiles, A.D. 1914. When Michael stood up he began the work of overturning the old order of things of this present evil world as the General of Jehovah.—Dan. 12:1; Rev. 11:17,18

The three stages of this great time of trouble seem to be pictured by the three exhibitions witnessed by Elijah while sheltering in the cave (I Kings 19:9-14): the strong winds breaking in pieces the rocks; the earthquake; the fire; followed by the still, small voice. In the antitype we see how the winds of war have been followed by the symbolical earthquake—the great social revolution; this phase of the tribulation was helped forward by a second world war, even more destructive than the first. This, according to Bible prophecy, leads on to a period of general lawlessness (fire) which completes the destruction of the present order of things in church and state; to be followed by the ‘still small voice’ of truth, eventually to be heard clearly by all during the thousand years of Messiah’s kingdom.

In the midst of these experiences, God’s consecrated people are specially sheltered and protected by the truth and by God’s providential care. The prophet indicates this, saying, “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.”—Isa. 26:20

Thus, in this dark nighttime which is settling down upon the world, when the stormy winds of strife, as well as of false doctrine, are becoming more and more violent, our Heavenly Father has made ample provision for his people, providing us with the whole armor of God, bringing us into the secret place of the Most High, and “under the shadow of the Almighty.”—Ps. 91:1

May past experiences of God’s faithfulness and care for his own give us strong consolation and good hope for future days; for he is the same, he changes not. (Mal. 3:6) Our Redeemer, too, is similarly unchangeable, as we are exhorted to remember: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”—Heb. 13:7,8

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |