The Secret Place of the Most High By David A. DePra
He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shall thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Ps. 91:1-4)
There is much Truth and comfort in this passage from Psalms, and I want to go through it thought by thought. The over all picture is one of protection. Yet the illustrations used speak very much of our New Testament relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Secret Place
The term, “the secret place,” in Hebrew means exactly that: A hidden or secret place. So right away we have a rather curious thought that God has put before us. Notice the details we are given: “The secret place,” actually belongs to God – it is, “the secret place OF the Most High.” So this is a GOOD place. Furthermore, it is a place we must DWELL – in other words, LIVE IN. Lastly, if I live in this secret place of the Most High, I will also live under, “the shadow of the Almighty.” The two are synonymous.
Certainly, what this indicates is that this, “secret place,” is not evident. The term itself makes that impossible – it would not BE a secret place if it were out in the open or evident. So this secret place must be a place that cannot be easily seen, if seen at all, with our eyes.
I submit that, “the secret place,” is our oneness in Spirit with God through Jesus Christ. That is the core of it – although it certainly is true that there are many applications that branch out from there. The reason this is called, “the secret place,” is because we cannot see it. It is not of the natural senses. Yet it is the most real, “place,” imaginable.
You and I have mind, will, and emotions. We have a body and a soul. We have a human spirit. But the secret place of the Most High is OTHER THAN those aspects of the natural human being. The life of Christ in us is ANOTHER KIND of life than the one we were born with through natural birth. It is a life that is NOT of the flesh, or of this creation. No. When Christ comes to dwell in us, we become ONE with Him in Spirit – through our human spirit being united with the Holy Spirit. This ONENESS is the secret place of the Most High. It is His abode in us, and our abode in Him.
But he that is joined (cemented) unto the Lord is one spirit with Him. (1 Cor. 6:17)
For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3)
Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:3)
Another Kind of Life
Most Christians characterize the new birth by what they have to GIVE to God. But the Bible teaches that the new birth is defined by what we have RECEIVED. Through our death and resurrection in Christ – which is the ONLY means by which we can be born again – we RECEIVE His life. We don’t receive a THING called, “eternal life.” No. We receive Jesus Christ, and HE IS LIFE. And yet His life isn’t the, “kind of life,” that we know anything about. It is ANOTHER KIND of life – resurrection life; incorruptible life. Through our union with Christ through death and resurrection, we relinquish our old life, and receive HIS.
We must come to terms with the fact that we are born into this world with NO LIFE in us. We are born with NO TRUTH in us. Indeed, we are born with a darkened mind – we have no capacity to receive the things of God. It is only because God first brings us light – the light of the gospel – that we are then able to surrender our dead selves over to Him and be born again. Sure. Spiritually dead people continue to possess free will. But must initiate by bringing light. God brings the light and does the drawing – even while we are yet dead sinners. But because He does, we can, while still dead sinners, relinquish our dead selves over to Him and be born again – unto newness of life.
Many of us think that, “newness of life,” means a fresh start; a clean slate. Well, it includes that. But NEWNESS OF LIFE means exactly that: A brand new KIND OF LIFE. It is a life we have never had before – with traits, capacities, and power that belong to Christ. In short, a new creature in Jesus Christ is a different kind of creature than the one we were in Adam. The new birth is supposed to be just that real.
As mentioned, this new life is the result of us being made one with LIFE HIMSELF through His death and resurrection. There emerges from that a oneness between our spirit and His Spirit – a oneness that is supposed to grow and be enlarged in us over the course of time. Our life in Christ is supposed to come to govern the rest of us – our body, soul, and human spirit. We are supposed to have our minds renewed according to the Truth. But all of this goes back to the fact that we have received INTO US, from the OUTSIDE of us, a new life from above, and been born again. That oneness in Spirit is, I believe, THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH.
You cannot SEE this oneness with Christ. You cannot SEE the new creation in Jesus Christ. But you can see effects and impacts of it. Jesus said this very thing:
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, You must be born again. The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:5-8)
The secret place of the Most High cannot be seen with natural eyes. But it is real – it is LIFE IN CHRIST. But not simply as a nice teaching or doctrine. No. Over the course of time, we will actually become conscious of Christ in us – conscious of another life. Notice how Christ in us is spoken of by the Christ and the apostles as a conscious reality:
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Cor 2:9-12)
Hereby we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit which he has given us. (1 John 3:24)
If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. (1 John 5:9-10)
So what do I mean that we will eventually become conscious of Christ in us? Well, I don’t mean that we will be, “taken over,” by Christ, or that we will become some weird kind of mystical people that are no longer conscious of the material world. Neither do I mean that we will cease having a sin nature, emotions, or a body. No. Rather, I’m saying that the Holy Spirit will do a work in us to make us conscious of the difference between all of those aspects of the natural birth – soul, emotions, etc. – and the life of Christ in us through the Holy Spirit. We are going to become more aware of when we are operating in our natural thinking and emotions, rather than by the Spirit. Unless that is the case, it would be impossible to, “walk in the Spirit,” rather than in the flesh. We would not know the difference.
To, “walk in the flesh,” is not necessarily immoral, according to the conventional definition. No. To walk in the flesh may be no more than walking governed by the SELF life, operating according to natural senses. But to walk in the Spirit is to walk in accordance with the life of Christ in us, and the Truth. But again – this would be impossible unless the Holy Spirit accomplishes some level in us of making us conscious of Christ, as distinct from ourselves.
Why do so many Christians have difficulty telling the difference between the Spirit in them, and their own emotions and natural thinking? Because they have not come to the place in Christ where they CAN know the difference – and they aren’t taught. And the fact is, it is entirely possible to live fully under the power of natural, religious flesh, and think that you are walking in the Spirit of God. It is possible to feel great elation, joy, peace, and even begin to sense POWER and other physical sensations – and for every bit of it to be in the soul realm. The Devil has a field day with this stuff. You see this everywhere today, especially on Christian television.
But God wants to do a work in us that will begin to show us, “the secret place of the Most High,” in Jesus Christ. He wants to reveal to us Jesus Christ, and to make us conscious of the life of Christ within us. This does not mean that we will not continue to need to walk by faith. No. But if, “the true knowledge of God through Jesus Christ,” means anything, and if being a new creation in Christ means anything, and if the resurrection power of Jesus in us means anything, it must mean more than WORDS. It must mean that we are going to become those who actually KNOW JESUS CHRIST – as the result of our union with Him. We will dwell in the secret place of the Most High – which is the oneness we have with Christ.
Notice also that the secret place belongs to the MOST HIGH. It is HIS, not ours. Again – God doesn’t give us a THING called, “eternal life.” He gives us HIMSELF in His Son. And because of that, we are holy – set apart for God’s use. We belong to Him. We are bought with a price. We live in, and abide in, Jesus Christ. He is the secret place of the Most High – He is that IN US.
The Shadow of the Almighty
“The shadow of the Almighty,” in this passage, is the place of protection. It is clearly just another way of describing the secret place of the Most High. When we abide under the shadow of the Almighty, we are protected, as it were, from those other aspects of our makeup that would otherwise do us spiritual harm.
It is so easy to be led astray, if not made totally miserable, by our emotions. How much suffering is caused by fear, and our other emotional reactions to life! God is telling us that this is not necessary. He wants to bring us to the place where we are able, when faced with situations that might evoke emotional trauma, and cloud our judgment – that at those times He wants to make us able to stand fast in the secret place of the Most High. We will be able to say, “No. There is NO TRUTH that I can call upon from my emotions, and from my fears. There is no sanity there. I will abide in the shadow of the Almighty; in the secret place of the Most High.”
Do we realize that aside from CHRIST IN US – who is the secret place of the Most High and the shadow of the Almighty – that there is NO TRUTH IN US? You can go round and round trying to discover the truth about a situation from your emotions, but you will never find it. Your emotions simply react. They are never the seat of Truth – not even in natural man – how much less in the new creation in Christ! Neither are you going to find the source of Truth in your brain or mind. Your mind can be, and will be, renewed according to the Truth. But this indicates that it is the Truth that is to be applied to your mind – and the Truth does the renewing. Your mind is not the source of Truth. No. Christ in us is the Truth. I can know Truth only by knowing Him, and that comes by revelation. It is a process, but in the final analysis, Christ is the only Truth, and the only life, we have.
The shadow of the Almighty is life in Christ – and it is to our fellowship in Him that we can run in time of trouble, rather than to our emotions or human reasoning. This may, at times, require that we DO end up in the dark or shadow, because you have to simply set aside your emotions and thinking in favor of FAITH. But nevertheless, Christ is our refuge and our place of safety.
Human beings are so used to operating by our senses, our emotions, and our limited understanding, that to put those aside and rest in Christ can seem scary. It will usually seem like we are losing control of our lives. But this is really the GOAL. It is the point to which God wants to bring us – and often everything that is happening is structured to getting us to that place of ZERO. We have to recognize that there is nothing in us that is going to suffice. We must rest in Christ. For in Him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:3)
Under His Wings
Jesus Christ — and His life in us — is our place of safety. Under His wings we are safe from our nature, and all that is of us that might do us harm. And of course, in the more general sense, in Him we are safe from the works of the Devil, and from death itself. He is our redemption and our life.
Now, all of this might seem a bit impractical. But we are here simply talking about the inward work of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit does that work in us, the outward, practical living begins to reflect it. The secret place of the Most High cannot be seen with the natural senses, but the impact of Christ in us can be seen in the lives of those who abide in Him.
Along that line, in our passage from Psalms, it talks much about protection, “under His wings” – which is the secret place of the Most High; the shadow of the Almighty. Certainly there is a promise there, that as it is in keeping with the will of God for our lives, that God will protect us physically, and provide all of our needs. But God is not satisfied to give us a physical place of safety to run. Of what eternal value would that be unless we had the secret place of the Most High within?
God is an immensely practical God. Christianity is to be LIVED. God wants us to become living witnesses unto Christ, and for us to reflect His kingdom rule. But for any of this to be real, and carry power, it must first happen IN US. What good would it be, for instance, if I wanted to reign and rule with Christ in a material kingdom, unless Christ was first reigning and ruling in me, and OVER me? I think we can see the point.
The secret place of the Most High, and the shadow of the Almighty, and under His Wings, all speak of CHRIST IN US – our relationship with Him, fellowship in Him, and all that it means as to protection. As the Psalm closes, “His Truth shall be our shield and buckler.”