Psalm 91:1-2 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (NIV)
The Israelites of Moses' day trudged, sandal-shod, through the desert of Sinai. The need to find shelter from the blistering heat meant survival. Finding shelter meant so much more than just finding a pleasant place to rest for a night. Shelter meant life. Desert-baked dehydration kills. Thus shelter and water in a weary land meant, and still means, life.
I learned that first-hand at Qumran in 1997. The Judean desert is brutal. I felt the sun-scorched landscape mercilessly radiate back the sun's heat. While I listened to the guide explain the scene before me, I mopped my brow with a soggy paper tissue, and so did the woman standing next to me. The air sizzled and danced in 130-degree-F temperatures. A mirage, faking water on sand, made us even more thirsty. Bottled water provided only temporary relief. We drank gallons of it. We shuffled beneath a water-soaked palm branch canopy seeking refuge from the blazing heat, but our collective body heat drove us back to the edges in an effort to catch a derelict breeze. We deluded ourselves into thinking that a scant breeze blew from the Dead Sea. We found little reprieve.
Thankfully, we were soon ushered back into our air-conditioned bus. As I settled in my seat, I wondered how the Israelites endured forty years of wilderness wandering. That day, I developed a new appreciation for the struggle of those Israelites. Likewise, deep within my soul, I knew that life lived through Jesus Christ, which is living within the shelter of God's shadow, provides more relief for our daily struggles than any shade tree on a sizzling hot day.
Prayer: Lord God, through Christ Jesus, we find in You our shelter from our daily struggles. May those who have yet to come to know You, find You, through Your Son and our Saviour. Amen.