“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty” – Psalm 91.1
Maybe it has always been this way, but these days it seems that the name of the game is to make a name. The drive for fame and recognition is so strong it presses people to do all sorts of crazy stuff. Whatever it takes, good publicity or bad, just get your name out there and build your brand.
But every now and then we encounter a refreshing example of someone who does something great – anonymously. They do their thing and they do it well, but they don’t promote themselves in the process. They leave that part to God.
This is the case for the mysterious writer of Psalm 91. You will notice that most of the psalms have the name of the author at the beginning, but not this one. A name is conspicuously missing. So we’ll call him Anonymous Man.
The irony is that while the writer chooses to remain anonymous, he quickly makes reference to several different names and titles of God. Within the first couple of sentences, he uses four different names. In other words, he doesn’t care if you know his name, but he definitely wants you to be acquainted with his favorite names of God. Why? Because each of God’s names has significance and meaning. Each one is loaded with relevance. God’s various names reveal to us who He is and what He is like. In the names of God there is power, comfort, and security.
So, with help from a beloved Bible teacher who recently passed, Warren Wiersbe, here are the four names of God mentioned by the psalmist, plus their meaning:
- “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High…” (v. 1) The Hebrew word is Elyon. Wiersbe explains this name refers to the idea that,”…God is higher than the rulers of the earth and the false gods of the nations.”* As they say, “There’s no high like the Most High.”
- “…will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” (v. 1) The Hebrew word is Shaddai, meaning He is the “all-sufficient God who is adequate for every situation.”
- “I will say to the LORD…” (v. 2, 9, 14) The Hebrew word is Jehovah, meaning He is “the covenant-making God who is faithful to his promises.”
- “…my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust” (v. 2) The Hebrew word is Elohim (plural), meaning He is the “powerful God whose greatness and glory surpass anything we can imagine.”
It’s almost as if the writer is trying, in a good way, to call God every name in the book. Of course, he doesn’t use all of them, but it’s a pretty good start. He purposely fits these names into his lyrics so as to reassure us when we are scared and anxious, and to remind us that because God is all these things and more, our future is secure.
If a lot of people know your name today, that’s great. Praise God for the platform He has given you. Use it to honor Him. On the other hand, if you feel unknown and anonymous, that’s okay, too. You are not anonymous to God. He knows your name (and its proper spelling).
Thanks for the reminder, Anonymous Man. It’s okay if not many know my name, because what matters most is that they know the Name that is above every name…
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…Philippians 2.9-10
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.
*Warren Wiersbe, The Transformation Study Bible, David C. Cook Publishers