Covering - Lesson 1
Let’s look at a few scriptures together and see if we can uncover a common thread.
Exodus 33:22 And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by:
Deuteronomy 33:12 And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the LORD shall dwell in safety by him; and the LORD shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.
Psalm 61:4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. (covert is the covered place or shelter)
Psalm 140:7 O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. (A Psalm of David)
Isaiah 51:16 And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Isaiah 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
Do you see the pattern?
These are some of the verses that deal with this matter of covering on a personal level.
Strongs #5526 (saw-kak’) a screen; to fence in, cover over; protect:-cover, defense, defend, hedge in ( Ex 33:22, 40:3, Num. 4:5-14, Deut. 33:12, Psalm 91:4, 140:7)
Strongs #3271 (yaw-at’) to clothe: cover (Psalm 61:10)
Strongs #3680 (kacah) to conceal, cover, hide, overwhelm (Isaiah 51:16)
Obviously, this word covering speaks of protection, of safety, and of security.
Let’s look at some verses that deal with covering in a more symbolic way:
Exodus 26:7 And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.
Exodus 26:13,14 a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle on this side and on that side, to cover it. 14 And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers’ skins.
Every bit of the tabernacle was to be covered.
II Chron. 5:7,8 And the priests brought in the ark of the covenant of the LORD unto his place, to the oracle of the house, into the most holy place, even under the wings of the cherubim: 8 For the cherubim spread forth their wings over the place of the ark, and the cherubim covered the ark and the staves thereof above.
The wings of the cherubim covered the ark of covenant end to end. Three different places in scripture refer to the cherubim covering the ark.
Exodus 24:15-18 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. 16 And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. 17 And the sight of the glory of the LORD was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. 18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.
It is interesting this connection between the glory of the Lord and something covering it. We see it repeated over and over.
Ex 40:34,35 Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. 35 And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Isaiah 4:5,6 And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. 6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
The prophet looks beyond the “Day of the Lord” to that time when the kingdom will be established on earth. Not just the temple, but every dwelling will be blessed by the presence of the Lord! Unlike Isaiah’s day, “in that day” the people will be holy (set apart), and the land will be beautiful and glorious.
So we see, then, that this matter of covering is referred to over and over again in scripture, so it must be significant.
But does all this talk about covering apply to me today?
Let’s take a look at Psalm 91 and see if we can answer that question.
Read vs. 1- 16
Although no author is given for this Psalm, it
seems to be a continuation of Psalm 90 which is titled “A Prayer of Moses the man of God.” We can not be certain, but it is very likely this Psalm was also written by Moses. Jewish scholars consider that when the author’s name is not mentioned we may assign the Psalm to the last-named writer which is this case would be Moses. It contains many expressions similar to those of Moses in Deuteronomy.
As we have read earlier, Moses had many physical examples of God’s covering - God’s protection, God’s safety, God’s security. He knew that the Almighty God who led them through the wilderness would come between him and anything. This particular psalm is thought to have been written after the plague of the fiery serpents.
Quote from C.H. Spurgeon
“The blessings promised in this Psalm are for those believers who live in close fellowship with God. There are many believers who run to this place often, others who enjoy occasional approaches, but there are some who habitually reside in the mysterious presence of God. They so abide in Christ that they become possessors of rare and special benefits, which are missed by those who follow afar off. “ (Spurgeon)
This reminds me of a book entitled, “Practicing the Presence of God” letters from and conversations with a 17th century French monk, Brother Lawrence who was determined to do nothing outside of the presence of God. He was an unlearned man in the teaching of the schools, but his wisdom and spiritual insights have helped bring people closer to God for more than three centuries.
Excerpts from book: pp. 12, 16, 37, 27
“The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.”
“We should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by continually conversing with Him. It is a shameful thing to quit his conversation to think of trifles and fooleries. We should feed and nourish our souls with high notions of God.”
“As for my set hours of prayer…I consider myself there as a stone before a carver, whereof he is to make a statue: presenting myself thus before God, I desire him to form his perfect image in my soul, and make me entirely like himself.”
Brother Lawrence came to the conclusion that you did not have to steel away as a monk to experience the presence of the Most High God. He found that man can “dwell under the shelter of the Most High” at all times and in all places. He said that we should, “Once for all, heartily put our whole trust in God, and make a total surrender of ourselves to Him, secure that He would not deceive us.”
Let’s look again at the first verse of this Psalm:
He who dwells in the shelter (secret place KJV) of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
What does it mean to dwell?
It means to be in a place for any period of time, but the Hebrew implies a larger amount of time, a resting, enduring and remaining with constancy. My home is called my dwelling. It is where I am most comfortable. It is where I entertain my guests. It is where I raise my family, where I rest, where I sleep, where I most often get my nourishment. Where I live.
So I can choose then, to make the shelter of God Most High my dwelling place. I can choose to raise my family in this shelter, to entertain my guests here, to sleep here to make His shelter my home.
And whether I am weeding the garden, washing dishes, studying, or just relaxing, I can dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
And if I do so, I will be abiding in the shadow of the Almighty.
Why did the Psalmist choose these particular names of God in this first verse? Most High means that there is none in any higher position than Him, and Almighty reminds us that He can not be overpowered.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower. The righteous run to it are safe.”
Safe from what?
Safe from evil, safe from sin, safe from pride and selfishness.
The Almighty Himself is where His shadow is. Moses experienced the literal shadow of God under the cloud of His Sheckinah glory. The Israelites dwelt under the shadow of God when the death angel passed over Israel.
I can think of nothing which brings me greater comfort, strength, and confidence than these realities. The same God who sheltered Moses and the children of Israel provides shelter for me even today.
I want to call your attention to the KJV which reads, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”
We came across this word secret in our study of covenant. Does anyone remember where it was found?
Psalm 25:14 The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant.
Is there a connection between these two verses? What is this secret? Could it be His mind revealed to those who endeavor to walk in constant communion with Him, and trust Him as a personal shelter, refuge, and fortress?
As we continue our study of covering, let’s seek to answer that question.
I would encourage you to spend some time this week meditating on Psalm 91. Be ready to bring back just one truth that the H.S. impressed upon you personally. ( Begin to diagram this Psalm: Literal, Spiritual, Personal)
Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1992. Be comforted. An Old Testament study. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.