Tag Archives: Safe

Singing with the King (80) – Like a Child

O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother, my soul is like a weaned child within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forever. (Psalm 137)

Mom and Child SleepingThis is the first time I have used an entire Psalm as an opening. But then it is only 3 verses long. I first ran across this Psalm as a psalm I learned at a Bible study in grad school. The music was written by some monks know as the St. Louis Jesuits. The music was hauntingly beautiful. Here’s an example of their music:

Back to Psalm 137. It was winter in Chicago in the early 90’s, and my wife and I has just suffered our third and final miscarriage. So grieving the loss of this child, I tried to compose and quiet my soul. I tried to think what it would be like for a child to rest safe and secure against his mother. And after great stretches of tears, my Loving Heavenly Father brought me comfort, as He held me in His arms.

This Psalm brought me great comfort, but it wasn’t just this song. Michael Card had just released his third and final album of His trilogy, The Life, and he had this incredible song entitled Joseph’s Song. And coincidentally it was a song about Joseph holding Jesus, his first born. I sat in the dark, repeating this on track over and over. The song begins:

How could it be this baby in my arms
Sleeping now, so peacefully
The Son of God, the angel said
How could it be
Lord I know He’s not my own
Not of my flesh, not of my bone
Still Father let this baby be
The son of my love.
Father show me where I fit into this plan of yours
How can a man be father to the Son of God
Lord for all my life I’ve been a simple carpenter
How can I raise a king? How can I raise a king?

Like Joseph, I didn’t understand the plan; but Joseph did raise a king; and he held a king—the King of kings. And I? I was the Dad who was held by my Father.

Years later, this song still stirs the loss and His overwhelming comfort. And there are still things I do not understand, but then I don’t have to. I trust Him.

Whatever you grief, whatever your loss, may you rest in the arms of The Most High.

Singing with the King (64) – Where Your Home Is

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)

cross and shadowThere are two very important words in this verse: dwell and abide. The word dwell in Hebrew is used for a lot of words. It can be translated as some form of inhabit, sit, stay, remain, and even married. Do you get the impression that dwelling in the shelter of the Most High is a place where not only do you want to stay, but it is a place where you are welcome. And it is a place that is close, maybe even home.

And though the Hebrew word for abide doesn’t have quite so many definitions or appearances in the OT, some of its translations are spend the night, abide, and lodge. There is within its definitions an aspect of rest. So, abiding also gives you a sense of a place where you can find rest.

The word shelter can also be a hiding place or a secret place. The same word appears in Psalm 32, which you may recognize: You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. (v.7) So now we see the LORD God welcoming us in a place of safety, a place known only by Him.

The word shadow can also mean protection or shade. It is important to note, as we read in James, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. You see, there is no shadow with in God, it is not part of his nature; but He certainly can cast a very long shadow, and has been known to use darkness, as seen in Psalm 18: He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. (v.9)

I’ve thrown a lot more definitions at you than I typically do; but I want you to understand what it means to dwell and abide with the Most High. It is a place of rest and safety. It is a place where you are welcome and you can call home. And most importantly, He is there.

There’s one more aspect to the word abide that I want you to see. We find it in part of Christ’s teaching to His disciples at the Last Supper:

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:4-5)

From this passage, we learn that abiding in Christ is a living, organic, intimate condition. In the Greek definitions, you still get the aspect of resting, remaining, staying, and even being held. But it also has the meaning of standing fast in a battle, holding your position. Understand that home is not a static place. If you abide in Christ, He is your home. Then you can join with the psalmist in the very next verse of Psalm 91: “You are my fortress, my place of safety; you are my God, and I trust you.”.

Singing with the King (47) – Out in the Open

For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock.
(Psalm 27:5)

HiddenThe day of trouble. Sounds ominous. And the Hebrew word for trouble has darker translations: calamity, disaster, and wickedness are the three most used. Here are the other occurrences of this specific phrase.

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! (Psalm 20:1)

How blessed is he who considers the helpless; The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)

Near is the great day of the LORD, near and coming very quickly; listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly. A day of wrath is that day, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and the high corner towers. ( Zephaniah 1:14-15)

There are two types of the day of trouble. The first is where our enemies seek our lives; man against man, which could escalate into nation against nation. The second day of trouble is God’s Day of Trouble—and it indeed is much more perilous than the other, for none shall escape this one, except for those He has delivered.

He will conceal me in His tabernacle. In the secret place of His tent He will hide me.

The word conceal in Hebrew also means to treasure. So not only are we hidden, but we are treasured. And the word for secret place is not only a place of secrecy and concealment, but of safety, shelter and protection. If the LORD hides you, then you are truly safe.

Treasure Mountain

He will lift me up on a rock.

We have moved from a safe, secure place to being out in the open. What happened?

Since it is the LORD Who is doing the lifting, His protection is the same. Over and over in Scripture we see that exalting oneself is dangerous, but for God to exalt you in quite another thing. And since it is the LORD doing the lifting, then there is nothing that David’s enemies can do to him. He is beyond their reach, he may even be beyond their perception.

The LORD’s ways are not understandable to natural man. They are neither comprehensible in scope nor manner, His ways are beyond us because of their sheer magnitude—they are beyond the capabilities of our senses. His ways are beyond us because of their holiness—they are beyond our fallen and broken moral reasoning.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

So David is lifted up to this high place for all to see; but he is either beyond their reckoning or beyond their reach. Either way, he is safe. And lest there be any concern about one’s security:

Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress. (Psalm 71:3)

Do not tremble and do not be afraid; have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none. (Isaiah 44:8)

Can you trust the LORD to care for you and defend you? Whether He conceals you or lifts you up, you are both safe and treasured.


Singing withthe King (29) – Peaceful Sleep

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

Sleep Safely

When the kids were little, we used to do a lot of camping. Nothing fancy, just a little dome tent and sleeping bags. We were camping in a park in Texas in the early fall, and as was often the case, we got there late and set up in the dark. Sometime in the middle of the night, the wind started the blow, the limbs were creaking, and small branches were falling to the ground. I got up to consider our situation, whether or not to put the kids in the car. By then the wind was really bending the trees.

As I crawled back into the tent, I saw how peacefully our kids were sleeping, and that’s when I remembered the above verse. So I followed their example, prayed a quick thank you, and went back to sleep.

This particular Psalm does not provide a whole lot of insight into David’s condition, although there is mention of those who seek to ruin his reputation. But in the previous Psalm, David’s situation is much more perilous: I lay down and slept, yet I woke up in safety, for the Lord was watching over me. I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies who surround me on every side. (Psalm 3:5-6)

Are you willing to be so vulnerable, as to sleep in the Lord’s care, while surrounded by enemies? Can you trust Him that much? That’s a pretty big ask, so you may want to start small, like: “Give us this day our daily bread”. But as you learn to lean on Him and trust Him, you will discover with the Psalm writer: He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:3, 4) He’s watching over you. So go ahead—sleep; rest. You’re safe.