First Responder ∙
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. incline your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:6
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of need.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea.
Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a psychological, motivational theory that explains the five levels of human needs. The five needs are physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. People are motivated to satisfy their needs in a hierarchical order beginning with the bottom physiological requirements.
It is part of our human DNA to seek safety. People want a safe and secure hiding place. All the more so during the era of 21st century “social distancing” and “shelter in place” precautions.
David sought such a safe place. But the marvelous thing is that he did not need to seek out a physical location. Instead, he needed only to look to his Father God, the King of the universe. As we read David’s story found in the Scriptures, David endured frequent and repeated threats. He was a hunted man. He was stalked by Saul and spent years fleeing from him. Yet David’s prayers revealed his close and intimate relationship with the Father and his profound confidence in Him. He realized early in life that true safety was found only in the loving-kindness of his Father God.
Psalms 17:8 Guard me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings.
Safety and security are available for every child of the King. Confidence and peace are only moments away when we pray and reflect on the Father’s concern for us and readiness to come to our aid. David’s close intimate relationship with the Father and the confidence it brought him is available to each child of the King.
Hebrews 13:5 God has said, “I will never leave you. I will never abandon you.”
Because of our Father’s precious promises, we can have complete confidence and trust in Him daily. He is our “safe place.” He is to be there for us. He wants only for us to realize it and come to Him. God delights in all those who place their trust in Him. He considers each one of His children the apple of His eye, the object of His special devotion. They find both protection and shelter in His loving presence (Stanley).
REFLECT & PRAY
Safety is not the absence of danger but the presence of God.
Father thank You that You are our “safe place.” Sometimes it seems our world and the peril it brings into our lives are threatening, overwhelming, and closing in. Yet You provide supernatural peace, serenity, assistance, and the strength to get us through.
1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
The Psalms are often written against the background of personal anguish, fear, frustration, and hopelessness. People like David continually bring their everyday practical life issues to the Father in prayer and worship. He seeks help and the Father’s intervention at all times.
Psalms 46:1 was the inspiration for Martin Luther’s magnificent hymn, “A mighty Fortress is our God.” The Father is always ready to help. In our challenging, troubled times, He always has our back. “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold” (Helen Keller).
When the Father’s children take their refuge in Him, they find inner strength and the confidence to face whatever comes their way.
In our connected 21st century world, we are bombarded with worldwide upheavals, catastrophes, and disasters. Consider devastating weather, the onset of famines, plagues, and pandemics.
Without modern technology, the ancient world faced similar catastrophes without advanced warning. The most immutable and impregnable things in their world were the earth itself and the mountains (Kidner). Yet they could be tossed about as though they were mere like pebbles through the upheaval of violent earthquakes. Severe weather, drought, locust plagues, military invasion, local floods, and violent storms were always possible.
During such difficult times, we can be confident and unafraid. He is our strength, but what does that mean? He is there for us to keep us strong, powerful, secure, and brave.
He is our refuge, our fortress. What does that mean? “God is the one who protects us” or “God is the one who shelters us” (UBS). The Hebrew noun translated refuge is machaseh. A refuge is a fortress, often built at high elevations for protection. It is derived from the Hebrew verb chacah to be safe, to seek refuge. The Father is the one who takes care of us. The Father is the one who protects us from danger (UBS).
“He is first like a strong fortress into which a man may flee and be absolutely safe; He is at the same time an unfailing source of strength, enabling one to cope” (Leupold).
But there is more. The Father is not merely our fortress and able to help, He is eager to do so. We have only to invite Him.
The terms very present translates a phrase meaning “very accessible”; the verb means “be present, near.” He is “ever-present.” He is available and ready to be found and depended upon. He is not absent, distant, aloof, missing, or in hiding. And He is adequate for every situation. He is always on our side. And He is also by our side.
The Father is near and eager, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). “Much promised help from the world is worthless when trouble comes, but that is when God shines and performs so faithfully” (Butler). He is the ultimate “First Responder.” He runs toward danger.
On some days, we may feel as if our world has been shaken, and everything we depend upon will be cast into the sea. But if we put our hope in God, we have no need to fear because we have a refuge that can never be moved. (Stanley)
There is one more thing. Hebrew does not have a way of making characters bold, italicizing them, or underlining them for emphasis. Instead, Hebrew uses “word order” to indicate emphasis. The most important word in a sentence is often placed at the front. Psalm 46 begins with the word Elohim, “God.” This is intended to draw our attention to the Father. He is of utmost importance. Our needs, circumstances, and difficulties are a distant second.
When times are tough, we reach out to the Father. But we always need Him. Dependence upon Him should become our steady state.
© Dr. H 2022