A Safe Place
I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6
My brothers and I grew up on a wooded hillside in West Virginia that provided a fertile landscape for our imaginations. Whether swinging from vines like Tarzan or building tree houses like the Swiss Family Robinson, we played out the scenarios we found in the stories we read and movies we watched. One of our favorites was building forts and then pretending we were safe from attack. Years later, my kids built forts out of blankets, sheets, and pillows—constructing their own “safe place” against imaginary enemies. It seems almost instinctive to want a hiding place where you can feel safe and secure.
When David, the singer-poet of Israel, sought a safe place, he looked no further than God. Psalm 17:8 asserts, “[God,] keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.” When you consider the Old Testament record of David’s life and the almost constant threats he faced, these words reveal an amazing level of confidence in God (v. 6). In spite of those threats, he was convinced his true safety was found in Him.
We can know that same confidence. The God who promises to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) is the One we trust with our lives every day. Although we live in a dangerous world, our God gives us peace and assurance—both now and forever. He is our safe place.
Father, the world around me can feel threatening, overwhelming, and dangerous. But You give me peace, strength, and help.
In the Psalms, we find people speaking to God about the concerns of their heart and the practical issues of everyday life. As such, there are various categories of psalms. One category is imprecatory psalms (Psalms 5, 10, 17, 35, 58, 59, 70, 79, 83, 109, 129, 137, 140). Imprecatory literally means “to pray evil against” or “to invoke a curse upon.” In these psalms, the author typically asks for vindication against an enemy for unjust treatment. These prayers can range in aggression from a request for justice and vindication to petition for the death and destruction of one’s enemies (see Psalm 17:2 and Psalms 35 and 137 for increasingly aggressive requests for God’s action). While some imprecatory psalms may make us uncomfortable, we must remember that these are human requests for God to act—requests made from the pit of despair, frustration, and hopelessness.