God is Our Safety

Psalm 61 opens with the author, David, not experiencing safety. Different scholars agree that this psalm was written when David was fleeing his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15-17), who not only wanted to overthrow David as king but also desired to kill him. David was far from home and emotionally overwhelmed (Psalm 61:2). This distressing situation was predicted by the prophet Nathan as a consequence to the sin David committed with Bathsheba (2 Sam. 11-12). David is fleeing his own son who is now his enemy (Psalm 61:3). Psalm 61 is a hymn about safety, ‘to the choirmaster: with the stringed instruments,’ for the nation of Israel, who would sing this hymn then and later when in captivity. The understanding of safety is something God’s people should enthusiastically and whole-heartedly affirm.

The first way David understands safety is by God hearing him (Psalm 61:1). This is safety for each believer as well. David cries out to God the Rock, who he feels is far from him (Psalm 61:2). In the thick of his difficult circumstances, David does not blame God but looks to God and cries to Him for help. David finds that God grows in intimacy with him during this trial. David describes God as his refuge, tower of strength, tent of dwelling, wings of shelter (Psalm 61:3-4). God provides safety to David by listening to him and by a growing in intimacy with him when David cries out to Him.

The second way David understands safety is in knowing God keeps His promises (Psalm 61:5-7). Speaking through the prophet Nathan, God had made a covenant with David (2 Sam. 7:8-17). In Psalm 61, David recalls what God had promised to him since his current circumstances made the certainty of those promises seem doubtful. David in his humanness finds safety in remembering the promises of God.

Each believer should review these promises too because they are true. The Messiah, King Jesus will sit on David’s throne. He will reign! God’s promises are true regardless of our circumstances. The assurance that God hears David’s cry and that God keeps His promises leaves David feeling safe (Psalm 61:8). The circumstances have not changed; it is David who is changed by the end of the psalm.

David’s response to safety is in praising God and in the daily keeping of his vows to God. This is the ongoing nature of following and trusting God, regardless of circumstances. The safety provided by God enabled David to make spiritual progress, even to thrive in the overwhelming circumstances.

God would have His children keep their vows to Him day after day. The vows mentioned in Psalm 61:8 take place in the context of Psalm 61:1-2. The process of healing from circumstances does not give believers an excuse to neglect living out the fundamental aspects of our faith. For a born-again believer, the day after day fulfilling of vows is loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30), loving our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31), and denying ourselves and taking up our cross daily to follow Christ (Matt. 16:24). These things are fundamental to who we are in Christ. The degree to how we honor those commands will ebb and flow, yet God wants each of us to know safety as it is defined by Him. God is producing children who are growing in resilience so our growth will not be paralyzed by the circumstances we are facing.

If we claim the name of Christ, there are things that will be true of us. Christians are to grow in several ways. We are called to love one another, so we will be patient (1 Cor. 13) and trust the work God is doing in others. We are to remind ourselves of God’s promises to us, such as God supplying all our needs (Phil. 4:19), that He is with us always even unto the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), how nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:38), and that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13) to name just a few.

God defines safety for His children in that He hears us and that He keeps His promises. Whatever our situation or circumstance, God is walking with us and is changing us along the way. We are being changed to be more like Him and to grow in our love and trust for Him. God has provided for us spiritual siblings to encourage us in this walk of faith. These assurances of safety are designed for God’s children, the recipients of His inheritance.

Application Points

  • Are you born-again? Have you repented of your sin and trusted in Jesus, who died for your sin, was buried, and rose again, as your Savior and Lord? True safety can only be found in Christ Jesus.

  • Are you feeling paralyzed by fear and hurt by previous circumstances? Where are you finding your safety? God would have you cry out to Him and remember how He keeps His promises so you might grow to be more like Him.

  • Are you trusting in things like your success, your job, or your family for safety and security? Only the eternal God and Savior can provide true safety and security in both this life and the next.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Cor. 13; Col. 1:4; Ps. 15:2; Col. 2:5; 1 Thes. 4:9; Rom. 16:19; 1 Pet. 1:14; Jam. 1:25 - Christian Character Traits
Quote to Ponder

“Pain insists on being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
-- C.S. Lewis

A Hymn to Encourage: "It Is Well With My Soul"

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control:
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well,
With my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin - oh the bliss of this glorious thought -
My sin, not in part, but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

It is well,
With my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.