“Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked… I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” – Psalm 140:4, 12
“Are you sure you’re watching him, Mom?”
I don’t know how many times I heard my daughter ask this question when my kids were small. Woven into her DNA is a protective, big sister gene. At the tot lot in the mall, the playground, or the beach, Big Sis wouldn’t play with her friends until she knew her little brother was safe. (Also, I’m realizing she didn’t trust me to watch him … which is a whole other issue!)
Even at 6 years old, my daughter displayed that the assurance of safety is something we strive for. In the world of grown ups, it’s why we lock our doors, wear seatbelts, and pay excessive insurance premiums. It’s not enough for us to feel safe today; we want to be sure that we’ll be safe tomorrow too. And if we’re not careful, the incessant thirst for security will drive us into financial and emotional debt.
When it comes to providing security for ourselves and our loved ones, there’s a thin line between foresight and fear. It’s healthy to pause every once in a while and evaluate whether our careful planning has crossed over into frenzied compulsion. God’s word powerfully sheds light on this for us and realigns our thinking.
King David is the beloved Biblical character who penned the words of Psalm 140. For you and I today, most of the threats we deal with are theoretical. In other words, we feel unsafe based on potential bad news, the what-if scenarios that play on repeat in our minds.
What if harm comes to my child?
What if I face financial ruin?
What if I’m alone for the rest of my life?
What if I’m diagnosed with a debilitating illness?
In David’s case, however, wicked men with evil intentions were actually chasing him. When he prayed for the Lord to keep him safe, he was literally praying for his life to be spared. Look at the confidence David responds with! After asking God to keep him safe, he speaks to himself — reminding his own soul that God is the one who will bring justice and defend his cause. David acknowledges his own position as the one who needs help; he is the poor and needy one. But he also acknowledges that God has power to come to his aid.
What about us? Are we looking to the things that threaten our security more than we are looking to Jesus?
Are we focusing on our own strength — or lack of it— instead of taking our eyes off of ourselves altogether and focusing on how strong God is. Let’s remind ourselves today that it’s God who keeps us safe. The Lord is fully capable to defend us, uphold us, and secure justice for us when we are wronged.
Here’s what we should not take away from this passage: shame. There’s no shame in the struggles we face. Just because we don’t have evil people chasing us while we hide in mountain caves doesn’t mean our anxieties are invalid. Just because we’re not face-to-face with a literal giant doesn’t mean our Goliaths are fictitious. God cares about the anxieties we carry around like heavy packs, and he wants to unload them from our shoulders (1 Peter 5:6-7).
Here’s what we should take away from this passage: security. Exhaling deeply, we can read these words and feel an enormous sense of relief. God secures justice for us. He upholds our cause. He cares about our safety and is powerful to protect us. He has provided through Jesus an opportunity for us unload our anxieties and carry faith like a shield instead (Ephesians 6:16).
My naive 6-year-old daughter worried for her little brother’s safety, but what she didn’t realize was that her mama had things under control. Her little psyche had no idea that because I was older, taller, and more capable of paying attention from afar, I could see where her brother was even when she couldn’t. Not only that, but I had water in case they got thirsty, snacks in case they got hungry and a first aid kit in case they got hurt.
Mama, God can see the whole playground. Nothing is outside of His jurisdiction. And even more than that— he’s got water in case we’re thirsty, food in case we’re hungry and the power to heal in case we get hurt. We may not be able to provide full-proof security for ourselves in this unpredictable world, but we can trust that with our unchanging God, we are perpetually secure.
Special Guest Contributor Nik Greenfield
Nik enjoys life in South Florida with her high school sweetheart, their three beautiful children, and Maisy, their chocolate lab. With experience as a wife (21 years), homeschool mom, foster mom, breast cancer survivor, and expert power napper, Nik is learning to trust God’s goodness within life’s storms. She is passionate about encouraging women to connect to God in the calm, the crazy and the crises of real life. Her children’s book, I Remember: Helping Families Connect God’s Word to Everyday Life, is a character-building picture book complete with suggestions for parents. Snag Nikki’s weekly devotionals at NikGreenfield.com or connect with her on Instagram @nik_greenfield.