Where Is Your Strength?(a meditation on true security)

Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—for all its strength, it cannot save you. ~Psalm 33:17

We live in a safety and security obsessed culture. Our doors often have locks, deadbolts, and chains. Our cars sound alarms, and many houses do too. A talking point in the present political debates is whether or not to build a wall along the United State’s southern border and how to handle immigrants and refugees. We want to feel secure.

Yet the Bible shakes us up in this regard. In Psalm 33, the psalmist exalts the sovereignty of God over the nations. The God who created by merely speaking never feels threatened by any outside power. In fact, of kings and nations, he builds up and tears down.

So we read in 33:17 that our trust must not be in our weapons and avenues of security; rather, “We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield” (33:20). True security comes from God and God alone.

This doesn’t mean that we’re not to be wise. In the Old Testament, even God arranged it so his chosen nation would have an army. But again and again, no matter how strong or how weak their army seemed, they only won when God was with them and fought for them and they lost when God withdrew his guiding hand. So there is place for armies, airport security checkpoints, and locks on our doors.

But these things must not become our trust.

When we do trust in these we find that we can never reach a point where we feel truly secure. Our defenses may hold for a while, sometimes years, but then an enemy finds its way through. So we want bigger, better, and stronger, again thinking we’re secure until a resourceful enemy breaks into our sense of security once more. Trusting only in the security resources of this world will ultimately leave us unsatisfied, never feeling safe.

But when our trust is in the Lord who spoke all things into existence, then we are trusting in something much, much greater. Jesus said not to fear those who can only kill the body. If that’s the worst a person can do to us because our eternities are secure in Jesus, then it is only a momentary interruption. Life is far more than what we see with our eyes and hear with our ears.

Instead our faith in God through Jesus should be like that of Martin Luther when he declared, “World, death, devil, hell, away and leave me in peace! You have no hold on me. If you will not let me live, then I will die. But you won’t succeed in that. Chop my head off, and it won’t harm me. I have One who will give me a new one.”[1]

This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.

[1] Quoted in: Wilson, Jared C., The Story of Everything (Wheaton: Crossway, 2015), 90.

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