The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe. – Proverbs 18:10, ESV
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy.
Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah – Psalm 61:2b-4, ESV
You are a hiding place for me;
you preserve me from trouble;
you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah – Psalm 32:7, ESV
Jack Lewis, the Bible Study Dog (BSD), likes to sleep beside me, packed as tightly as possible between my right leg and the arm of the recliner chair. Waking up one morning, I was reminded of a remark of Caesar Milan, to the effect that, typically dogs are often comforted by tight places. That might partly be because dogs, like humans, are social animals, and perhaps they carry a memory of coming into this world amidst a liter of squirming, writhing, cuddling puppies around their mother. But this is also because wild dogs, wolves and hyenas live in dens; perhaps just a depression in the dirt, a cave dug out of a hillside, or a hole taken over from other animals. After a day or night of hunting, the wild dogs come back to the den and re-establish their sense of order in the pack, care for the puppies that have been left behind, share food, and cuddle for warmth and comfort.
Humans also need a base of operations, a place to go out from, and come back to. We need a place to nurse our wounds from the world, re-establish our sense of where we fit in our family or with other allies, a place to share meals and other essentials of life, a place to care for and raise children, a place where we are understood; a place to go for shelter from the storms, pressures, chaos and enemies we all know. We must have some place to regroup, catch our breath, recharge our sense that we matter to someone, and to make plans for the struggles ahead. We call this place HOME.
When I was young, boys would build “forts.” I think that girls ‘playing house’ are reflecting a similar instinct (please no haters, I could qualify my statements in order to be PC, but hey!, we’re all adults here). We all seek a place of safety and protection, where we can exercise our God-given, Adam & Eve, before the Fall, gifts to exercise benevolent, royal dominion. In the Bible, this is called a: FORTRESS, TOWER, SHELTER, HIDING PLACE, ROCK.
The little parable (Mt. 7:24-27) at the end of Yeshua’s Sermon On the Mount is realistic: both those who hear and obey Yeshua’s words and endure; and those who hear, but do not obey his words and are washed away; experience the storm. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew…” (Mt. 7:25, ESV, comp. vs. 27) In the parable, hearing and doing Yeshua’s words is the Rock on which we may build and secure our lives. But in the Hebrew Bible texts that I have chosen, our Shelter is YHWH himself. Remember that “the name of the LORD” does not point to just using the words, but connotes the entire character of God. The same is true when we invoke the trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So we are talking about how Yahweh himself, his presence, and all of who he is, is our fortress, our safe place.
But what happens when the storm comes inside our homes, and there is literally no safe place on earth for us? Well, praise be to Yahweh, we can run to him, our Rock, at any time, and receive the refreshment, the encouragement, and just a place to be, that we need!
What are the elements of your storm right now? Financial difficulty, child custody battle, sickness, tensions with coworkers, failure, meaninglessness, confusion of voices in your world, loved ones who need to believe the Good News, a broken relationship? I could go on and on. But we all may run to the Rock, the Strong Tower, the Fortress, the Hiding Place! And I do mean RUN! Life is too dangerous to spend it exposed, without supernatural help! I’ll see you inside.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my Fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
You will not fear… – Psalm 91:1-5a, ESV
Well, if I were you I would read the whole of Psalm 91 as soon as possible.
You are my hiding place and my shield;
I hope in your word. – Psalm 119:114, ESV