Within the shelter of the Lord, at home in his unfailing care, we trust in his eternal strength to rescue us from every snare: how safe it is, this hiding place beneath his ever lasting wings; how strong a fortress is our God, the Mighty One, the King of Kings.
Though brutal conflicts scar the day, though nameless perils fill the night, God’s presence calms our troubled minds and puts our primal fears to flight. When sin persists and judgement fails the true security is ours; protected by the Lord, we stand, beyond the grasp of evil powers.
God answers every cry for help; his love is ours till journey’s end – how ever long our lives may be, on God’s firm promise we depend. Who knows what dangers we are spared since angels guard the way we take? And all who trust and love the lord he pledges never to forsake.
Here we encounter God’s bold invitation to live in God’s presence with protection, safety, and love. Perhaps you may find it helpful to think of this Psalm as conversation between the Psalmist and God? The Psalmist praises God for shelter, love, and strength; and God responds by acknowledging our love, and assuring us of protection and rescue. Thought of in this way, the Psalm is an invitation to experience God offering shelter to each one of us – an eternal, loving, presence.
How might we respond? We could ask ourselves whether we look for God’s presence in people around us and the situations we go through as much as we could. We could ask God to help us love others more. We could try to trust God more. Above all, we can try to know that we are loved by God, without limit or condition.
How might we put that response more into practice? Do we read the Bible regularly, seeking to encounter a loving God? Do we talk to God of what gives us joy, and what troubles us? Do we share our steps on the journey of following God with others doing the same thing?
Today’s Psalm is one which can reassure us that God is with us and for us, someone in whom we can trust, with both hope and confidence. There is no larger vision than God’s, and no greater comfort or protection. All of this we see in the one in whom we see God among us: Jesus.
Prayer Teach me, God, to see you in everything, and to do everything for you. Help me to glimpse heaven in the ordinary around me. Help me to recognise that your love is more precious than anything that can be touched or owned. Through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
The Rev’d Dr Michael Hopkins, is minister of a group of Methodist and United Reformed Churches, based around Farnham, Surrey, and Clerk of the General Assembly.