Safe… but afraid?

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How safe do you feel? What threatens that?

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Bible passage Psalm 125

Psalm 125

A song of ascents.
 1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
       which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
       so the LORD surrounds his people
       both now and forevermore.

 3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain
       over the land allotted to the righteous,
       for then the righteous might use
       their hands to do evil.

 4 Do good, O LORD, to those who are good,
       to those who are upright in heart.

 5 But those who turn to crooked ways
       the LORD will banish with the evildoers.
       Peace be upon Israel.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

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Secure in God
As they make their way to one of the annual festivals, pilgrims would have sung this psalm. They were walking towards Jerusalem or Mount Zion, a city that was ringed with mountains and was itself a hilltop fortress, secure and unshakable (vs 1,2).

But what mattered more than geography was that this was the place where God’s people lived, and he surrounded them (v 2). Their security depended on God. That’s why, ‘those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion’ (v 1). They are enveloped by his eternal care and providence.

Hinted danger
And yet, there seems to be a threat (v 3). The rule of the wicked hovers over God’s people. It won’t remain, but it’s there now. Perhaps the ‘sceptre of the wicked’ is one of the many armies that surrounded Jerusalem and wanted to wipe it out. Perhaps it was one of the many ungodly kings who ruled God’s people and dragged them down with him.

God’s people even today feel the tension of living between the safety of God’s promises to them (vs 1,2), and the evil they experience (v 3). Unless God limits evil, even the righteous will be tempted to take matters into their own hands and be lured to do wrong (v 3b).


Verses 4 and 5 are therefore a prayer that God would take matters into his hands. Whether the evil you face is external or internal, pray that God would judge and restrain evil, and protect all who walk in his ways.

Mark Ellis

Deeper Bible study

How do you balance maintaining a confident faith in the face of the difficulties of life?

Security is a big issue today. If you phone your bank, there will be lots of security questions to answer before your enquiry can be answered. There is much talk of national security, security cameras, security codes, etc. People want and need security – it is a desire deep within us. The question is, where can this security be found?

God knows that the desire for security is there in believers also, and has been from ancient times. So he gives to Israel, and to us, a great assurance that they and we are totally secure. He says that he surrounds his people just as the mountains surrounded Jerusalem (v 2). This is the protection the Lord gives his people – the Creator God himself always keeps his people! He wants us to revel in this secure love, which is everlasting.

We want to believe this is true, but how do we feel when so often life seems hard and evil appears to prosper – in the world or even in the church? That sort of reality is faced in verse 3, where we are told that these things are certainly real but have their day – and so the righteous can maintain faith in the hope of God’s judgement.

So we are given statements to believe (vs 1–3), then told to petition the Lord for assurance to accept that he is in control and that the power of wickedness will not prevail over righteousness (vs 4,5). So this song prays for what it first teaches. Trust – and pray for those whose trust is heart-true. It all depends on the Lord and his faithfulness.

Paul Woodbridge

Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year.

Jeremiah 38,39

John 14

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Love Divine
Rend Collective Experiment © 2009 Thank You Music
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Holy Spirit
Michael;Sandeman & Nathan Fellingham
Copyright © 2007 Thankyou Music
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