Quaking in your boots? Perhaps you fear foreclosure on your house. Maybe you have a child headed in the wrong direction. Downsizing at your company causes you to shiver. A doctor’s report makes your stomach churn and your faith foundations rocked to the core. We all need assurance that God is our protector, and that nothing is out of His control and care.
We take all kinds of precautions to be shielded from disaster and distress. Are we really “in good hands” with Allstate insurance? We certainly pay them an arm and a leg to keep safe life and limb. Is the security system in our house foolproof? Does our precious laptop have virus protection? Does the smoke alarm that beeps annoyingly when it’s out of batteries (usually at 2:00 a.m.) keep our home from being burned down to the ground? Yes, we spend much of our lives trying to avoid danger and loss.
Psalm 123, the third poem in the Psalms of Ascents, promises that God is a sure foundation for our lives:
“Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion. It cannot be shaken; It remains forever.”
The Hebrew word for trust is batach, and has three meanings: to be sure, to be secure and to be confident. Every person instinctively needs confidence-and when God is the object of our faith, we have confidence in spades!
Beth Moore, in Stepping Up: A Journey Through the Psalms of Ascents, gives great insight into this verse. She writes,
“Insecurity has remained one of my most consistent challenges. Jealousy, low self-worth, envy promiscuity, manipulation and unbelief are rooted in insecurity. Self-security drawn from our position as a child of God is an even bigger problem—even self-security drawn from our position as a child of God.”
Psalm 30:6-7 says “When I was secure, I said, ‘I will never be shaken.’ LORD, when You showed Your favor, You make me stand like a strong mountain, when You hid Your face, I was terrified.” (HCSB)
“Perhaps the psalmist grew a little overconfident…in God’s manifest favor. Notice how often the word “I” is used in these verses.
David was the first to ascribe his prosperity to the Lord, but somewhere along the way He mistakenly placed his security in the blessing of God rather tan God Himself. We often know enough not to ascribe our security to carnal, worldly things. Our greater and slyer temptation is to place our security in the blessing we readily credit to the Lord.
Even if our security is in something God has given us—our gifts…loved ones, church family, consistent victory, passion for His Word—our seemingly secure mountain ultimately will fall into the sea. God’s favor and His person are not synonymous. If our trust is in manifestations of God’s favor rather than God Himself, we will crumble like dry clay when He calls us to walk a distance of our journeys entirely by faith and not by sight.
…God is with us and for us even when His face and His favor seem hidden. Mountain-like security only comes from trusting God, not what He’s done for us or given us, however glorious and eternal those things may be. The difference between trusting God and trusting what God has done is a fine line we easily can trip over, falling headlong into a pit just as David feared. Thankfully, he described what to do in the subsequent verses of Psalm 30. We can do likewise when we realize we have unknowingly let our security slip from god Himself to His manifest favor.”1
Read David’s conclusion to Psalm 30 in verses 8-12 and be encouraged:
I cried out to You, O LORD;
And to the LORD I made supplication:
“What profit is there in my blood,
When I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise You?
Will it declare Your truth?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me;
LORD, be my helper!”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Beth Moore, Stepping Up: A Journey through the Psalms of Ascents. Nashville: Lifeway Publishing, 2007. pp. 68-69.