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Monday, October 10, 2011

Running for the Safe-House

 9-10 God's a safe-house for the battered,
      a sanctuary during bad times.
   The moment you arrive, you relax;
      you're never sorry you knocked. 
(Psalm 9:9-10)

If you have ever watched a spy movie, or perhaps a story about someone in the witness protection program, you will understand the term "safe-house".  I looked this term up this morning and found a rather interesting definition:  A dwelling or building whose "conventional" appearance makes it a safe or "inconspicuous" place for hiding, taking refuge, or carrying on clandestine activities.  Okay, so let's take that apart a little further to see what God is really saying to us in these verses:

1.  A safe-house has a normal appearance - it does not stand out, with all kinds of signs that it is a place of shelter.  If it had bars on all the windows, motion detectors in the yard, a huge fence surrounding the lot, etc., people would be suspicious about what goes on within the walls.  I think of God as not really putting on all kinds of "show" when it comes to being our safe place.  He simply is there - available to run to, easy to access.

2.  A safe-house is a place for hiding or taking refuge - in other words, it is a shelter.  Sometimes, we just need to "get away" from what life has been dealing us - we need a place to "run to".  That is what God provides - we might call this a place of retreat.

3.  A safe-house is a place for carrying on "clandestine" activities.  Okay, I admit it, I had to look that one up!  The real meaning of this word is hidden or secretive.  I guess that is really not how we think of God - doing things in secret, having some subversive plan he is master-minding.  Yet, what is God's shelter if it is not also a place of secret refreshing?  This word "clandestine" actually comes from two Latin words:  Clam and Internal.  So, God's shelter is kind of like being able to have a hard shell around us while the process of what goes on "inside" is being worked out!

So, David tells us that he runs to God's safe-house in times of feeling battered, or when life just seems to be dealing us the bad stuff.  Something that is battered has been beaten repeatedly - there has been a persistent pounding that has occurred.  This kind of repeated "pounding" leaves damage - the hard use has a lasting effect.  No wonder he runs to God's shelter when times are tough!  He needs God's protective "clam-shell" shelter!  Without it, what is left is nothing but a mess of beaten down character!

The moment we arrive - look at that promise - the very moment we arrive, we relax!  Why is that?  It is simply that God begins to diminish the force of the attack against us.  It is like the "clam-shell" of his protection comes around us and we begin to feel that the "pelting" of life is actually diminished in its ability to reach us.  Tension is released.  

The last thought is something we need to take to heart - we will never be sorry we knocked!  I used to think that people that came to my door were a real pain!  When I had to go door to door once, as part of a Bible School outing, I really began to have a new appreciation for those that actually undertake that task of "knocking" where they know they will face resistance!  This is NOT the case when we knock on God's door, though.  His door opens easily and it is always unlocked to us!  It is not like a clam-shell that needs to be "pried" open!  Our access is easy and when that door shuts around us, the immediate diminishing of the forces we feel around us is evident.

If it has been a while since you have "run for cover" into the safe-house God provides, perhaps it is time you begin to find a little shelter from life again!  God's just waiting - what's your excuse?