I have never been a huge fan of commercials. Especially of late I have decided that I don’t understand most commercials – I really don’t want do get a Ph.D. to figure out why I should buy one shampoo rather than another. Who writes that stuff? And don’t get me started on Super Bowl Commercials!! But: there is one redeeming commercial – the Simplisafe Home Security System advertisement. Actor Peter Davis portrays “full-time burglar and part-time con man” Robert Larson. As “expert” on robbing homes he gives his best advice how we can out-smart those who wish us harm in our own homes. It is hilarious. Keep an eye out and see for yourself. For sure: if I ever decide to install a home security system it will be from Simplisafe.
Security systems are more and more a common occurrence. Not only do they keep homes and businesses safe in the first place but they also help in tracking down events and persons in case a crime has been perpetrated. Protection. Safety. Refuge. Security. These are common goods that are desirable and most of us strive for and rely upon them.
Psalm 91:1-6 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, 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 the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalm 91 is a Psalm of trust. Yet, the trust spoken of in the Psalm is nothing like the kind of trust which is engineered by a computer system. The Psalmist is entrusting himself not on the basis of a new-fangled technological advancement, but on the basis of the character of Almighty God. God is our refuge and safe dwelling place, the One who will protect and defend his children.
And yet we don’t have to search far and wide to find evidence which suggests a deeply troubling counter-point to this promise: God’s children do not always dwell securely behind the fortress. They are not always safe or protected. They are not always defended against evil, sickness, and even death. We don’t have to ponder too hard to acknowledge that safety and protection according to our measurements and our societal statistics do not exactly line up with God’s definitions of the terms. So what promises can we truly depend on? How do we entrust ourselves to Almighty God knowing that he is for us, particularly when there is so much evidence around us which reinforces the contrary?
Perhaps we begin with a simple prayer based off of the Psalmist’s confession: “God, you are my true refuge and fortress. I desire to entrust myself to you again this day. Help me not to run to false refuges, but by the Spirit of Christ, to turn to you for my comfort and safety.” In entrusting ourselves to the Lord, we are met with the assurance that, though we might not be able to depend upon safety as it is normally construed in this life, we have been given eternal safety in and through God’s Son.
Indeed, Jesus Christ did not in any way appear to be safe or secure while hanging from the cross. And yet, he was truly safe in his Father’s arms, fulfilling the work of God on behalf of all humankind. This is not to suggest that we need to go out looking for ways to be reckless, as it were, to somehow prove God’s promises. That would be putting God to the test.
But, it is to suggest that Jesus Christ has won for us eternal safety by doing in our place what we could not do on our own. He put our sin – the greatest threat to our protection and safety – to death. He has won for us eternal protection, respite and safety by dying and rising for us. This is the kind of safety our hearts truly desire. God who is faithful and just has forgiven us all our sins in Jesus Christ. Therefore, we rest protected, assured and comforted. No one can pluck us from his Father’s hands (John 10:28). We were transferred into the refuge of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Baptism, and we have the promised guarantee that though we may face trouble, God will rescue us, satisfy us and show us his great salvation as we entrust ourselves to him, both in this life and in the life to come. To be honest, that does even beat Simplisafe no matter how delightful the commercial might be! Amen