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Security and where to find it

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23

Security is what all men and women seek. If one has wisdom surely one is secure. If one has power surely one is secure If one has wealth surely one is secure.

Not really. Folk often say that (instead?) health is everything. Others wisely point out that without friends a man cannot be sure that he will remain sane let alone secure.

Despite these thoughts of the thoughtful, Jersey folk continue to strive to obtain security in all these and other ways.
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” (As recorded by Jeremiah, c. BC 550)

Take a look at the words in bold above. It’s almost guaranteed that they will be on your lips this year – perhaps many times. Do you recognize them? The writer was secure – he had security.

But do you know who wrote them? Or when? Or what kind of man he was?

The words are over 3,000 years old. They were originally written in Hebrew by King David, who was King of all Israel and who reigned from Jerusalem until around 970 BC when he was succeeded by his son, Solomon.

King David was a very successful King indeed. But his life and reign were difficult and stressful. He wrote this song – Psalm 23 – amongst many others. So many did he write – and compose the music for - that he humbly asked that, on his tombstone, he should be described as “the man who was raised on high, the one anointed by the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel.” In effect he wanted to say to those for succeeded him, “I write the songs. I write the songs.”

But look closely at this particular song because in it King David sets out two reasons why he is secure.

First, he was secure because “the LORD is my shepherd.” Because we in Jersey are responsible for our own security we look around us and can see many threats, internal and external. And we can also, to a very limited extent, picture the threats which we cannot see - the threats which the LORD alone, as shepherd can see.

But who is “the LORD”? The Hebrew word which King David used for “LORD” was in fact a name which, when translated into Arabic Script would read YHWH. But over many centuries this name of the Most Holy God of Israel was considered to be too holy and too mighty to be taken onto the lips of any human being. So it was replaced in all translations with “the LORD”.

Second, he was secure because the LORD was his host – the host who looked after him just as a host looks after a guest at a meal in the host’s home. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”

‘Security is not the absence of danger, but the presence of God, no matter what the danger.’(Anon.)
Such security is very special. Only a few can see it for themselves personally. One who did see it 2000 years ago was a blind man who went under the name “Son of Timothy” because he was only a beggar and didn’t deserve a name of his own. He had called out to Jesus Christ the Lord, “Jesus, Son of [King] David, have mercy on me!
Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” His sight was restored. Faced with a similar question would your request be, “Security, please – for time and forever.”
After all, King David had that:  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

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