The Kingdom of God is a Safe Place

Safety is a promise of God’s kingdom.  God promised Israel that, in the Promised Land, there would come a day when there would be no more enemies.  But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, and he will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you will live in safety (Deuteronomy 12:10 NIV).

Prophecies of the coming Messiah and the coming kingdom speak of safety, too.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will raise up to David a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is right and just in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
And Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called
The LORD our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5-6 NIV).

In this passage God declares that a true sign of the coming Messiah is the safety that will envelop the land.  These were words of hope to people who were in the midst of a siege by the strong nation of Babylon.

The Psalmists also recognized that being safe could only come from being in God’s presence.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
For you alone, O LORD,
Make me dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8 NIV).
“Because the poor are despoiled,
Because the needy groan,
I will now rise up,” says the LORD,
“I will place them in the safety for which they long” (Psalm 12:5 NRSV).

God communicates to his people through the prophet Ezekiel about the characteristics of a good shepherd, the good shepherd He will be to His people.   He promises His weary people safety.

They shall no more be plunder for the nations, nor shall the animals of the land devour them; they shall live in safety, and no one shall make them afraid  (Ezekiel 34:28 NRSV).

In reality those who were most vulnerable in Israel’s society have special promises of God’s protection.

Father of orphans and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation (Psalm 68:5 NRSV).

You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. You shall not abuse any widow or orphan.  If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry; and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children orphans (Exodus 22: 21-24 NRSV).

The church, as the body of Christ, the representation of Jesus here on earth, is meant to be that safe place for people.  There’s an older song I recall that goes something like this, “You’re the only Jesus some will ever see.”  It’s true.  We are to be that safe place for people.

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