Titles of the Father in the Psalms – Part 2

Titles of the Father in the Psalms – Part 2

Titles of the Father in the Psalms – Part 2.

Then Manoah, father of Samson, asked the Angel of Yahweh, ‘What is your name, so that we may honor you when your words come true?’ The Angel of Yahweh replied, ‘Why do you ask my name? It is a name of wonder. It is unknowable, and too wonderful for you to understand!’” (Judges 13:18).

Trying to determine a list of God’s titles in the Hebrew Bible can be a tricky business, a daunting task. For one thing, the differences between a name and a title are unclear and they often overlap. There are times, too, when one is tempted to consider a common noun or adjective or metaphor to be a title if it happens to reference God. And there are plenty of times when we read of a character description of God, or a unique ability of God, and we find ourselves turning them into titles. So the titles of the Father that I will highlight in this series is a list, not the list. For all I know, there may not even be a definitive list of God’s titles. I aim to provide varied glimpses of God the Father in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament… who He is, what He can do, what He represents, what He has done. Most importantly, I pray the readers of these titles are able to maintain the Jewish tradition of using God’s titles as ways of addressing the Almighty. As we address God in prayer and worship, may we feel free to put a capital letter at the beginning of each title, making the title an aspect of His identity. In that way each title could be another way to honor God and recognize His greatness.

“Blessed are all who take refuge in the Lord.” (Psalm 2:12)

It is common knowledge that we need four things to physically survive: Food, water, clothing, shelter. The same things apply to our spiritual survival… for food, we need to eat Scripture: chew it, swallow it, digest it, flesh it out; for water, we need to drink Christ: slurp the Gospels especially as you slake your spiritual thirst on the living water; for clothing, we put on the robe of righteousness: cover yourself with Jesus as you live into your garment of goodness.

Finally, we need shelter, we need protection from the elements, from the extremes of weather, and enemies and pests. Without a refuge, we are vulnerable to everything that the world has to throw at us. Without shelter, our souls are unprotected from the enemies of the spirit.

If there is one dominant theme in the Psalms, it’s that God has promised to be a shelter for His followers. And it pays to be reminded of that fact as we walk through our journey with God, when we seem to be surrounded with difficulty and with those who wish us ill. The following meditations in the Psalms will hopefully serve to encourage us and remind us that the Lord will be a constant spiritual refuge to keep us safe. I have read through the Psalms, from Psalm 1 through Psalm 150, and I have excerpted every descriptive title of the Lord that highlights Him as Shelter (Sater), Refuge (Machsi), Dwelling Place (Ma’on), High Tower (Misqabbi), Stronghold (Misqabbi), Shield (Magen), Fortress (Metsudhathi), Rock (please refer to the article on the Rock in this series on Titles of the Father), Sure Defense (Misgab), Haven (Machoz) and Hiding Place (Satar). These titles are sometimes interchangeable in Hebrew, they are synonyms regarding how the psalmist addressed God. Since they are very parallel in their application, we will take a look at all these titles wrapped together.

As with all Scripture meditations, chew on these inspired words, digest them, believe them as the truth, and live in light of them. These words are life-giving, and they are our survival. These portions of the Bread of Life give us confidence that we are not exposed to the elements that would destroy us, that God is our sure protection and safety, our refuge. Dwell in the shelter, in God, and be blessed.

32:7,10        You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him.

33:20-22      We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy Name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

34:7-8, 22     The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. The Lord redeems his servants; no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.

36:5-7             Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast. How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

37:39-40        The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

40:11,16          Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me. May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, ‘The Lord be exalted!’

41:1-2               Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in  times of trouble. The Lord will protect him and preserve his life.

43:2-3,5          You are God my stronghold. Why have you rejected me? Why must  I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy? Send forth your light and your truth, and let them guide me. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

46:1-2,4-5,7    God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

48:1-3               Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, His holy mountain. God is in her citadels; He has shown himself to be her fortress.

52:7-8                Here now is the man who did not make God his stronghold; but trusted in his great wealth and grew strong by destroying others! But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

57:1-2                Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me.

59:9,16-17        O my Strength, I watch for you; You, O God, are my fortress, my loving God. I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love, for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I will sing praise to you; you, O God, are my fortress, my loving God.

61:2-4                From the ends of the earth I call to you. I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.