Titles of the Father in the Psalms – Part 3

Titles of the Father in the Psalms – Part 3

Titles of the Father in the Psalms – Part 3.

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.

62:5-8        Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

63:7-8         Because you are my help, I sing, I shout for joy in the shadow of your wings. I stay close to you, my soul is attached to you; your right hand upholds me.

64:10          Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; let all the upright in heart praise him!

71:1,3          In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

71:5-7          For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become an example to many, but you are my strong refuge.

73:26.28    My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. As for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

78:35           They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer.

89:15-18,26   Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they exult in your righteousness. For you are their glory and strength, and by your favor you exalt our horn. Indeed, our shield belongs to the Lord, our king to the Holy One of Israel. You are my Father, my God, the Rock my Savior.

90:1-2          Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations, before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

91:1-2,4       He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

91:9-10        If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.

91:14-15      ‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.’

92:15             The Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him.

94:18-19, 22   When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. The Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.

115:1,11          Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. You who fear him, trust in the Lord – He is their help and shield.

118:8-9          It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.

118:13-14      I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

119:114          You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word.

125:2              As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord  surrounds and enfolds his people, both now and forevermore.

138:7              Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life.

141:8              My eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign Lord; In you I take refuge.

142:5,7          I cry to you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’ Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

143:8-10       Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in you. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground.