According to various dictionaries, a refuge is a place or state of safety. It can mean protection, shelter from danger, trouble or unhappiness. The need or desire to find a refuge is common amongst mankind. The storms of life can beat down relentlessly, and we can easily fall into despondency and depression. Pressures wear on us, and Death haunts us.
To whom or where do you go to find refuge from the storms of life? The Government? The doctor? The police? A close friend? So I suppose for many, it depends from whom or what you are trying to escape from.
So what does refuge mean to you? People seek refuge for a lot of reasons but rarely do they turn to God. It is only in our darkest moments when all else fails that we turn to him.
It is good to know the bible is full of those who sought comfort in God in times of trouble. Here are a few verses from the Psalms which David experienced, and wrote about.
"Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you." (Psalm 5:11)
“O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge; save me from all my pursuers and deliver me” (Psalm 7:1)
“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge”. (Psalm 16:1)
"Wondrously show your steadfast love, O Saviour of those who seek refuge from their adversaries at your right hand." (Psalm 17:7)
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)
"Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you." (Psalm 25:20)
"You take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge." (Psalm 31:4)
Trained to become brave
The American Indians had a particular way of training young boys to become adult braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a thick forest to spend the entire night all alone in the dark. Up until then, the boy had never been away from his family, and the tribe. However, on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away to a place unknown. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick wood, and his mind ran riot!
Maybe they lit a fire. But outside of the firelight, I wonder what danger lurked for the boy. You can imagine on hearing every sound, he would think that a wild animal was getting ready to pounce. I expect little or no sleep would be had due to fear and anxiety. Then, after what seemed like an eternity, the sun would begin to rise the next morning. The boy would look around, and see flowers, trees, and a path. The birds would be singing. And then, to his complete amazement, he would see the outline figure of a man just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It would be his father, he had been there all night long.
This is just an illustration of how God deals the same way with us, his loved ones! He is always there, even when we don't know it. There may be many times that you fear because of an uncertain future, when all seems bleak and against you. Perhaps you think that you are all alone and that there is no one around who knows what you are going through, or can share your burdens. But God is always there. He is waiting for you to call on him, to trust him when you face times of trouble and hardship.
Maybe you are thinking that your life isn’t in jeopardy like David’s was in the bible. He faced many troubles in his life, but throughout it, he put his trust in his God and saviour.
At times he grieved from the death of a close family member. At times he had to fight against what seemed impossible odds. At other times he felt like those closest around him were against him. He experienced oppression, scorn and ridicule when people were saying and spreading cruel things about him - false allegations.
He knew the worry of being a King, looking after the people in his care, of being the leader to whom everyone looked up to. Maybe you don't face the exact same problems David experienced in his life, as he is at pains to record in the above verses; but we all face times of trouble, our Goliath's. He wrote these psalms that we too may find God to be our refuge, as he did.
Today, we live in perilous times, there are so many things to worry about and be concerned over. We hear of wars and rumours of wars, we hear of economic uncertainty, and knife crime, and murder among the young. We hear of terrorist atrocities and attacks taking place in our own streets. We hear of domestic violence, and abuse. Sickness and illness, and bad health. Perhaps we have even experienced some of these things ourselves, at first hand.
But throughout, David found his heavenly Father was his refuge. Like David, we too can find that God is our refuge and our strength. We will find that God will protect us and help us when times of trouble come our way. God will not only will protect us from some things, he will also protect us in particular circumstances. The Lord is stronger than anything the world can throw at us. He is our only true refuge. If we only seek him out, and pour out our problems to him in prayer and supplication, even with tears.
If you don't know how to pray, use the psalms as your prayer! Take his word to him, and say, you did this for David, please help me in my desperate time of need. And he will answer you, perhaps in ways you would never have guessed, or even know, this side of glory.
Solid joys is a daily devotional
One of the best ways to meet with God is to spend time with him each morning, reading his word and in prayer. Don't underestimate how important this is, although it sounds very simple, it is, in fact, a profoundly life-changing experience. You will find your refuge only in the Lord.
Feed your soul daily on...
What is true salvation? What does it look like to be in a right relationship with God, our Creator so that I can call him God my Redeemer?
Pause for a moment… let your mind fix on that thing or those things you have done that ignite your guilt. There are a couple ways you can decide how to respond.
Mark 14:25 "Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
Are you anxious, scared of what the future holds? Worried about what tomorrow will bring?
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