Bread – Refuge

August 15, 2016


Psalm 31

In You, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in Your righteousness deliver me!  Incline Your ear to me; rescue me speedily!  Be a rock of refuge for me; a strong fortress to save me!  For You are My rock and my fortress…for You are my refuge.”  Ps. 31:1-4

A refuge is a place of safety from the world.  In the Bible, this refuge may be a strong castle with walls that cannot be breached and a wide moat which cannot be crossed; or it may be the shelter of a rocky cave, high above the fray, protected from the storm; or it may be the shelter of God’s wings which cradle us in times of emotional need.   In the world, a refuge may be a private room when one can gather his or her thoughts before the day begins; it may be a chair in that room which is incredibly comfortable and which holds us; it may be a book which is read in that chair which lets us imagine things beyond our current mess; or our refuge may be a person in whom we have great trust.

God through David says two things about being a refuge – “Be a rock of refuge” (verse 2b) and “For You are my rock and my fortress…” (verse 3).

If He “is” David’s refuge, then why is it necessary to ask God to “be” it?

One answer to this question has to do with continuity.  The refuge today may not be the refuge tomorrow.  The enemy discovers the cave; your private room is invaded by a ringing telephone.  Your book of refuge ends and you must find another.  The problem with this answer is that it flies in the face of God’s nature.  He is not changeable, in that today He is a fortress of refuge and tomorrow He is not.  No, He was a refuge, He is a refuge, and He always will be a refuge.  This is one of His characteristics, that of being a place of safety among the turmoil of the world.

So in what sense is David asking God to “be a rock of refuge?”  I think that this is really a prayer for David.  God is being asked by David to continue being a refuge for David.

Why would David have to ask this of God?  When a refuge disappears, it is either because the refuge has disappeared (and we know that is not in God’s nature) or because you (David) are no longer in the refuge.  If David is no longer in the refuge of God, why not?  Since he is no longer there, it can only be for three reasons – (1) the bad people came and kidnapped him; (2) God told him to leave; or (3) he left on his own accord.

We know that David would not leave God’s refuge because the people seeking him out have found and seized him, because what kind of refuge is that.  We know that God is mighty to save and His is a mighty fortress against which nothing can prevail.  So, if David is in God’s fortress, he is safe.  Option 1 is not the answer.

Option 2 is that God told him to leave.  There is only one refuge built by God which God told us to leave – and that was Eden and was due to our disobedience (sin).  And He created another refuge for us, Himself in Jesus Christ, where we may find safety if we profoundly believe in Him.  So, in that sense, God evicted us from a place of refuge so that we might find Him, the person of refuge.  David was not thrown out of God’s fortress by God.

This must mean that David either left the refuge on his own or knew that he would unless empowered by the Holy Spirit to stay.  The plea by David to God to “Be a rock of refuge for me” is really a request by David for God to help David not leave.

Are we, today, out in the rain of the world, getting wet and blown around from place to place?  Why?  It is because God has left us or because we have left Him?

But to have left something, you had to have found it in the first place.  So, the real question is, have you asked God to be your shelter from the storms of life, your strong place of refuge?  Have you found that place of protection, knowing that all is well because Christ is Lord and not you?  If not, what are you waiting for?  If so and you are outside the place of refuge, return.  If so and you are in that place, then give thanks.

_________

© 2016 GBF    All Scripture quotations are from the English Standard Version (2001), unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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