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Refuge

Written by | July, 2020
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Post Categories Gems from the Old Testament

Many seek refuge in all the wrong places. But because God is our refuge and strength, we can confidently say, “We will not fear—anything.”
Psalm 46:1-3 describes a scene of chaos and upheaval: the earth removed, mountains cast into the depths of the sea, waters roaring and troubled. This may be a cataclysmic event in nature, or the images may symbolize the chaos and upheaval of life. The phrase “though the earth be removed” is more literally “though the earth change.”
God’s Strength at Work in our Lives
For human beings, few things are more frightening than change. Yet, Scripture assures us that God never changes. This means that God does not love us today and hate us tomorrow. He is not for us one day and against us the next. Instead, as Psalm 46 declares, He remains “a very present help in trouble.”
Sadly, many people seek refuge in all the wrong places: fame, fortune, careers, even addictions. Each of these refuges is doomed to fail. But God never fails. And this is why the first word of Psalm 46 is one of its most important words: “GOD is our refuge and strength.”
The Hebrew word for God throughout Psalm 46 is ELOHIM. This is actually a plural word; not in the sense of many gods, but rather emphasizing the fullness of attributes of our triune God. Fullness of grace. Fullness of wisdom. Fullness of love, mercy, and power. And this is why, God is why, we can confidently say, “We will not fear.” We will not fear sickness. We will not fear death. We will not fear pandemics or terrorists or economic downturns or loneliness. We will not fear what others say about us. We will not fear anything.
God’s Personal Involvement in our Lives
If Psalm 46:1-3 assures us of God’s strength at work in our lives, then Psalm 46:4-7 assures us of God’s personal involvement in our lives. And these two important facts—God’s power and His willingness—are addressed in Psalm 46:7, 11. In these verses God is not only called the “Lord of armies” but also the “God of Jacob.” He is God over all, but also God of the individual.
God is in our midst. God is on our side. These are the constant refrains of Scripture, and loudly heralded in Psalm 46: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved. God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” Or as Paul wrote in Romans 8: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” And where do we see God more in our midst and more on our side than in the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ? That Jesus died on the cross for our sins is the clear, indisputable proof that God has the power and the willingness to help us.
God is in Control
Psalm 46:8-11 comprises the last section of this great psalm. Much could be said about these verses. In an age of wars, terrorist threats, the boasts and swagger of nations and leaders, how comforting to remember that GOD IS IN CONTROL. “HE makes wars cease to the end of the earth; HE breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. HE burns the chariot in the fire.”
Yet, notice particularly Psalm 46:10, where God Himself turns to us directly and says: “Be still, and know that I am God.” When overloaded by life’s worries, anxieties, and burdens, we need to stop, listen, and reflect on what God is saying. He’s saying, “I am God. You’re not.”
There is no better,
no safer refuge.
Mark Weis is a professor at Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.