Instead of being afraid, why not take refuge in God?
David wrote: he who dwells in the secret place of the most high abides under the shadow of the almighty (Psalm 91). To be under his shadow means he takes responsibility for your safety. It is what can harm him that can harm us. In an absolute sense, you can do nothing to keep yourself safe. The bible says that except the Lord keeps the city, the watchman watches in vain (Psalm 127). Our hope the bible says should be in God (Psalm 33:22).
When Jesus and the disciples were navigating the Sea of Galilee, He was fast asleep while a big wind rose the sea threatening to end their lives (Mark 4:35-41). Bedlam was let loose, as the disciples were panic-stricken. They felt naked, hopeless, exposed to the powerful storm on the sea, with nowhere and no one to turn to for help. Or so they thought. They thought the end has come. They imagined that they will never see their loved ones again…
They woke Jesus up, complaining: “do you not care whether we perish? How can you be sleeping when our world has come to an end? Are you not human? Don’t you have feeling?”
Rather than join them to raise further alarm, when Jesus woke from sleep, he simply rebuked the wind and the storm and there was calm. He also rebuked the disciples for lack of faith. They did not realise that with Jesus they were safe, and no harm could come to them. There is nothing that to be afraid of when you are with Jesus. How can God be at risk? What a preposterous thought.
Jesus said that people should come to him, those who are stressed out with life, and they will find rest. They will contact him and he would change them from stressful to restful (Matthew 11:28-30).
Another time, Jesus told them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisee. They thought he was rebuking them for not bringing having any bread with them (Matthew 16:5-12). They thought that he was worried about physical substance. Jesus accused them of being hard-hearted and lack of faith. He reminded them of the two occasions of multiplication of bread and the baskets of leftover, showing them that with him, they ought to have understood that there will be no shortage of bread. Physical sustenance was not an issue when it comes to him.
Preservation is expressed in provision and protection. Taking refuge in God is both about enjoying his resources (provision) and being kept from hurt (protection). The psalmist says that God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in times of need (Psalm 46). Strength talks about what you are able to do, the kind of influence you are able to wield because of your association with God. David said that God strengthens his hands so that a bow of steel is broken by him (Psalm 18). The ability of God is expressed through us as we move with his presence all over the world.
God rebukes our enemies for our sake, saying: touch not my anointed, do my prophet no harm (1Chronicles 16:19-22). Jacob, after twenty year of serving the Laban his uncle, ran away with his family, but his uncle pursued him. Along the way, God came to the Laban in a dream; stopping him from doing him any harm (Genesis 31:29).
In defence of Abraham, God told a pagan king in a dream not to touch his wife, saying: he is a prophet. God took ownership of Abraham, and he experienced God as his refuge (Genesis 20:1-8).
There is no refuge in any other place except in God. God has power and glory. David said that he’ll rather be in the presence of God to see his power and glory (Psalm 63:1-2). Power is needed when there is opposition (protection); glory is manifested as the splendour of divinity in and of itself (provision). We experience God in these two ways, when we have him as refuge.
In God, we have utmost security. He is described as the rock. The rock has the quality of stability, consistency, and impregnability. It confers protection. When you take refuge in God, you experience uncommon protection.
Three children of Israel experienced protection in Babylon. They were threatened with being burnt alive if they did not bow to a graven image (Daniel 3). That was supposed to scare them into submission. They were meant to be afraid and panic, and seek to save their life, by yielding to the demand of the pagan king.
But they understood that God is their refuge. They proclaimed that their God is able to deliver them from the hand of king Nebuchadnezzar. They were so sure. They thought that God was more real than the fire prepared to roast them alive, than the threat of the king. They knew that their God is big enough and real enough a refuge to deliver them fully. That was what happened, and in spectacular fashion too.
The Lord as refuge is our cover from the ‘scorching sun.’ The children of Israel experienced the Lord as their refuge in the wilderness. The condition there was unforgivably harsh. But the pillar of fire by night and the pillar of cloud by day made them secure. They were preserved physically; they had their physical needs provided for in the manna that fell daily from heaven and the water that flows from the rock that followed them, which was Christ (1Corinthians 10:4).
Christ is our ultimate refuge, believing in him saves us from experiencing the wrath of God in eternal damnation, which is the ultimate harm that can come to any man. He is our shelter from the storm. Believing in him makes us saved from eternal damnation. There is no need for any other refuge other than Him (He is the glory [Hebrews 3:1, 2Corinthians 4:6] and power of God [1Corinthians 1:24]). Jesus said that he who does not believe in him has passed from death to life while those who do not believe in him have the wrath of God abides on them (John 3:36).
With the Lord as our refuge, the bible says that no evil shall befall us nor will any evil come near our dwelling place. He would give his angels charge concerning us, so that we would not dash our feet against a stone. Daniel was thrown into the den of lions but he escaped unhurt because angelic ministry was available for him (Daniel 6).
- Word Wednesday: “We Have Help!” (theaquapastor.wordpress.com)
- “The Love Of Christ Jesus”/Peter An Apostle of Jesus Christ (robertadennisblog.wordpress.com)
- The Daily Gospel and Readings 12 February 2014 (prayersandmeditations.com)
- A Perfect Rest and Refuge (womensmissionaryfederation.wordpress.com)
- Day 73: temple code (epiphanyeuclidbiblechallenge.wordpress.com)
- Zephaniah 3:12 – Taking Refuge in the Name of the Lord (blogforthelordjesuschristianleaders.wordpress.com)
- S is for….. (livingmyportion.wordpress.com)
- In The Arms Of God (crowleyfirstumc.wordpress.com)