Psalm 46 :1
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble
Refuge is described as a state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or difficulty. Refuge is associated with safety, shelter, protection and fortress . As people we live in houses so that we can be protected from external physical harm which may be caused by various factors such extreme weather conditions. As a young believer, as much as your physical body needs a place of refuge in times of danger, so does your heart in times of spiritual trouble.
In Psalms 46, the Psalmist is talking about His spiritual place of provision during difficult times. He presents different scenarios in life which may bring fear and intimidation but he confidently describes God as the true help regardless of the prevailing hostile conditions which may arise.
In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve where faced with trouble, they were tempted and they sinned. Upon realising that had sinned they tried to create a covering for themselves by using leaves to cover and protect themselves but God comes and exposes the temporary covering they have and provides them with proper covering made from animal skin. God is the only one who can provide genuine protection and covering for man’s troubles.
In this lesson we will focus on God as our ever present refuge in time of need.
- The troubles of life
A fact of life is that as long as you are in this world you will face some form of trouble. Due to the fall of man, trouble has become part of our day to day life. As human beings we are not immune to some form of trouble during our lives. Whether a person is young or old, rich or poor, a Christian or non-believer, we all face troubles. The is saying which goes like this “In life, you’re either heading into a storm, going through a storm or coming out of a storm.” Regardless of where you are in life, there is always a storm looming in the horizon. If we look in the bible we can see many examples of people who faced many troubles and situation of difficulty such Joseph, Moses, Ruth, David, Job, Daniel and so on. Even though they served God they still faced troubles, but their hope was in God.
As young believers we may face trouble times such as:
- Times of sickness and disease
- Times of financial difficulty
- Times of conflict in relationships
- Times of accusation and persecution
- Times of failure and defeat
In 2 Samuel 15 vs 13 – 14 we read aboutDavid who is preparing to flee His palace because His own son Absalom was putting up a resistance against him. Absalom wanted to conquer and dethrone his own father. During this time Absalom has gained the support of the Israel nation and is quickly making his way to execute his plans. David packs up His belongings and flees because of the disaster that is coming because of Absalom.
As it unfolds, we know how Absalom attacks and chases His father and all the atrocities He commits in the land until he untimely meets his end. During this timewe see David facing many troubles at once: his son is in rebellion, his family is falling apart, he is fleeing and he is confused and David responds by writing Psalm 71 vs 1 – 8
In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me. 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. Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of those who are evil and cruel. For you have been my hope, 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 a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.
This is a lesson to us on how we should process trouble times, instead of blaming God and losing hope, we must rather turn our focus to God who is our helper in time of need.
- The world’s refuge
- Seeking a false refuge
The world always has so many counterfeit places of refuge which are false. There are many which exist and we will expose some common ones below. As a young person growing in the Lord, you need to be aware of these and resist the trap of false security which leads to destruction.
People of this world seek refuge in times of trouble from people such as witchdoctors. Witch doctors or Sangomas cannot provide true refuge. Sometimes people are given demonic articles to wear or keep under the pretence that such objects will protect them. True and divine protection cannot come from such things because they are idols. True refuge is in God, the powerful heavenly Father who created the heavens and the earth.
Many people seek refuge in idols and the treasures of this world. Things like their jobs, money, education etc. On their own, these things are not sinful but when you trust in them instead of trusting in God in times of trouble they become your refuge. The things of this world are temporary and can never provide a lasting refuge during trouble times.
1 Samuel 12:21
Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
1 John 2:17
The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.
1 Timothy 6vs 10
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
- Finding true and lasting refuge
People are often unwilling to surrender and trust in God during trouble times. Unwillingness to take refuge in God can be shown in your life when you face troubles and you don’t seek God first. For example, when meeting resistance and persecution in school or university you don’t pray or commit the situation to God and ask Him to divinely intervene and give you wisdom on how to deal with the situation.
Taking refuge in God requires trust. Trust is built through putting your faith in God. How do you have faith? By acknowledging that Jesus is Lord, accepting Him into your heart and being obedient to His word.
Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him.
Jesus rebukes a nation in the New Testament.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
God is longing to be your refuge. He wants be your stronghold. With Him we can feel protected. In Him you can have hope and feel are secure but He cannot force Himself on anyone because He is a God of love.
- The blessing of taking refuge in God
- Divine protection over your life
When your refuge is in God you can live life without fear, knowing that the Lord God Almighty will divinely protect you and your loved ones. Psalm 91 is a psalm adorned with over 20 promises for those who take refuge in the Lord. When you take refuge in God it shows that you love Him and promises to be with you during those difficult moments of life. God is ever present in our time of need.
Psalm 91: 9 – 10
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
- Covered by the blood
When you are born again and you live for God you will enjoy the eternal blessing of God as your everlasting refuge. When Jesus comes back, He is going to judge this world. Whoever is not covered and protect by the blood of the Lamb will unfortunately be cast away into the lake of fire. For you to be protected from eternal judgement you need to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and be saved from the coming judgement.
The Israelites were protected because they took refuge in God. When God judged the nation of Egypt and all the first born children died, no one amongst the Israelites was affected because they took refuge in the Lord and they were protected.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life”
As children of God we need to seek refuge in God and trust in Him as He is our only refuge in times of trouble and will be our refuge in judgment day when He come back
When you take refuge in God you can live happily and content by knowing that:
- God is good
- God always fulfils all His promises
- God is always in control
- God cares for you
- God is always there
My prayer and hope is that when we face trouble times of difficulty, uncertainty, and discouragement that we can respond like the Psalmist and say “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”