These past couple weeks I have been trying to read through the book of Psalms again. In this book, David writes Psalms for every high and low. Some Psalms, cry out to God, begging for God to “turn his face to David,” (Psalms 13). While in other Psalms, David exclaims the beautiful traits of God such as His omnipotence (all powerful) and His omnipresence (being present everywhere) (Psalm 139). From reading through the beautifully written book of Psalms, I’ve come to know more about God and His attributes.
Throughout the book, the Psalmist often describes God as our shepherd, our rock, our HELP, our salvation, and so forth. For me, these are attributes I need to consider more. Often times, I think we (or maybe it’s just me) get caught up in how big and powerful our God is, and forget that He is also personal, and he CARES about you and me too. Now don’t get me wrong, God’s power, His Holiness, and His righteousness are all to be trembled at. It is important to always keep these attributes of God in mind to prevent us from sizing God down as a puny-little-human like ourselves. We must keep the utmost reverence and respect for the Holiness and the power of God. BUT, that being said, it is also important to remember as BIG and as powerful as our God is, He cares about you. You, specifically! His heart breaks when yours does. He is not some mad scientist sitting up in Heaven looking down on His people in their suffering and simply just…watching.
I have come to these conclusions by reading through the book of Psalms. But more specifically, there has been a single word that has consistently caught my attention. I have thought hard upon this single word and researched its meanings. It has done nothing short of reminding me of how much God loves me. The word is “refuge“.
With further research, I have found the word occurs more than 40 times in the book of Psalms. This is a word I have never associated as a attribute of God until just recently…
Refuge is defined in the dictionary:
I have always known God as loving and personable, but a refuge… that’s not a word I often use to describe Him.
1: A protection: God protects His people from all kinds of things.. while he does allow us to experience trail and hardship sometimes, He protects us ultimately from the wages of our sin. He protects us from Hell – which, technically speaking, is one thing everyone desires to be protected from. When I’ve messed up at work, there is nothing I dread more than my manager’s wrath, and the consequences that are the result of my mistakes. Similarly, just as we know our punishment that we so fully deserve is death, God protects us from our wages, and through His salvation, gives us eternal life with Him. God protects our hearts and our lives from our selfish desires as He so strongly holds us in His hands day by day. He protects us.
2. A shelter: God is a shelter for all who seek comfort in Him. When I think of a shelter, I often think of a physical structure in which people are provided comfort when they do not have a place to rest their head. These shelters can be for the homeless, or maybe for the family who lost their home in a natural disaster. But God wants us to find a spiritual refuge in Him and Him alone. When the storms of life are pressing hard on our hearts and we’re feeling like we just cant catch a break, God wants us to draw close to Him and use Him as our shelter. He wants to be the roof over our hearts, protecting and sheltering us from this world.
3. A source of help, relief or comfort in times of trouble: Have you ever tried carrying something really heavy, knowing full well, you needed help carrying it? But instead, you kept pressing on trying to carry it alone? A few weeks ago, Zack and I went kayaking with a few friends. When we were done and loading up the truck with our kayaks, I tried picking up the kayak all alone. Dragging it in the sand, I was stubborn and kept pulling it along with me. Until Zack comes over and picks up the back of the kayak and suddenly I feel like I’m barely even contributing! Haha. When I think of “relief”, I think of situations like these; where we try to carry life’s burdens on our own, (out of pride or simply because we can’t find help), and God is there, willing and able to not only help us carry the burden, but fully remove it from our shoulders completely! God is a source of help and relief. He comforts us when the pain, stress, or busyness of life itself is too much for us to handle on our own.
Are you getting the picture here? God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble Psalm (46:1). He is our rock, our fortress, and our savior; our God is our rock, in whom we find protection. He is our shield, the power that saves us, and our place of safety (Psalm 18:2).
When is the last time you took refuge in God and His promises? Do you find your comfort and your refuge in people, in things? At most, these things will only provide temporary refuge. The ultimate refuge, relief, safety, and protection comes from Christ alone, our r e f u g e.
I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” // Psalm 91:2