We live in an unstable world. Economy, disease, politics – these factors and more create unsettling circumstances around us. Good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people. Jesus says, in John 16:33, that we will have trouble as long as we are part of this world. Where then do we turn in a life of uncertainty and troubles? Where do we take refuge when the storms of this life assault us?
God has promised us that He will be our refuge. He is our sheltering rock in the time of storms. He is our fortress against the battles of this life. Nahum 1:7, Psalm 18:2, Psalm 94:22, Deuteronomy 32:30, Isaiah 44:8 – these passages and many more call God our shelter, our rock, our refuge. He is the certainty we can have in a world of uncertainty.
Our Trust in God
We can trust in God even when friends and family fail us. The imagery of God as our refuge comes largely from the writings of David, one whose best friend’s father wanted him dead, whose wife and son turned against him on more than one occasion. David knew what it was to have friends and family turn on him. In Psalm 41:9 and Psalm 55:12-14 speaks of friends abandoning him. Likewise, Job saw his wife and friends turn on him in his strife, but, in Job 42:2, he turns his trust to God, expressing confidence in God’s deliverance. We will have friends and family fail us in this life, but we can be assured our God will never forsake us.
We can also trust in our God when the things in this life fail us, when we see the unfairness, crime, and injustice in this world. We ourselves have been victims of these things, and we cannot find shelter in the things of this world as long as injustice and unfairness continue. In the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32, Moses contrasts the injustice of man versus the fairness of God, and Isaiah 26:4-7 calls God an eternal rock, the upright one who directs the path of the just. He alone is just and fair, and we can place our trust in the fact that His ways are right. He plays no favorites. We are all equal in His eyes, and we can trust Him to deal fairly with us in a way the world never could.
Finally, we can trust God to ultimately save us. Psalm 44:6 records the sons of Korah saying they would trust in nothing but God to save them. A strong military, a strong government, a strong stock market, our right to bear arms, strong foreign policy – these things will not save us in this life or the one to come. Jeremiah 11:12 criticizes the people of Judah for trusting their idols; we make idols of our investments, of our military, of our favorite politicians, of our savings. These are where we so often place our greatest trust and efforts, but they cannot save us. Only God can shelter our souls.
The Lord of Our Strength
Psalm 18, one of David’s later writings, proclaims God as our strength, fortress, deliverer. He is the horn of our salvation, our stronghold, worthy of praises. He is the living rock, the God of our salvation. Psalm 62:5-7 expresses confidence that God can be our only source of strength and salvation. This is the confidence we can have in our God.
We can look to Him for comfort, shelter, and strength. This comfort and security is open to all who would know Him and come to Him in humility and obedience. David, in Psalm 18, expressed a very personal relationship with his God, and David knows, in Psalm 18:20-26, that he is blameless before God, and he knows the relationship they have together. When we draw toward God, He draws toward us. We can have that same relationship, that same hope, that same security, even in the face of friends, family, and the securities of this world failing us.
lesson by Tim Smelser