Meditations for Troubled Times
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.” (Psalm 46:1)
During tumultuous circumstances, which we’re facing in our day, the Psalmist bids us to look to God. Who is he? There are three things about him stated in verse 1. Let’s simply ponder the opening phrase: God is our refuge. Notice that David doesn’t say God provides for us a refuge. This may happen, as when David hid in the cave of Adullam or the stronghold in the wilderness of Judah. However, when David finally receives God’s deliverance from Saul’s attacks, he doesn’t praise God for a cave.
He says in Psalm 18:2, “Yahweh is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge” (emphasis added). The LORD doesn’t provide the refuge. The LORD is the refuge. We hide in him. He himself is our protection. And what does his protection afford us? An impregnable defense!
It also is vital to observe the name of God used here. The Psalmist says Elohim is our refuge. What is the significance of the name “Elohim”? It’s the name used for God in Genesis 1. It means strength or might, and what did God do in Genesis 1 to demonstrate that he is mighty? He made the heavens and the earth! Is he not then able to be our refuge? Is he not then worthy of our trust?
It’s the same logic used in Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift up my eyes to the hills; From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” This mighty God is able to defend you, to bear you up, to preserve you, and to lavish steadfast love on you even in difficult circumstances. He won’t fail. He is an impenetrable wall, a strong tower. Your soul is safe with him. You can run to him when trouble comes, when you’re unsettled, and he will shield you, cover you, and protect you.
How do you know this? Because of the Psalmist’s emphasis. God is our refuge. It’s emphatic in the Hebrew: Elohim is for us a refuge. This is a staggering thought. The power that God possesses as Creator he brings to bear for his people. He doesn’t shelter all people. He wasn’t a refuge for the Egyptians when they pursued Israel into the Red Sea. He wasn’t a refuge for the 185,000 Assyrians ready to strike down Hezekiah and Jerusalem. But he is a refuge for those who trust in him.
Such ones will be blessed, preserved, shielded, and redeemed. Are you hanging on to this truth about your God? In your distress, do you consider him and run to him? Do you grasp that the greatest upheaval from which you need refuge is your own sin before a holy God? Yet here is the amazing thing: God gives a hiding place in himself from his wrath for he sends his Son to be our covering, our shield, our refuge. David says in Psalm 2:12, “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
In all your world-changing, life-rocking situations, your God has given you a hiding place to cleanse you from sin and to comfort you in the love of Christ. Are you resting there? Is Jesus your redeemer, protector, and friend? Trust him!