“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Ps. 91:4)
Psalm 142:1 Maschil of David; A Prayer when he was in the cave. I cried unto the LORD with my voice; with my voice unto the LORD did I make my supplication.
The Storms of Life
Psalm 142:2 I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble.
Psalm 142:3 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me.
Psalm 142:4 I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.
Psalm 142:5 I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
At this point in David’s life, he was a fugitive, hunted by his enemy Saul: Depressed and hiding in a cave, out of options, nowhere left to run, refuge failed him, and nobody seemed to care. So there, he finally cries out to God. Ever been there?
Don’t Lose your Refuge
Refuge: shelter or protection from danger or distress, a sanctuary of safety; a consecrated place inaccessible to an enemy; a place of peace amid the storms of life.
In the fall of 2005, I found myself struggling with a heavy burden; numerous adverse circumstances converged into a perfect storm overwhelming me. One day during the crisis, while talking to a dear brother in Christ, who had a few years earlier suffered a personal tragedy, sensing my despondency, said something I will never forget: “Wayne, no matter what happens, don’t lose your refuge.” A few days after the conversation, the Lord brought Matthew 11:28-30 to mind:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
God spoke to my heart in a still, small voice, saying you have taken too much upon yourself. Jesus plainly stated His burden was light; I was weighed down because I had failed to cast all my care upon Him. “having begun in the Spirit,” foolishly, I had reverted to understand and endure the trial in my own strength. I deceived myself into believing that I was trusting God while, in reality, relying on my understanding of His workings in my life. “Bear not a single care thyself; one is too much for thee; The work is mine, yea, mine alone; thy work is to rest in Me.” Unknown
Dislodged from my Refuge
I was so stressed out and distracted by my situation that I soon began neglecting my time alone with the Lord, wandering from “the secret place of the most High,” no longer “abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.” Thus, I had unwittingly allowed the enemy to dislodge me from my refuge, to draw me out of my hiding place, thereby forfeiting my only source of strength.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isa.26:3).
“…the secret place of the most High”
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, He is my REFUGE and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” (Ps.91:1-2). [Emphasis mine]
“Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation…” (Ps. 91:9).
“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” (Ps.119:114).
“And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” (Isa. 32:2).
Access to the Sanctuary (Heb.10:19-22):
“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
The Tabernacle of the O.T. Jew consisted of three parts, the outer court, the holy place, and the (Holy of Holies) “most holy place.” A thick veil stood between the holy place and the Holy of Holies, separating the people from God’s presence.
When Jesus spoke His final words on the cross upon giving up the ghost, “the veil of the temple was rent [torn] in twain from the top to the bottom…” (Matt.27:51) [emphasis mine]. Thus, signifying the end of the Mosaic Law and the sacrifices: providing “a new and living way” into God’s presence.
As “born again” believers, ours is the blessed privilege of entering the heavenly Holy of Holies. We have access through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to the very presence and heart of God, “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus…” (Heb. 10:19).
“through the veil, that is to say, his flesh…” (Heb. 10:20), the means by which we enter our sacred refuge, “the secret place of the most High” (Ps.91:1-2).
The Hymn “Near to the Heart of God”
“There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before Thee Near to the heart of God.
There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God, A place where we our Savior meet.
Near to the heart of God. Chorus
There is a place of full release, Near to the heart of God, A place where all is joy and peace…
The Essential Counter-balance
Intimate, silent fellowship with the Lord in His word is the essential counter-balance that provides sanity in an insane world. A person can only work so many hours, then must rest. The same is true of spiritual life; following exposure to the noisy world, with all its spiritual wickedness, sin, temptations, and perplexing trials, we must daily retreat to our refuge, reviving our hearts by learning to be still with our Savior. A simple yet profound reality.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Prov.3:5-6).
Most of us will only apply this verse when we run out of all other options when we come to the point of crisis and have no other choice. Then, we naturally tend to take matters into our own hands, making our refuge the last resort.
Don’t ever lose your refuge, nor forget that God is always in control! (John 14:27 & 16:33).
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb.13:5).