“In the Lord I Take Refuge”

Mountain with Bird

In the Lord I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain; for, behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string to shoot in darkness at the upright in heart” (Psalm 11:1-2).

Throughout his life, David faced numerous challenges, hardships, and trials. All of us will face difficulties in life, though the severity and duration will vary. Job succinctly described this reality: “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil” (Job 14:1).

However, in the passage above, David confidently declared that he was able to “take refuge” in the Lord. God was able to provide him with the security and hope that he desperately needed. The same is true for us – we must “take refuge” in the Lord. David wrote elsewhere, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!” (Psalm 34:8).

Why was David confident that he could take refuge in the Lord? Why are we able to have the same confidence? The psalmist provided four reasons:

  1. We have no hope without the foundation of our faith – “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). The foundations upon which our faith is built are God and His word. This foundation is sure because God “[does] not change” (Malachi 3:6) and because His word is “forever…settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89). Without God and the promises and assurances found in His word, we would have no hope. As Paul wrote, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19). But because this foundation is certain, we can have “strong confidence” if we fear the Lord and follow Him (Proverbs 14:26).
  2. God is in heaven – “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men” (Psalm 11:4). There are two important points to remember here. First, God is the Creator. As such, He is all-powerful (cf. Romans 1:20) – far more powerful than any of the troubles and opposition we face in this life. Second, since God is in heaven, He is above all of this world’s trouble. This means He is not affected by it. The Hebrew writer noted that since God’s word was certain and the Lord was in heaven, we have a hope that is “an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil” (Hebrews 6:19). Since God is not affected by the troubles of this life, He remains a source of security for us throughout all of our trials.
  3. God will judge the wicked – “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup” (Psalm 11:5-6). Many of David’s hardships came because wicked men tried to destroy Him. While we may not have people trying to kill us as he did, we do suffer in this life because of sin that exists around us. Since God is a just God, He will not allow the wicked to go unpunished (cf. Nahum 1:3). Paul told the brethren in Thessalonica that it was “only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7). It may seem like the wicked people in this life continue to get ahead and prosper, tempting us to think that we would be better off in this life if we followed their example. Yet any perceived advantage the wicked have is only temporary. The wise man said, “Although a sinner does evil a hundred times and may lengthen his life, still I know that it will be well for those who fear God, who fear Him openly. But it will not be well for the evil man and he will not lengthen his days like a shadow, because he does not fear God” (Ecclesiastes 8:12-13).
  4. God will reward the righteous – “For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; the upright will behold His face” (Psalm 11:7). Just as God will judge the wicked, He will also reward the righteous. The Hebrew writer pointed out that God is “a rewarder of those who seek Him” and that Jesus is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9). No matter what hardships we face and no matter how severe our trials are, if we will be “faithful until death,” we can receive “the crown of life” at the end (Revelation 2:10).

In all of the hardships we face in this life and the realities that face us after this life, we can only find real security and hope in the Lord. Let us make the same declaration as David – “In the Lord I take refuge” – and put our complete trust and faith in God for the present time and for eternity.

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