By Lisa Petersen
Psalm 57:1, “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.”
What is a refuge? The dictionary describes it as “a protection or shelter, as from danger or hardship.”
God is our refuge when hardships and challenges come into our lives. He wants us to run to Him as our Protector. He wants to comfort us and carry us through our troubles. Finding God’s truth and running to Him for refuge in the storms of life is the only way to survive those storms.
After two decades of unmolested peace as a missionary in Africa, I was stunned when a thief broke into our home and stole some things. I told my pastor that I truly felt my faith was shaken, and he looked at me and said, “No it hasn't been.” He quoted to me two verses that I will not forget. One was I Corinthians 10:13, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." The other verse was Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Little did we know that, soon after, we would face one of the most difficult trials of our lives as someone would seek to use lies to steal from us and to harass us. In this dark time, I had to run to Jesus for my comfort and refuge.
When facing trials, it is easy to become angry, hurt, bitter, hopeless, or unforgiving. But God can deliver us from those things if we find our refuge in Him.
Isaiah 32:2 sums up the idea that God is our refuge. “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.” We know that “a man” in the verse is, ultimately, the Lord Jesus. He is all of these things for us and more. We need to let the Lord be our hiding place, our shelter of protection, our provision, and our pavilion for an escape from times of heartache.
David knew that God was his refuge. He had people that were after him and, at times, he had to run for his life. We know from the Psalms and what we read there, what a refuge God was for him. With Isaiah 32:2 as our guide, let’s look at some of these verses.
1. A refuge is a place to hide.
“And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind,” Isaiah 32:2(a). Psalm 91:2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” God wants us to have 100% confidence in Him, even when things look hopeless. He smiles on His children when they have complete trust in Him. 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.”
Here, the Psalmist says he could not find refuge anywhere. No man cared for him. Can you imagine that lonely feeling he was going through? He truly felt there was no one that cared for him. I know that I have felt very lonely at times, in different seasons of my life, but I knew that there were many people that loved me and cared for me during those times.
I hate the devil. He will make it seem that God doesn't love us or care about us when we go through difficult things, but that is a lie. God does truly love His children. Even though David didn’t feel that any man could help him, he knew God would. In the next verse, he says, “I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge…”
2. A refuge is a protection from the storms of life.
And a man shall be as …“a covert from the tempest;” Isaiah 32:2(b). Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
In trouble, He is always nearby. In times of calamities, we need a refuge for our soul until they are past. Psalm 62:7, “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.” If we can trust Him for salvation, we can trust Him that His strength and grace will help us through the storms of life. Nothing we go through is beyond His ability to protect us and deliver us. We know, as His children, that God is bigger than the storms and trials of life and that we will never go unprotected. Whatever situation we are in at this moment, we can be assured that God is with us! We just have to start believing this!
3. A refuge is a provision of refreshment.
And a man shall be … “as rivers of water in a dry place,” Isaiah 32:2(c). Psalm 142:5, “I cried unto thee, O Lord : I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.”
David knew that God was all he needed. He was his portion. He knew God would refresh him in a dry place.Jesus said in John 7:37-38, “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” When we believe on Jesus, He becomes our refuge of provision and refreshment.
4. A refuge is a pavilion for escape.
And a man shall be … “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2(d)
A pavilion is a shelter that provides shade from the harsh elements of nature. Psalm 91:1 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” The Lord is a shade for us in a weary land. He will shelter us from the heat of the battles we face. Psalm 9:9, “The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” David knew God was a refuge for those oppressed by the harsh elements of this world, a safe place to go to in trouble.
Loving God, loving His Word, and applying it to our lives, especially during trials, is how we see God as our refuge.
When we look at problems and trials in light of God’s Word, instead of Satan's lies, then we will truly see the love of God, the comfort He can bring, the miracles He will perform, and the refuge that He truly is for us.