At my place work, when we have meetings, we have to let everyone know where the shelter is before we start the meeting. This is especially important in Kansas as we have potential for tornadoes, and everyone needs to know where to go in the event of such an emergency. Many people in this country have a place of refuge in or near their house.
Some are a place of refuge from weather events, and some have shelters for the event of something even more serious. Many schools and other locations where people might be gathering even have bomb shelters from a time when war seemed very likely. Now days, we have locations around our city that are considered “safe places or zones.” A child that is lost or being pursued could go there for refuge.
I think all of these can bring some spiritual thoughts for us. In our spiritual life, we need to know where to go for refuge in case of any occurrence that might bring harm to us, or anything that will overwhelm us. Scripture makes it clear that we have a spiritual refuge. A place we can go for shelter.
Webster’s dictionary gives this definition for “refuge” – Shelter or protection from danger or distress. The psalmist understands exactly. “To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1. The Psalmist always knows where to turn for refuge.
God is our refuge in several ways. There are issues of safety, and issues of distress and despair that come upon us as part of life.
The first refuge we must come to is salvation, which is a refuge from God’s wrath. As sinners, we were deserving of God’s wrath, and nothing we could do ourselves would prevent that. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;” Romans 1:18. Revelation 6:16-17.
However, God had a solution for this, and in Jesus Christ, He provided a refuge for us from that wrath. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Romans 5:8-9. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Read Hebrews 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
What a marvelous refuge. What a shame that so many refuse to run in to this refuge. Imagine if there was a tornado coming, and you had a shelter right near you, but you refuse to use it. Seems kind of silly doesn’t it? And yet, this is the attitude of much of humanity today. God offers a free shelter in Jesus, and they refuse to enter.
The second refuge is a refuge for the soul. Where do we go when our soul is troubled? Again, the Psalmist always knew where to go for refuge. When the troubles of the world around him were overwhelming, he went to the Lord. “To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave. 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.” Psalm 57:1.
We are often tempted to go to the world when our soul is troubled, and maybe find refuge in something there. Drugs, alcohol, psychology, and many other things. Or even just someone to make us feel better. How much better to go to our Lord who knows our soul, and cares for us more than anyone else.
I am not suggesting that we cannot enjoy the comfort of friends and family at times of distress, simply that our first place to go should be our Lord. He may very well use someone to help us, but the true refuge for us is under His wings.
“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. I cried unto thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:4-5. “Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.” Psalm 62:8.
Thirdly, God is a refuge for our mind. When the enemy comes against us, he most usually starts with our mind. He begins to work on how we think about things in our life, and how we view the circumstances. As we are assaulted in this way, we can easily give in to the despair that can follow, but God knows how to give us a refuge for our mind.
Satan will also work on our minds to draw us away from the truth of God’s Word. He would have us turn aside, and leave off running the race to rob us of our reward, and rob God of His deserved praise. Paul was concerned about this. “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
Satan would also rob us of our peace of mind by getting us focused on the things in this world, and how bad things are around us. Our situation in life might be less than we desired, but we need not despair about that. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.