Last week I hoped to establish that God is the Refuge that we are seeking and that He is able to be our refuge because of who He is. This week, we'll move on to thinking about what God is a refuge from, for if we are taking refuge we are surely taking refuge from something. We'll begin with enemies. God is a refuge from our enemies.
There are many verses in Scripture where people cry out to God for refuge from their enemies. The Psalm that stood out to me this morning as I looked through the list I had complied is Psalm 37, so that will be our focus for today. It begins,
Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die.
After those two verses, David goes on for seven verses about how we, those who trust the Lord, should behave, rather than fretting and envying.
Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.
For those who are evil will be destroyed,
but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.
The Psalm goes on in sections like this contrasting how the child of God is called to live and the hope and future in store for him with that of the wicked enemies. The future is glum for the God-haters, but bright for those who trust in the Lord. How does David instruct us to live in the meantime?
- trust in the Lord
- do good
- dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture
- take delight in the Lord
- commit your way to the Lord
- trust in the Lord
- be still before the Lord
- wait patiently for the Lord
- do not fret about evil succeeding
How many of these things have anything to do with engaging our enemies? That's right, none of them! But all of them remind us to fix our eyes on the Lord and seek first His kingdom and righteousness, so to speak.
Here's the main point I want you to take with you today. No matter who your enemies are, whether human or spiritual, God is our refuge from them because He is the one who fights for us. We take refuge in Him and learn to live day by day for Him, entrusting the battle against our enemies to Him.
I wrote in my journal, STOP FIGHTING, HEATHER!
The battle is not mine. The battle is not yours. The battle is the Lord's. Let's lay down our weapons by running to the Refuge when enemies draw near. Let's surrender to our defender by trusting in the Lord and focusing on living for Him when enemies try to distract us. God is refuge from our enemies because He alone is the enemy defeater! We don't need to try to do His job. Anyway, we can't.
You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the foe.
- Finish reading Psalm 37. Jot down all of the things God does on behalf of the righteous (His children) and all of the things we are responsible for. How are the lists different?
- Pray. Ask God to forgive you for trying to take on your enemies on your own and ask Him to help you to increasingly choose to trust in Him, taking refuge in Him from your enemies.