November 12, 2014

Running to the Refuge {Day 12}: Refuge from Danger

This is day 12 of a month-long series.  Catch up on previous posts here.

As I began thinking about this Refuge from Danger post yesterday afternoon, I thought about what the opposite of danger is.  Safety came to mind, but I wanted to confirm that as an antonym.  I mistakenly typed 'danger' into google instead of - I love thesaurus,com - and this definition popped up: the possibility of suffering harm or injury.  Hm, the possibility.   I find this definition intriguing.

The world is full of dangers.  There are things, people, situations, places out there than can and want to do us harm.  Danger is a reality in a world full of sin.  But at the same time, how often do you find yourself in real, right-before-your-eyes danger?  How much do our feelings of being in danger base themselves only in possibilities and not realities?  Man, that definition sure got me thinking.

I love how Psalm 91 engages the point and answers the question, What does it mean to take refuge from danger?  Verse 1:

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

He who takes up residence in the Refuge finds rest in His shadow.  No matter what is going on around, when we set up camp in the shelter God provides, we can know rest.  I believe that rest comes from knowing we no longer need to live in fear.

I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God in whom I trust.

Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor he pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with you eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

The Psalmist says the Lord is his refuge.  He is confident God will save from harm those who take refuge in Him.  But he also reminds us that under God's cover, we will not fear (bold above).  Taking refuge from danger in God means freedom the fear of the possibilities.  There is mind-peace from danger in the shelter of the Most High!

God is a refuge from danger in the possibilities sense, but there is one more point the Psalmist makes.  Continuing from verse 9 to the end:

If you make the Most High your dwelling--
even the Lord, who is my refuge--
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

"Because he loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."

Not only does the Psalmist talk about freedom from fear of danger, but also protection from danger itself.  In some sense, I don't know what to make of some of those claims above, e.g. no harm will befall you.  What does that mean?  It certainly can't mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us, because experience tells us otherwise.  We can't take it as a promise.  But I think the quote from the Lord at the end of the Psalm helps to explain it.  God is in the habit of rescuing and protecting His children from danger.  God watches over those who acknowledge him and live for Him.  He is a refuge from danger, because He is our ultimate protection when we are in the face of actual danger.  There is safety from danger in the shelter of the Most High!

To summarize, running to the Refuge does not make danger disappear, but running to the Refuge does make fear of danger fade and the power of danger pale.  Everything looks different when we peek out from behind the sheltering wing-feathers of our Father!

Rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Running Orders:
  • The prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.  Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12  This Proverb is repeated twice, so I think we're supposed to pay attention to it!  There's the obvious practical application, for example, you see a storm coming, you find shelter.  But how about in your life?  What dangers surround you and how can you take refuge in the Lord rather than fear?
  • Give thanks today for ways the Lord has protected you from harm throughout your life.  Give thanks for how even now you know rest and peace in the shelter and shadow of His wings.  And go ahead and ask for all that you need!  "He will call upon me and I will answer him."  Psalm 91:15

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