November 13, 2014

Running to the Refuge {Day 13}: Refuge from Judgement

This is day 13 in a month-long series.  You can catch up here.

I have in my scribbled topic list that today is "Refuge from Judgment" day.  I thought perhaps it would go the direction of Day 4's theme about God being a Refuge of Salvation.  But I feel a prompting to take things in a different direction.  There are two ways to think of judgment: ultimate judgment for our sin (please see the day 4 post for a discussion of this) and day-to-day judgments we make about others.  Since I wrote already about God being our Refuge of Salvation, today I'll focus on how we can take refuge in the Lord when we are facing judgment, particularly for our faith.

I would like to pick and choose verses from Psalm 94, but I cant decide what to eliminate, so I give you the whole thing, with commentary.   

O Lord, God of vengeance,
    O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
    repay to the proud what they deserve!
O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
    how long shall the wicked exult?

They pour out their arrogant words;
    all the evildoers boast.
They crush your people, O Lord,
    and afflict your heritage.
They kill the widow and the sojourner,
    and murder the fatherless;
and they say, “The Lord does not see;
    the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

No matter the time or place in history, there will be those who mock the Lord and His people.  There will be the hard-hearted who believe they can do as they want without consequence and who will laugh in the faces of those who love God and pursue righteousness.  What are we to do?  One thing we can do is share truth.

Understand, O dullest of the people!
    Fools, when will you be wise?
He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?
He who teaches man knowledge—
the Lord—knows the thoughts of man,
    that they are but a breath.

Another thing is to remember the Lord, how gracious He is to His people, how He is the rest provider, how He never forsakes us, how ultimately His justice will triumph.

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,
    and whom you teach out of your law,
to give him rest from days of trouble,
    until a pit is dug for the wicked.
For the Lord will not forsake his people;
    he will not abandon his heritage;
for justice will return to the righteous,
    and all the upright in heart will follow it.

In short, take refuge from judgment in the Lord.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?
    Who stands up for me against evildoers?
If the Lord had not been my help,
    my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot slips,”
    your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
    your consolations cheer my soul.

Can wicked rulers be allied with you,
    those who frame injustice by statute?
They band together against the life of the righteous
    and condemn the innocent to death.
But the Lord has become my stronghold,
    and my God the rock of my refuge.
He will bring back on them their iniquity
    and wipe them out for their wickedness;
    the Lord our God will wipe them out.

When I think about wickedness prevailing in the world, the cares of my heart are many.  But running to the refuge cheers my soul, not because I am delighted to know that the wicked will one day perish apart from the Lord (actually, that kind of breaks my heart), but because I know that I do not need to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.  That's God's responsibility!  He is the stronghold, the rock and the refuge.  He shelters and reminds us that wickedness will not last forever and righteousness will prevail.

Before closing, I want to make this personal.  There is widespread evil in the world and we see it at work through unrighteous rulers and kingdoms, but evil is also at work in your life.  The devil can use a blog post, a comment thread, or a look from another person to make you feel insecure about your decisions or judged for your behavior.  The cares of your heart increase as you try to please men and not God.  You quickly move away from Love to the desolate land of worry and despair.


May the Lord be your stronghold, your rock, and your refuge!  May His Spirit send sweet reminders that you are loved, you belong, and you need only concern yourself with pleasing God, not men.  May your heart be filled with love for others and a strong desire to invite them to join you in running to the refuge!!


Running Orders:
  •  I once read a blog post by a woman named Debi Chapman and she said, The infrastructure of your soul was not made to carry the weight of the world.  This is an invitation to ask God to forgive us for trying to do His job and neglecting ours, to trust in Him.  It is also an invitation to lay the "cares of your heart" on the Lord and ask that His righteousness would prevail.
  • Reread Psalm 94 and ask the Lord to highlight things specifically for your live and current circumstances.  Record these to look at later.

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