Saturday, March 5
Reader: “He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;”
Response: “He is my God, and I trust him.”
Scripture: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
He is my God, and I trust him.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”
As you recall, the entire book of Psalms is subdivided into five books. This psalm is part of book four (Psalms 90-106). Book three was a series of psalms of lament concerning Israel’s and King David’s troubles. Book four is a response of hope to book three, highlighting the LORD’s rule over the whole created order and his eternal kingdom overcoming all the chaos, disorder, rebellion, and evil.
Here the psalmist reminds the people that God is a shelter for those who put their trust in him. He does not make this promise to those who don’t. God is the place of ultimate safety, not the wisdom of man, science, or technology. None of these three is ultimately trustworthy. God alone is. On difficult days, the Lord is our place of safety. We need not fear for he knows us well and has numbered each of our days. Our life is in his hands. Could we be in a safer place? Yet the world’s perspective is that man’s wisdom, “trust the science,” and technology and AI [artificial intelligence] is where we turn to solve our ultimate problems. We see the failure for those things to deliver all around us. We find that experts are not always experts.
After the poet again encourages the people to make the Most High their shelter and protector, he then quotes the LORD’s words directly. Note the eight promises God makes and the conditions:
“For those who love me, I will rescue.”
“For those who trust in my name, I will protect.”
“When they call on me, I will answer.”
“I will be with them in trouble.”
“I will rescue and honor them.”
“I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
Did you notice the part we play in all of this? Just a couple of things. 1) Make the LORD your refuge; 2) make the Most High your shelter. How do we do that? Love God. Trust God. That’s it. Loving and trust should be easy but we live in a troubled world that pulls us incessantly, relentlessly into the immediate circumstances, seeking to draw us away from an eternal perspective. While we are certainly not promised that life will be trouble free, God has assured us he will always hear and answer our cries. Emmanuel will always be “with his people.” His children are never alone, even though it might seem like it at times or that he doesn’t hear our prayers. Look at those eight underlined verbs above. Those are eternal verbs! Those are God’s eternal promises to you today.
Reject the voices of fear, of deceit, of lies, hopelessness, hatred, confusion, and division you may hear today. Your response? Love and trust the Most High no matter what. You are a citizen of a kingdom of another world, an eternal one. Let’s live like it.
Music: “God Is Our Refuge and Strength” arr. Pote Hour of Power Choir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzch6FBW1io Excellent recording!
O God my Father, who art often closest to me when I am farthest from Thee and who art near at hand even when I feel that Thou hast forsaken me, mercifully grant that the defeat of my self-will may be the triumph in me of Thine eternal purpose.
May I grow more sure of Thy reality and power:
May I attain a clearer mind as to the meaning of my life on earth:
May I strengthen my hold upon life eternal:
May I look more and more to things unseen:
May my desires grow less unruly and my imaginations more pure:
May my love for my fellow men grow deeper and more tender, and may I be more willing to take their burdens upon myself. This I pray through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen. ―John Baillie, from A Diary of Private Prayer, p.131