God is our refuge


The Psalms are deeply cherished because they openly express many of the emotions we feel.

Unlike a stoic legalist, the Psalmist expresses the full range of emotions in worship and prayer. He does not pretend he has it all together.

After working through things in the context of his relationship with God, he does not allow wrong responses to gain final control over his heart.

Sometimes he is anxious and fearful; Other times he is despondent and discouraged. Sometimes he loses perspective (and envies the prosperity of ungodly people); at other times he vents in anger over injustices. Sometimes he overflows with joy and praise. Other times he struggles through dark questions — feeling helpless and hopeless.

Whatever his frame of mind, he directs his thoughts and feelings to the God he loves and longs for.

He works things out in God’s presence.

Isn’t this what we should do in prayer? Can you identify with what it means to wrestle or agonize in prayer? (see, Colossians 4:12).

The Psalmist often pauses — in the midst of his prayerful struggles — to offer a lesson or word of challenge to God’s people (see Psalm 62 below). 

How would you summarize what the psalmist is feeling in Psalm 62?

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them. One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.”

The psalmist feels vulnerability because of disloyal people who desire his downfall. He faces people who feign respect for him but really seek his ruin. He is the object of envy — one of the more vicious sins of the human heart. 

Envy is vicious because it targets its object and tries to destroy it. Envy is inspired by resentment and hatred. An envious person doesn’t merely covet what another has; he resents him for having it. The envious person wants to see you fall; to see you lose; to see you suffer. Envy is evil and vicious; it ultimately destroys the person who relishes in it.

“Envy rots the bones, but a heart at peace gives life to the body” (Proverbs 14:30.).

Because of envy, people will slander others. Their aim is to bring down the one envied. They will lie and twist the truth for the character assassination of the one they hate. They will convince themselves that they are justified because the other person doesn’t deserve to be advantaged. Envy is one of the deepest expressions of human depravity (See:Tempted to Envy and Do you practice Shadenfreude?)

Consider the way the Psalmist expresses what he feels and reaches godly perspective:

“How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down— this leaning wall, this tottering fence? They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath. Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them (Psalm 62:3-4, 9-10).

People are so unreliable. Trusted friends who are true to you in all circumstances are rare and valuable.

Where can we find security and safety in a vulnerable and uncertain world?

“My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge” (Psalm 62:1-2, 5-7).

Notice the metaphors and repetition of the word alone—only God is unchangeable—He is all-sufficient and our sufficiency must be in Him! (v. 10) (cf. Psalm 46:1-3; Psalm 59:16-17)

God is strong and loving

“One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.”

How do you live this? By practicing Psalm 62:8.

  1. “Trust in your strong and loving God at all times.” (Proverbs 3:5-6—Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding)
  2. “Pour out your hearts to Him:”
  • when you are the object of unjust treatment
  • when you are misrepresented
  • when you feel vulnerable or anxious. 

The Psalms help you do this! (cf. Psalm 42:1-6; Psalm 63:1-8). They lead you to the God who is our refuge (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Philippians 4:6-7; Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 5:7).

Steve Cornell

This entry was posted in Depression, Despair, God's Protection, Persecuted, Praise, Prayer, Psalms, Suffering, Trials. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to God is our refuge

  1. Joe Sharp says:

    Well said Pastor Steve. I like the new blog layout🙂

    I also liked this…

    People are so unreliable. Trusted friends who are true to you in all circumstances are rare and valuable. Where can we find security and safety in a vulnerable and uncertain world?

    1 My soul finds rest in God alone;

    God bless,
    Joe

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