One of the themes in the worship this Sunday was refuge. The dictionary says refuge is a noun meaning “a place or situation providing safety or shelter.” In our praise we thanked God for being our refuge. This world can be unkind, and harsh, but in God we have our place of safety and shelter.
This is not all “pie in the sky” stuff though. In our fellowship with the people of God, we often find that same rest and comfort He promises us. The listening ear, the kind word, and the gentle hug are outward signs of God’s promise of our inner peace.
Many of us from time to time feel this need to just run away and hide. Sometimes in spiritual and emotional terms; and sometimes in practical terms. David knew both of these.
David in Psalm 46:1-3 (KJV) says “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” God was to David that refuge and strength in times of trouble.
David also sought physical refuge as well. A safe place (while never loosing is spiritual trust in God). He found this at En Gedi. I Samuel 23:29 says: “And David went up from there and lived in the strongholds of En Gedi (NIV).” This oasis stronghold is a wonderful symbol of God’s protection and provision in our lives. In the midst of a desert, at the side of the Dead Sea, there is a cool palm-filled refuge with running water, fresh pools, waterfalls, and caves of providing cover and safety. Food is abundant, and the surrounding mountains and desert make it a natural fortress. No wonder David fled here.
But, as I have said En Gedi is a symbol. For God is all this and more. “He makes us lie down in green pastures.” “He leads us by still waters.” “He is our refuge and strength.” Let us remember this next time we feel the need to run!