God Our Refuge

“Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me! For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me? Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”
– Psalm 43

Everywhere we look we see the effects of the brokenness of the world. You can barely scroll through your Facebook feed without seeing a news article or a comment thread about the latest tragedy, protest, or act of injustice. There is tragedy, unfairness, and devastation everywhere and it is truly heartbreaking.

David was no stranger to the frustrations that we face today. As he penned the 43rd psalm over three thousand years ago, he was fleeing from the deceitful and murderous Absalom, who sought to kill him.

David mourned the oppression of man and the brokenness and sinfulness of the world. He expressed his frustration with the ungodliness, deceit, and injustice of people. He bravely voiced his doubts and his vexations to the Lord. David writes with beautiful confidence in the compassion of God, knowing that both his sighs and his songs have access to God and that both are a fragrant offering to Him.

He knows that God hears and cares.

David cries out in the midst of this trouble to the One he knows is able to help. He cries out for “the God in whom I take refuge” to vindicate, defend, and deliver him from the injustice around him. He cries out to the God of his strength in the confidence that this Refuge is the best place to go to for safety. He knows that it is impossible to fight against the brokenness of people and the world in his own strength. Therefore he seeks refuge in the God who will fight for and protect him.

May our longing to be away from the oppression of man always lead us, as it did David, to long more intensely for the presence of God.

David cries out for the Lord to let His light and truth “bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” May we too let the truth of His Word guide us to the refuge of His presence. May we find joy and peace (even in the most chaotic of times) in our communion with Him.

David did not know if the Lord would change the bleak and desperate situation he was in, but that did not wane his confidence and hope in God. David knows that there is hope and that God’s love is more steadfast than the changing circumstances of life.

What is hope? Hope is unwavering confidence, trust, reliance, desire, eager expectation, joyful confidence for a future reality. Hope is a powerful and a difficult concept. Hope can sustain you through the worst of circumstances. But the very essence of hope means that things aren’t the way they should be. Hope is acknowledging that the world is not right and people are messed up, while at the same time trusting and seeking something better.

As we lean into this tension we are compelled to believe more firmly on the character and promises of God.

As believers our hope can only be in one thing, because only one thing will set the world right. Three thousand years ago David hoped in God to be his refuge and his salvation; today we too must have confident hope in the character of God and the accomplished work of Jesus Christ. Just as David looked forward to salvation by a promised Messiah, we look back on the finished work of that Messiah and we look forward to when the hope that Christ promised is fully realized. He is our hope. Our refuge. Our salvation. And He is the hope, refuge, and salvation of the world.

This world is broken, yes. But God has not left us without hope. I pray that Psalm 43 leads you, as it did me, to the light and truth that is found in the Word of God, and that in meditating on the Word you would find refuge in God, who has promised to be with you always. He is an ever-present, all-powerful, steady and unchanging refuge, a place of safety and protection.

May you trust in the Lord as you wait on His purposes to be accomplished, however He chooses to do so. And may you find hope in the fact that soon Christ will return and make all things right. In this chaotic world that we live in, things are not as they should be, but there is firm ground for hope.

David was able to firmly place his hope and his trust in God. May his belief give us the confidence to do the same.

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