TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength


Let’s face it, there will be storms in life both literal and figurative. There were flash floods where I live yesterday. There is four more day of rain predicted. Just last week, there were tornadoes in other parts of the U.S. It has not been so long ago that Hurricane Harvey struck some Caribbean Islands and Florida. During those storms, there is always a call to seek refuge from the dangers of the storm. Invariably, there are those who do not heed the call to seek refuge from the dangers of the storm. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

What is a refuge? Dictionary.com defines refuge as a place of shelter, protection, safety, relief or escape. In the Old Testament, there are several words used for refuge, but the one most closely aligned with a place of shelter from a storm is machaceh (makh·as·eh’). It is defined as a shelter 1. from rain or storm, from danger; 2. of falsehood. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

Psalm 46  is perhaps the most recognized verse where machaceh is used for refuge.

God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah  (NKJV)

Our connotes possession or ownership or at least a belongingness. In regards to belongingness, Psalm 46 is regularly related to or compared with Psalm. 487684; and 87, all of which are called “Zion Songs.” Furthermore, Psalm 46 is considered to be the impetus behind Martin Luther writing the well-known hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” For me, it reminds me of Proverbs 18:10 which says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” A refuge is a place of shelter. TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength

For me, Psalm 46 has been a source of meditation over the past few days. I am not sure what may be coming my way, but God is telling me who will help me and how I will be helped in the storm. It is God, ‘elohiymthat is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. God, ‘elohiymis used at a minimum 2,203 times and as many as 2,600 times in the bible. Debate about the meaning exists; however, it is accepted that Elohim in the Septuagint: theos – the standard Greek word for god, “a transcendent being who exercises extraordinary control in human affairs or is responsible for bestowal of unusual benefits” (BDAG). It specifically refers to the monotheistic God of Israel. Don’t we want to know and believe that God is in control, that God is sovereign even in the most trying and hurtful circumstances?

Often, people express alarms and helplessness because of they experience circumstances that far exceed their ability or power to contend with them. A tornado, hurricane or any life storm. God is telling us the TRUTH: God, Our Refuge & Strength. Let’s call, depend, and rely on God, ‘elohiymin our storms. Father, help us to remember to trust in you when our backs are against the wall and hope seems to have disappeared. Let us remember “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.”

 

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