March 17, 2020 -Jesus, Our Rock of Refuge! Psalm 71:1-12

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In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame!

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me!

Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

Rescue me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of the unjust and cruel man.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are he who took me from my mother’s womb. My praise is continually of you.

I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.

My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

For my enemies speak concerning me; those who watch for my life consult together and say, “God has forsaken him; pursue and seize him, for there is none to deliver him.”

O God, be not far from me; O my God, make haste to help me. Psalm 71:1-12 (ESV)

Learning and praying the Psalms is a rich source of learning about God and His character, but even more importantly, they are a rich source of comfort and peace for us in times of crisis and trouble.

The most well known hymn of the Lutheran tradition, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God,” was written by Martin Luther.  Luther was not a popular man during his lifetime, because he challenged the status quo of the church.  Those who fight error and corruption within a system are seldom popular. Luther knew death threats, the outside influence of plague, and the personal agony of losing his own children, yet by the grace of God he was able to keep the faith and keep pointing others to Jesus and the truth of the written Word that has been given to us.

Jesus is our refuge, our fortress, our safe place. Nothing or no one else is a true refuge.  No one else can defend us and save us from the natural consequence of our rebellion and our inheritance from our first parents.  No one else gives us the gift of eternal life, bought and paid for in His own blood.

May we pray along with the Psalmist:  Jesus, thank You for purchasing me at the cost of Your own Body and Blood.  Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.

February 16, 2018- The Wait- Psalm 25:15-21

Be-rescued

My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. See how numerous are my enemies, and how fiercely they hate me!

Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you. Psalm 25:15-21 (NIV)

There are times in which we seem to be “stuck in the wait”- living in a place of uncertainty and longing for a breakthrough of some sort. Whether it be living with illness, or being in need of a change in life’s circumstances, or in enduring a trial, there are times when the wait seems endless and interminable.

The psalmist keeps on pointing us to the Lord and His sovereignty and strength throughout Psalm 25. God is the only One who can get us out of the predicaments we find ourselves in.

It’s easy to get ourselves into challenging situations. Sometimes we land in challenging situations through our own ignorance or error.  Other times we are put in these situations through no fault or negligence of our own.

Regardless of how we found ourselves “stuck in the wait,” the answer is the same. We are told throughout Scripture to trust God and know that He is our refuge. Time and time again throughout the Psalms we are reminded that God is our refuge.  Sometimes all we can do, when we are at the end of ourselves and we have no other alternative but to wait and to endure, is rest in God our refuge.

Meditation is the spiritual discipline in which we fix our minds on God. When we are lingering and “stuck in the wait” there is no better time to meditate on the truth of God’s love and provision for us.

There should also an element of surrender in our meditation. We know that God is true to His promises and that He has created us for His purpose. We can trust the good news and comfort we find in the Scriptures.

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him. Nahum 1:1 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)