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God Is Our Refuge

Message for January 2012

Each New Year brings new and exciting opportunities.  For some it may be a year of beginning something new such as a new course, a new job or a new life.  For some it could be a matter of turning a new leaf as they launch 2012 with lessons learned from the past year with new resolutions, new commitments, and new relationships.  But for some the New Year may have started with challenges – loss of a loved one, ill health, perhaps an accident. 

Whatever the challenge, life throws at us, we can take heart from the verse in Deuteronomy 33: 27 – “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”  As we see in that verse, the word of God is filled with metaphors such as ‘refuge’ that describe God.  Both David and the sons of Korah too used a number of them in the book of Psalms as they called out of God.  Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah have also used this metaphor to describe God.

One of God’s significant attributes is that He is incomprehensible not in the sense that the concept of God is unintelligible, but in the sense that God cannot be fully and directly known by finite creatures, because of His uniqueness and His infinitude.  Nevertheless, a number of metaphors refer to God's protection for His people.  In Psalm 91 He is referred to as our Shield, Fortress, Hiding Place, Keeper, Lifter of Our Head, Refuge, Rock, Shade, Shelter, and Stronghold.  On our part, we can use the metaphor we understand the most to address our creator God.

What does it mean for us to call God our refuge or shelter? The word refuge may be translated "mansion" or "abiding- place,” which enables us to think of God as our abode, our home.  There is fullness and sweetness in the metaphor, for dear to our hearts is our home, although it may be the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret; and dearer far is our blessed God, in whom we live, and move, and have our being.

Let us take a look at the characteristics of our Home.  First and foremost, it has to be safe – a place that keeps you warm, away from the harmful elements of the outside world, a place of comfort;  A Home is also a place where you can find rest, a place where you can recharge and renew in body, mind and soul; as well as heal from weariness.  Thirdly, a Home sets your heart free.  It is a place where you can be yourself; free of a mask.  A Home is said to be a place of pure happiness; where you can find joy that only God gives.  Finally a Home that gives you all this is what you work and labour for.  It gives you the strength to bear the daily burdens of life.  It motivates you to do something for your home.  The love of God enables us to do things for Him. 

For us at TWR the New Year is an opportunity for spiritual renewal.  As we go through life, the metaphors listed above and many more that describe our great and mighty God give us the required strength to go on.  With that assurance, we need not depend on our own intellect or strength.  All we need is to commit our lives to God’s care.

May God strengthen us in our personal lives and as we carry forward this ministry to disseminate the Word of God to every corner of this vast diverse land. 

George Philip