A photo of a standing man, taken from behind him. He has his arm around a child who is also standing, holding the child close to his side.

What does it mean to take refuge in the Lord? It means first of all that we place our faith in him, trusting that he is who he says he is. But having faith in God involves more than intellectual assent. It demands complete commitment. It requires obedience. We trust God enough to obey him. Disobedience is simply an outward manifestation of unbelief. Instead of trusting God, we trust ourselves to know what is best.

Taking refuge in the Lord means that we will seek him first and not last when trouble comes. It means we will rely on his word as the truth. It means we will lean into him rather than leaning into our fears or desires.  It means that we will never attempt to “revise God,” to remake him in a way that is either softer or harder or different than he is.

The Hebrew verb ’āman can be translated “believe, faithful, trust, believed, trustworthy.” The word mûnâ can be translated “faithfulness, truth, faithful, faithfully” and is often used to refer to God’s character, as in Psalm 100: “For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.”

In the New Testament the word amēn is a transliteration of the Hebrew ’āman. When we say “amen,” we are committing ourselves to act in accordance with the truth we have affirmed.

The Greek word pistos can be translated “faithful, trustworthy, believe, believer.” As Christ’s followers we are called to be faithful—to follow God, refusing to compromise our faith even in the face of persecution.

If you want to know what human faithfulness looks like, consider the life of Paul, a man who suffered greatly because of his love for Christ. He was shipwrecked, imprisoned, beaten, stoned, and repeatedly persecuted. Instead of giving up, Paul acclaimed God’s faithfulness by challenging believers in Rome, saying, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31) Paul had learned the secret of contentment. He knew how to rest in God’s faithfulness, trusting that each morning would bring fresh mercies from the God who loved him.





Originally published December 11, 2018.