The world can be a dangerous place and the Bible talks about how God can be our refuge. How does that work and what does it look like?
More than anyone else in Scripture, David talks about God being our refuge. Prior to that, God himself makes the idea of refuge important by having Moses establish “cities of refuge.” What is this thing called refuge and how is God a refuge to us?
When I hear the word refuge, I think of safety. However, it is much more than that. Having God as our refuge is powerful in many ways.
How refuge is defined:
- Shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc.
- A place of shelter, protection, or safety
- Anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape
Through this, we see four ways of how God is our refuge.
1. We Can Have Refuge
When anyone makes the decision to follow Jesus, they receive the refuge of God. This refuge is called salvation.
It is through the refuge of salvation that we are rescued from the dangerous kingdom of darkness and brought into the protection of the kingdom of light.
Psalm 103:4 says, “He keeps me from the grave and blesses me with love and mercy.”
Jesus provides safety from the devil’s claim that we deserve to go to hell. Jesus told us how, in this world, we would find trouble, but he has overcome the world.
God is our refuge when we belong to him.
2. We Can Seek and Find Refuge
The cities of refuge that God had Moses set up had to be sought out. A person had to go there. Knowing the cities were available wasn’t enough.
Likewise, we can seek and find additional refuge in God. We can go to him in prayer, and we can seek refuge in his word.
In prayer, we find the refuge of comfort as we commune with the one who loves us. We may find instruction that leads us away from danger as the good shepherd speaks to our hearts.
The refuge we find in his word is everything we need for our lives through his promises.
The peace of God can protect us from fear and anxiety. “And God’s peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
We find the refuge of hope in the midst of difficult times. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
By seeking the transforming work of God in us, we are protected from harmful thoughts and behaviors. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
God is our refuge when we go to him.
3. We Can Demand Refuge
One of the words in the definition of refuge is recourse. This is a legal term. Google defines it as the legal right to demand compensation or payment.
When God saved us, he did it legally. He instituted the new covenant and ratified it by the blood of Jesus. We have been given covenant rights that God wants us to partake of.
Jesus said in Luke 10:19, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Jesus said in Matthew 16:19, “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, and God in heaven will allow whatever you allow on earth. But he will not allow anything you don't allow.”
Jesus said in Mark 16:17-18, “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
God is our refuge when we demand what God has provided for us.
4. We Can Feed Our Faith on How God Is Our Refuge
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will drive out your enemies before you, saying, “Destroy them!” (Deuteronomy 33:27).
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1).
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God (Psalm 62:6-7).
Blessed be the LORD, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle; My lovingkindness and my fortress, My stronghold and my deliverer, My shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me. O LORD, what is man, that You take knowledge of him? Or the son of man, that You think of him? (Psalm 144:1-3).
He said, “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior — from violent people you save me (2 Samuel 22:2-3).
For You have been a defense for the helpless, A defense for the needy in his distress, A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat; For the breath of the ruthless Is like a rain storm against a wall. Like heat in drought, You subdue the uproar of aliens; Like heat by the shadow of a cloud, the song of the ruthless is silenced (Isaiah 25:4-5).
For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A miktam. When he had fled from Saul into the cave. Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed (Psalm 57:1).
I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” (Psalm 91:2).
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Danielle Bernock is an international, award-winning author, coach, and speaker who helps people embrace their value and heal their souls through the power of the love of God. She’s written Emerging With Wings, A Bird Named Payn, Love’s Manifesto, Because You Matter, and hosts the Victorious Souls Podcast. A long-time follower of Christ, Danielle lives with her husband in Michigan near her adult children and grandchildren. For more information or to connect with Danielle https://www.daniellebernock.com/