Monday, March 7, 2011

Taking Refuge

To the choirmaster according to Do Not Destroy.
A miktam of David, when he fled from Saul, in the cave.
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
     for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.    Selah
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
David is writing out of distress to God.  From the title we know it is one of two occasions when David had to seek shelter in caves from the man who seeks to kill him, Saul, his king and father-in-law—once in Adullam, the other in Engedi.  From there David cries out for deliverance.  To whom does he turn?  Caves look secure but can collapse, and they will not fight for you.  David has a number of men fight for his cause, but friends can turn on you.  God is the only one faithful.  He is the only sure refuge.  As a bird cover's its brood and takes the brunt of a storm on itself, so David is seeking for God's protection.  Only in that place can he feel safe.

David knows there is a purpose yet to be fulfilled in his life.  Samuel had anointed him the next king of Israel.  That promise is probably in the forefront of his mind.  If the Lord of glory had selected him, that promise will definitely be fulfilled.  The only question is how and when.  Until then David must rest on that sure promise.  Consider David's condition:
My soul is in the midst of lions;
     I lie down amid fiery beasts—
the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows,
whose tongues are sharp swords.
Ferocious beasts surround him: men acting animal-like in their regard against David.  The situation is difficult and the resolution uncertain.  Not only are his enemies speaking against him, but his friends goad to take Saul's life and end the madness.  David takes no heed to either.  Rather what does he do, but worship?
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
How remarkable that in the midst of dreadful circumstance, that we find one rejoicing in the supreme Lord of all; and yet here David is doing that very thing.  In spite of the unfounded and undeserved hardships, there is a joy that stems from the certainty of the Lord's sure word.  Twice David is within inches of his adversary, and both times he has the opportunity to slay Saul, yet he refuses.  In the end he allows God to take care of matters his own way in his own time.  He waits for Saul to fall into his own trap.
They set a net for my steps; my soul was bowed down.
They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.    Selah
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast!
I will sing and make melody!
Awake, my glory!
Awake, O harp and lyre!
I will awake the dawn!
I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to you among the nations.
For your steadfast love is great to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!
David can no longer hold back.  Not only does the circumstance not lead to despair but instead there is music and joy.  David, the musician and psalmist, seeks to begin the day praising the God who is faithful.  He even looks forward to that time when he will be making the Lord's name known to all nations.  All this from knowing that there is a God in heaven who loves and will never forsake.

David took refuge in God and his promises which are enough, but may I say that the Lord has done even more?  As certain as those promises are being established in himself, yet in abounding grace and mercy to us, he visually demonstrated it in Christ Jesus who went to the cross to fulfill the Father's demands concerning sin and atonement.  And so it is that "we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf" (Heb 6:18-20).

As surely as David knew God would complete in him all that had been promised, so we might know that nothing can prevent our Lord from bringing us to our ultimate place, to be with him in resurrection life.

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