My refuge; my place of safety. A reminder of the promise from God for us. But there is our part beloved. We must choose to live in that shelter. We must choose to abide in that refuge. I understand it is difficult sometimes to do so. Believe me I do. It is so much easier to abide in our problems. It is so much easier to dwell in our situations. To allow the swirling winds to take our eyes off of Jesus. To put our hopes in the promises of this world. To put our hopes in the solutions of this world. But there is no refuge to be found in this world beloved. There is no safety to be found in this world. We must choose to seek our refuge as the storms get more vicious. If we find ourselves deeper and deeper in the world we will find no safety. If we turn to God and cry out - keep me safe - we will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Continuing on to verse two we see two declarative statements we must make sure are true in our lives at all times, especially when we find ourselves unsure of the future. The first statement is that God is our master. One of the disappearing doctrines in the church today is about the Lordship of Jesus Christ. How often do we even refer to God as our Master? How often do we even conceptualize it in our lives? As Master, He has control over our lives and the decisions we must make. Too often the doctrines taught in the church today turn Jesus into a spiritual ATM to pour out blessings upon us or a spiritual busboy to clean up our messes. Our relationship with Jesus is not supposed to be conditional. We are not supposed to consider God only when certain conditions in our life are met. When we feel desperate enough. When we feel lonely enough. When we feel uncertain enough. There is a "friend of God" theology that permeates too much preaching and worship today. It originates from a verse in the Book of James that says Abraham was called a friend of God. Realize however that Abraham had to first have God as his Master before He could be his friend. Our friends are in the advisement business in our lives but God is in the Lordship business. When we face those dire times in our walk we need to see who is driving the car. If God is my co-pilot then I am sitting in the wrong seat.
The second declarative statement is that every good thing we have comes from God. This serves two purposes beloved. First of all it reminds us that as bad as things may seem, there are still plenty of good things in our lives. The devil is masterful at lying to us about how bad our situation may be. His desire is to take our focus off of what we do have and put it on the problem at hand. The world functions under the "what have you done for me lately" mentality but as believers we need to have the opposite mindset. Once we are truly saved, God can give us nothing else in our life and He still would have given us everything. Consider the words of Jesus:
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." - John 16: 33 (NLT)
Jesus overcame this world and through His blood we too have overcome the world. He has defeated death itself and through His blood so have we! Beyond eternal life however, God is always our provider and though we may face times of great trial, we need to focus on all of the good that God has brought into our life. Every good thing I have comes from You! Secondly, this serves to remind us that if He has delivered good to us in the past, He will do so again in the future. Now hear me well because I am not speaking about the bless me nonsense we might hear in church every week. Sometimes the answer to our current dilemma is "no." As Christians however, we need to get to the place where we understand that the answer "no" is just as much a blessing as the answer "yes."
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. - Romans 8: 28 (NLT)
In all things beloved. Even in our trials. Even when the answer is no. My pastor used to say that even when you cannot see God's hand you know you can always trust His heart. Sometimes we need to be taken down a bit in order for Jesus to rise in our lives.
Verse number three from Psalm 16 serves to remind us who we need to turn to when our problems mount. The world offers up flawed heroes for us to follow. Sports stars who openly say they do not want to be a role model. Pop stars who get more press by being more and more outlandish. Movie stars who offer little substance and political stars who offer little integrity. David here though says that the true heroes are the godly people in the land. That is who he takes pleasure in. I think what God is trying to say here is that at our darkest moments we need to be careful who it is that we turn to. Of course we need to turn to God first but He understands that we still live in this world. If you are having marital problems and you seek advice from your twice divorced co-worker - exactly what kind of advice do you think you are going to get? There is a Bible story that perfectly exemplifies this concept. Following the passing of Solomon his son Rehoboam became king and his first order of business was to deal with Jeroboam who offered a unified Israel if Rehoboam would just ease the burden Solomon placed on the people. Rehoboam would ask two sets of people for advice and here was his decision: