“But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield” (Psalms 5:11-12 ESV).
The image that comes to my mind when I read the above verse is that of someone lost in the woods, cold, hungry and alone. After wandering aimlessly all day, and losing light quickly, with a storm moving in, and a hungry pack of wolves on the hunt, our adventurer stumbles upon a cabin in the middle of nowhere. The cabin isn’t locked and there is firewood, a well, food and a map! Everything our wanderer needs has been supplied.
Although David, the psalmist, was never in this particular situation, he endured more than a few challenging moments during his life. In Psalm 5, he calls out to God, recounting the wicked and their deeds, and asking God to lead him in righteousness. And in verses 11 and 12 he gets a little excited about how God blesses those who find their refuge in Him.
I don’t understand why my first instinct when some trouble or distress enters my life is worrying instead of taking refuge in God. To be sure, our society tells us unceasingly that we need to figure our own way out of troubles; “pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.” And, there are times when our own decisions and actions have put us in difficult situations wherein we we need to face the consequences. But David saw things a little differently.
Yes, David had to face consequences for his actions, just as we do. But it was how he walked through those consequences that made all of the difference. Read 2 Samuel 12. There Nathan the prophet tells David that his son would die because of David’s sin. David then fasts and prays for seven days that God would have mercy on him and let his son live. The child died on the seventh day and David washed and ate. He accepted God’s decision and His judgment and took comfort in Him.
I think we often get ourselves into trouble and cry out to God for deliverance, but we are asking Him to lay aside the consequences of our actions rather than seeking Him. We seek immunity instead of mercy. We seek a “get-out-of-jail-free card.”
But our scripture demonstrates that we should seek Him and His righteousness, knowing that God will shield and protect us as we stay near to Him.
We may do lots of good things—lead Bible studies, witness, work in the nursery—but that is merely doing. My number one desire for this year is to focus more on being. I want to be in relationship with God. I want to be mindful of His desires. I want Him to be my hiding place.
We were all once lost, cold, wet, hungry, and hunted. Let’s not forget Him in whom we found shelter.
Blessings on your day!