I’ve been studying the Psalms since May of this year, and it’s been a real joy to glean the nuggets of hope from mere words on a page. Well, they are much more than mere words, but isn’t it something how the same words you know since a child, when put in sentence and set in the Bible, they take on a whole new meaning. And today I am in Psalm 46 which was written by the worship leaders of the day, the sons of Korah.
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!!
OK, so you may wonder where I get my title from today – resting in God. As you may know from my writings, or having a personal relationship with me, resting in God as of late has not been one of my fortes. The very first verse here states that God is our refuge. I found that I can experience God (really come to know and fellowship with Him) when I choose to rest in Him as my fortress. The idea for me is to take my circumstances (which lately I feel are overwhelming, and so I want to solve them quickly myself) and put them aside (ultimately hard for me as a problem-solver to do) and be open to hear God. (Uggg – God, talk to me right now!)
But I am reminded of this gem: Live in the certainty of God’s character that the uncertainty of my circumstances.
For me, I had to learn to rest in God. First, in verses 1 through 3, I see the author speaking to God’s protection. I have to remember God’s protection for me. A refuge in Hebrew was more than the noun in English; it was more of an action, like the One I run to. And look at the second half of verse one, always ready, which means He is always accessible.
During the past few years I have moved away from God. I pulled my family out of regular church, lied when people asked if we were in a good church, thought we would be find just watching religious TV. This was a sly plan of the evil one to work further destruction in the life of my wife and I. But when I look back – I see it is Dave who moved, not God. God was always there. No appointment necessary; no busy signal ever.
As my life crumbled spiritually and in every other arena, I feared. Now there is nothing wrong with fear and I don’t believe fear is a sin. Fear becomes a sin when we allow it to cripple us from moving ahead with God.
For me, I confused going to church and being around other Christians as having a personal relationship with God. In my heart I didn’t want to be around these people right now: they irritated me and I saw them as having some false air about them. My eyes were off God, who first wanted me to have a personal relationship with Him and knew the rest was only a support mechanism (not the core of being a follower of Christ!)
I guess I’m writing all this to tell you that you don’t need the church to have a personal relationship with God, to trust in Him, to let Him become your refuge. Yes, it plays a part in keeping you on track and God inhabits the praise that comes from worshiping Him at church – but don’t let it keep you from Him. Go to Him first and the church part will work itself out. You don’t need to be a fanatic, just realize that the support of the organized church is designed to help you – not make you feel weird.
Finally, flip over to Psalm 91. I couldn’t help seeing this cross-reference in my Bible. What a gem that is so worth reading along with these thoughts of resting in God.
You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you’re perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.
“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
“I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!”