God Provides Refuge
Key Verse: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
THIS PSALM SHOULD BE A special comfort to all the Lord’s people. In it we find both the personal comfort needed to endure the difficult trials of life, and also the comforting assurance that God’s plan is for the ultimate end of this present evil order, to be replaced by Christ’s righteous kingdom of peace and justice.
The word ‘refuge’ in our Key Verse has the meaning of a shelter, or protection, from harm. We note in this verse that God has not promised us freedom from trouble, but in that trouble he will be a shelter to protect us from any lasting harm that Satan might wish to have come upon us. The verse also says that God is our strength. This seems to imply that if we abide under him as a sheltering refuge, not only do we receive his protection from harm, but we also gain the benefit of being recipients of his strength in helping us fight the battles against the world, the flesh, and the Adversary. Alone, we cannot win any of these battles, but with God as a ‘refuge and strength,’ we are guaranteed to come off victorious. “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory.”—I Cor. 15:57
Because God is our refuge and strength, the psalmist gives us these assuring promises, “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. … God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her.” (Ps. 46:2,3,5) The use of the feminine pronoun ‘her’ is a reference to the church—the bride of Christ—who is to be symbolically wedded to her Lord following the end of this present Gospel Age. This is spoken of by John the Revelator, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”—Rev. 19:7
This psalm tells us that while the final members of the bride of Christ are making themselves ready during the harvest period of this Gospel Age, the kingdoms of this world are in turmoil. Notice this highly symbolic language: “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. … Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.” (Ps. 46:6,8) God is also our refuge in this, because we understand that the destruction of this present order of things does not mean the literal destruction of earth, or of its people, but it is the prerequisite to the establishment of Christ’s kingdom of peace and righteousness for all mankind.
Following the trouble, which will bring an end to this old order of things, God will become a refuge and strength to all people. Concerning the doing away with the old order and ushering in of the new, the psalmist says, “He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot [symbolic of man’s instruments of war and destruction] in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Ps. 46:9,10) Here we have the assurance that both the earth, and the heathen—mankind in general—which dwell here, will not be destroyed, because the psalmist says that God will be exalted in them both. What a joy to know that God will be the refuge of all!