Our RefugeMay 26, 2019 - 12:00 am
“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my saviour—
from violent people you save me.
“I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.” —2 Samuel 22:2–4
This month, Israel honoured its fallen soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in securing and protecting God’s Holy Land, and celebrated its 71st anniversary as the modern Jewish State. Join us as we explore through the timeless teachings of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein how God has watched over His land and His people since biblical times.
Remember the childhood game “tag”? One person was “it” and ran around trying to tag someone else, who would then become the new “it.” There was always a home base where those being chased could go and be protected. Once at “home,” you could not be tagged. You were safe.
King David knew something about finding a safe haven and being protected. For years, on the run from the jealous King Saul, David sought safety in the caves and hills outside Jerusalem. He sought protection from his enemies on the battlefield and from within his own family. But David found his ultimate refuge in his God.
In 2 Samuel 22: 2–4, David wrote a praise song in gratitude for the countless times God had delivered him from his enemies and from Saul. Its words are nearly identical to those in Psalm 18, and may have been written toward the end of David’s life, during a time of peace. You can almost imagine David looking back and reflecting on God’s gracious provision for him throughout the many trials and difficulties in his life.
Look at the many ways that David characterizes God’s protection in these first two lines. God is a rock, which cannot be moved by anyone who wants to harm us. He is a fortress — a place of safety where our enemies can’t go. God is a shield, coming between our enemies and us. He is the “horn” of salvation, a symbol of power and strength. God is a stronghold, a defensively fortified structure that cannot be breached. Finally, He is a refuge, a place of safekeeping, where we are free from harm.
In the early days of the Zionist movement, a political expression of the Jewish desire to return to Israel, an argument broke out between two factions. One side favoured accepting Uganda’s offer of a temporary refuge for persecuted Jews. The other side refused, saying only one place was truly a safe haven for Jews — Israel.
For the Jewish people, the only place of refuge, of safety, is Israel. It is the place we call home, where we are free from persecution, from pogroms, from anti-Semitic laws. It is the one place that we are free to worship our Rock, our Shield, our Fortress, and the Horn of our Salvation.
How has God been a refuge in your life?