Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Where Cross The Crowded Ways Of Life"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 91:1-2 – He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." (ESV)
When this comforting verse was emailed to me, it came illustrated with a charming picture of a medieval castle set in a forested landscape. It readily conveyed the image of a strong, protecting God. Yet centuries ago, this was possibly the scene of swords and war, terror and death. Here's where a powerful ruler stashed his weaponry and displayed his might to would-be rivals.
What present-day military scene could ever conjure up comforting thoughts of God as a refuge and fortress? It's possible, if we consider the role of the castle, which was built primarily for defence, where dwellers could feel protected from invaders. That's why castles make an effective image of God as our protector. Essentially, they were early missile defence systems, which are now amazingly effective in detecting and striking down incoming missiles. They allow citizens to feel secure and protected.
Now consider another military image in "The armor of God" passage in Ephesians 6:10-17. Here is a fantastic picture of God as our refuge and fortress.
Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (NIV)
Some avoid this passage, fearing that the military imagery might arouse combative urges and justify religious wars. But when we read it, we see that it does exactly the opposite. It inspires restful trust in God. Here is His missile defence system for the Christian, our personal defence against "the flaming arrows of the evil one".
Notice how the various pieces of armour provide a unified portrait of God — not merely like a stone wall outside of ourselves, nor like a suit of armour worn outside the body, but as an indwelling presence ruling in and through our lives. The Lord Himself is our salvation, truth, righteousness, and peace. He's the sword of the Spirit, the living Word of God — provided as our defence and protection.
Have you ever pictured this spiritual armour as our comforting refuge and fortress? I didn't, not even when I started this devotional. Now, I can see that when we trust Christ as Saviour, we trust God as Father, Son, and Spirit for the entire "outfit" — not just in part, and not just once. It's about the very being of God knitted into our being, through a life of faith and obedience. Thus, we can declare:
Psalm 18:2 – The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (NIV)
Prayer: Lord, help us to trust You more fully as our defence system, that we may live effectively, without wavering in the face of evil. Amen.