God is our refuge and our strength.
Pause, meditate on those two words for a moment. Such familiar words, such a favourite Psalm, that we can rattle them off.
Refuge: a place of safety, protection, calm. A place where we can rest because He’s got it covered
Strength: God is powerful, a mighty warrior, battling evil, fighting our battles.
These two opening words capture the key contrast of the whole Psalm, internal and external. The image is of being within a besieged city, there is war going on ‘out there’, but peace and protection ‘in here’. We are in ‘lock down’ due to Coronavirus, I haven’t left our property for 3 days, there are moments when I wonder what is happening ‘out there’, at the top of our street even. My mind plays tricks, imagining total desolation with the killer virus ravaging all public places. (The reality is probably that it’s just eerily quiet, this is a war against an unseen foe)
We have external and internal.
The world outside in chaos and turmoil, the world inside in peace and trust.
Where is God at work?
Both. He is our refuge and our strength. He is ‘out there’ fighting our battles’ and he is ‘right here’, close, calm, comforting, present with us.
‘Out there’ are the raging seas, a Biblical image of destructive chaotic evil, the forces of anti-creation.
‘In here’ is the river of God; calm, fresh water to drink, refresh, wash, make us glad.
In the final part of the Psalm, we are invited to look at ‘out there’ and see that God has brought an end to evil. He is victorious and he will be against this virus.
So as we stay ‘in here’, in our homes, in a place of safety, far from the virus. God is with you. His presence is with you, his life-giving water of hope and joy are with you.
It may look like we’re surrounded, but we’re surrounded by him.
And ‘in here’, we can pray, intercede for the battle out there.
For the humans fighting it on the front line, all key workers fighting the battle.
For the immune systems in people’s bodies, fighting back resisting this evil aggressor, bringing health and protection.
And for the angel armies which God is leading against this virus, battling the forces of evil, bringing life, enforcing Jesus’ victory over death.
Be still, and know that I am God.
Obey it now. Be still.
This is one of the Bible verses I’ve meditated on the most.
I chew it over, repeating it in my mind, giving emphasis to each invidividual word in sequence as I repeat it.
BE still and know that I am God.
Be STILL and know that I am God.
Be still AND know that I am God.
Be still and KNOW that I am God.
Be still and know that I am GOD