O, guard my soul, and deliver mw!

Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

May integrity and uprightness preserve me,

for I wait for you.

Psalm 25: 20, 21

 

David was a realist. He knew what temptation was all about, and he also knew what happened when you gave in to its call. Yet, despite everything that he had experienced by way of sinful thoughts and actions, David still lived in the presence of God and knew His grace and mercy at a very deep level. David seems to be aware of forgiveness in ways that are profound so that he was certain of God’s desire and intent to redeem him and to do the same for all others who have turned away from righteousness. He also fully recognized the price that we pay for our sinful actions and knew that departure from God’s way of thinking and living was never a good option, and that it was usually a course that led to great pain and to damage to people that we care about and love.

 

So, David, the realist, turns to the one place that he trusts to give him the wisdom, strength, and capability to travel through the day before him with righteousness as his path and holy integrity as his watchword. He turns to God and to the truth of His Word in order to find the sort of safe haven, the harbor, where he can shelter during the onslaught of the storm that is certain to attempt to engulf him. He knows from experience that this is the sort of thing that requires preparation and preplanning, for evil sets snares and traps in places that seem safe and innocent so that it is rather easy to step into them. The inadvertent look or the casual glance in not the problem. Neither are the momentary wandering thought or consideration of some unrighteous action fatal errors; so, before these departures from God’s path become our committed way, we need a plan to enter into that safe place inside of God’s grace and protection.

 

Like David, our own strength and determination will not be enough on their own. Yet, we can follow his lead and place our trust in the Lord and turn to Him for safety and the covering of His righteousness. The Lord is trustworthy in all ways and with all things. There is no aspect of life or area of our heart and mind wherein we need to withhold ourselves from God’s care and provision. There are no temptations that we might encounter that God does not understand and have the strength, capacity, or skill that are needed to guard us from them and to save us from within their grasp. The Lord’s integrity, wisdom, and righteous character provide all that we need to live as people who follow Him into lives that will be known for their godliness so that the name of the Lord is truly glorified by all that we say and do.

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The LORD is good,

a stronghold in the day of trouble;

he knows those who take refuge in him.

Nahum 1: 7

 

Motives are not always easy to understand. We think that we know someone and get the way that they think or what drives their actions and then they say or do something that completely disorients us and that turns our world upside down. So, we pick ourselves up, set our spinning eyes on a fixed spot on the horizon, and chalk up the chaos to human nature. There is some real truth to the idea that the inconsistencies and the disruptive actions that pervade our world are a part of the fabric of our human tapestry of life. Now I do believe that they are formed up and compelled onward by forces from beyond the realm of people’s experience, for deception, lies, confusion, violence, and other such destructive actions are devised and empowered by the fallen, anti-God operatives whose allegiance is to Satan. This war between God and the dark angel has been going on continually throughout earth’s history, and it will continue to impact our lives and influence our world until Christ permanently ends it all.

 

Until then, we live in the ongoing drama of this tension, and we do need to understand God’s motives for what He does as they are different from those of His adversary. Everything that God does and all of His interaction with His Creation, especially with the people of this world, is formed up and compelled by His goodness. This is in direct and absolute contrast to the dark evil of Satan and to the deep deception that he attempts to fill our world with. God’s goodness is also what He desires to pour out into our lives. This is primarily done as His Word and its truth become our guidance for thinking and for acting in all aspects of our days. God’s Word is made real and alive in relationship with Him, and relationship with God is entered into through being known by Christ and so by knowing Him. This is something that we choose to do. God does not compel us to accept relationship with Him, but there is truly no other way to enter into the peace and the security of wisdom and truth in our troubled world than through that intimate connection to their author and source.

 

In Christ, we find that safe harbor, that sheltering cave that are the literary images for a secure place to go when there are powerful forces of nature or of human derivation that are ready to overtake and to destroy us. Yet, Christ is far more than just an image. He is the most real and solidly tangible form of shelter that exists in all of this world and beyond. That word of truth, the presence of His Spirit, and the support of Christ’s body of faith are all parts of one great whole that forms a tangible sanctuary for our minds, bodies, and souls. When we enter into this place we are often battered and weary from the journey and because of the fight that we have been engaged in; so, Christ takes us in and He grants us rest and time for recovery. Since He knows us to a degree that is beyond the grasp of human reason, the Lord enters into meeting our real needs and starts working on our restoration. Christ grants to us a place to lie down and sleep in safety, to be fed upon His bread of life, and to fill our thirsty souls with His restorative waters of redemption.

Thus says the Lord: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.”

Jeremiah 6: 16

 

Have you ever been a little lost, or even worse, a lot lost? Now, visualize those feelings in a truly foreign place, make that a frighteningly menacing place where evil appears to be lurking around every corner. One wrong turn and disaster could strike. Who do you ask for directions? Which door is safe to knock on? This is the plot line of a slasher film; or the content of a really bad nightmare. This scenario is also reality for the Christian who is living any place in this world. There is no quiet country corner, no “Safest city in the world” location, and no mountain top retreat that is not touched by Satanic evil. The presence of forces that are intent on doing harm to anyone and to everything that represents true goodness is reality. Rest can be so hard to find that real rejuvenating calm and strength restoring peace become elusive.

 

Yet, the source for calm, the safe harbor, is there. It is as old as creation; it is the true ancient path. The Apostle John said this, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1) This is the road that took Moses and Abraham through their long journeys, and this is the same road that continues to take people through life day after day until they reach the glorious finish of a life well lived. Although there will continue to be the danger, turmoil, and struggle of living in a world where sin is aggressively fighting against righteousness, Christ walks with His people and His path leads to real security for their souls.

 

This eternal, all encompassing truth; the essential nature of God; this is the door that we need to knock upon. This is the safe place to go for directions. Our Lord is with us in the fight. After all, He is the winner of the contest. Although His path is ancient, it is not in the slightest outdated; although, His path may seem counter to our culture, it is our culture that is invested in a losing cause. As we meditate on truth, seek out goodness, and move down Christ’s road, we can shout for joy in the presence of evil. The path of the Lord will bring peace to the soul, and that is a peace that brings out the joyous laughter in life.