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Emmanuel Church, Plymouth
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St Paul's, Efford
Tony's Reflection: 9
My Refuge and My Fortress
Back when I was running regularly, I'd often go through Central Park in the early morning or evening. In the springtime it was lovely to see the baby rabbits out. Or maybe they were hares … nature is not one of my strong points! They would bounce around the fields in total abandon. Or so it seemed. They were always aware of how close I was. And as soon as I came too near, they would disappear into the shelter of their holes, in the blink of an eye. Hidden away and completely safe from any danger.
Psalm 91 is all about us finding a similar safety - with God.
Last week, we saw how verse 1 tells us that God has a "secret place" he is inviting us to, where we spend time with him. This week, verse 2 gives us a beautiful image of what that "secret place" is like.
Rabbits go to their burrows, when they are un-nerved. That is their "secret place". A place of protection and safety.
God invites us to go to him, in our "secret place", whenever we are uneasy or uncomfortable. Just like the rabbit’s burrow, our "secret place" we go to with God is our place of protection and safety. Verse 2 shows us why:
I will say of the LORD, "He is my shelter and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
God is "my shelter” and “my fortress". These are two very vivid images, that speak to us about why we are safe close to God, in our "secret place".
Most of us are too young to remember the Anderson shelters our parents or grandparents took refuge in, during the Blitz. They could hear the explosions outside, but in those sturdy shelters, they were safe.
God is our shelter. As we come close to him, we know there is danger or uncertainty or stress all around, outside. Close to him, though, we are safe. Nothing can harm us.
God is also our "fortress". This is another strong image for being safe and protected, but it says more than that. Safe in your fortress, not only are you impregnable, but you are high up. You are on a natural vantage point. Fortresses are always built on hills, not in valleys! In a fortress, you look down on your enemy. You put that enemy into true perspective. How can they harm you, down there, when you are up here, surrounded by unbreachable walls?
As we come close to God, not only does he protect us from danger and uncertainty, but he puts it into perspective. What is that perspective? It’s an eternal one …
You are made to spend eternity with him. As you come close to him now, you get a tiny flash of what that eternity will be like. You know this is just a little glimpse of the eternity God is leading you closer and closer to. You know that the light of eternity will shine ever more strongly on you, until at the end of your path to him, it dawns on you fully, with a beauty and glory which will be yours, forever.
In the light of that true perspective, what are the temporary difficulties that come upon you now? See them in their proper place, as you look down on them from within your fortress.
Our verse doesn't just say God is a shelter and a fortress. That would just be abstract theology. Verse 2 is profoundly personal. It says "my" God is "my" shelter and "my" fortress.
shelter and fortress?
As verse 2 says, you do that by trusting him. By taking refuge in him as your shelter and believing you will be safe. Running to him as a fortress and knowing not just safety, but taking on board the true perspective that comes from being up high in your fortress, out of harm’s way.
Our writer makes a bold declaration at the start of that verse. "
I will say
, “God is my shelter…".
Will you say that today? Will you say it to yourself, in the quietness of your own spirit, as you consider what is dangerous, unnerving, stressful or uncertain around you? Will you say it to others, as opportunities arise to give a reason for the hope that is inside you?
It all starts with saying it inside your own heart.
As you know, we are looking at "Psalm" 91. A "psalm" is a religious song. These words were originally written to be sung, rather than just read.
Singing (or enjoying someone else singing to us) is a great way of soaking God’s truth into your heart. As we close our time reflecting, why not spend a few moments listening to this lovely song? (
.) It’s based on Psalm 62, but the sentiments are similar to our Psalm.
It reminds us what makes God such a wonderful shelter and fortress. Say (or sing !!) the truth in this song over to yourself …
 If you are not reading this electronically and you can get to YouTube, search for “My soul finds rest Aaron Keyes”
My Refuge and My Fortress
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you say, "The LORD is my refuge," and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation."