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Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

How You Can Take Refuge In God

Castle from Microsoft Publisher ClipartTake Refuge In God

More than 40 times the book of Psalms urges us to take refuge in God.  But what does that mean?

The word “refuge” makes us think of fleeing into a castle tower where we are protected from danger.  That’s comforting.

But how do we actually take refuge in God?  And when we do, what dangers will He protect us from?

Tough Week

It was Sunday morning before our worship gathering.  I had been through a tough week — feeling fear, doubt and discouragement.

So I pulled out my packet of memory verses to fight the fight of faith, and started with Psa 36:7 —

The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

That sounded encouraging.  But I wondered — what does that mean?

Feasting And Drinking

I kept reading, to see if David gave any clues in the next verse —

They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

Hmm.  Feasting on the abundance of God’s house, and drinking from the river of God’s delights, means seeking and finding my joy in God.  But what does that have to do with taking refuge in God?

To see if there was a connection, I read both of these verses together —

The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.

Reading them together was helpful– it sounded like taking refuge in God means feasting on the abundance of His house and drinking of His delights.

And as I prayed over that truth, God used it to encourage, strengthen, and prepare me for Sunday morning.

Nagging Question

But over the next few days I had a nagging question — do any other verses connect refuge in God with joy in God?

To answer this, I looked at other Psalms which mention taking refuge in God, to see if any of them make the same connection.

What I found surprised me —

Psalm 16:1-2 — Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.  I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

So taking refuge in God means seeing that I have no good apart from God.  It means seeing that all my good — all my joy — is in God Himself.

Psalm 34:8 — Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Why should I taste and see that the Lord is good?  It’s because the one who takes refuge in Him is blessed.  Which shows that taking refuge in God means tasting and seeing that the Lord is good.

Psalm 64:10 — Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult!

Notice how rejoicing in the Lord is linked with taking refuge in Him.  And both of those are summarized as exulting in God, which means having great delight in Him.

Psalm 73:28 — But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

For the psalmist it is good to be near God, which means God Himself is his highest joy.  And he explains that having God as  his greatest good is the same thing as making God his refuge.

Psalm 142:5 — I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

For God to be my refuge means I see Him as my portion, my inheritance, my prize.  It means I am seeking Him as my all-satisfying Treasure.

Putting This Together

These passages convinced me.  Taking refuge in God means seeking and finding my joy in God.

Here’s how this works.

Let’s say I’m seeking my joy in money.  In that case, a recession would threaten me, because it could hurt my money, which would hurt my joy.

So if my joy is in money, a recession is like a thousand Orcs with clubs and swords and spears marching toward defenseless me.  Trouble.

But there’s something I can do.  There’s a massive, fully-stocked tower I can run into  as my refuge — joy in God.

God promises that through faith in Jesus Christ He will fill me with joy in Himself now and forever (John 6:35; John 7:37-38), and He will provide money and whatever else I need in the meantime (Phil 4:19).

So if my joy is in God, and not money, a recession can’t threaten me.  Just like if I was in a strong, impregnable tower with limitless supplies of food and drink and joy forever, a thousand Orcs can’t threaten me.

Joy in God is that strong, impregnable tower.

But knowing this is one thing.  Experiencing it is another.  So —

How Can We Experience This?

Start by turning to Jesus Christ just as you are, with your fears, worries, and concerns.

Confess that you are seeking your joy in things besides Him.  Ask Him to forgive you.  Receive His assurance of complete forgiveness through the Cross (1 John 1:9).

Admit that you can’t change your heart by yourself.  Trust that His power can change you.  Ask Him to help you turn from those other joys so you can experience Him as your all-satisfying joy (Psa 79:9; Luke 18:27; Psa 4:6-7).

Turn your heart from whatever else you have been seeking for joy, and turn to Him.  Set your heart on who He is as revealed in God’s Word.  Pray over Scriptures which describe His love (Gal 2:20), power (Mark 6:41-42), wisdom (John 7:46), and glory (John 1:14).

Pray over those Scriptures until you feel the Holy Spirit strengthening your faith so you once again feel Jesus Christ as your all-satisfying joy (John 4:13-14; John 6:35; John 7:37-38; 2Cor 3:18).  When Christ is your all-satisfying joy — no trial can threaten you.  You are in an impregnable tower.

Pray over God’s promises that He will take care of every need brought about by future trials — needs for wisdom (James 1:5), finances (Matt 6:33), strength (Phil 4:13), and anything else (Phil 4:19).  The tower is fully stocked.

Taking Refuge In God

When we seek our joy in anything besides Christ, we are defenseless, and the Orcs are coming.

But nearby is a massive, impregnable, fully stocked tower.

How can we enter that tower?  By seeking our joy in Christ, trusting His promises to fully satisfy us in Himself, and relying on Him to take care of everything else we need.

When we do, we’ll be safe.  Forever.

So run for the tower.

Comments?  Feedback?

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(Picture is from Microsoft Publisher Clipart.)

Category: Problems or Trials

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14 Responses

  1. iKath says:

    I see… Yes… Indeed…

  2. Julie says:

    Thank you for putting so many “refuge” scriptures together. I had never thought of refuge = joy.

  3. Tyler Ross says:

    Hello Mr. Fuller,

    Thanks for this article Mr. Fuller! This really helped. Would you mind praying for me in my understanding and love for Christ? Keep up the good work!

    Much Love,

    Tyler Ross

  4. Annette says:

    I really needed this practical answer to “how you can find refuge” in God. I am looking at Psalms and when it says something like this, or that “God is our Refuge”…I want to know what that exactly means. We hear it, but do we know what it means and how to employ it? I don’t. I need help learning. Thank you. Don’t stop posting!

  5. Kate says:

    Thanks! I, too, had never seen the connection between joy in the Lord and taking refuge in the Lord. During my Bible study this morning, I asked myself, “So, how DO you take refuge in the Lord?” and decided to see what other Christians were saying. Your posting was the first result of my Internet search, and it really helped. By the way, being a geeky person, I loved the Middle Earth reference. 🙂

  6. Amber Pharis says:

    So don’t seek joy through drugs, alcohol, other people, work, money,etc… Seek joy through God. When you take refuge in the Lord you will find joy. Do I seek joy through the Lord by obeying Him? Do I take refuge in Him by following His commandments and obeying His Word? Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and I greatly appreciate your posts.
    God bless

    • Steve Fuller says:

      These are important questions, Amber. Thank you for raising them.

      The joy God gives us is the joy of beholding the beauty of his glory in Christ. It is like the joy of seeing a sunset, although infinitely greater.

      God gives this to us primarily as we ask him for it, and then as we set our minds and hearts on who he is as revealed in God’s word.

      I hope that helps some. Let me know.

      In Christ,

      Steve Fuller

  7. Shiloh says:

    Thanks brother for your msg on refuge its wonderful

  8. Rita M says:

    What comes to mind for me is Psalm 91 totally. There is no better place I know.

  9. Thanks for the refuge explanation. It is very helpful.
    http://stretchingyourfaith.net

  10. Sarah crump says:

    I too wondered what Refudge in God looked like . I heart has been so blessed but the teaching . May God Bless you richly . Brilliant site x

  11. David Rizzo says:

    God led me to this conclusion then He led me to this article to confirm what He just told me. Thank you for being faithful to write this. You have blessed me tremendously through this.

  12. Mark says:

    I was inspired to write: Like a wounded calf I was injured and helpless.
    Jesus gave me light and belief in his word, with Love and a joy that should in all other circumstances not be explained.
    I was wondering what refuge was and like others was drawn to this page/article and well written it is for me who is new to really receiving the Word. When I saw the name Jesus Christ before I read the article. I had to stop and give thanks for the joy and safety I felt at waking up and just reading his name. His Love you us is the highest form of lasting true Love.

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