Article: BE OF GOOD COURAGE! | Jacob Varghese

This world is becoming more and more unstable and dangerous place to live. Of course, the storms of this life are not limited to the weather. The news coming from all around the globe are filled with daily stories of racism, massacre, human cruelty, crime, terrorism, war, and human suffering. Every day at work we are confronted with various problems. Political climate in both our nation and the world around us are worsening with growing unease and worry among the nations. We all have family, friends, and loved ones who are fighting personal battles that are constantly in our thoughts and prayers. And we have battles of our own. We all do. It can feel overwhelming – a storm surge that threatens to drown out all else. Where to turn? When things are changing and threatening around you, focus your attention on God. Psalm 46:1 says “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” To take refuge in God means despite our underlying circumstances we can make the decision to put our lives in the hands of God and to find complete security in Him. This means that when we are weak, we are able to look to our Father in heaven and find refuge – a place of security and home, in Him. Psalm 46 praises God for being a source of power and salvation in times of trouble. It says firstly “God is our refuge”. What is the biblical definition of refuge? Refuge means a shelter or protection from danger or distress, refuge is a place that provides shelter or protection and something to which one has remedy in difficulty. The word refuge means a shelter, hope, trust. It speaks of a place of safety. In the Old Testament times, when someone committed accidental manslaughter, he could flee to a city of refuge to escape the avenger.Yes, trouble comes into all of our lives, but we can seek refuge in the Lord. He protects us in times of trouble. Proverbs 18:10 says “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” This idea is expressed many times in the Bible. David always found refuge in the Lord when his enemies sought his life. Saul pursued David for many years, yet God always protected him. David knew that the Lord was watching over him.

Our God is a strong shelter and a rock of refuge in whom we can hide during the storms and difficulties of life. He is our tower of strength, our firm fortress and our secure stronghold to whom we can run for protection and safety in an increasingly Christ-rejecting and God-denying world. But we need to realize who our enemy is? Who is our true enemy from whom we need refuge and shelter? Possibly you have already found that you have enemies. Ephesians 6:12 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” These are dangerous, spiteful enemies who will use any method to defeat us in our Christian life. But no matter who is our enemy war against the Lord and His children we have His unfailing assurance that the Lord of hosts is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us and the God of Jacob is our rock of refuge, our safe stronghold and our ever present help in time of trouble.
As His children we are called to fear not, for Christ has won the final victory and we are assured that His triumph is credited to us as well. The shelter that He affords is not to indulge or pamper us but to reassure us, strengthen us and enable us to stand fast in the evil day.
As the spiritual battle between our righteous God and Satan’s wicked forces, continues to rage throughout the godless nations of the world. Let us be still and KNOW that God is our refuge, our strength and our ever-present help in time of need. With God as our refuge, we need not fear – we will not fear – even as the earth gives way and as the waters roar. Psalms 46:1-3 say “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” We have only one source of security, who is God our heavenly Father. When wars break out, government fails, natural disasters destroy our homes, our health deteriorates, or friends betray us, God is the only One where we can find security.
Our world, with all its advancements in education, technology and science, is no safer today than it was thousands of years ago. Anything can happen, at any second; and there is no security unless we have placed ourselves in the hand of the one who holds eternity and who is in control of all things. We need to turn to God, and only when we seek God, can we find rest for our soul. The psalmist wrote in Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The Bible says in Psalm 20:7&8 say, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” God is waiting to hear us call for help; and if we call, He will respond. When we are secure in God, we do not need the security of other things. God is in control and seated firmly on His throne. That is why we can say as mentioned in Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”.

Our security comes from our faith in God and not from our circumstance. In Psalms 46:7 &11 we see “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress”. Our faith is in knowing that God is omnipresent, which gives us hope and security because we know that the Lord is always with us. God wants us to depend on Him and we need to be aware that our trust should not be in things, but only in Him. We need to pray for strong faith, and that in the midst of a world filled with problems and dangers, we will continue to trust that God is with us because His presence will give us peace and joy no matter what happens. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” There are many who live in great prosperity – they have lots of money and possessions – yet their lives are consumed with worry and fear. And there are those in our world today who live in very difficult and dangerous places, yet have a great sense of security because they have placed their faith and hope in God. Job lost everything, but he chose to place His trust in God. He was shaken but he did not fall. The Bible says in Psalm 125:1, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”

We need to have this same courage today because Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”. Our confidence should not be shaken, because we have a God who is in complete control. We should have courage, not because we are strong, but because we have a God who is strong. He is powerful and He rules over all. God has not changed, and His love will see us through. Psalms 100:5 says “For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
As Paul wrote in Romans 8:35 & 37, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” We are secure in an unsafe world because the one who loves us is with us. And we need to remember that our security is in eternity and not in the present because this world is not our home. If we are looking only at the present circumstances we will be shaken, but if we are grounded in God’s Word and the promise of eternity, we will stand firm and no one can take it away from us. Therefore as 1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” And also remember what Isaiah 26:3 says: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

One of the great hymns was written by Martin Luther, and he based it on the 46th Psalm; “A MIGHTY FORTRESS IS MY GOD.” You can just hear the magnificent courage of this preacher, the courage he displayed when he stood before the religious council that put him on trial. He said, “I cannot and will not retract anything. It is neither wise nor right to do anything against conscience. Here I stand, God help me, I cannot do otherwise.” The reality is that there will be difficult times, but God promises to be our refuge.




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