Everyone could use a refuge from time to time

Published 12:36 pm Saturday, April 30, 2016

By Larry Stover
Stover lives in Valley Grande and is pastor at Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

Summer is just around the corner.  Many people are anxious for school to get out so they can “get away” on a vacation.

Sometimes as Christians we get tired and worn out. Life has a way of beating us up. We really need to get away. Life can be tough.

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If you think it’s tough now, you should have lived in the ancient Middle East. The population was spread out. The judicial system was limited. People kept their own law and order.

Let me illustrate this. If someone in your family or clan was killed, the family met and selected a “blood avenger.” It was their job to find the murderer and avenge the family. Justice was demanded!  Proof of the kill was usually the “head.” I realize how crude this seems, but it kept law and order for the most part.

An example might help. Let’s suppose that a young mother needs to get to the market. She jumps on her camel and takes off. All of a sudden a 5-year-old runs out in front of her and she tramples the child to death. The family of the deceased child gets together and selects a “blood avenger.” It is his job to find that murderous woman and kill her. You’re saying to me, “Whoa, that’s not fair, it was an accident.” Justice lacked sophistication back then but nobody knew what else to do … except God. God told Moses to set aside 6 “Cities of Refuge” for people who accidentally or unintentionally killed someone. If they got to one of these cities before the “blood avenger” got to them they would be safe until a trial was held.

These cities flow from the heart of God. They are a picture of how much he cares about each of us.  They remind us that he is a place of refuge. When we seek him as a refuge we discover that it is a time to recuperate, regroup and find new strength. When we do get back into our daily routine we will be stronger, calmer and more secure.

Psalm 91 is a beautiful message to anyone and everyone who is in need of a retreat from the struggles of life. Verses 1 and 2 read, “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.”

Maybe your life is sailing along with no worries or problems. I’m excited for you, but the majority of us need a refuge from time to time.  God has it all under control.

All you need to do is to acknowledge your need of him and he is there. It’s all about moving from self-dependency to dependence on God. If you have never spent time with God in his refuge, you don’t know what you are missing. If you need a time of healing or just to regroup, he is waiting with arms outstretched ready to welcome you home. While you are there, you will discover that life is “Simply Beautiful.”