A Place of Refuge

“And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence.  And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain” (Isaiah 4:5-6).

A few days ago, I came across this passage and was struck by how comforting these verses were.  I think the reason why these words left such an impression was because, as we all do at times, I had been experiencing the heat of the day as well as the rain and the storm of verse six.  At times, we all feel the heat of life’s fiery trials, a heat that leaves us weak and exhausted, longing for a bit of shade where we can find relief and rest.  And we also feel the sorrow of life’s storms and rains that come over us, leaving us feeling powerless and alone.  Like the Israelites in the wilderness alluded to in Isaiah, we face many hardships in our lives as we wander through this earth with its heat and storms.

The Israelites had been delivered out of captivity in Egypt, brought through the Red Sea, and given manna to eat and water from the rock to drink.  We, too, can look back on our lives, as individuals and as God’s church, and see how we have been freed from the bondage of sin, granted salvation, and provided for by our God throughout our whole lives.  And, like the Israelites, who were looking forward to entering into the promised land of Canaan, we look forward to entering the promised land of heaven.

However, even being able to look back at God’s provisions in the past and to look forward to His promises for the future, the Israelites still faced difficulties and hardships in their present situation, and so do we.  Yes, we have been promised salvation and have seen God’s work all throughout our lives, and we look forward to the end of this life’s journey when we will finally enter Paradise, but sometimes the scorching heat and the stormy rains we face during the journey seem almost unbearable.  It is in these times that we must remember that just as God did not forsake the Israelites in the wilderness, neither will He forsake us now in our own hardships.

In the wilderness, God provided the Israelites with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night for protection and guidance, and he also will do the same for us.  Isaiah 4:6 says that a tabernacle will provide this shade and protection and serve as a place of refuge.  In the Old Testament, the tabernacle was where God dwelt with His people, and it is in this way that God provides us protection from the storms of this life – He dwells among us, and we find shelter and refuge in Him.

As we enter God’s house tomorrow, let us be thankful for this place of refuge and rest from life’s storms.  Although we will continue to face scorching heat and violent storms until we finally reach the promised land, we are not left unprotected.  As we have fellowship together with our heavenly Father as brothers and sisters in Christ, let us remember to place our trust in Him and find refuge in His tabernacle from whatever trials we might face in this life.

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.  He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.  Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.  The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore” (Psalm 121).

Amy Kaiser

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