I was an atheist when a fellow teacher at the daycare I worked at put a Bible in my hands and challenged me to read it. I was holding tightly to my claims, yet was intrigued by this friend. I accepted her challenge, mostly figuring that it would give me the ammo I needed to prove to my church-raised new husband why it was ridiculous to believe in the God he claimed. Thankfully, God proved I was the one in the wrong.
David extends the invitation in Psalm 34:8 to anyone willing to taste and see for themselves that God is good, they too would be blessed as they take refuge in Him. David knew, what we know, that there are fears all around us willing to consume our minds and hearts at any moment. David stood before the king of Gath who was ready to strike him dead in an instant. Yet in retrospect, David recognized where his fears were to be rightly placed.
“Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!” verse 9 reminds us.
I grew up fearful of my own shadow. Having been abandoned by my birth father before I have any conscious memory of him, left me on shaky ground emotionally. Then walking through a second parental divorce with my mom as the man I knew as “Dad” moved out, leaving my fears to mound up within me. Packing up and moving to a state I had never been to with my mom, my brother and this new step-dad who clearly rather golf than parent, only served to confirm nothing in life is stable.
Fears attacked me easily, sometimes in broad daylight. Fear of abandonment, insecurities, loneliness nearly strangled me. So I grew into a young woman building a good solid wall of sarcasm and snarky comments to keep from exposing my heart to anyone. In reality I feared everything and everyone but God.
The Psalmist invites us into a better way. He teaches us in verses 8-10 how to remedy our fearfulness.
First, we must choose to take refuge in the Lord. Not trying to build our own walls or guard our own selves. But rather press into the Lord, taking refuge in Him. Know Him, experience Him and we will see that He is good and a refuge for us.
Secondly, we need to fear the Lord Himself. When the Lord opened my eyes, as I read through that Bible, to my recognition of my own sinfulness and my need for a Savior, I was floored. He was the One who could cast this sinful soul into hell. He was also the One who foresaw me, the deepest places of me, the sinfulness within me and yet willingly went to the cross to nail my sin there bearing the full weight of it on Himself. This sacrifice for me. How could I not fear Him? Revere and stand in awe of Him? Like the great lion Aslan portrays in the Narnia series, this great Lion of the tribe of Judah is to be greatly feared, for His is good an He is a refuge for those who fear Him.
Finally, our fears find quiet when we, like the psalmist in verse 10, seek the Lord. We could either spend our time and energy seeking to hide ourselves behind our distractions, thinking we are safe only to be slayed afresh by the next trial. Or we can spend our energy seeking the Lord through prayer, time in His Word and resting our mind on Truth and find solid footing for our souls.
Have you tasted and seen His goodness for yourself? Where do you run for refuge? A friend, a drink, a phone? Or to the One who blesses those who take refuge in Him, fear Him and seek Him?
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