With the tensions rising with North Korea there has been a resurgence of people building bomb shelters, particularly those with more wealth. In light of this there was a cartoon published that showed a woman unloading her shopping cart at the counter of the “Panic Emporium,” whose slogan was “Your fear is our fortune.” Clearly visible on the wall behind the checkout counter were Twinkies, Spam, an arrow for “Water Purifiers in Aisle 3,” sleeping bags, antibiotics, and a bomb shelter kit - assembly required.
In Psalm 31: 1-4 God gives us a sample of the different terms for God as our “bomb shelter,” the provider of security: refuge, fortress, and rock. In the original there are five different Hebrew terms each with its own unique shade of meaning. One of the words (chasah) refers to a place you’d go for safety when danger is lurking around the corner, like a cave where a little mountain goat might hide when hunters come stalking. God gives us that kind of safety when Satan is lurking nearby.
Another word (tsuhr) points to the hardness, durability, and immobility of a boulder. You could stand on it and not be shaken even in an earthquake. God gives us that kind of stability.
Or a (mah-ohz) is a place you’d run to when a sudden storm bursts from the heavens, like finding a freeway overpass when hailstones suddenly come pelting down on your car. God gives us that kind of instant shelter.
Another (seh-lah) is the same word used to describe the fortress built into a sheer cliff centuries ago by the people of Edom, which you can see if you watch “Indiana Jones: The Last Crusade.” That was no movie set. That fortress built into a huge cliff actually exists. God gives us that kind of staying power.
Then there’s the word (matsuhdah), translated “Masada.” Some of you may have seen pictures of a mountaintop fortress by that name, so strong that it took the Romans two years to capture it from rebels Jews. God gives us that kind of strength.
The Psalm writer David had the certainty of security because his refuge was the LORD, his Rock. “In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge ... be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. You are my rock and my fortress ... You are my refuge”(Psalm 31).
When hurricanes hit, do you need a Rock? When the doctor says he found a lump, do you need a Rock? When the career path doesn’t turn out the way you planned, and your dream job has become a ball and chain, do you need a Rock? Where will we get safety, stability, shelter, staying power, and strength against those attacks?
Our refuge is the Lord. He is our Rock. Solid security against both earthly and spiritual forces. Always there. Always strong. Though we can’t always understand him, we can always count on him.
Pastor Martin Spaude
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