The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your Name will put their trust in You; for You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:9–10—NKJV)

When I think of a refuge, I often think of a strong, imposing fortress with thick walls and high turrets, situated on top of a craggy hilltop. The reality is that there are many kinds of refuges. Refuge from the daily unknowns can be found in casual conversation with lifelong friends or a good book. Refuge from the workaday world can be found in a familiar vacation spot. Refuge from deadlines and pressure can be found in a relaxing hobby. Most importantly for the believer, refuge from the assaults of the enemy is found in the pursuit of deep friendship with God.

Finding refuge is not finding escape. In every illustration mentioned above, refuge is asylum—a period of peace, joy, fulfillment, remembering your identity and what matters. For the saint of God, refuge in God means all these and much more.

Finding refuge in God is a far cry from a call to a monastic life. Rather, it is a needed respite for a life engaged in reaching out to the world for the sake of the Gospel. Reading the words of David in chapter 9, it quickly becomes apparent that he was engaging the enemy while depending on receiving the strength from God to do battle. He knows that any victory must ultimately be granted by the Lord. Such a profound sense of dependency naturally drives him to find refuge in God. So it must be with us.

Though the enemy and the conflict will be great, David is constantly driven back to the point that God uniquely holds the power of judgment. Verse 4 states that God judges in righteousness, and verse 8 reiterates that fact. Verse 16 teaches that the Lord reveals Himself by the judgment He executes. Finally, verse 19 declares that all power resides with God, for the nations will be judged in His sight. Since God is righteous and upholds the interest of the upright within His sight, it makes plain sense that believers must learn the significance and the way of refuge found in Him.

The two verses quoted at the head of this page end with the comforting words that the Lord has “not forsaken those who seek” Him. Seeking Him is the way of refuge. The very force of who God is displays the quality of the refuge found in Him. God is faithful (verse 4), is powerful (5), is enduring (7), is righteous (8), is Savior (9), and is mercy (10). These attributes are available to the saint when he pursues the way of refuge, seeking out his Lord to find respite, mercy, and renewal to soldier on.

The secrets of seeking out refuge in God are unfolded in the first two verses of the psalm. “I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart” (giving whole-hearted praise with no deceit). “I will tell of all Your marvelous wonders” (testifying of God among your friends and before your enemies). “I will be glad and rejoice in You” (making your highest aim to know God). “I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High” (fashioning your life as a monument to the renown of God).

In this way the Lord is our refuge, our “secure height,” our refuge in times of trouble. The key is knowing the Name of the Lord, who He is and what He does, and acting in partnership with Him. To those who pursue and seek after Him, the words of promise are given that He will never forsake them (Matthew 28:20, Hebrews 13:5).

First, are you even living in such a way that you need the refuge found in God? Second, are you growing in appreciation for the refuge you are finding in God alone? Trust and obey.