tornado April 20 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Psalms 7, 35, 57, 142

Where is our Refuge?

In North America the month of April brings showers, but it also brings storms. It begins a season of tornadoes, wind, and heavy rains as cold and warm weather fronts clash. Where do we take refuge? We take refuge in strong buildings, basements, storm cellars, and away from windows. There are other kinds of storms as well—storms caused by hatred and jealousy. We may have this in our family, our church, our neighborhood, or even on our jobs. Where will we go for refuge? A trusted friend? A lawyer?

In recent Bible readings we have seen David experiencing a storm of jealousy and hatred. King Saul is insanely jealous of David's success and popularity. Saul hates David, although he has done nothing but good for him (Psalm 35:12-14). Now he pursues him.

David and his men are running and hiding from King Saul's select army of 3,000 chosen men. Although they are ordered to kill him, David respects God's choice of Saul as king and does not engage them in battle. One of the places David and his men hide is in the back of a cave. Saul enters there to sleep, but David does not kill him—he only cuts off a piece of his robe. Saul later leaves the cave. When some distance away, David calls out to him and explains what he has done. When Saul hears David tell him of his kindness, Saul returns home, ashamed of himself for his suspicions of his son-in-law.

Today's Psalms are written in memory of the time David was pursued by King Saul and the time he was in the cave. A cave is a temporary shelter, but ultimately where does David go for refuge?

O LORD my God, I take refuge in you; save and deliver me from all who pursue me,

…. My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart, (Psalm 7:1,10, NIV).

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Take up shield and buckler; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to my soul, “I am your salvation” (Psalm 35:1- 3, NIV).

May those who delight in my vindication shout for joy and gladness; may they always say, “The LORD be exalted, who delights in the well-being of his servant.” My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long (Psalm 27-28, NIV).

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed (Psalm 57:1, NIV).

When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me. Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. I cry to you, O LORD; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living” (Psalm 142:3-5, NIV).

David goes to the LORD when he is in trouble—the LORD is his refuge. Are these just fox-hole prayers? Fox-hole prayers, for those who may not know, are prayers offered only when a person is in dire straits. For instance, a soldier might offer a fox-hole prayer when hiding from the enemy and there seems to be no escape. The prayer may sound something like this: “If there is a God up there listening, I am in great trouble. Please help me! Get me out of this and I'll owe you one.” No, David’s prayer is not a fox-hole prayer, although he is in dire straits. His prayer is much more personal and reveals a dependence on the LORD for his refuge. David has confidence in God even before he is delivered (Psalm 57:7). Such confidence requires a personal relationship with God (Psalm 142:5). Who is our refuge? Why not go to the LORD? He has the ultimate power to change situations. If we trust him for our salvation, he will not disappoint us (more...).

Lessons to Live By

  • God can be our refuge in the storms of life.
  • A close personal relationship with the LORD gives us confidence in him in days of distress (more...).
  • The LORD has the ultimate power to change situations. If we trust him for our salvation, he will not disappoint us; he will deliver us from the situation or help us through it .

Focus Verse

Psalm 142:5 (NIV) “I cry to you, O LORD; I say, ‘You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.’”

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A Look Ahead: While David is biding his time in the desert waiting for deliverance, he protects the assets (sheep) of a businessman. Find out what happens in our Next Lesson called Foolishness versus Wisdom.

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