To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.
Do not drag me away with the wicked,
with those who do evil,
who speak cordially with their neighbours
but harbor malice in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds
and for their evil work;
repay them for what their hands have done
and bring back on them what they deserve.
Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord
and what his hands have done,
he will tear them down
and never build them up again.
Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Do you find refuge in the Lord? That is who David, the psalmist, cries out to. The Lord, his strength and shield. He cries to the Lord for salvation, for deliverance. Is that who you cry out to? Maybe you have little need for deliverance. Maybe your life is going well. Life back then though was fraught with difficulty and suffering. We all seek refuge in something, we all seek security. But do we seek it in God?
David desires to be with God. He desires to not be punished with the wicked. He sees himself as separate to them, as unlike them. He then calls for God’s judgement on the wicked. His greatest desire is not to be judged with the wicked, with those who harbour malice in their hearts. Those who are distant from God. Those who seek security in other things. No, he cries out to be brought back into God’s presence. He seeks refuge in God. He trusts God.
He ends the psalm urging God to save and bless his people, and to be their shepherd, carrying them forever. David sees no other security, no other refuge, no other hiding place but God. He seeks God not just as his shepherd, but the shepherd for the whole people of Israel. He longs for God to shepherd Israel.
In the New Testament we see Jesus come as the Good Shepherd, the shepherd who would lay down his life for the flock. We see him as the anointed one of God who provides a fortress of salvation for his people. Do you take refuge in Jesus? Do you take refuge in the midst of suffering? Do you take refuge in the midst of comfort? No matter our state in life we can rely on Jesus for salvation, our greatest need. He is the Good Shepherd.
Since sin entered the world, suffering has been at its right hand. Suffering from our relationships and suffering to do with our world all stems from the sinful condition of humanity. It is this suffering that was coming that brought about the book of Revelation. This week in Grow Deeper we’ll track how suffering came into our world, its effect on our lives and how Christ is our refuge in the face of suffering.
Read Genesis 3.
How has sin impacted creation? How does it bring about suffering for us?
How has sin impacted our relationships? Where is there suffering in your relationships?
What promise is there of an end of evil and, hence, an end to suffering?
How is this fulfilled in the suffering of Jesus for us?
Thankyou for sending Jesus, the good shepherd. Thankyou that I can find refuge in you, that I can run to you for salvation. Thankyou that you are my strength and my shield.
Forgive me Lord, when I find refuge in other things. Help me to run to you for refuge in the midst of both suffering and comfort. Help me Lord to forever run to you as my shepherd, as my salvation.
In Jesus Name,