Posted by: Jo | November 25, 2016

A Place of Refuge

“How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

(Psalm 36: 7)

refuge03Our Home group is still fully immersed in our study of the book of Joshua and as we wade through unpronounceable names of people/ towns/ areas we frequently find gems of wisdom that surprise us and make us think more deeply of what it means to belong to the family of God. One such incidence happened this last week as we read the section in which the Lord was instructing Joshua to designate special cities to be cities of refuge to make sure that justice was always to be tempered with mercy.

“Then the Lord said to Joshua. “Tell the Israelites to designate the cities of refuge, as I instructed you through Moses.” (Joshua 20: 1 – 2)

We began to think through what the actual word, refuge, meant and many words came to mind; a shelter, a haven, protection from harm and danger, a peaceful setting, a place where the persecuted could run for help, a time to mend.

In Joshua’s time the idea was to stop avengers of any accidental killing, from taking revenge into their own hands, but today on the world stage we still see an urgent need for places of refuge. Many countries have offered this help to millions who are fleeing from their own war torn countries, but we also found that as we explored these meanings we agreed that places of refuge are still just as important for many in the society we live in today.

refuge02Sometimes we can be overwhelmed with the injustices that scream from the media. We can feel totally inadequate to do anything about national disasters except in a financial way, but when we remember Jesus’ words we suddenly understand what that means for us personally;

“The second is this, Love your neighbour as your self…” (Mark 12: 31)

When we narrow it down to who is our neighbour, it is so much easier to see how we can provide refuges for others.  Our own homes spring to mind.

Our churches are the obvious place for others to seek refuge. The broken and those grieving or in despair desperately need to be surrounded by love and understanding, unfortunately that is not always the case and I have often heard, “Nobody spoke to me when I visited that church.”  Asking the Holy Spirit to make us aware of those needing us to reach out to them is a great way to start.

Schools too can be places of loneliness and places where many children are bullied and those are the ones who need a place of refuge desperately.  Young Christian students can provide this just by offering friendship

There are also times when we all need to be able to run to a place of refuge ourselves. Ugly situations, trauma, set backs, failure/grief can overcome us. We refuge04have the most wonderful of place of refuge imaginable and we can run there whenever we have a special need and the Psalmists tells us we will be blessed when we do;

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34: 8)

 

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