We’ve been talking about David’s significant question in Psalm 11: “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (v. 3). So, how can I say that David’s foundations were solid and secure? Look at the first verse. Look at his opening statement. Occasionally, in the biblical psalms, as in newspaper columns, the gist of the whole message is in the first sentence, and everything that follows is an amplification of the initial sentence. This psalm is like that. David’s main message is in the first verse of this psalm: “In the LORD I take refuge; how can you say to my soul, ‘Flee as a bird to your mountain.'”
My soul is not on the run. My spirit has not capsized, because in the Lord I take refuge. A refuge is a place of hiding. It is a place of protection. The term is chasah, in the ancient Hebrew. A chasah is a protective place that provides safety from that which would otherwise hit and hurt. It’s a protection from danger and from distress. David makes it clear that Yahweh is his chasah. Since that is true, David says, “My foundations are sure.”
The old country preacher was right when he said, “I may tremble on the rock, but the rock doesn’t tremble under me.” It is my solid foundation. It stands firm no matter what may occur.
That word “refuge” reminded me of yet another psalm—the 46th. Who wouldn’t find comfort in the solidarity of this ancient promise? This is the very psalm in which Martin Luther found refuge and relief over five hundred years ago. He hid in its truths and found strength. Psalm 46 gave him fresh courage to go on, even though misunderstood, maligned, and mistreated. How comforting were those words, “God is our refuge” (chasah, same word)…”God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (v. 1).
It was from the opening lines of this 46th psalm that Luther later was inspired to write, “Ein’ Feste Burg Ist Unser Gott”—“A high tower is the Lord our God.” We sing those words today: “A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing.” And why is such a foundation sure? Because it is God, Himself! Our foundation is the God of creation. The God who made us is the God who shelters us.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. [El Shaddai]
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge [my chasah] and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”
–Psalm 91:1-2, NKJV
On that solid foundation, we are secure, no matter how insecure and chaotic our times may be!
Excerpted from Why God? Calming Words for Chaotic Times, Copyright 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by Permission.