You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat.
For the breath of the ruthless
is like a storm driving against a wall. — Isaiah 25:4 NIV
Beach storms can arrive quickly, sometimes with devastating consequences. If you’ve ever been caught in one, particularly on a boat, the rain can feel like needles on your skin. Lightning can be deadly. Whether you make it back to your rental house, your car, or even just a covered structure, finding shelter is a priority — your only priority. Once you’re covered, you feel safe. Once inside, you are relieved.
Storms pop up in everyday life too. We can’t predict their arrivals or departures.
So, what does it mean to find refuge in God? What does it mean to find shelter from the heat and the pressures of our earthly lives? Where do we find the practical in such a seemingly ethereal concept?
While it’s true that this verse deals specifically with physical poverty, the passage goes on to describe how those who wait patiently on God will be delivered — a prophecy of what’s to come.
In terms of practicality, the “shelter” God provides may come in the form of another person’s help — a job lead, a contrite heart, an apology. However it arrives, trust that if He’s provided it, relief will follow. We need only step out in faith, honoring and obeying through our actions. But there is a Part II.
Let’s not just think in terms of physical poverty. Consider spiritual poverty, as well. In the Old Testament times, spiritual issues were often addressed before physical relief arrived; God wanted repentance before restoration. This hasn’t changed. But if you think about it, Jesus often met the physical needs of others before He ever addressed the spiritual. Jesus did not heal the sick, drive out demons, or feed the masses — all very practical, physical needs — without pointing to God and the Way to true peace that’s everlasting. Jesus did this so that, even today as we seek shelter and refuge, believers fulfill what was stated in Isaiah 25:9:
And it will be said in that day: ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for Him; we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’
It’s very practical and very wise to seek refuge from storms and relief from God in all of life’s storms — but don’t expect Him to meet your physical needs without addressing the spiritual, as well. You will be changed, inside and out.
Lord, today I am reminded of the way You delivered me during ____________________________. From that, I learned that there remained a part of me I had not entrusted to You. Search my heart and unlock any doors that remain shut so that I may know and declare Your provision. I will wait, and I will take refuge in You. Please use this current storm to draw me closer to You.
Excerpted with permission from Devotions for the Beach, copyright Thomas Nelson.
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Think of how the Lord has sheltered you this past year. Physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and especially spiritually. This has been a year of awe as my family faced huge challenges and storms and saw the Lord’s protection, provision, and His guiding hand which had already been moving before we ever knew we would be in need! How about you? Come share with us! We want to hear from you about the help, direction, refuge, and shelter of God. ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full