Are there “magical” words in the world? The Psalmist seems to say so when he states, quite clearly, “ If you say, : “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways”. This seems almost like some sort of enchanted spell! Just say this and all will be fine. Count me it! But of course there’s a point here that needs to be made: You have to mean it—i.e faith is required.
What does it mean to utter: The Lord is my refuge? That He is my hope, my salvation, my security, my shelter! It represents a condition of the heart! It means: I choose Him and my close intimacy with Him over anyone and anything else! To say these words requires that I place my confidence in Him first, second and third… and that I do not place my hope in men, horses or chariots.
Success, financial security, popularity, admiration and good health are often the very things that keep me away from Him, and counter-intuitive as it may sound, failure, troubles and sorrow are the only things that can bring me back into the shadow of His wings.
It’s been said that when faced with personal struggles and the stress of daily life you have three choices: You can have a second, secret life (i.e. an affair), you turn to drugs or alcohol, or you just learn to live with stress. And as wise as this counsel is, the Psalmist would disagree, because in the presence of God there is no stress; when I make my dwelling the Most High I have no fears or anxiety. No, it is when I am trying to accomplish, complete or solve things all on my own that I become saddened and stressed. But when I am attending His work, His tasks, His projects, His appointments…..then I am at peace and I can find respite from the things that should be stealing my sleep, my peace and my joy.
Jesus was clear: Seek first God’s delights (i.e. His “Kingdom”) and He will add to my life those things that delight me. He’s not trying to hold them back from me! But He is trying to prepare me to properly appreciate them.
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If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”