Paul also refers to this principle in Colossians 3:16 when he writes “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” We remember, recite, and rehearse truth and respond in worship as we speak to ourselves and to one another the word of Christ.

THREE: Worship as Refuge. David, Jesus, and the Apostle Paul all knew the secret of worship as refuge. David, in the quote above from 2nd Samuel, called Yahweh his shield. Jesus said in Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.” And Paul wrote in Colossians 3: 1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” There is a place of refuge in God that involves our remembering and our direct involvement with it intentionally. There is a supernatural place, if you will, of refuge in God when we need it. It’s not a place where we are taken out of the sufferings of the world, but a place where we find indescribable peace and joy in the midst of trials and sufferings.

In 2nd Corinthians 4:17-18, Paul put it this way “This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us am eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen, for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” SO, this refuge, then, is a process of focusing our hearts, minds, priorities, affections, goals, and value on that which is eternal in God and not on what is passing away in this world. The refuge is knowledge of the truth, yes, but it also has a dynamic, active, and present component in the presence of Christ in our lives by the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we remember, recite, and take refuge in worship, His tender presence comforts us, hides us (Col. 3), and enables us to tap into and receive a blessedness, a weight of glory, that cannot be understood by carnal minds who only focus on this world for reward.

One of the most prominent elements of armor is the shield. Shields are the largest pieces of armor and can measure several feet in length and height. The purpose of a shield is to deflect spears, rocks, or other missiles hurled at the soldier in combat. David, as a mighty man of war, understood the use of shields and referred to Yahweh in many places as his shield and buckler (a much smaller version of a shield used in hand to hand combat). The metaphor of God as a shield shows up in the Bible as early as Genesis 15:1 when God promised to be Abram’s “…shield, your very great reward.” David called God his shield, stronghold, refuge, savior, and the horn of his salvation in various places throughout his writings.

There are a couple of points not to miss in these references. One, we are engaged in combat throughout this life. Two, God is metaphorically and practically our shield and protector in the battles we face. The concept of God as our shield is important when you know that shields were always decorated with symbols – these symbols indicated the person’s dignity, rank, title, jurisdiction and more. To this day, a coat of arms is an important family tradition for royalty and for the military. A king’s coat of arms bears the prominence and power of the royal family, for instance. When David says that Yahweh is his shield, he is indicating and acknowledging that he marches under the banner of Almighty God, the Creator of All That Exists, the One Supreme Being of the Universe – God Himself. God’s armor, His shield, bears the name of God and all that it implies! It’s no wonder then that Nahum 1:5 says “The mountains quake before Him, The hills melt, And the earth heaves at His presence, Yes, the world and all who dwell in it.” God is our shield – the ultimate protection. Paul elaborates on this theme in Ephesians 6 when he exhorts us to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

We worship by remembering. We worship by reciting what we remember. We find refuge as we enter that secret place of belonging to the One who shields us from the fiery darts of the wicked one and the trials of this life. We exercise faith to enter this place – worship is an exercise of faith as we choose to ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name and not to worship the transient possessions of this world. God bless you as you find your refuge in Him this week!

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