Place of Refuge

Refuge – a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.

Not all places of refuge are equal. Several years ago, as the political climate hit an all-time high, I recall there being a call for “safe zones” to be established on almost every college and high school campus for students who were “suffering” from “PTSD” and other similar issues due to some of the things going on within the country. Many were being told that this country was going to crumble, their rights were going to be revoked, and that anyone who dared to stand up against the “establishment” would essentially be crucified. Make no mistake, typing this was about as traumatic for me as it was for those “suffering” students who just could not handle the reality of what was happening. They bought into all the “doom and gloom” nonsense portrayed by those who constantly live in fear and have no hope.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

A place of refuge, safe zone, safe rooms, sanctuaries, or whatever you want to call them; they have a place within our lives. God has always given His people a place of refuge, but we must not live as if God has forgotten about us. Constantly living in fear is not the way that Christ would have us to live. Am I saying that any amount of fear is sinful? No, having a sense of fear can be healthy in some instances. Being fearful that sin is creeping into your life. That is a healthy fear because you are aware that a problem is starting to happen. With that awareness, you can make the necessary adjustments in your life to fix that sin problem.

Genesis 6:13-14, 18 Then God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch.’ (18) But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark – you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

We see Noah’s place of refuge being in the ark. Anyone who remained on the outside of the ark were destroyed. God was not pleased with the world and how they were living and determined it would be best to discipline the world for its wickedness. God recognized that even though most of mankind was evil, He made sure that those who believed in Him survived. Their place of refuge was the ark.

Exodus 12:7, 12-13 Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. (12) For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments – I am the Lord. (13) The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

God planning to deliver the children of Israel out of the hands of Egyptian bondage, he gave them instructions of what to do in order to remain safe with Him. Just as Noah was directed to build the ark by the specifications that God gave, these people had to do what God said for them to be rescued and not suffer the judgment that God was passing. Their place of refuge was inside their houses with the blood applied.

Some may question why God would put such “demanding” requirements in order to be saved. The problem with this kind of thinking is that we are focusing on all the wrong things. These places of refuge were not given to the people because they deserved it. They were not given the opportunity to be saved because it was “their right” to be saved. It is because God loves us therefore making His decisions right. People go to their “safe spaces” to be encouraged to continue in their sin. With God, it is the other way around. We go to His places of refuge to turn our lives around and to be saved.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ

Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

I am reminded of the hymn, “Near The Cross”, as it goes…Jesus keep me near the cross, there a precious fountain, free to all a healing stream, flows from Calv’ry’s mountain. In the cross, in the cross, be my glory ever, till my raptured soul shall find, rest beyond the river. Near the cross I’ll watch and wait, hoping, trusting, ever, till I reach the golden strand, just beyond the river.

Our place of refuge is found in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. Not in some “safe space” that the world may provide with its limited wisdom. If someone tells you to keep doing what you are doing; I pray that you are keeping God’s will. If you are not doing God’s will, I can say with certainty that your ark will not float, and your house would not be passed over. Follow Jesus today and for the rest of your life.

-Lee Elkins