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May 28, 2013

Christ Refuge - Lighthouse
CHRIST OUR ROCK OF REFUGE (part 2): This post is a continuation of the study of Christ our Rock of Refuge. Looking at the Names of Jesus is like looking through a  kaleidoscope, for with every twist of the tube, the bits of colored glass change position, each twist revealing a beautiful new pattern. In a similar way, studying Jesus’ Names such as Rock (
1Cor 10:4-note) is like looking through a “divine kaleidoscope”, wherein we behold His matchless beauty “new every morning,” (Lam 3:22-note), as each day the Spirit illumines some new shade of glory of the Glorious One (Ps 72:19-note), the One Whose “Name (is) Wonderful.”  (Isa 9:6KJV-note). “How precious is Your lovingkindness (Your steadfast love), O God! The children of men take REFUGE in the shadow of Your wings.” (Ps 36:7-note) Indeed, “Let all who TAKE REFUGE in Thee rejoice. Let them ever sing for joy. Shelter them, so that those who love Thy NAME may exult in Thee.” (Ps 5:11-note) In light of the truth that Christ is our “place of REFUGE from the stormy wind and tempest” (Ps 55:8-note), prayerfully ponder Isaac Watts’ wonderful words…

Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hope for years to come,
Our SHELTER from the stormy blast,
And our eternal Home.

And so we pray…

Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our Hope for years to come,
Be Thou our GUARD while life shall last,
And our eternal Home

CHRIST OUR ROCK OF REFUGE IN THE STORMS OF LIFE: Have you seen the dramatic picture of the lighthouse off the Brittany Coast? The photo was taken during a fierce Atlantic storm which sent huge waves pounding against the mammoth rock structure, seemingly swallowing it up. And yet on the sheltered side, surrounded by the frothing waves, stands the lighthouse keeper, serenely staring at the shore while the enormous waves crash all around! (Click for enlarged picture) In the same way, Jesus is our “Refuge FROM the storm” (Isa 25:4-note), yea, even our Refuge DURING the “storms” of physical affliction, emotional turmoil or spiritual attack. In Christ our Rock of Refuge we can endure any trial with the calm assurance that the Rock of Ages Who shields us cannot be moved. When we rest by faith in this truth, we experience the peace of God which surpasses all human understanding (Php 4:7-note) even when surrounded by the cacophony of “crashing” circumstances. As someone has well said Jesus may calm the storm around us, but more often (and even better!) His Spirit will calm the storm within us.  Praise the Lord, that even when all around us seems to be like shifting sand, we are always safe when we run into the Rock of our Refuge, Christ Jesus, the One Who “holds all creation together” (Col 1:17NLT-note) and “sustains everything by the mighty power of His command.” (Heb 1:3NLT-note)!

CHRIST OUR UNSHAKEABLE ROCK OF REFUGE: The story is told of an ocean liner that sank off the southwest coast of England, taking the lives of many of the passengers. A 16 yo galley worker was tossed onto the rugged coast line and survived by clinging to a large rock throughout the long, cold night. When rescued, he was asked “Didn’t you shake during the night while you were clinging to the rock?” The boy replied “Yes, I shook, but the rock never shook once!” The hymn-writer affirms that “Often on the Rock I tremble—faint of heart, and weak of knee; But the mighty Rock of Ages never trembles under me.” Let us pray as did David “Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy, for IN YOU my soul takes REFUGE (“my soul trusteth in Thee” – Spurgeon says this is “the feather on the arrow of prayer that guides straight to the heart of God.”) and in the shadow of Your wings (just as the little chick hides beneath its mother’s wing and knows no fear) I will take REFUGE, until this violent storm is past (afflictions and calamities, like storms come and go).” (Ps 57:1-note). Indeed, Spurgeon reminds us that “calamities will pass over, and that the worst calamity will not last forever. We shall think differently of these rough times by-and-by; we ought not to give up in despair and cast away our confidence while we are in the thick of the fight.” While we will not always experience “fair weather” in this life, neither will it always be foul! In fair or foul, Father, by Thy Spirit enable us to fly to the Rock that is higher than us! (Ps 61:2-note) Amen

CHRIST OUR ROCK OF REFUGE, OUR VERY PRESENT HELP: The psalmist reminds us that “God is our REFUGE and Strength, a very present Help in trouble.” (Ps 46:1-note) Spurgeon comments that  “Help which is not PRESENT when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him. Very few earthly helps could be called “VERY PRESENT.” They are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used. But as for (Christ our Rock of Refuge), He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid. He is more than “present.” He is VERY PRESENT: more present than the nearest friend can be, for He is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind. He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season. Let us rest ourselves upon Him (Ps 37:7-note). He is our REFUGE: Let us hide in Him (Ps 27:5-note). He is our Strength: Let us array ourselves with Him (Ro 13:14-note). He is our Help: Let us lean upon Him (Isa 48:2-note). He is our very present Help; let us repose in Him now (Ps 116:7-note). We need not have a moment’s care or an instant’s fear. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our REFUGE. Selah (Pause and Ponder this truth) (Ps 46:7KJV-note)”

Father, grant that just as the young man in the storm discovered a safe haven in the physical sense, the Spirit might enable us to daily experience that when we have nothing else to cling to but Jesus our Rock, we find that He is ever enough! Amen

God is the REFUGE of His saints,
When storms of sharp distress invade;
Ere we can offer our complaints,
Behold Him PRESENT with His aid.

CHRIST OUR ROCK, THE ONLY SAFE REFUGE FROM OUR ENEMIES: The defenseless rock badger provides a poignant picture of Christ our ROCK OF REFUGE: Pr 30:26-note says “The rock badgers (coneys, hyrax) are not mighty folk, yet they make their houses in the rocks.” Spurgeon writes “Conscious of their own natural defenselessness, the badgers resort to burrows in the rocks and are secure from their enemies. The little badger, when it has once run into the cleft, has the whole strength of the mountain to protect it. Outside the rock it is helpless enough; inside the rock it is perfectly safe. The least suspicion of danger sends the badgers scampering into their holes. So at every sight or sound (or temptation) of evil we should fly at once to the Rock of Ages! Hawks and eagles prey upon the rock badger, so they never venture far from the mouth of their hole. Christ is our Rock: Never venture far from His safe keeping! My heart, be willing to gather a lesson from these feeble folk. We are as weak and as exposed to peril as the timid badgers, so we must be as wise to seek a shelter in the cleft of the Rock. Our best security is within the rampart of an immutable Jehovah, where His unalterable promises stand like giant walls of rock. It will be well with our heart, if we always seek to hide ourselves in the bulwarks of His glorious attributes, all of which are guarantees of safety for those who put their trust in Him (Ps 56:3-4-note). Blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21-note), I have so done, and have found myself like David in the cave of Adullam (1Sa 22:1-note), safe from the cruelty of my enemy; for long ago, when Satan and my sins pursued me, I fled into the cleft of the ROCK Christ Jesus, and in His riven side I found a delightful resting-place. Let your heart run to Him anew today, whatever your present grief may be. Jesus feels for you (Heb 4:15-note). Jesus consoles you. Jesus will help you (Heb 2:18NIV-note). No monarch in his impregnable fortress is more secure than the badger in his rocky burrow. The master of ten thousand chariots is not one whit better protected than the little dweller in the mountain’s cleft. In Jesus the weak are strong (2Cor 12:9-10-note), and the defenseless safe; they could not be more strong if they were giants, or more safe if they were in heaven. Faith gives to men on earth the protection of the God of heaven. More they cannot need, and need not wish. The badgers cannot build a castle, but they avail themselves of what is there already: I cannot make myself a REFUGE, but Jesus has provided it, His Father has given it, His Spirit has revealed it, and lo, again today let us enter it, and be safe from every foe. Abide in the rifts of the Rock of Ages and let nothing tempt you to quit your stronghold. Little children abide in Him (1Jn 2:28-note).”

Indeed, “He who dwells in the SHELTER of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty,” (Ps 91:1-note) “the shadow of a great rock” (Isa 32:3KJV-note), the “Rock of Ages” (Isa 26:4YLT-note), Christ Jesus!

The Lord of Hosts is on our side,
Our safety to secure;
The God of Jacob is for us,
A REFUGE strong and sure!

RUN FOR REFUGE IN CHRIST OUR ROCK: There is a beautiful picture of Christ as our ROCK OF REFUGE in the book of Numbers where God designates “six cities for REFUGE, so that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there” (Nu 35:15-note), and be safe from the blood avenger (Goel) (Nu 35:25-note). Today Jesus Christ is our “City of Refuge,” for in the book of Hebrews we read that all who have been saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus “have fled for REFUGE in laying hold of the hope (“Jesus Christ our Hope” 1Ti 1:1YLT-note) set before them” (Heb 6:18-note). We “also once were” that “manslayer” (Titus 3:3-note), for “such were some of us” (1Cor 6:11-note), “but now IN Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:13-note), our ROCK OF REFUGE, we who formerly were far off now are eternally safe from the judgment of God and the wages of sin which is death (Ro 6:23-note). As Spurgeon says this is beautiful “picture of the security of those who rest in Jesus, the Refuge of guilty souls.” As long as the manslayer remained in the CITY OF REFUGE, he was safe, but if he decided to leave the city he was not safe from vengeance (Read Nu 35:26-28-note). So too we are safe as long as we abide in the Rock of our Salvation. But we can expose ourselves to temptations by failing to “abide in Christ,” (cp –1Jn 2:18-note), by choosing our will over God’s will. As Warren Wiersbe says “the safest place in the world is in the will of God!” (Eph 5:17-note, Ro 12:2-note) John Trapp adds that “Christ is our asylum, to Whom running for refuge, when pursued by the guilt of an evil conscience, we are safe. If we are in Christ the Rock, temptations, as waves, dash upon us, but break themselves.”

Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other REFUGE have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

Play Charles Wesley’s beautiful hymn Jesus Lover of My Soul
“Jesus, Lover of My Soul” 

Christ Our Rock of Refuge (Part 1)

Christ The Smitten Rock:

Christ The Rock of Our Salvation:

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