God blesses those who take refuge in him.

God blesses those who take refuge in him.

Read Psalm 34

"O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!"

We all like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient, able to take care of ourselves and deal with the demands of life. Not that we do not see the value in others and want their help, but we like to think that we are independent and free to do as we please. We don't want to rely upon others, and we certainly do not want others telling us what to do. Yet, for all our desire to be free from others' control, there are times in our life when we face circumstances and situations that leave us helpless and unable to cope with the struggles confronting us.

In Psalm 34, David was encountering circumstances beyond his control. The events providing the backdrop to this Psalm are found in 1 Samuel 21. Because Saul was obsessed with killing David, David was forced to flee to Israel's enemies to escape Saul's deadly intent. Along the way, he had stopped to obtain a weapon from Ahimelech, the priest at Nob. The only sword available was then the sword that he had taken off the dead body of Goliath. However, in a remarkable turn of events, in his flight, he was forced to flee to Gath, a Philistine city where Achish ruled as king. But this was hardly a safe place for David, for Gath was none other than the hometown of Goliath himself, and the sword he carried was quickly recognized. To keep from being arrested and put to death, David pretended to suffer from mental madness.

Yet, during his troubles, David penned this Psalm of hope and deliverance. In the context of trials and adversity, David writes a Psalm that sings the praise of God's salvation. When most people would have proclaimed a song of lament, David declares the glory of God. In the Psalm, verse 8 serves as an invitation to the listener to experience the joy of God. He invites us to taste and see that the Lord is good. By using words tied to our physical senses, David is asking us to discover and fully experience God's goodness by relying upon him. For David, the genuinely blessed individual is not the one free from adversity but the one who learns to take refuge in God by trusting in his goodness.

Several vital truths are found in the statement, "How blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." The term "refuge" speaks of a place where we seek to find a safe location or shelter. It is often used by the helpless defender who is desperately seeking to find a place for protection and safety. It is undoubtedly an appropriate picture for David since he is now in just such a condition. Recognizing that there is no safe place for him to go, he turns to the only place he can flee, and that is into the arms of the living God.

In times of our insecurity, when we are helpless and confronted with the fact that we are not self-sufficient, the one who is truly blessed is the one who trusts in God. But this brings us to the heart of faith. Faith begins when we divest ourselves of our self-righteousness and self-reliance, and we realize we cannot save ourselves from sin nor the trials we face. Instead, we must turn to God and rely upon him. Then we discover the genuine blessing of God. God blesses those who no longer look to themselves but look continually to him.

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