"For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge." (Psalm 31:3-4)
Your name’s sake
It is not for your sake that God is faithful to lead you. It is not based on anything you do, but it is for the sake of His name that He promises to never leave or forsake you and to finish the work He began in you.
"He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake." (Psalm 23:3).
"I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (Philippians 1:6).
"May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
You take me out of the net
The devil is our enemy; He is a roaring lion; he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing; he is the deceiver, the accuser, the destroyer. However, no plot he has against you will prevail if you are a child of the Most High God! Not because of any cleverness or strength on your part, but because God is faithful to deliver you from His traps.
"He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me." (John 10:12-14).
"We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him." (1 John 5:18).
"The LORD will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life." (Psalms 121:7)
"The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen" (2 Timothy 4:18).
Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you.
Solomon warns us consistently throughout the Proverbs to obtain wisdom. Though we are inclined to think of wisdom as something that must be earned over time, Solomon reveals a secret early in his writings:
- Proverbs 2:6; The LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Wisdom is a free gift available to anyone who simply asks the Lord believing He will give it to them.
- James 1:5; If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
She will guard you
Wisdom itself—a supernatural understanding that the Lord created even before the earth (Proverbs 8:22-24)—will guard us as long as we seek shelter under her. As long as we keep ourselves humble, understanding how much we need her, knowing that only God has her and only God can give her to us, she will protect us. In essence, it is God Himself who protects us. He guides us with His wisdom, His counsel, His word. He is faithful to guard anyone who puts their trust in Him.
- Proverbs 6:20-23; My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching [the wisdom God has imparted to us through our parents or any authority who has taught us]. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life….
- Proverbs 2:6-12; For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech….
“In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” [read context]
In all circumstances
No matter what Satan throws at us in the form of temptation or trial, Paul reveals to us the secret to quenching his flaming darts: faith.
- 1 John 2:16; “For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.”
- 1 John 5:4-5; “Everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
The world is full of temptation–that will never change. You can’t isolate yourself from sin, and even if you did, your heart will still betray you. The victory that overcomes the world and its lusts is faith. We place our faith in Jesus Christ and are born-again. This faith not only gives us life but sustains in it as well. “The righteous live by faith.”
In every circumstance we quench the devil’s flaming darts by faith.
Search the internet for self-help advice concerning addiction. You’ll read a lot about willpower, you’ll read a lot about accountability, you’ll read a lot about ways to distract yourself or change your habits. What you won’t likely see is this simple solution: put your faith in God–trust the Lord.
The reason you won’t see this is because trusting the Lord is not self-help. People want to fix things themselves; they don’t want to give up control. Faith doesn’t depend on our methods but on God.
Faith is trusting Him who gave us these promises:
- Philippians 1:6; “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
- 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
- 1 Corinthians 10:13; “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
- 2 Thessalonians 3:3; “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”
- Psalm 121:7; “The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.”
The shield of faith
Now, any warrior would tell you, when you are in battle you should carry your shield at all times. In other words, don’t wait till the enemy shoots his darts. Always be ready.
As Christians, we need to strengthen our faith before we are tempted.
How do we strengthen our faith?
- Romans 10:17; “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”
The Lord’s word; specifically the bible–and even more specifically, the gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed throughout the entire bible–will grow and strengthen our faith.
- Romans 16:25-27; “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith–to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.”
As we read the Word of God we are edified. We are built up and encouraged. We are prepared to defend ourselves within this spiritual battle we wage. We will be ready in every circumstance of life, when Satan hurls his flaming darts our direction, to take up the shield of faith, placing our trust, not in ourselves, but in the Lord.
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.”
On those who fear him
Verse 13 of this same chapter says the Lord sees everyone. He knows everything. He is aware of all circumstances. In Matthew’s gospel were even told He blesses both the evil and the good alike.
But for those who fear him, those who hope in his steadfast love, they can trust in the certainty of the promise: he will deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.
Deliver their soul from death
It’s not that those who trust the Lord will never physically die. However, we have the eternal hope of life after death. Our soul shall never die.
- John 11:25-26; “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'”
- John 5:24; “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.”
- 1 Peter 1:3-6; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials,
And keep them alive in famine
We rejoice in God and our hope of eternity, though now for a little while, if necessary, we have been grieved by various trials. As the hymn writer sang, “Whatever my lot, though hast taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul!” We don’t have a promise of never going through famine, but of being protected in it. We don’t have a promise to never endure any hardship, we have the assurance that the Lord will always be with us in them.
Just ask Job.
- Job 1:21; “He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'”
- Job 13:15; “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”
Just ask Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
- Daniel 3:17-18; “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
The eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. When we go through times of trial on this earth, we can rejoice that the Lord has delivered our soul from death and that He promises to sustain us in difficult times. Whatever ill this life can throw at us, we know God is with us.
- Romans 8:35-39; “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.”
A rock of refuge
God is a shield for us, a very present help in time of trouble. He is a Rock, a fortress, a mighty God able to protect us and defend us.
- Psalms 31:2-5 “Incline your ear to me; rescue me speedily! Be a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.”
- Psalms 91:1-4 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”
- Proverbs 18:10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”
- Psalms 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.”
- Psalms 18:2-6 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.”
- Psalms 144:2 “He is my steadfast love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues peoples under me.”
To which I may continually come
The refuge we take in the Lord is inexhaustible. The dwelling place we have in God is permanent. He invites us to come to Him without end. He wants to gather us under His wings and is always available for us to approach and be safe.
Once we come to put our faith in Christ, our life is hidden in Him forever. We are under the shadow of His wings and eternally safe. We continually reside in His refuge. We are safe from the condemnation of the devil, the law, the accusations of man, and the accusations of our own conscience. His blood has purchased for us an everlasting, continual salvation wherein we may always take refuge.
- Colossians 3:3 “For you have died [been crucified with Christ], and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
- Hebrews 9:12 “[Jesus] entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
- Romans 8:33-39 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Continue to abide in Him
Jesus is an everlasting refuge for us. Let us continue to abide in Him. Let us not shrink back but continue to live by faith in Him.
- John 8:31-32 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.'”
- John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”
- John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”
- 1 John 2:28 “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”