Ruth 2:11-12 (NKJV)
And Boaz answered and said to her, “It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before. The LORD repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge.”
The greatest love story in the Bible is that of Ruth and Boaz. When the sons of Naomi died, she was distraught and heartbroken. Naomi told her daughter-in-law, Ruth, to return to her family granting her permission to return to her old life and escape the hardship for unaccompanied widows. She knew the young woman would find refuge in her home and Naomi would be free to mourn her losses for the rest of her life as she felt she had no hope. But Ruth refused to leave her mother-in-law alone to fend for herself and stayed with her even when Naomi protested. “Where you go I will go!” (Ruth 1:16-17) Her other daughter-in-law, Orpah, obeyed Naomi and returned to her home but not Ruth – she clung to Naomi. So Naomi and Ruth returned to Bethlehem and the estate of Boaz who was the closest living relative. Ruth did not go to this man’s home and request provision but went into the field with all the reapers to glean from the leftover harvest. She worked hard. Her diligence noticed by Boaz when she entered his property. He inquired as to her identity and was told the details of her arrival. Boaz knew the dangers of a young, accompanied woman and instructed Ruth to remain close to his maidservants and to take refuge in his fields for protection so she did. Ruth asked Boaz, “Why have I found such favor in your sight?” This is his reply. It has been fully reported to me all that you have done… The Lord will repay your work and a full reward will be given to you. We find God’s Favor and Full Reward when we take refuge in Him. In Ruth 3:8-11, Ruth asks Boaz to be her kinsmen redeemer and he agrees. This is a shadow and type of the Love Story that we find in the Love of Jesus Christ. If you want the reward, it requires taking refuge. But for those who decide to take refuge in Jesus Christ and not be moved, there is a great reward that awaits you.
Psalm 62:6-8 (NKJV)
He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah
The Presence of God is our privilege granted by the Grace and Mercy given to us through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It is to be our refuge. How do we come to a place that we cannot see and remain confident in a place that is not perceivable? God must be our rock. He is our salvation. He is my defense. But it is up to me whether or not I can be moved from this position called faith. God is my salvation and glory He is my Strength. He is my refuge. These are all valid and credible statements if back by confident hope that allows us to trust Him at ALL TIMES. Even when all hell is breaking loose in our life is He the One who we pour our heart out to or do we give ourselves away piece by piece to the world hoping for relief. Do you want relief or do you want His Reward? This is the question that one must ask themselves as a believer when faced with the unthinkable. It is the inquiry of the Spirit when the heart quivers in danger of wavering from the firm foundation of Truth that we have been given in His Word. God is my refuge must be followed by Selah. The Hebrew word “selah” is not clearly defined but accepted to mean silence, pause or end. Make no mistake, I believe its placement is intention by God as He does nothing without meaning and purpose. Will you remain true to the Lord and wait for His Response in His Refuge? The silence in worship is uncomfortable for many when there are no words or clear direction. This is when we personally respond to God from the depths of our own heart outside of corporate worship pursing intimacy with the Lord. We must learn to live in the refuge (power, protection, safety) of God’s Presence on a daily and ongoing basis not wandering back and forth from sin and darkness to the Light of His Love. The word “refuge” comes from Latin word meaning “to turn and flee” or “to run back to”. This is relevant and important because you will never enter the refuge of God’s Love without true repentance. Grace is the avenue of escape for those who are determined to God Lost in God’s Love. We must turn from evil and pursue goodness to become godly. We must run back to the Lord and cling to Him as Ruth did with Boaz. He is everything we need and all that we desire but of absolutely no use if the Lord is not our Shelter. He must be our Strength.
2 Samuel 22:2-7 (NKJV)
And he said: “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my Savior, You save me from violence. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies. When the waves of death surrounded me, the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.”
David was a man after God’s Own Heart. He made many mistakes in his life just like the rest of us do but ultimately his greatest pursuit would be the Love of God and spent his whole life finding his way back to the Lord. This is the journey that we are on. God’s Plan and Purpose for our life is to find refuge in His Love where we will be richly rewarded. But there are so many distractions that sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to stay on course and not run away. Although nothing can ever harm us in the midst of God’s Presence, it does not keep us from seeing the raging battle all around us. It seems so close and God’s Protection is unseen yet ever present. A proverbial game of chicken – who will relent. Will you give up and run away from the Lord or will you trust the Lord as the enemy taunts you? The Lord is my Rock. The Lord is my Fortress. The Lord is my Deliverer. God is my Strength. I will trust God. He is my Shield. He is the Horn of my Salvation. He is my Stronghold and Refuge. He is my Savior. Many Christians talk the talk but do they walk the walk or more importantly wait the wait. What is your response when waves of death surround you? What is your response to fear? How do you react to the sorrows of life? What snares have you fallen privy to? In your distress, who are you calling out to? This is the confirmation of faith and confident hope. When faced with overwhelming circumstances and heartbreaking conditions, who do you call on? Where do you run to? Who will be your helper, healer and deliverer? Those who choose to remain faithful, righteous and true to their Refuge will be rewarded!
A year ago, there was a terrible hail storm in our area. We are not accustomed to such things so when golf-ball-sized hail began pounding the house my children were awestruck and amazed. Our youngest tried to run outside and see this phenomenon unknowingly. She did not understand that as long as she remained in the house sheltered from the storm that she would be safe. She was unaware that these balls of ice from the sky could harm her. It was not until after the storm when we wandered outside to assess the damage that she became aware of the danger. She was amazed at the huge dents that covered the car in the driveway. We do not see the attacks waged against our life sometimes from within the Presence of God but if we run away from Him, we leave His Protection and become subject to the storm. It is hard to wait on the Lord to perfect the details of our life when it sounds like the roof is falling in all around us. Those who have faith and confidence in the Lord will be delivered. The Lord is their refuge and rescue in all things. If we remain true to righteousness, God delights in us. David understood that God delivered him from all these evil things because He delighted in him. (2 Samuel 22:8-20) God delights in you that He calls His Children. Just as I gently but firmly held my own daughter back from running into a hail storm, He gently but firmly puts His Hand in front of us to keep us from all danger. Why? Because the Lord loves us and delights in us! The one thing God delights in most is righteousness. What is righteousness? It is nothing more than right standing with God. He wants us to align our life with Him and remain in His Presence by faith and confident hope which is nothing more than a made up heart and mind. By trusting the Lord, we learn to wait on the Lord even when all hell breaks loose in our life and nothing seems to be going according to our plan. God is with us. He is for us. If we remain in Him, we will be rewarded. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah. There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.” (Psalm 46:1-5) See it right there in the middle of the verse? Selah. Will you wait on the Lord today? Will you remain in His Presence with faith that He will protect you and confident hope that He will deliver you? When chaos come we must wait in the refuge of God’s Love until His Help arrives. Those who do will be rewarded!
Psalm 91:1-6 (NKJV)
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lay waste at noonday.
There is a place in God that is called the secret place. It is reserved for the priests of His Kingdom. Hint: That’s you and me. (wink) When the tabernacle was constructed, there was an outer courtyard, Holy Place and then there was the Holy of Holies. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies which was the most holy place. It was filled with the Presence of God including the Ark of His Presence. Before Jesus Christ died on the Cross, there was a massive veil that separated God from His People because our sin would cause us to be consumed and die if ever entering the Holy Presence of God. But after Jesus died, the Holy Spirit ripped that sucker in half and now people (ordinary people like you and I) can enter this once secret and exclusive place and live there forever. “He who dwells in the Secret Place of the Most High”; or if I dwell in the Presence of God which is not the courtyard or just going to church; or if I dwell in the Presence of the Most High God and not running back and forth between the courtyard and Holy Place – the world and His Light – the Lord becomes our refuge, fortress, deliverer, protector, defender, shield and buckler so we have nothing to fear no matter what terror we face. This is not an easy life. It is difficult to trust an unseen God with no evidence beyond that Truth that lies in our heart. But when that Truth becomes a reality in our life and the substance of our faith while we wait in confident hope – “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, the young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. (Psalm 91:7-13) This is the life of those who are committed to uncompromising righteousness. Who remain faithful and grounded in the Truth of God’s Word no matter what is happening in their natural life. You must wait in this place for the coming of your Lord and Savior. He is coming to your rescue. Making good on every detail. (Romans 8:28) He is perfecting that which concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) Do you believe it? Do you trust Him enough to wait for it when every fiber of your flesh says run for your life? If so, you will receive it. His Reward is reserved for those who make Jesus their refuge and strength. “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16) It is all about love. God’s Love is the shelter for our life. Jesus is our Kinsmen Redeemer. He sees your heart. He sees your hard work and commitment to developing righteous character. He sees that you are waiting. He is ready to reward you!
2 Samuel 22:17-25 (NKJV)
“He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the LORD and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all His judgments were before me; and as for His statutes, I did not depart from them. I was also blameless before Him and I kept myself from my iniquity. Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness according to my cleanness in His eyes.”
Salvation is the greatest love story ever told. It has all the romantic elements of the story of Boaz and Ruth. It is passionate. It is consuming. The Lord rewards right standing or righteousness. We have gotten this concept so wrong and drifted so far from the Truth in so many ways. The last couple of weeks have been frustrating, depressing, overwhelming and fearsome. The enemy has not come at our family one way but every possible conceivable way possible. As I continue to stand on faith in God’s Word, I am tired, weary and desperate for Him to rescue me from this place. I am ready for His Hand to draw us from these deep waters closer to Him. Although I may wince at the attack or hide my eyes, I will not be moved. The reward is too great. God has given me a promise that like Abraham I am not willing to give up so I will take a stand of uncompromising righteousness not in what I do or the words that I speak but in mind, soul and body. I will wait on the Lord. His Word promises that He compensates the righteous and those who choose to follow the Lord continuing to walk in His Ways even when the end is not clear from the beginning. Trust keeps us moving in the right direction. Faith keeps our feet from falling. Hope is the Light at the end of a long, dark and tragic tunnel. The Lord is my refuge. He is my strength forever. Whom shall I fear? His Rod and Staff which are discipline and wisdom guide me along the dark valleys of life. He comforts me in suffering and sorrow. He shows me the way when I have no idea where to go. His Hand even holds me back when it is time to pause, rest or selah. Why? Because the Lord longs to reward me. He wants every promise to be mine. He longs to bless me beyond what I could think or ask. The Lord is ready to reward me when I take refuge in Him!
Hebrews 10:35-39 (NKJV)
Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.”