Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee
In preparation for Sunday school I ran across a wonderful sermon by Kevin Cawley from Redeemer Fellowship in Kansas City. The sermon dripped of goodness, it was a sermon on gladness with psalm 16 in view, a subject I have been studying as we go through the psalms. In that sermon he shook my thinking as he unpacked the first verse of Psalm 16 “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” Kevin spoke “there are rules of refuge” He said “to submit ourselves to the rules of refuge is to simply get inside it!”
Are we not foolish to take cover in the storm? What purpose does a shelter serve if only in our thinking and not our doing? Get in the refuge!
Question: How are we to get inside the refuge of God? Or another question; what is preventing us from being in the presence of God? In answering these questions a few things come to mind. What of our posture before God? If we approach God like we would a genie with a million things on our mind how are we to enter into His presence? The presence of God is not a shared space, it’s not a space for all your wishes at his command, it is a space where God’s grace is given, if your not interested in receiving from His hand His grace but clutter the space with your own selfish agendas you are standing outside the shelter. At this point God is a second thought, not the first.
Our posture before God is really important. David comes before the Lord saying “I have no good apart from You” a proper posture before a holy God. And the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8 came before Christ saying “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” So by laying down our sense of self righteousness we ready ourselves to receive what we need most, His grace.
What else might we do in submitting ourselves to the rules of this refuge? What about confession? We see David do this “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight.” Our refusal to confess our sin before God only does us harm. We block ourselves from receiving grace when we keep our sin tucked away in the hidden places of our own hearts, repentance is giving our hearts to God, it is key in getting inside the shelter of God.
As important as confession is we must move from there to a place of celebration. Christ has dealt with our sin! Within the presence of God we move from confession to celebration. We often see this kind of movement in the psalms, Psalm 5 for example “But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in You.” We rejoice because our standing with God has been made right through the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
My hope is that this has been a helpful reminder. We don’t wake up every morning inside the refuge, but we must be diligent in partaking of the means of grace. We must come humbly before God, we must come confessing and we must come rejoicing in the grace we are receiving from God.