According to many financial experts the only safe refuge for our savings in these uncertain days is in gold. But then someone else once warned me many years ago that the day would come when a piece of bread would buy a bag of gold. So I’m not so sure about the advice I’m getting regarding the current safe investment for my few shekels!
Indeed, I wonder sometimes if we are not so different from the people a prophet once warned about when he said –
“They lavish gold from a purse
and weigh out silver on the scales.
They hire a goldsmith so he makes a god.
They bow down. Yes, they worship it.”
Isaiah 46:6 (TLV)
I think the fact that the culture of the western world, our culture, has, for many years, worshiped at the purse of gold and silver and the material things it can provide, is beyond question. Others have said, and I am forced to agree with them, that the true religion of our generation has been consumerism and our Cathedrals the great or not so great shopping malls of our towns and cities.
I know some people who have foreseen the day we are now facing – and they have not even claimed any prophetic gift – indeed some were not religious at all! Perhaps they were not in on the details – but certainly predicted and forewarned of the consequences. Many thought the catalyst would be a financial crash – few, I suspect, realised it would be a virus.
But if we stick with the word of God to Isaiah (quoted above) we further discover that no amount of money or material things can ultimately save us when the walls come crashing down –
“Even if one cry to it (the god of gold), it cannot answer,
nor save anyone from his trouble.”
Isaiah 46:7 (TLV)
He further goes on to remind his audience of one inescapable and vital fact I believe we all need to come to terms with today –
“I am God—there is no other.”
Isaiah 46:9 (TLV)
I was brought up in the Highlands of Scotland where, as a child, I was familiar with the Metrical Psalms – even now I can quote many of them by heart. One Psalm – sung often in my childhood was Psalm 46 which begins with these two verses –
“God is our refuge and our strength,
in straits a present aid;
Therefore, although the earth remove,
we will not be afraid:
Though hills amidst the seas be cast;
Though waters roaring make,
And troubled be; yea, though the hills,
by swelling seas do shake.”
These verses and their sentiment are easy to sing – but much more difficult to practice in the face of such calamity! However, I am reminded today of this foundational truth – God alone is my refuge and strength – nothing more nothing less. Yes we can plan, claim the promises, exercise faith, take hold of the victory and believe for the impossible – all of which may be legitimate. But even when these fail, and they may, and even if faith itself falters – this truth stands eternal – He alone is God – He alone is your refuge.
I have also been dwelling a bit recently on Psalm 1 – my late grandfather Alex McQueen’s favourite Psalm. It talks about God’s blessing – blessings so many of us think are to be understood in the physical and material realm – and that they may be. But not to the exclusion of real, vital, eternal blessing!
According to the Psalmist a person is truly blessed by virtue of the fact that he or she has –
“Pleasure and passion is remaining true to the Word of “I Am,”
meditating day and night in the true revelation of light.” *
Psalm 1:2 TPT
It is from this place of intimate relationship that one can stand –
“Firm like a flourishing tree
planted by God’s design,
deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss,
bearing fruit in every season of his life.
He is never dry, never fainting,
ever blessed, ever prosperous.”
Psalm 1:3&4 TPT
The truth is that even in situations of isolation, loneliness and uncertainty – in fact perhaps because of such things, we can better cultivate such a relationship!
But the final word on the matter, the final word for our situation today must, of necessity, come from God himself. It is found in the last verse of the metrical Psalm we have already quoted –
“Be still, and know that I am God;
among the heathen I
Will be exalted; I on earth
will be exalted high.”
Perhaps today is such a day.
Please note that the writer is not speaking here, as I thought for a long time, of the written word we call the Bible – but the ever living, ever active, ever new, living Word – the fresh and revelatory Breath of God.