Blessed are All Who Take Refuge in Him

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“Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:12). It really is this simple. And, yet, we know by experience how difficult it is to follow this simple wisdom too. The psalmist admonishes us to beware of vanity. But the world is a place of vanity more often than not. John Bunyan’s great morality poem, Pilgrim’s Progress, recognizes this reality and tells us much the same thing that Psalm 2 is revealing here.

The psalm opens with examples of vanity that are all too familiar with us today. It speaks of nations and peoples who plot all kinds of mischief out of their vanity. It refers to how so many kings, presidents, and leaders of the worldly kind, “band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles’” (verses 2-3). The foolishness of their vanity is revealed in their thinking. First, by presuming that God’s laws are chains and shackles, rather than the truest means to finding real and responsible freedom, and second, by presuming, again, that they can deny and even defy the everlasting God without consequence. The psalmist tells us that, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs” at their foolishness, then rebukes them, terrifying them with his wrath. (verses 4-5)

Starting at verse 7 we see a shift in the tone. This is a royal psalm. For the psalmist, it is an expression of the belief that the Israelite king is God’s representative on earth. It is a warning to rebellious kings to obey the God of Israel. As Christians, we can see in this psalm a messianic meaning that the New Testament understands refers to Jesus. “You are my son; today I have become your father” (verse 7). We are warned against our own vanity here. We are told to “Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction” (verse 12). For we Christians, by putting our trust in Jesus, in his love and his commandments, we are “kissing” him, the only begotten Son of God.

Then the psalm ends with the blessed truth that we understand in light of the incarnation: “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” There is no one else in whom we can take our refuge. No earthly power can bring us the liberation, the peace, and the joy that is given to us in Jesus Christ. Vanity is the height of foolishness. It is putting one’s faith in a mere mirage. The truth is that we are nothing without God’s love, guidance, and grace. In him alone is our refuge from the foolishness of the vain.

Lord, You are the source of all that is good, true, and beautiful. Help us to turn away from our foolish vanities. Give us the wisdom to seek our happiness, not in things, or earthly powers, but in desiring only to serve you in accord with your liberating laws. In this Vanity Fair world, help us to keep our eyes on you and to take refuge in you alone. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen!

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.