Remember, that when this blessing was given, the Israelites had not yet entered the promised land, although on the point of doing so. Moreover, even if they had crossed the Jordan, there were still the seven mighty nations of the Canaanites to be overcome; and therefore at such a time they needed the help of the living God, and were blessed by being reminded that they had such a helper.
And so with us, the Israel of God, and the heirs of the promise. We have much conflict yet before us, and so these words are for our encouragement. God, the living God, is our refuge. As if the Holy Ghost by the prophet would say, “True, you have these great and mighty enemies to overcome, but in going forward, remember that God will be at your side as your helper. Commit yourselves to Him, look to Him, trust in Him, depend on Him, and you will find the power of His mighty arm will save you.” What He would have us remember and take courage in, is the fact, that
THE ETERNAL GOD IS OUR REFUGE.
Can we, each one of us, say this, “God, the eternal, living God, is my refuge”? For myself, I can say He is my only refuge, and has been so for fifty years. How many of you can say the same? Ask yourselves individually this deeply important question. If you are able to say this with regard to yourselves, what a happy people you are. But if not able to say it, yet there is no reason why you should not be able to say it. It is only trust in Him that is required; nothing else but to place yourselves wholly in His hands. This blessing is ready for us, but waiting to be received and appropriated. It is for “Whosoever will,” as in that precious hymn we have just been singing--
“Whosoever will—the promise is secure,
Whosoever will, for ever must endure;
Whosoever will, ‘tis life for evermore,
Whosoever will, may come.”
There is nothing to hinder anyone who is here present having it now, if he will. If you will only depend on the Lord Jesus Christ for the salvation of your souls, it may be yours now. Just as it is true of me, a poor, miserable sinner, and true of many thousands who, like me, are poor miserable sinners, but who now trust in Him, so it may be true of you, that there is none like your God, who rideth upon the heaven in your help.
THE ETERNAL GOD.”
But further, “the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” There is something peculiarly sweet to me in this verse; it tells me that I have an eternal Friend, a living Friend, a Friend who is above all, who has all power and might, and that He is on my side.
It is well indeed to have an earthly friend, who, if you are in poverty, may help you. But sickness may come, he may be taken away by death; or, if not that, he may lose all his wealth with which he helped you, and thus may be unable further to assist you. But none of these things affect the living God—He is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. Eternal is thy refuge. Fifty years ago He was as now; a thousand years ago—ten thousand years ago—He is ever the same.
The God of Elijah is here today, and He is exactly the same as He was in the prophet’s time—as ready and as willing to help His children. The living God is with us, whose power never fails, whose arm never grows weary, whose wisdom is infinite, and whose power is unchanging. Therefore today, tomorrow, and next month, as long as life is continued, He will be our helper and friend. Still more, even as He is through all time, so will He be through all eternity. Oh, the blessedness of having the eternal God on our side! Not only on our side, but on whom we may rely as on a fortress of strength, in whom we may get refuge continually, and in whom there is perfect security.