Psalm 118:8: It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
When the children of Israel wanted to capture Jericho, Joshua sent two spies to get information about the land (Joshua 2). When the authority in Jericho learned that certain of the Israelites were around they wanted to catch them, but Rahab the harlot hid them, revealing to them that the people have already melted in fear having heard of the way those who stood in Israel’s way had been summarily disposed of.
But she wanted something in return. They were to save her and her family when they come to invade Jericho. That was what she wanted in return for her hospitality, and for putting her life at risk. To get that she was told that she must bring all her family under her roof and tie a “red” cord over a window. To be saved from imminent death, together with her family, she needed something red.
In the land of Egypt in the last of the plagues (Exodus 11-13) that God performed to deliver the Israelites from the house of bondage, to secure protection for themselves, the Israelites had to apply the blood of the lamb on the door of each house so that when the angel of death comes at night, it will pass over those houses. To be saved from imminent destruction, they needed something red.
Now coming to Jesus, it is his blood that saves us from death, saves us from the wrath of God (it was the wrath of God coming upon Jericho and Egypt that something red was needed to save people). Through faith in him and in his sacrifice we get to be saved (Ephesians 2:4-9).
Red is the colour of redemption. Talking about the blood the bible says that its representative of life (John 6:54, Leviticus 17:11). What was coming towards the house of Rahab was death. The whole of Jericho was ordained for total destruction. What was coming to the households of Egypt was the death of the firstborn. They were both saved by something red which points to the salvation we have through the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1:7), who gives us refuge (Hebrews 6:18) from eternal damnation. It was a life given for the lives of those who are saved.
Those saved in the house of Rahab and the houses of the Israelites in Egypt needed to understand that they were is imminent danger and so willingly choose to be in a house where their “salvation” is guaranteed. For us as Christians, that is in Christ.
The ark of Noah was made to save people because of the imminent danger of destruction of the people of the world through flood, because of the anger of God (Genesis 6-7). God was ready to pour out his judgement on the earth, but in his mercy, he provided a way of escape for those who will repent and believe the “gospel.”
The gospel in the time of Noah was that the only way to escape is to come into the ark, which was symbolic of the offer we have in Jesus, who offers the guarantee of salvation from the ultimate judgement of God coming on humanity (Romans 1:18).
Noah was only able to convince his household, while the others constituted themselves into mockers. They said that it had never rained on the earth and it will never rain, there was no possibility of it. The message of that “gospel” was on for 120 years while the ark was being constructed.
In all the three aforementioned incidents, there is a place of refuge: the house of Rahab with the scarlet cloth, the houses of the Israelites and the ark. They were places of refuge, of protection. All three stand for the reality of having our life hidden in God in Christ Jesus when we believe. The Lord truly is our refuge in the full sense. The focus verse showed where you decide to take refuge shows where you trust lies: in God or man.
Man, inherently suffers from limitations that God does not have, so, can never be our refuge.
Man is limited in Knowledge. What we are aware of is limited. But God is different. He knows all things. That was the confession of Job. He told God: you know all things and none of your purpose can be withheld from you (Job 42:1-2). What you know determines the scope of your plan. Because of his knowledge his plans for us are guaranteed to come to pass.
He knows us, he knows our rising and sleeping (Psalm 139:2). While humans sleep sometimes and are limited by physical location, God neither sleeps nor slumbers and his eyes are everywhere (Psalm 121). He has full understanding and knowledge of everything past present and future all the time. He knows where the road leads and can lead you on to Eldorado.
Man is limited in power but God is unlimited. His creative power is seen all around us. And though called the Ancient of Days he had not diminished in power (Daniel 7:9). His boundless power makes us secure under him. None can penetrate the force of his protection around us.
Trusting in man puts you at a disadvantage; you set yourself up to be frustrated and disappointed. God said: woe is he who puts his trust in man. When you do that you make man your god, you put him on a pedestal that is only meant for God.
The bible says: trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-7); in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path. Putting total trust in man gives him power over you; which they can easily abuse, because man is not God, and can never be.
That was the problem of Adam, who trusted Eve’s direction for him rather than trusting in God (Genesis 3). He allowed Eve to exert power over him; because whoever you trust you have given the power over you. I’ll rather have God exert power over me, I am sure it will always be to my best interest, because he loves me more than I love myself.
Man is limited in how much he can love you. There are many things competing for every man’s attention and affection, because he is finite, but it is the infinite God who is able to give individuals on the earth 100 percent attention, affection and assistance and will still have much more to spare.
There is no exhausting his capacity for love. He is the personification of it (1John 4:8), there is no limit to the ocean of his love that we can swim in, in the water of his love that we can drink from to our fill all the time, there is no removing from the strength of his love that can guarantee our safety.
What we actually take refuge under is the wing of his presence and he is love (Psalm 36:5-9). To understand love is to understand the divine nature. God’s love is boundless; he loves every cell in our body, every strand of DNA. They bubble in the embrace of his love.
No wonder it is written that no bird falls to the ground without his knowledge (Matthew 6:26). There is no limit to the reach of his tender loving care for you. We should put our trust in the shadow of his wings. We are sure of his faithfulness, of his consistency, unlike man.
Red is the colour of God’s knowledge of us, power to us, and love for us
Red is the colour of God’s love. The love of God is painted in the blood of Jesus, that eternal love, that un-shifting love, that compelling love, that beautiful love, that unbending love, that ever flowing love. Jesus is the revealing of the love of God. If you don’t know that, you don’t know anything. When we get under that ‘something red,’ we are secure forever. There is no better refuge than that.
The blood of Jesus reveals the intimate knowledge of God about us, that we are so messed up, we cannot be repaired, we have to be replaced, we need Jesus to release his life through his blood to give us a new life, a new start.
The blood of Jesus reveals the power of God. As the blood touches our life, we get the power to become sons of God (John 1:12); we are empowered with his life to live a new life.
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