Jehovah, a Dependable Refuge
WHAT can you do when there is a serious breakdown of law and order, when there seems to be no possibility of getting justice? Where can you turn? The psalmist David once faced such a situation. He placed his complete trust in the Most High, saying: “In Jehovah I have taken refuge.” (Ps. 11:1) But was this practical?
Others did not think so. They advised David and his associates to flee to the mountains, perhaps taking refuge in a cave, doing so quickly as does a bird when in danger. But the psalmist would not hear of it, evidently because the circumstances at the time were such that flight would have indicated a lack of faith in Jehovah as a provider of security. To his advisers he said: “How dare you men say to my soul [to me]: ‘Flee as a bird to your [plural, manifestly referring to David and his associates] mountain!’”—Ps. 11:1.
Why were certain men giving such counsel to David? Their reasoning was: “For, look! the wicked ones themselves bend the bow, they do make ready their arrow upon the bowstring, to shoot in the gloom at the ones upright in heart. When the foundations themselves are torn down, what must anyone righteous do?” (Ps. 11:2, 3) According to them, the wicked had their bow ready to shoot at righteous persons, doing so “in the gloom,” under the cover of darkness. They were not just holding the bow but already had the arrow in the bowstring, aimed at those of upright heart. In effect, David’s advisers could further argue: ‘The foundations on which society rests—justice, law and order—are torn down. So, what choice does a righteous person have but to flee? He cannot change matters; he cannot get just treatment.’
What was David’s answer? “Jehovah is in his holy temple. Jehovah—in the heavens is his throne. His own eyes behold, his own beaming eyes examine the sons of men. Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, and anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates. He will rain down upon the wicked ones traps, fire and sulphur and a scorching wind, as the portion of their cup. For Jehovah is righteous; he does love righteous acts. The upright are the ones that will behold his face.”—Ps. 11:4-7.
David was certain that his looking to Jehovah as his refuge would not be in vain. He realized that the Most High, the One who has his throne in the highest heavens, is watching. Jehovah’s eyes penetrate to the very heart of things. Nothing escapes his notice. Since Jehovah’s eyes are on the righteous, he knows what they need and, therefore, can come to their rescue. On the other hand, the Most High hates men of violence and, hence, his examining them makes their calamity certain. The time is bound to come when the wicked will be forced to drink the death-dealing potion of Jehovah’s judgments, comparable to traps, fire, sulphur and a scorching wind that withers vegetation. There will be no escaping from the execution of God’s judgments. It will be as if traps or snares are falling like rain from the sky above. Because Jehovah is himself righteous and loves righteous acts, the upright will experience a grand salvation. It will prove to be as if God’s face is turned toward them in an expression of love and approval. Thus they will see God’s face as persons enjoying his blessing and favor.
Truly, the words of the psalmist can be a real source of comfort to us in times of hardship. Of course, there are times when we wisely flee from danger, as did David when leaving Jerusalem on account of Absalom’s revolt. (2 Sam. 15:14) Even Jesus Christ instructed his followers: “When they persecute you in one city, flee to another.” (Matt. 10:23) The psalmist’s expressions, however, encourage us to avoid rash action that reflects lack of faith in Jehovah. Our continuing to look to the Most High as our refuge will secure for us his approval. He will not fail us.—Rom. 8:38, 39.