Our Refuge and Our Strength

May 12, 2023

5 min read

Here we are again.  Thousands of people living in the Holy Land simply want to enjoy life but are again faced with the threat of death.  This week, Israelis are experiencing another in a seemingly endless wave of terror attacks.  Terrorist forces in the Gaza Strip have fired hundreds of rockets toward Israel, intended to kill and maim innocent civilians.  Sirens sound in the streets and red alert notifications appear on mobile phones everywhere.  Some Israelis living closest to Gaza have evacuated their homes while others stay vigilant as they await the next siren, knowing exactly how many seconds they have to reach the nearest shelter.

According to IDF reports, this round of attacks has come from only one direction, Gaza to the south, but lovers of Israel everywhere understand that other rounds have recently come and can come from Lebanon to the north, Syria to the northeast, even from Judea and Samaria in Israel’s heartland.  How should lovers of God and lovers of Israel react to another barrage of rockets?  While the rest of the world either willfully ignores the attacks on Israel or ridiculously blames Israel for being attacked, what should believers who know the Bible do?

It is sad that a Bible study needs to be written to reassure this week’s victims of terror attacks.  It is even more sad that this Bible study lesson can be on standby for use during the next wave of terror attacks.  I would like to share with you a list of Bible verses that speak to the various fears and struggles that Israelis face this week.  As we read them, we see scriptures that apply to so many needs that people have right now… Fear, Faith, Protection, Courage, Strength, Wisdom, Judgment, Hope and many others.

Let’s take a walk through the scriptures, primarily in the Tanakh (Old Testament) but also a few verses from the Brit Hadashah (New Testament).  Not surprisingly, many of the verses below come from Tehillim (Psalms), the Biblical prayer book for all generations.  I invite you to breathe in the Lord’s truth as you are reminded that lovers of God rest on a firm spiritual foundation.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psalm 46:1

Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.  Psalm 121:4

The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.  The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.  Psalm 121:7-8

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Proverbs 2:6

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

You will pull me out of the net which they have secretly laid for me, for You are my strength.  Psalm 31:4

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and Your right hand will save me.  Psalm 138:7

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  Romans 8:18

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble; and those who know Your name will put their trust in You, for You, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.  Psalm 9:9-10

Blessed be the Lord, my rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my lovingkindness and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield and He in whom I take refuge, Who subdues my people under me.  Psalm 144:1-2

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.  2 Thessalonians 3:3

But let all who take refuge in You be glad, let them ever sing for joy; and may You shelter them, that those who love Your name may exult in You.  Psalm 5:11

Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  Psalm 34:19

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6

“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper; and every tongue that accuses you in judgment you will condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their vindication is from Me,” declares the Lord.  Isaiah 54:17

“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.  When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people.  He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’”  Deuteronomy 20:1-4

You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.  Psalm 119:114

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 16:8

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.  Isaiah 43:2

My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; my savior, You save me from violence.  I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  2 Samuel 22:3-4

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.  Proverbs 18:10

You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance.  Psalm 32:7

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:12-13

Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy.  Though I fall I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.  Micah 7:8

I am for peace, but when I speak, they are for war.  Psalm 120:7

But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head.  Psalm 3:3

Even as I write this article, my phone keeps buzzing with the latest red alert warnings.  Like many Christian lovers of Israel, every phone notification urges me to pray.  I pray for the Lord to protect innocent lives and stop evil.  I pray, concerned about the safety of my friends and their families.  I pray, trusting God that He will keep the promises from His Word that we have read today. 

God’s Word is full of hope for the weary and encouragement for the fearful.  We could have listed many more scriptures today, but I ask you to take these thirty promises from the Bible as helpful reminders during Operation Shield and Arrow.  They can be sources of strength while living with sirens and alerts.  Sadly, I ask you to hold onto them for review during the next operation, hoping it never comes. 

As beautiful as these passages are, I pray we never have to read them in this context again.

Rev. Trey Graham is a pastor, writer and radio host in Texas who frequently leads tours of Christian pilgrims to study the Bible in Israel.  He actively serves with multiple organizations across Israel, helping build friendships between Christians and Jews.  Learn more at www.IsraelByTheBook.com and www.TreyGraham.com.

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