Our Rock of Refuge
January 5, 2012
“Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go;give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress.” — Psalm 71:3
We have been following David in the early stages of his life, prior to becoming king of Israel. At this particular point in his life, David had finally come to an understanding — and peace — with King Saul. Not only had Saul acknowledged David as God’s anointed king, but he also recognized David’s mercy and compassion toward him. You might think that at this point, David’s troubles were over.
Not so. After many months away from home, David and his men returned to their home base at Ziklag, only to discover that enemy raiders had plundered their homes, taken their wives and children as prisoners, and had burned their homes to the ground. As the Bible records it, “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.”
Faced with this overwhelming tragedy, David’s men began to turn on him. They even began talking about stoning David and killing him on the spot! David was in serious trouble. But rather than engaging in finger-pointing and assessing blame or arguing with his men, David looked for a solution. And he did what he always had done when facing difficult situations — he “found strength in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).
Asking the priest, Abiathar, to bring him the ephod (the priestly garment), David asked God, “Should I chase them? Will I catch them?” And the Lord answered him, “Pursue them. You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue” (1 Samuel 30:8). So David and his men did exactly that. When they came upon them, they found the Amalekites eating, drinking, and celebrating their great plunder. David and his men rushed in, destroyed their enemy, and regained everything that had been taken — including their wives and children!
David was successful in defeating his enemy, and in diffusing a volatile situation with his own men because he had a lifelong habit of not panicking in difficult situations, but in looking for solutions. And the first place he always looked for help was to God, his “rock of refuge, to which I can always go” (Psalm 71:3).
We need to ask ourselves: Is that how we approach difficulties in life? Do we look for solutions to our problems, or do we look for scapegoats, like David’s men did? Is God the one to whom we can always go, or is He our last resort when all else fails?
Next time you face an overwhelming situation, remember David. Begin cultivating a habit of going to God first, and asking Him for guidance in finding a solution.
Let God be your rock of refuge.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein