I was reading through the beginning of Psalm 34 and the Lord gave an application to me: “The Lord is a refuge for the strong that they may become weak, The Lord is a refuge for the weak that they may become strong.”
At first, this may seem like a contradiction, but upon further reading of Psalm 34 (ESV), it was made clear.
Here are the particular verses in Psalm 34 that the Lord connected to this word of application: “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!…The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit…The LORD redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned” (Psalm 34:8,18, 22).
I think about it like a valley. I believe this is what should happen in every worship service and for that matter, every prayer walk and intentional time with God we have. At the start of the service, we are in a place of being at the left hill of the valley, about to enter in. This hill is the hill that we have put ourselves on. The hill of our own desires, motivations, and selfish wants.
At this point, we are ready for some spiritual water, but we can't partake of it until we are lowered into the valley. As we enter into fellowship with the Lord our refuge, in our own strength and pride, He lowers us. He does the lowering for our sake and for His. As said in Psalm 34:18, “the LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” The Lord is a refuge for the strong that they may become weak and that they would in turn be saved.
As we drink from this spiritual water, upon our fellowship with the Lord of refuge, we are thereby allowing the Lord to lower our ‘self’ into the valley of humility that He wants us to enter. Upon this 'baptism' of the living water of His Holy Spirit, we are then empowered by Him to climb up the right side of the valley: the hill of 'confidence in the Lord'. As it is written, “The LORD redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.” We can remain confident that when we come to Him and confess our sins, we will not be condemned for them, but saved!
There is a transfer in that immersive/baptismal moment that occurs. We enter the valley in the flesh, and we come out walking in step with the Spirit upon drinking from the spiritual water. In John 4 speaking to the woman at the well, “13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” However, we are expected to continually drink of this water (see Revelation 22).
Thus it is also fulfilled in that time frame of our worship: “Oh taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” Oh to taste that spiritual water from the hand of Christ, what a marvelous thing! May we continue to turn to it always, in humility and declaring “He must increase, but I must decrease”(John 3:30).
So let us always take refuge in the Lord in our strength and in our weakness, confident that He will then guide us through the valley of humility, providing the power to bring us up to the hill of confidence again. Thank You for Your power, Lord. Amen.