Interesting fact about the Word of God: it is approximately 15% poetry (the remainder is 10% letters and 75% narrative story…but that is another story for another time). Poetry of the Bible provides much comfort, peace and solace in all types of crisis whether illness, natural disasters, abandonment, abuse, neglect, divorce, dominance, injustice, oppression…or even a global outbreak of a pandemic virus.
Recently, our SIU team met virtually and we found ourselves referring to the book of Psalms and its beautiful poetry. The Story of David running from King Saul in the deserts of Judea is a familiar one to many of us. (You can find it in its entirety in 1 Samuel.) David experienced and wrote much of the Psalms while he ran from King Saul and hid in the desert and in caves seeking shelter and safety from his pursuers. David proclaims of the Lord in Psalm 36:5-7 (NLT):
“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O Lord. How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”
What an amazing passage of poetry! David was truly in survivor mode running for his life, but he never forgot who he worshiped, who is ultimately above it all, and is all and controls all. It is clear in David’s writings that all humanity finds shelter in the shadow of God’s wings. I love the imagery…wings covering us just like a mother bird covers her young.
In All Types and Times of Trouble
At another point David says in Psalm 46:1-2 (NLT):
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.”
Trouble in the form of the earth quaking and mountains crumbling into the sea are big disastrous events. These events might be just as troublesome, or even more so, than a global pandemic. To me, the prophet David is making it clear in these sections of poetry that the Lord will be with us in ALL types and times of trouble.
God Is Our Rock
David also makes it clear God hides us in the day of trouble as stated in Psalm 27:5 (NLV):
“For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His holy tent. In the secret place of His tent He will hide me. He will set me high upon a rock.”
For those of us who know and follow the Lord Jesus, His spirit lives within us and He is with us and we are always with Him in His holy tent. David also says, “He will lift us up on high and upon a rock.” We know from other passages in Psalms that God is our rock, our shelter and our strong tower of refuge.
David even goes further in another passage of poetry which specifically talks to disease and disaster in Psalm 91:1-6 (NLT):
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust him. For He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.”
Wow! The description David used in this passage for all types of trouble specifically includes disease, possibly like a global pandemic. We should take note of this. In times of heavy duress, chaos and major conflict we can rest in the Lord’s promises.
Rock and Refuge
I also find great comfort in David’s words in Psalm 62:5-8 (NIV):
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.”
Ahh…the repetition of “rock” and “refuge” in poetic form are honey to my lips and just what I need right now. Hopefully they give you comfort and hope as well. We know eventually David returns from the caves and deserts of Judea to lead Israel (at the end of 1 Samuel) as its rightful King and that God fulfills His promises to David. And then eventually a successor from the line of David comes to rescue all of us…King Jesus! For now, we rest in the Lord as King David did and we know He will never leave us, never forsake us and He is returning soon to establish His eternal Kingdom! Let’s seek Him and rest in Him until He returns.