Psalm 118 says:
“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”
What does this mean – “take refuge in the LORD”? God is a spirit, he does not have flesh and bone. We cannot literally hide in his embrace.
Let’s go to the dictionary. A refuge is a shelter, a protection from danger or trouble. Other words like it that are also ascribed to God are shelter, fortress and stronghold. But still, God is not a physical structure that we can run to and hide in.
So what does this mean? We need to remember that although God is a spirit, the Bible uses metaphors to help us.
Merciful metaphors. Our Father wants us to know him, really know him. He wants us to trust him, and not just a little. I think this is the reason for so many metaphors. In Psalm 18 we have rock, fortress, refuge, shield, horn of my salvation.
God didn’t have to inspire the Bible in this way. Poetry is language that conveys beauty and emotion. It stirs our spirits. God desires us to be drawn in.
So what does it mean that God is a refuge and how do we take refuge in him? I think he wants us to use our imaginations. He is merciful to us in using a metaphor that means a secure place of safety. We can picture it in our minds. So to take refuge in God means to trust in him, look to him, know that as we place our faith in him, we are safe and secure.