Word Study – Refuge
Psalms 9:9 “The Lord will also be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.”
Refuge – Hebrew: shagav – A high place, to be raised up, set in security, to make powerful, to strengthen, strong place.
In ancient times when an invading army approached a town the people would flee to a mountain, hence the saying: “Head for the hills.” One would always seek a high place, above the enemy for a refuge. In times of trouble or when we are oppressed God towers over that which is oppressing us or causing us trouble and lifts us out of it and holds us in His powerful arms, sets us in His lap and gentle sooths our troubled minds.
The word itself will explain how we are able to find such a “refuge” or “shagav.” The word is spelled Shin – God’s loving passion for us, Gimmel, God’s lovingkindness, and Beth our hearts. When the passion of God’s love and His lovingkindness fills our hearts, we will be lifted up away from our oppressors and trouble.
Ethel Waters who made the song: “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” world famous by regularly singing the song at Billy Graham crusades told that as a small child she was raised by her grandmother as her mother was incapable of raising her. She had no idea who her father was and as a result other children made fun of her and the torment was sometimes so great she would run home crying. She would crawl into her grandmother’s lap who would separate her from her tormentors, comfort her and sing “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” to her until all the pain and torment would leave her.
This is the picture of “shagav.” When we become overwhelmed with oppression and trouble we climb up into God’s lap, rest in his powerful arms as he separates us from our tormentors and begins singing to us His song of comfort.