Day 1
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear . . .” (NIV)

By J S Duvall

God is our refuge—our safe place, our retreat, the place we go when we are afraid. He is also our strength, or power. This is the same word Jesus uses in Acts 1:8 when He promises to give us power with the coming of the Holy Spirit who now lives within us.

But a place of refuge and a source of strength wouldn’t be any good if they were unavailable. It’s easy to think of things that might help, but they are often a world away. You need safety and strength that are close by. Thankfully, God is also our ever-present Helper, the one who cares enough to share His unlimited resources with us. He is always near.

When life goes along as usual, we don’t think much about how vulnerable we are. We take so much for granted, even the chance to be together. When a crisis such as Covid-19 hits, however, everything changes. The trouble that the Psalmist speaks of in Psalm 46:1 is the word for tribulation, trial, or distress. We are indeed going through a tribulation right now.

There are two versions of Old Testament—in Hebrew and in Greek. Most of the first Christians of the New Testament would have read from the Greek Old Testament. It literally says this: “God is our refuge and strength, a Helper in trials/tribulations, the ones which find us exceedingly.” In other words, these trials are extreme and terrible, and it’s almost like they are chasing us. In verse 2, the Psalmist explains how terrible they are. But thankfully, we need not fear because we find refuge and strength in our even greater Helper, our God. He is ever-present.


God, please make Your comforting presence and Your sustaining power real to us now. Show us that You are near and strong for us in small ways and big ways. Thank You for Your promise of Your presence and power when trials find us. Thank You for never leaving or forsaking us, and for always being with us and for us. Amen.

J. Scott Duvall (Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Fuller Professor of New Testament at Ouachita Baptist University (Arkadelphia, Arkansas) where he teaches the NT Greek Exegesis, Life of Christ, Revelation, Spiritual Formation, and Interpreting the Bible. Scott has co-authored Grasping God's Word, Living God's Word, Journey into God's Word, Preaching God's Word, Dictionary of Biblical Prophecy, and Biblical Greek Exegesis. He has also written Experiencing God's Story of Life and Hope: A Workbook for Spiritual Formation.

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