LORD, You are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble! Jeremiah 16:19 (NLT)
Where do you go for refuge? When troubles surround you, to whom do you turn to for help? Jeremiah was in such a predicament. He was a young prophet to a nation spiraling out of control. Israel was on a self-destructive path, and God sent Jeremiah to warn them to turn back to Him before it was too late. It would only be a matter of time before God’s hedge of protection would be lifted from the nation and they would experience the consequences of their own rebellion and sin. Their hearts were so hardened that they didn’t want to hear Jeremiah’s message and, despite his tears, they sought to kill him. At one point, Jeremiah cried out to God,
LORD, You know what’s happening to me. Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors! Please give me time; don’t let me die young. It’s for Your sake that I am suffering. (Jeremiah 15:15 NLT)
It’s no wonder that Jeremiah was called “The Weeping Prophet.” In fact, he would later write the book Lamentations as he lamented over the destruction of Israel he had lived to see. What sustained him? What kept him from giving up? I think it had a lot to do with his view of God. Like you and me, Jeremiah was human. He felt the rejection of his people – and it hurt. The secret to his strength is revealed in our verse today. Listen to how he addresses God when he prays. He says,
LORD, You are my strength and fortress, my refuge in the day of trouble!
Jeremiah addresses God with three descriptive names – strength, fortress, and refuge. Each name offers us a slightly different glimpse of how Jeremiah experienced God’s presence. His prayer teaches us that God not only gives us strength, but that He is our strength! Let God be your strength when you feel weak. Jeremiah teaches us that God not only provides a fortress when enemies come against us, but that He is our fortress. And, when you need to retreat from life’s pressures, Jeremiah’s prayer teaches us that God not only provides a refuge for us, but that He is our refuge! Maybe Jeremiah had Psalm 46:1 in mind when he was praying,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Where do you find refuge? Don’t seek a place; seek the Lord and ask Him to be your refuge where you can retreat and find rest. Let God be your strength when you are weak and your fortress when enemies come against you. Like Jeremiah, you will find that God is all you need.