Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
3 As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.
4 The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
6 The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
8 I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Jesus’ Refuge is My Joy
It’s hard to read this psalm without thinking of Jesus. And as Luther reminds us, it’s right to think of Jesus in every psalm. We can hear Jesus praying these words: “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge (v.1).” This simple prayer cries out for deliverance to God while at the same time showing confidence and trust in God as refuge. It’s a prayer for help while also knowing Who the Helper is.
This is the complete confidence and trust Jesus has in the Father as He goes to the cross. For when Jesus dies, He is completely reliant on the Father to raise Him from the dead.
As the psalm begins with this prayer for deliverance, it ends with a declaration of the truth that God does indeed deliver His holy one from Sheol: “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption (v.10).” The Father does not abandon Jesus’ soul to Sheol but resurrects Him from the dead.
This is a big deal!
If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, He would have been just another good person who lived life and then died. The apostle Paul puts it this way, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith (1 Cor. 15:14).” If Jesus had stayed dead, there would be nothing to believe. The story would end there. We wouldn’t be Christians.
But God does not abandon Jesus to Sheol or let His holy one see corruption. Jesus is resurrected from the dead! And in being resurrected, Jesus proves He is who He says He is—the Son of God.
We rejoice with the refrain of the Easter hymn, “This Joyful Eastertide:”
“Had Christ, who once was slain,
not burst His three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain;
but now has Christ arisen,
but now has Christ arisen!”
Jesus’ resurrection changes everything.
In the resurrection, Jesus defeats sin, death, and the power of the devil. He forges a way for us to be reunited with God our Father.
Because of the resurrection, we can join in proclaiming, “My heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure (v.9).” As Jesus is resurrected in the body, so too, will we be. Our whole being, including our flesh, will be raised to new life and dwell secure.
Because of the resurrection, we can join in proclaiming, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore (v.10).” No longer is God’s presence associated with fear and wrath. Instead of receiving death for being unworthy in God’s presence, we now receive life and pleasures forevermore. Because of Jesus, we can enter God’s presence with joy and thanksgiving.
Because of the resurrection, we can join in proclaiming, “Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.” Because of Jesus, we know our salvation in Christ is secure. God IS our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). Therefore, we can cry out to God in our distress and trust God to protect and defend us.
Because of the resurrection, we have life and joy. So we celebrate and cheer, “Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!”
Reflection: How would your life be different if Jesus had not been raised from the dead?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to live, die, and be raised again so that I can now come into Your presence joyfully and enjoy the fullness of life You have for me. Forgive me for the times I live as though the resurrection didn’t happen, as if my faith in You doesn’t affect the way I live. Father, because You raised Your Son, I know you’ll also raise me. Be my refuge and strength now and always. Amen.
Challenge/Takeaway Activity: Sometimes we live as though the resurrection didn’t happen; as if we have no hope or compass in life. In what area(s) of your life do you need to remember Christ was indeed raised? How does that reality change your perspective and bring you hope?