The Berean Expositor
Volume 29 - Page 176 of 208
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The Eternal God is thy Refuge.
(Being a series of studies designed to encourage
the believer in times of stress).
The particular bearing of the word "eternal".
pp. 238 - 240
At the moment of writing these words, this nation is in a state of war. We recognize,
of course, that both "war" and "peace", while the world rejects the Son of God, can be
but relative terms. There was much real enmity during the days of so called "peace",
and, conversely, there may be enjoyed, in the midst of conditions of war, a peace which
the world can neither give nor take away. It has never been our policy to "meddle" with
the affairs of nations (Deut. 2: 5), or the consciences of its readers, but rather to pursue a
ministry which belongs to a sphere entirely removed from the things of earth, leaving its
readers with the Word as the sole arbiter for all their actions. Nevertheless it is obviously
true that we may learn from the things around us, and there are still occasions when the
rebuke may be merited that the children of this generation are wiser than the children of
light. Foreseeing the possibilities of conflict, the Government has, among other things,
provided refuges for the protection of the people, and it is this fact that provides the
theme of our present meditations. God also has foreseen and provided a refuge, and He
Himself is set forth in the Word in this capacity. At other times, we should have felt
called upon to spare no pains in acquainting the reader with structural analysis and other
exegetical features, but as this series is intended to minister to the "present necessity", we
shall in this case approach our subject more directly. The refuge is, so to speak, intended
for immediate use, not to be taken to pieces and examined. The character of these short
meditations will, therefore, differ somewhat from that of many of our other studies.
"The eternal God is thy refuge" (Deut. 33: 27).
This is the covering title of the series, and takes us to the Fountain-head of all
consolation, comfort and protection.
Moses must have had a reason for using the adjective "eternal" here. He could have
said, with the Psalmist, "God is our refuge", or "The God of Jacob is our refuge", but he
obviously intends to direct our attention, not only to God, but to some element in His
character that is of particular relevance in connection with the need for a shelter, and its
provision. The word "eternal" represents at least four different ideas in the Scriptures,
and we must therefore acquaint ourselves with the facts.
Qedem, "eternal", means "to precede, to go before", and so at times conveys the
thought of "anticipating" something before it happens, as may be seen in Jonah 4: 2,
which Gesenius translates: "Thus I anticipated (the danger which threatens me) by
fleeing to Tarshish."