Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Tabernacle of Refuge

UV 2147/10000 The Tabernacle of Refuge
And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
Isaiah 4 v 6

There are different types of storms we face in this world: flash floods that happen without any warning and can sweep away all that lies in its path, squalls or local heavy rains that affect a locality, hurricanes with gale force of more than 150 to 200 kms per hour, cyclonic storms with wind speeds of 100 to 150 kms per hour like cyclone Vardha which we in Chennai faced a couple of days ago. When we are caught in a storm, it is like a blast of rain against a wall. There is no let up or relief till the storm is past. There can also be depression weather which does not witness heavy winds but brings a continuous downpour. Extreme heat, drought and famine can be oppressive and the suffering produced by these conditions too is intolerable. The Lord God, Almighty, Awesome and amazing in grace is the tabernacle, the place of shelter, of refuge from every type of storm and drought we face in this world. He is the shadow, the covering to protect us from the intense heat and pressures of life. He is the One who brings hope and refreshment to us when we are weary of the troubles we face in life. He renews our strength and releases immense power in us to face every possible challenge of life.

The Lord is not just an external refuge for us but an internal covert. He is a covert source of power, strength, grace and hope as He is tabernacled in us. He does not just preside over our lives but He resides therein. He goes before us as a pillar of cloud in the daytime and He is a fire for us by night. Sometimes, we find our lives being wound in the anti-clockwise direction like the winds of a cyclone but He corrects the direction our lives take. He is a source of comfort and restoration once the storm is passed. He is the source of wisdom and guidance on the decisions we need to take in the wake of the storm so that we can weather it better and with less damage the next time we face it. The very name of the Lord is our strong tower of power to revive us. He is the tabernacle of rejoicing in normal times when He floods us with the light of His presence, His word and His manifold blessings. He is the tabernacle of refuge in our troubled days and times. He is the house built on the rock that the floods cannot destroy or damage. He is the lighthouse on the rocky crag to keep us from shipwreck and show us the path we should take at every juncture of our lives.

Most of the time when human beings build homes, they build for good weather for all construction activity takes place only in fair weather. The Lord sends storms our way so that we will build to last with better and stronger materials of eternity. We ought to build the tabernacle not for fair or good weather but with a view to face the worst possible weather conditions. At the time, we build the effects of the winds and rains may not be visible or known but we need to visualise every possible threat of nature and take proactive steps by chosing spiritual materials and structures that will withstand gale force winds and lashing torrential rains. Even if the storms of life leave us battered and bruised, we should pick up the broken pieces, the threads of life where we are and allow the Lord to help us re-build.

Prateep V Philip

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