God is our Rock and Refuge

Here is a devotion for you, from HomeTouch.

In Willa Cather’s novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, she tells the story of the Ácoma Indians, some of whom lived on a certain high mesa.

One day, Bishop LaTour set out with a guide from Santa Fe to visit some missions to the west. They traveled by mule through plains with long vistas, and spectacular spires of red rocks, passing through juniper and pinon, until they came upon two mesas.

Atop one of these flattop rocks used to be an Ácoma village, Jacinto the guide told the bishop. The only access to the top was a staircase, easily defended.

The bishop asked Jacinto why the Ácoma had thought to flee the earth and climb this rock and settle a village there. Jacinto explained that the Ácoma had enemies. There were periodic manhunts, and the Ácoma, tired of running, fled not to the north, south, east or west, but up. There on this rock they found safety.

They grew crops on the plain around the rock, and came off the rock to hunt, but there was always a place to turn. They were always able to ascend the rock in which they found security.

Today, the Ácoma Pueblo is a National Historic Landmark. It’s about 60 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and it still sits atop a mesa that rises more than 350 feet above the plain. On this solid rock, the Ácoma have lived for hundreds of years.

A rock, a mesa, a cleft in a cliff, a mountain and the hills — all of these are mentioned in the Bible as places of refuge.

The ancient Israelites lived in country that was in many places similar to the territory in the southwest United States. Sometimes, they had enemies which consisted of roving bands of tribal warriors, or armies from small neighboring nations. Having a place to hide was important.

No wonder the psalmist writes, “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust’” (91:1-2).

When we are distressed, we can cry to God. God is our mesa, our rock and refuge.

—Timothy Merrill

Prayer: O God, you have been my help in ages past, and you are my hope for the years to come. But I thank you for your strength and help in the present. Amen.
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