REFUGE AND STRENGTH
“To the chief musician. For the sons of Korah;
A song. For the Virgins*.
God is our refuge and our strength…”
Alamoth is a Hebrew Word that literally means virgins. Translated “virgin”* in Isaiah 7:14, it is also alluded to in the first chapter (verse 23) of Matthew’s gospel and 1Corithinians 11:2-3. This is a psalm referring to those who have set their hearts and affections aside for their future Husband. They resist the draw and enticement of this world. They have found grace to submit themselves to the discipline and breaking necessary to know that singleness of heart and purpose. People who give all, are given all; all of the resources and care of the great God of Jacob. This giving and yielding is the result of the mercy of God working in the hearts of HIS own.
“…by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…”
This is a psalm of protection and refuge. It is a psalm of defense, help and strong confidence. It is a psalm upon which King Hezekiah drew strength and encouragement during a time of overwhelming circumstances when destruction and death seemed certain.
“He is a buckler to all those that put their trust in Him”
Faith and trust are the means by which all the resources of heaven are made available to the people of God. It is by these that we know that God is not only our “refuge and strength” on a doctrinal level but we know the reality of Him as our “present help in trouble”. The ability for us to see Him as our only source of refuge, strength and present help comes because we have learned through His gracious dealings that we do not trust in our own resources, the “strategies” nor the help of this world. We are enlarged in our God by the reducing of our trust in other things. Child-like trust in our God will cause the reality of this psalm to wrap us up in a hope and faith that will hold us secure in the DAY that is upon us.
“A dear friend of mine, who was quite a lover of the chase, told me the following story: ‘Rising early one morning,’ he said, ‘I heard the baying of a score of deerhounds in pursuit of their quarry. Looking away to a broad, open field in front of me, I saw a young fawn making its way across, and giving signs, moreover, that its race was well-nigh run. Reaching the rails of the enclosure, it leaped over and crouched within ten feet from where I stood. A moment later two of the hounds came over, when the fawn ran in my direction and pushed its head between my legs. I lifted the little thing to my breast, and, swinging round and round, fought off the dogs. I felt, just then, that all the dogs in the West could not, and should not capture that fawn after its weakness had appealed to my strength.’ So is it, when human helplessness appeals to Almighty God. A.C. Dixon
*NOTE: The most famous passage where this term is used is Isaiah 7:14, where it asserts an ʽalmāh will give birth to a son. The author of Matthew 1:23 understood this woman to be a virgin. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament – Warren Baker, D.R.E. Eugene Carpenter, Ph.D) (עֲלָמוֹת ʽalamoth is the plural form of עַלְמָה ʽalmâh)