Trust in God is the refuge of believers

We can stand firm on the proven foundation of biblical wisdom that has been handed down to us.

Psalm 31:2, 5, 6, 14, 19, 23-24 – Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me.
5 Into your hand I entrust my spirit; you have redeemed me, Yahweh, God of truth.
6 You hate those who are devoted to worthless idols, but I trust in Yahweh.
14 But I trust in you, Yahweh; I say, “You are my God.”
19 Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge and trust in you, in the sight of the children of mankind!
23 Love Yahweh, all his faithful ones. Yahweh protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant. 24 Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in Yahweh.

Psalm 31 is a psalm attributed to King David. If anyone knew about God being a refuge for those who trust in him, it would have been David. Hunted and pursued by Saul and his men, David was quite literally seeking refuge from danger every day.

1 Samuel 23:8, 14 – And Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. … And David remained in the strongholds in the wilderness, in the hill country of the wilderness of Ziph. And Saul sought him every day, but God did not give him into his hand.

Yet in this psalm, David, in his typical poetic fashion, likens the physical refuges he had found in the caves and strongholds in the wilderness to trusting in Yahweh. The trust, faith, and hope in Yahweh itself becomes a haven of protection against the designs of detractors.

In verse 19, David says there is abundant goodness stored up for those who trust God in the sight of others. Imagine what a blessing we can be to others as our solid trust and faith in Yahweh stands firm against the swirling doubts and shifting opinions of this generation in everything from social identity to political ideals. God’s people can stand firm on the proven foundation of biblical wisdom that has been handed down to us.

Psalm 119:97-100 – Oh how I love your Torah! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts.

When we can learn to let go of the cyclical patterns of conjecture by consensus and fully place our hope and trust in Yahweh, we enter that refuge, that stronghold fortress which cannot be assailed by the shifting opinions of our culture. We will then be able to say with David: “Be strong, and let your heart be courageous, all you who put your hope in Yahweh.”


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

Why do we have so many different denominations today?

Sometimes the truth is preserved better in fresh wineskins.

Acts 19:8-10 – “Then Paul went into the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But when some of them stubbornly refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way, Paul took his disciples and left the synagogue to conduct daily discussions in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.”

While estimates vary widely based on how a denomination is defined, some estimates put the total current number of Christian denominations worldwide (2022) as approximately 43,000-45,000. Even if this number is exaggerated by a factor of 2, that would still mean over 20,000 different denominations. Why is this the case?

The passage in Acts 19 above illustrates to me why there are so many. As was his common practice, when Paul went to a new area to spread the gospel of the kingdom, he would typically begin in the local Jewish synagogue. Some might believe and trust in Messiah; most wouldn’t. In this case, the text says that “some of them [the Jews of the synagogue] stubbornly refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way…” They were not only not being receptive to the message that Paul was preaching, they actively began a campaign of discreditation against Paul and the believers.

To protect the disciples of the believing sect, what was becoming known as the Way, Paul decided to separate himself from the corrupt activities of the Jews against them and “took his disciples and left the synagogue to conduct daily discussions in the lecture hall…” What they did was essentially created a separate sect within Judaism, distinguishing between those who were Messiah believers, and those who were not.

The results of this separation bore much fruit for the work of God, as the final verse mentions that “this continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in the province of Asia, Jews and Greeks alike, heard the word of the Lord.”

While it seems counterintuitive, sometimes separation is the only way to maintain the integrity of the truth. The fruit in the blossoming congregation in Ephesus bore witness to the testimony of the effectiveness of this type of action.

However, today I believe the issue of most dividing congregations and denominations stems less from a stand for the truth and more from an affinity for particular opinions. Believers have historically split on differing opinions of doctrinal issues such as baptism, spiritual gifts, views on end times, etc., yet more and more commonly they will also split over non-essential things like worship styles and modes of attire. Yet each of these issues are spelled out in God’s word and have a specific significance, or they would not be in there in the first place.

So how can we tell the difference between a legit truth split and an opinion split? One key way is to ensure that any distinctions are focused on those who believe Messiah, and those who don’t, much like the Ephesian congregation as described here. Another significant way is to become so familiar with the whole of God’s word that clear understanding becomes readily apparent through the Spirit of God. Another way is to see the fruit or results in the lives of each of the groups who had split: which group is actually flourishing within the kingdom and which is fading away with only bitterness over having lost a portion of their fellowship?

Division is never an easy event to endure, and sometimes you may find that in order to “keep the peace” of the congregation, that you are the one who has to move on as your views have grown and perhaps theirs have not. One thing is certain, division over doctrine is nothing new and is destined to continue. Our focus should remain on what the clear uniting features are of God’s word, and allow those seeds to bear fruit wherever they can be planted and received as they are, the word of God. As Yeshua taught:

Matthew 7:6 – “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive on our Podcast Page, at Core of the Bible on Simplecast, or your favorite podcast streaming service.

Now also on YouTube, find us at: Core of the Bible on YouTube.

Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.

The silence that speaks volumes

Sometimes the loudest wisdom is achieved by remaining silent.

“He who spares his words has knowledge. He who is even tempered is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is counted wise. When he shuts his lips, he is thought to be discerning.”

Proverbs 17:27-28

In a day of instant opinion and broadcasting of folly, it is rare to find the individual who maintains a solid disposition and yet feels no compulsion to enter the fray of argumentative debate.

Solomon relates that it is the even-tempered person who has understanding. When emotions run high, foolishness cannot be far behind. And yet, one of the most difficult aspects of spiritual vigilance is to not speak out just for the sake of being heard.

The marketplace of opinion is wide and shallow and typically caters to the loudest voices. Yet it is proven time and time again that the loudest voice is not always the voice of truth. Unfortunately, this appears to be a lesson that needs to be learned generation after generation.

Interestingly, Solomon states that even if someone is legitimately foolish, they appear to be wise and discerning by not always disclosing their opinion. This wisdom is wryly captured in a quote that is commonly attributed to both Mark Twain and Abraham Lincoln: “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Those who are truly wise have no need of the popular affirmation that comes from always seeming to have the most correct viewpoint. They are content in knowing their position is correct, and to only speak out when invited to do so.

Learning to have this measure of control and discernment over our opinion-sharing would provide a welcome respite from the incessant and oppressive background noise of this generation. My belief is that if we can be vigilant in abiding by this principle, the world would be a much quieter, and indeed more balanced, place.


If you enjoy these daily blog posts, be sure to visit the growing archive of the Core of the Bible podcast. Each week we take a more in-depth look at one of the various topics presented in the daily blog. You can view the podcast archive here. Questions or comments? Feel free to email me directly at coreofthebible@gmail.com.