Every once in a while I come across a portion of God’s Word that touches a chord deep within my soul. I’m not always sure what it is about the Scripture that resonates within me, but I know that God is gently nudging my spirit, wanting to share a morsel of his truth with me. God led me to one of those morsels recently in the book of Jeremiah—Jeremiah 49:7, to be specific.
In this verse, the phrase “dwell in the depths” leapt out at me. It occurs in the context of Jeremiah’s announcement of judgment on Edom. This judgment will be so severe that Jeremiah 49:17 says, “Edom shall become a horror.” In verse 7, God warns the Dedanites of this coming judgment. Dedan was a region in northwest Arabia, located to the southeast of Edom. It is unclear whether Dedan was actually a part of Edom or whether some Dedanites had settled in Edom. Another possibility is that because trade was an important part of Edom’s economy, the Dedanites may have been visiting traders.
In any case, God sends a message to the Dedanites through Jeremiah warning them of the calamitous destruction about to descend upon Edom. In this message, the Lord instructs Dedan to “flee, turn back, dwell in the depths.” If the Dedanites follow these instructions, they will be spared the worst of the disaster about to come upon Edom.
Tumult, chaos, and horror are about to erupt in the Dedanites’ world. God is offering them refuge and safety if they will flee, turn back, and dwell in the depths. The Hebrew translated “dwell in the depths” literally says “make deep to dwell.” It is a picture of burrowing down deep to a place of safety and security where we can find protection from whatever upheaval may be going on around us and then dwelling in this place of sanctuary.
This picture brought to mind the youth basement at the church where I grew up. The youth basement was actually an official bomb shelter. To get to the basement, you went down a couple of flights of stairs and then found yourself in a big open windowless space, perfect for playing games that required running around and throwing things. But it was also designed to be a place of protection that we could flee to if we received a warning that disaster was about to strike and where we could remain safe until the danger had passed.
In each of our lives, we will experience times characterized by turmoil and confusion. Sometimes we sense the danger coming, but sometimes it feels like a bomb suddenly exploded right in the middle of our lives. At times like these, we need to press deep into the depths of the Father for a safe harbor from the bedlam in which we find ourselves engulfed. We need a shelter where we will be protected from harm—or from further harm.
In God, such a refuge is always available. We just need to listen to his warnings and heed his invitation to flee into his depths. There we can dwell while we find the respite we need, regain our bearings, and find renewed strength to face whatever upheaval has occurred on the surface of our lives. But we can always rest in the assurance that the Lord’s depths are bottomless, always waiting to envelop us and hold us securely.
Questions for contemplation:
Are there any situations or circumstances in your life where you are sensing that God is warning you to flee and turn back?
Are there any situations or circumstances in your life where you feel as if a bomb just exploded in the middle of your life?
What might in look like for you to dwell in the depth of God in those situations?