For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. A psalm.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.’
The Lord Almighty is with us;(Ps. 46:1-11 NIV)
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Psalmist is in trouble again, but it’s trouble in which he can confidently celebrate God’s support, the divine support we have in the midst of the most trying times.
There are three scenes in the Psalm.
- In verses 1-3 It’s a picture of God’s power over nature. It’s a cataclysmic earthquake in which the world is unmade and shaken (uncreation), and God’s power over nature is displayed in that scene.
- Verse 4 -7. It’s a picture of a city engulfed by a massive siege, an innumerable hoard of enemies surrounding it, and again God’s power is celebrated over these attackers of His city.
- Verse 8 -11. It’s a picture of a battlefield after the battle is over, and with the bodies of the enemy and his engines of war strewn all over the place. It’s a battlefield aftermath in which the bodies of God’s vanquished enemies are contemplated.
And so God’s power over the whole warring world is celebrated in that scene in Psalm 46.
In Psalm 46, we find the Mighty One giving strength to His own people in perilous times, in their time of need, just in the nick of time. Let’s look at that first scene in verses 1 – 3.
I. God can be trusted when the whole world is in uproar.
This is a picture of the challenges that are facing the people of God in this fallen world. It’s the picture of a cataclysmic earthquake in which the whole world is unmade, the stable mountains are falling into the sea, the chaotic seas are swirling and foaming and covering the earth. It’s a picture of Genesis 1 reversed, where all of the distinctions between land and sea that God has established are being undone. And so, it’s a picture of the challenges facing the people of God. And by showing us this picture, the Psalmist is reminding us of God’s power, God’s power to protect us against anything; and He reminds us of His power to protect us against anything by showing us that we are safe, we are safe in the midst of the most violent upheaval of nature possible. His point is this: God can be trusted when the whole world is in uproar. The world is in uproar today through a virus that has taken many lives. In these days God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
II. When we are surrounded by our enemies we are as secure as if we were around the throne of God.
Here’s the second scene. Look at verses 4 – 7. Here the Psalmist again reminds us of God’s power to protect us against anything, and he does it by showing us two things at the same time that seem contradictory. First, there is this picture in verses 4 and 5 of a serene city, the city of God; but then, when you look at verses 5 through 7, you realise that this city is under siege. The armies of the enemies of God are surrounding this city, and yet the Psalmist has given us a picture of God’s power to protect against anything by showing how serene the city of God is even when she’s surrounded by her enemies. When we’re surrounded by our enemies, we are as secure as if we were in glory around the throne.
III. Remember what the battlefield’s going to look like when God is done.
One last picture, verses 8 – 11, the final picture. This picture is a future picture. Now the battle is over, and this picture is used by the Psalmist to remind us of God’s power to protect us against anything, by showing His complete victory over all the forces arrayed against us. It’s a final picture, a picture of the future when the challenges facing the people of God in this fallen world are ended. It’s a picture of the desolation of all God’s and all our enemies.
Father we thank You for the comfort of Your presence. Whatever chaos goes on around us, we are safe in Your presence. Even if we are overtaken by the chaos we never cease to be outside of Your presence. Lord help us to cease from our striving and be still and know that You are God. Help us to feel the security because You are our refuge and strength. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Maintain our courage in You for it is in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.