TAKE REFUGE IN GOD Psalm 46

Dr. Jerry A. Collins

 

When you find yourself vulnerable, where is it that you seek refuge? The message of this Psalm is that believers can genuinely find safety and security and courage when they trust in the Lord. When a believer understands that the nature of God as revealed in the Bible is true, he/she can rely on Godís nature as an anchor to hold them when they need security. The reason is because the nature of God is the basis for the actions of God. Those actions can be relied upon due to the reliability of His nature. It is this Psalm that inspired Martin Luther to write his famous hymn, ďA mighty fortress is our God.Ē

 

On the one hand, this Psalm promises a future time when there will be no more catastrophes, when the Lord will reign supreme and sovereign. However, in the meantime, we must trust in God who alone, due to His nature, makes us hopeful of deliverance we long for even now. This also serves as a warning to the world that unless they cease their raging and submit to Godís authority, they can never know nor ever find that sense of genuine security in life.

 

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (v 1)

Here is a burst of confidence beginning with two figures that express the reason for this confidence God is (1) our refuge and (2) strength. As a refuge God is the One who can provide the necessary protection from the troubles of life. As our strength God is the source of stability when everything around us seems to be crumbling. The additional characteristic is a very present help in trouble. What kind of help? God will do for his people what they cannot do for themselves. In essence, God is what help is all about. That help is available when we find ourselves in the tightest of binds. When there seems no way out. That is when we can trust in our God.

Application: Since God is our Protector, invite Him to manage your current difficulty.

 

Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride (v 2-3)

If God is so reliable, therefore, we will not fear. This the the exact proper conclusion to the theology of verse 1. God is our strong refuge, and if He aids us in adversity, then there is nothing to fear! It is a both statement and a command. So, we will not fear! Donít fear! The calamity that follows is intense though the earth should change Ö though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. The description here is of natural disaster, a chaos of sorts. It could describe the devastation of natural forces like earthquakes, tidal waves, and stormy erosion. Mountains are considered the most secure and unmovable objects, and yet imagine them shaking and slipping into the sea. Yet, God is greater than all of these natural, powerful forces. He controls them by His powerful Word. Security and safety are the natural outcomes of His powerful ability.

Application: If you must fear, then be afraid of not relying upon the Lord for help.

 

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High

(v 4)

In the ancient world it was imperative that cities be built near a source of water there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God. The old city of Jerusalem is in the hills where there are no rivers. But, there is the Gihon spring that sets at the bottom of the City of David. That spring supplied the waters that preserved life in the city. The presence of this continuous supply made the city of God glad in times of peace or war. This was the holy dwelling places of the Most High who dwelt here amongst His people to protect and supply their needs. The description of God as the Most High connects this sacred place to God the Creator of heaven and earth. He is the One who provided for His people, the Most High, and there is none any higher.

Application: Your troubles are an opportunity for our Most High God to supply what you desperately need.

 

God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold (v 5-7)

The writer expands upon the concept of Godís dwelling place where God is in the midst of her. The security of Jerusalem was not simply in the water supply, but in the one who suppled the water. The mountains of Jerusalem may slip and slide (v 2), but not the city or its people she will not be moved. The presence of God is a source of intervention to deliver the city God will help her when morning dawns. The dawn imagery describes deliverance when things seem the worst, at their darkest. Though nations made an uproar and kingdoms tottered they are easily destroyed by the Lord He raised His voice, the earth melted. So as the menacing powers of the earth invade and threaten Godís people, God speaks the word only, and they all dissolve. No matter the threat the Lord of hosts is with us. The armies this almighty God has at His disposal are both heavenly angels and earthly forces. The Lord has set the people safely in an inaccessible place the God of Jacob is our stronghold away from the lurking dangers. The God of Jacob speaks of Godís power and grace in dealing with needy Jacobís descendants.

Application: The threat your trouble brings is no match for the ability of God to deliver you.

 

Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire (v 8-9)

This is a call to look ahead to the victory God will bring come, behold the works of the Lord. They are worth observing. It is the Lord who has wrought desolations in the earth. The doom of the wicked is sealed. God will make wars to cease to the end of the earthóa very good thing. This will include destroying all of the implements of warfare He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two. To break these is to smash the power of the warrior who wields them. He burns the chariots with fire is God destroying the strength of military hardware and weaponry. The judgment will be total. God will lay waste to the wicked and Godís devastation will bring an end to wars. This refers to that future time when God will certainly end mankindís threats to His name and people.

Application: If God will lay waste to all of His enemies, He can address your immediate trouble.

 

"Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth." The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (v 10-11)

The people of the world have a problem. To resolve it, they must stop raging and acknowledge the sovereignty of God who will be universally exalted. God says they can do that as they cease striving and know that I am God. The people are exhorted to stop. Stop what? In context, Godís enemies must stop raging and roaring against the city of God. It is also a rebuke to the restless believer whose heart has not learned to trust the Lord fully. Instead, know that I am God. The idea is to Ďbe stillí or Ďdrop your handsí and abandon your rage and fear. Stop the tumult and recognize that God is in charge, and that only His authority and Word matter. If there was not a change of heart now, then they would have to acknowledge that when He comes as conquering Lord in the future to bring judgment.

 

Here is the underlying reason for Godís final intervention to end war and establish peace I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth. This repetition stresses the point that the Lord God will demonstrate fully and finally his glorious sovereignty over the entire globe. The goal of history is the exaltation of the glory of God. His absolute sovereignty will be acknowledged and accepted among all the nations. In the meantime, He remains with His people to preserve and protect them the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Application: Cast your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.

SO WHAT?

         While we may practice social distancing, masks, hygiene, and sequestration, we do not rely on this for protection, but on our God alone who is in charge of our lives.

         Whenever we struggle with Covid-19 anxiety, fear, or anger take a moment to Ďbe stillí, focus your attention on Godís sovereignty, and renew your trust in His powerful ability. ††