Friday, July 28, 2023

A Lesson for Our Good from Psalm 46

July 2023  

With all that is happening in the world, I thought I would share a lesson of hope and encouragement from an old favorite, Psalm 46... 


Martin Luther, the great theologian said whenever he heard any discouraging news at all, he would say “come let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm”! 


It was years ago, I was a young church leader, and I heard a well-known Pastor speak of going to a family who was suffering, yet not having any comforting Bible passage to I purposed to find a part of Scripture that would serve me well in that way, and Psalm 46 has been the answer! In fact, I committed it to memory and it brings rewards and satisfying comfort again and again... 


I am also teaching it today because I am convinced that we ALL are moved when we simply hear God’s word to us…so let’s listen and be changed. 


1God is ourrefuge and strength, 
a verypresenthelp introuble. 

GOD – Starts with God, we can end here, you know...He is enough...and starting this way sets us all up for what may come next...if God is the start, the rest will be amazing! 

IS – past tense...we have found Him to be these things, present tense...we are finding Him to be these things, future tense...we will find Him to be these things. GOD IS our refuge and strength. PERIOD. 


OUR – who is the OUR? Who is this Psalmist including in the OUR? Well, simply by the familiar wording, the approach, how he starts out, you get a very sure sense that this Psalmist is talking to family, people who know God, people who already believe, people who are ready to hear affirmation about who this God they love and know and believe in really is...make no mistake, God is, and all that which comes after, but He is these things for those who call Him their God...for those who believe Who He is...if you do not, you are not the audience. 


REFUGE – God is a shelter, God is a place of safety, God is a place like our home, and your home wherever you may be. 


AND STRENGTH – when we are weak, when we have nothing left, God is our refuge and our STRENGTH.  In our weakness His strength is made, and is already, and is PERFECT 


God is our refuge and strength...And then the Psalmist continues... 

A VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE – right now, where you sit, where I stand, God is a very present help…not a help that has gone away, not a help that will come, He is a VERY PRESENT, right now help in trouble of every type, small or big, easy, or hard, short or long, little pain or indescribable agony...God is a very present help. 

2Therefore we will not fearthough the earth gives way, 
though the mountains be moved intothe heart of the sea, 
thoughits waters roar and foam, 
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. 


THEREFORE – because of all these things that have preceded it because God is, because God is OUR refuge and strength...what is our response to be?  WE WILL NOT FEAR!! 


Even though... 

The very earth gives way 

The mountains are moved into the sea 

Waters roar and foam 

Mountains tremble 

Even though...God is our...and we will not fear! And we will, instead... 


- Take comfort in God when, even when things look bleak and threatening 

- Look at what He has already done and all He is doing and be steadied 

- remember God has and will forever glorify and exalt His Name and never leave nor forsake those who are His! 


4There isa river whose streams make gladthe city of God, 
the holyhabitation of the Most High. 
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; 
God will help her when morning dawns. 


God is in the midst of this royal, Holy city.  This is a place of beauty, a place of joy, a place of rest, a place of Grace. For as the world and all that is in it roars and foams and falls, God’s gentle, merciful streams and rivers of Grace flow over us and into us, giving strength and hope for the journey ahead.   


God is in the midst of her, central to the whole, providing all of the growth, nourishment and life needed so that she will not be moved.  Make no mistake, if God is in the midst of something, someone like you or me, then that thing or that person is secure – period. 


And God Himself will help when the morning dawns.  The morning, dawn, early, a critical time, the day starting out, a decision point – what will the day bring – and God is right there – “a very present help”. 


6The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; 
heutters his voice, the earthmelts. 

One of my favorite verses of all.

  Uproar around the world – the craziness of the virus that was and is, new viruses to come and other disease, new types of war, terrorism, upheaval, revolution, all out anarchy.  The rulers of these lands rant and rave over what they will do, what power they have, little realizing that were it not for our God they would have no power or ability at all.   


Today, look at Russia, and Ukraine, and the violence, devastation, pain & agony, and the pride and ego and stubbornness...and yet... 


The nations rage (for a time), kingdoms totter, yes, and they will even more so as the time for His return approaches.  But yet, even though it all happens, we take heart, with hope and joy, knowing that in the same way that He created all things  


1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 

Whether natural disaster or political, man made warring and disaster, when God utters His voice, the earth melts - HE IS IN CONTROL


7TheLordof hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 


A statement again that the Lord is with us, He is our fortress, our shield, our rock – a refuge from the storms and a stronghold that cannot be overcome. 


8Come, behold the works of theLord, 
how he has brought desolations on the earth. 
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; 
hebreaks the bow and shatters the spear; 
he burns the chariots with fire. 

COME AND SEE – an invitation!  He alone is sovereign.  Kingdoms are established and torn down, dynasties are built and uprooted, authorities are given power and it is taken away. Hairs are numbered, sparrows don’t even fall without Him knowing, all your days are established before you were – All at the Holy Hand of God, and this God loves us and wants us to know Him. 


He loves us, He surely does as He showed us so clearly in Romans 5:8 – 


8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  


10“Be still, and know that I am God. 
I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth!” 

One of the most quoted, remembered, cherished verses in all of Christianity. 


DOUBLE meaning…you, you who believe in ME, you BE STILL and KNOW…yes, I will be exalted in all things, but you BE STILL  


And then, to those who oppose Him, to our enemies, to our foes, to those who resist, reject or even rail against us, He says BE STILL, my workers, my vessels, my servants WILL accomplish what I plan for them to do. 


And make no mistake…He is clear and certain with this next part...


I will be exalted among the nations, 
I will be exalted in the earth!”

At this point, I need to stop and ask you all - Are you in the OUR??? The Gospel - You have heard it and maybe even received it with hopeful hearts, but I am here to ask today – do you BELIEVE IT? Do you believe that God Himself came to earth as a baby, born to the virgin, that He lived and grew up sinless among us, that He was persecuted, arrested, mocked, scorned, and crucified, and yet, on the 3rd day, glorious of all glorious, He rose again and now is seated at the Father's right you believe that He did all of that, and He did it all in your place? for you? through no goodness on your own, without any conditions, but simply says come? Do you believe? 


Whether we acknowledge it or not God will be exalted – this is not wishy washy, this is not unsure, this is not a possibility – it is absolutely true.  It does occur, is occurring and will continue to occur for all of eternity.   


Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of the Father!  Make no mistake - God will be exalted! 

TheLordof hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress. 


The promise again stated for emphasis – He is with us, God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble.   


As I wrap up, I know we all have moments of doubt and fear.  We wonder if God hears us, if He will answer, if we can trust Him.   


I am here to tell you, from God’s Word, as His spokesperson, that the answers to those doubts, fears and questions is a resounding YES! 


Yes, He hears us 

Yes, He will answer and does answer 

Yes, we can trust Him 


God IS...the only true God, the God who came to earth as a baby, lived sinless as a man, died purposefully as a substitute and then rose victoriously as a Savior! Yes, you can trust this God, and He alone IS a refuge, a strength, and an ever-present help to you and to me every time...let’s pray. 

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