Monday, 16 June 2008

#4 - Our strong fortress

Psalm 46
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A song. [a]

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields [
b] with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God;I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
I love this psalm - the vivid description throughout and how it talks about natural disasters and conflicts, how one day God will 'make wars cease to the ends of the earth.'
Verse 1 reminds us why we should, as His children, trust our Father. God is a...
  • 'refuge' - a place of safety. Trusting God saves us from what awaits all of mankind for our rebellion against God - hell.
  • 'strength' - a great power, impossible to break, damage or defeat. The Holy Spirit inside us can work in us when we feel weak and suffer hardships - God's strength can renew ours so we can continue to live for Him.
  • 'help' - a benefit that will make something better or easier to cope with. We can confide in Him in prayer about our troubles and He will aid us.

When things around us fall apart, we can doubt if God is truly still there and in control. Verses 2 and 3 present us with the worse-case scenario ever - the complete destruction of the world. The sons of Korah use that as an example of how determined they are that we as God's people should continue to trust Him, whatever life throws at us. What a challenge! But with the Holy Spirit's help we can deepen our reliance on the Lord and learn to trust Him more.

The rest of the psalm focuses on...

  • God's power (vv6, 8-9) - I love the fact that God has only to speak and the 'earth melts' - it reminds me of Genesis 1, when God created the universe just by his voice. I also love how God ends all conflict in verse 8 - I'm a pacificst and hate having to learn about wars and conflicts, or hearing about the ones that are going on as we speak. It's encouraging to know that one day God will end all violence and fighting in the world, with His great power.
  • God's faithfulness (vv7&11) - A summary of verse 1 and used as a refrain, to remind us of how God will never leave His people - us!
  • Our need to acknowledge the authority of God (v10) - I know I often rush into things without thinking whether God would approve or not of my decisions. I think we all have a tendancy to do that sometimes. I also know I forget about God in my life and sometimes go my own way, instead of my Saviour's. As we now live in Christ, we need to put Him before all things and ask for His guidance and help in our lives. In our busy and noisy culture, we need times of silence so we can focus on the character of God and meditate on his words (Psalm 1). As he is the most important thing in our lives, we need to be reminded of Him throughout.

If we do that and ask for His help to be more like Him, people will notice that we are different. We will be able to reach out to people, with the Holy Spirit's help, and God will be praised and exalted by us and others as many more turn to Him.

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