When we think about the psalms, the one that often comes to mind is the 23rd psalm. It is beautiful and reprinted often today. But in the time known as the Reformation in Europe, Psalm 46 held at least as important a place. When the Reformation began, Martin Luther wrote that the one psalm that sustained him the most was Psalm 46. He took those words and wrote the stirring battle-hymn of Christianity – “A Mighty Fortress is Our God”.
Psalm 46 can be a true source of comfort and reassurance in life. The Psalmist wrote in verses 1-3, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 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”.
Today, it seems that problems, dangers, and trouble keep increasing. The fact that just about every generation has felt the same is small comfort. Some people speak of their future or the future of this nation, with despair. But as we read, accept, and BELIEVE the message in the first three verses of Psalm 46, much of the uncertainty should disappear.
The popular attitude today is that “I can do it myself. I don’t need help!” Sometimes, that is true. There are tasks and responsibilities in day to day living that people should accept and complete. The New Testament clearly teaches that people should work to take care of themselves, their families, and others in need. But… the foundation of life must be a love for the Lord, and a commitment to follow His teachings. With all of the problems that occur, especially those BIG problems, the only source of help is the Lord.
For most people in the world, the ultimate fear is death. Death is the great unknown. It is a reality that most people want to avoid. Death is seen as an ending of everything that is important, and it also brings up the idea of judgment. However, for those in the Lord, there should be no fear. As we know, for a Christian, physical death is simply going from this life to a home that is literally beyond description. With the Lord, all pain, tears, suffering will be gone forever! No wonder the psalmist could write, “Therefore we will not fear…”
Notice again the words in verse 1. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” It is good to look to the future hope that all Christians have in Jesus Christ, but there is also the promise of help today – now. Through prayer and faith in the Lord, God can, and will help us with the daily problems and aggravations of life. Often, the situation a person is in cannot be changed, but how that situation is viewed and handled can be changed – through the Lord. Remember, many early Christians were slaves! They did not get time off for vacation; there was no freedom of religion, no personal liberties. They were property to be bought, sold, abused, or killed. Yet, these brothers and sisters in Christ grew in their faith in spite of their conditions.
In verses 4 and 5, the psalmist wrote, “4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.” Now, listen to the next two passages, “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.” The picture here is of peace and security in the Lord, but turmoil and dismay for those outside of the Lord.
One of the secrets of finding that inner peace is found in verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God…” People live at such a frantic pace today that they rarely take time to think about where they are heading. When the pressures of life bear down, they rush around even faster. But the solution to dealing with life involves just the opposite reaction. When trouble hits, STOP for a few moments and KNOW that the Lord is there. Alone, we cannot handle life, but a few moments of quiet reflection upon what the Lord has done, and is doing, will help to restore the peace that can be within each Christian.
Obviously, Christians live in the world and are affected by the problems of the world. In addition, all Christians struggle with the sinful nature within. But within each person’s spirit, soul, and mind, there can be peace and security in the Lord. Psalm 46 does not say that there will be no problems. Rather, the message is that there IS a refuge when the problems arise. That refuge is the promise and peace of the Lord.
Yes, we can echo the closing words of the psalm, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Thank you Lord for Your refuge and security.