Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Psalm 46

"God is our refuge and strength" (vs. 1-3)--This beautiful psalm is one of great encouragement; I've often read it at funerals and encouraged the downtrodden to read it. In times when our life is stormy, He is our refuge. He can provide strength. He is "very present" when we are in trouble. These are words of comfort, indeed. And because of this, there is no catastrophe so great that we cannot meet it. The earth being removed, etc. of verses 2 and 3 are hyperbolic. If there is no reason to fear the most awesome and frightening of calamities, then there is no reason to fear the relatively minor disturbances of our lives.

The city of God (vs. 4-7)--Rivers meant life in the ancient world, especially in a hot, desert climate where people scraped along to make a living by agricultural means. So the "city of God" has not only "a river" but also "streams," and they "make glad" (v. 4). God's holy place is there (v. 4) and He is in its midst. That city will "not be moved," and from the earliest moments of the day, "God shall help her" (v. 5). The wicked can rage all they want to, but all it takes for the earth to melt is the voice of God (v. 6). Again, He is "with us, our refuge” (v. 7).

"Behold the works of the Lord" (vs. 8-11)--The psalmist then counsels us to take the time to think on what the Lord has done. He can make "desolations" in the earth (v. 8), but also cause wars to cease (v. 9). This thought would be especially relevant to a small nation like Israel which was surrounded by cruel, heartless, pagan enemies. The Lord "will be exalted among the nations" (v. 10). He is the one, true God. The song ends with a repetition of verse 7: "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge" (v. 11).

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