34 Psalms In 34 Days: Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, 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 fortress.

– Psalm 46

The first two lines of this psalm are what struck me today.   It was vital for God’s people to remember that Jerusalem’s walls could provide only a limited amount of refuge.   Regardless of how many soldiers they could muster, human strength would eventually fail.   Surrounding nations might promise help in times of trouble, but treacherous betrayal so often walks hand-in-hand with lofty political promises.   These are lessons the descendants of Abraham were forced to learn the hard way on more than one occasion.

And so where do you turn?   “God” is the psalmist’s answer.   He is our refuge.   He is our strength.   He is a very present help in trouble.   I take great comfort in the two words attached by the Spirit of God to the word “help.”

  • Very. To a high degree.   Extremely.   Exceedingly.   Precise.   Particular.   Actual.   True.   Genuine.   Legitimate.   God is legitimate in times of trouble.
  • Present. Existing.   Current.   Immediate.   At the very moment.   Actually here.   The ESV adds the alternate translation, “well proved” in its footnotes.   And isn’t that the message of his book?   Throughout thousands of years of human history, God is a well proved, existing, present help in trouble.

It may be that you must retreat from some person, situation, or temptation today in order to maintain your integrity and control your emotions.   Remember that he is the only dependable refuge.

Intense spiritual warfare may very well land uninvited on your doorstep at some point today.   Remember that he is the only source of pure and holy strength.   “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10).

Between now and then, rejoice and be glad that the LORD of hosts is with us.   The God of Jacob is our fortress.