~by Randy Bushey
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
So begins the beloved 46th psalm, a creation of the Sons of Korah.
This iconic opening line serves as a thunderous declaration of confidence in the power and Person of our God from psalmists writing almost 3 millennia ago.
And it was the biblical catalyst for Martin Luther’s Reformation hymn A Mighty Fortress is our God.
Notice the observation: the Lord has proven Himself to be Protector-refuge, an ever-reliable source of strength, and a constant Helper to His people.
Consequently, the rational choice based on His proven track record through all of history – the deliberate, thoughtful, trusting decision of the will – is to reject fear.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah (v.2,3).
The psalmists paint a chaotic maelstrom of collapsing earth, falling mountains, earthquake and tsunami. But still the determination has already been settled: no matter how threatening circumstances appear, their choice of faith in the Almighty will stand.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (v.6,7).
The psalmists also contrast the roaring, foaming, violently uncontrolled torrents with the river-streams of tranquility, refreshment, and holy peace of God’s presence.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall…(v.4,5).
Then this psalm envisions the coming kingdom of God after the nations roar and empires fall. The Voice that created with the words “let there be” is now abolishing, dismissing, melting:
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire (v.6,8,9),
In the face of fear and uncertainty, suffering and economic collapse, social isolation and insufficient healthcare, the Lord finally speaks:
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth (v.10).
And the psalmists conclude: The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah (v.11).
- graphic by Samantha Villagran, freeimages.com