The power and ability to face life's most difficult circumstances and challenges are found in God alone. He is our refuge and our strength.
Psalm 46 v1-11
In this well known Psalm we are going to focus on 3 specific verses.
In verse 1 we are reminded that the power and ability to face life’s most difficult circumstances and challenges are found in God alone. It is He that is a ‘refuge’, He that is our ‘strength’, He that is ‘ever-present’. Most of us agree with these sentiments, we believe what the verse says to us; yet only those of us who have experienced God’s saving presence in the most desperate of situations really KNOW that these words are true!
‘God is our refuge’- He is a safe place in a storm, a strong tower when chaos reigns, a shelter from danger, comfort when distressed.
‘God is our …strength’ – He is the power to overcome evil, the endurance to keep on going, the perseverance to defeat obstacles in our way.
‘God is an ever-present help in times of trouble.’ – His power and presence are enough for us to handle any situation! And how do we know God is ever-present? Firstly, He promised! Secondly, He sent Jesus- Immanuel-God with us. Thirdly, His Holy Spirit lives in us!
In verse 4 we read that ‘There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God’. God’s river is the flow of His grace, inspiration, love and power, working in and through His people. It’s described as flowing from His throne and constantly refreshing His people in earth. It’s this flow that brings blessing, and fruitfulness, and restoration. The purpose of the divine river is to bring life- like a rainfall in a parched and dry land. The city of Jerusalem didn’t have a river-its water supply was outside the city walls, and so water was a cherished resource. Isaiah used the metaphor of living water-flowing from a perennial and fresh source- to point forward to the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus used the same picture about himself. In a time of drought you either die or your roots find deep water to sustain you!
In verse 10 we are told to ‘Be still and know that I am God’. The Hebrew wording here really means ‘Enough!’ ‘Stop!’ ‘Let Go!’ ‘Quit Holding On!’ Too often our version of this verse is something like ‘ Be as busy as we can, do as much stuff as we can, and try to get God’s attention whilst we are doing it’.
This verse is an instruction-to let go of the things that weigh us down, that distract us, that stop us from honouring God and giving Him proper place. It’s a distinct command to stop doing something in order to benefit from something else!
In other words if we can’t ‘be still and know’ we miss out on ‘refuge and strength’ and on ‘a river whose streams make glad’.