God is our refuge and strength Psalms 46 and 47

Many theologians link Psalms 46 and 47 and also Psalm 48 with the suggestion of an annual ritual drama performed in the temple. They think it was part of a celebration of the Lord’s kingship over all the earth (like Ascension Day, cf. 47:5). Whatever the original setting and use of these Psalms, they call God’s people to put our trust in God.
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

These two Psalms give us a number of reasons why we should put our trust in God.
God is Creator of all things
46 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
46 8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
Because God is creator and sustainer of all things we need not fear natural disasters
46 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
Even if the whole earth should come to an end, God is in control!

God is also the Ruler over all the nations
46 8 Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
47 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.
8 God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.
9 The nobles of the nations assemble as the people of the God of Abraham,
for the kings of the earth belong to God; he is greatly exalted.

So God’s people do not need to fear anything that other people can do to us because God is Sovereign over all nations
PSALM 47 1 Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.
2 For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.

46 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

God has made his chosen people into a great nation
47 2 For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
3 He subdued nations under us, peoples under our feet.
4 He chose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, whom he loved.

God is always working out his cosmic masterplan of salvation through his chosen people. We are never alone. God will never fail us or forsake us or abandon us.
God is always right there in the midst of his chosen people.
46 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
46 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
46 7 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

So God is Creator and Sustainer. God is Sovereign King over all the nations. God has created his chosen people and He is always in their midst. They do not need to be afraid because he will always protect them.
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
NLT God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
Message: God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him.
We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in sea-storm and earthquake,
Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, GOD-of-Angel-Armies protects us.

And here is the message which is so important it is repeated again at the end of Psalm 46
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

So how do God’s people come to experience these blessings from God? Psalm 46:10 is probably one of the best known verses from the Psalms, if not from the whole of the Old Testament.
Psalm 46:10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’

What a wonderful reassurance that whatever is happening right now, God will ultimately be exalted throughout the earth. As the New Living Translation puts it,
Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”

In this very familiar verse, one of the strange things about Hebrew is that it is sometimes difficult to know whether a verb is in the future tense or the present tense. So the New Revised Standard Version translates the verse like this.
‘Be still, and know that I am God; I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.”
So that translation gives the reminder that God is ALREADY exalted all over the earth and among all the nations. That is not something God will accomplish one day. It is already the case. God is on the Throne. He is highly exalted, here and now and everywhere and for all time.
And if God’s people want to come to experience the blessings of this exalted God in their midst, they only need to do one simple thing. Be still.
Be still and know that I am God.
The Good News Bible brings out the point.
10 “Stop fighting,” (God) says, “and know that I am God, supreme among the nations,
supreme over the world.”

Stop trying to find human solutions to all your problems. Just trust in God.
The Message puts it this way.
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
Just be still! That isn’t the first time God has called upon his people just to trust him. On the edge of the Red Sea, with the Egyptian armies bearing down upon them, we read
Exodus 14 13 Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still’
Centuries later the nation of Judah would face invasion and God put his Spirit on a prophet who you have probably never heard of called Jahaziel. This was his message to the King and the people.
2 Chronicles 20 15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ ”
Be still and know that I am God. Stop your fighting and just trust me! In a few moments we are going to do exactly that as we spend some time reflecting on these Psalms. But as we come to that time of meditation let me ask this question. How still have we been in this time of lockdown? Have we really been trusting in God to see us through these months? Or have we been trying to cope in our own strength? Have we been trusting in God to keep us safe? Or have we really been trusting in washing our hands and keeping social distancing and hand sanitiser? Have we been relying on God to provide for all our needs? Or have we been relying on our savings and our bank balance? Have we really been depending on God to be our refuge and our strength and our helper?
Be still and know that I am God!

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