If we take a quick snapshot of the trouble around the world today, we read in the headlines of terrorism in Afghanistan. Recently, suicide bombers killed 13 U.S. military members and as a result, Gold Star families are seen weeping on live television over the loss of their children.
As I write this, people around the world are battling the coronavirus and struggling with serious sickness. Over the last year and a half, we have heard countless stories of lockdowns and individual rights being infringed upon by some local and federal governments.
We see hurricanes. Ida has recently hit the gulf coast and of course on that same day 16 years ago, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
If you look into our specific section of the snapshot, within our own church, people are facing trouble of various types. Many of our church folks have been praying for a godly lady in our church as she faces liver transplant surgery. Others have recently lost a loved one to death, and their heart is grieving.
Some in our congregation have struggled financially due to a loss of employment. Now feelings of financial insecurity overwhelm their soul.
Psalm 46 is a song of strength in a world full of trouble.
So much of what we’re facing today is the same type of thing that the Psalmist was facing in his day.
In light of today’s troubles, consider the timelessly relevant help that God provides in Psalm 46.
Notice how the Psalmist describes God, trouble, gladness, power and then God Himself prescribes solutions to the troubles we face.
1. Describing God (vs 1)
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)
Consider how the Psalmist describes God. He explains that God is “refuge and strength, a very present help…”
The word “refuge” is the idea of shelter, but the word also means fortress. As our refuge, He’s not just a rickety tin roof that keeps you out of the rain but could blow off with a strong gust of wind. He’s more than that. He is our fortress. As our refuge, He is a robust shelter, a solid fortress.
“Strength” in this text is not just strong, but the strongest. Specifically, in our weakness, He is “our strength.” It’s relational. We can depend on Him because He is “our strength.”
Further, God is “very present help.” He is help. In times of trouble, the psalmist says you can cry out to God as your help.
But, He’s not just help; He’s “present help.”
When you need help, in most cases, you want someone present with you. God is “present help.”
But, He is not present in that He is in the same house with you but staying in the room down the hall. No! He is “very present help.”
He is right next to you, in the same room where you are. You can identify His presence, and benefit from His help immediately.
“The Lord of hosts is with us” (vs 7 & 11).
“Therefore,” (vs 2) or with the understanding that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, now we know that we have nothing to fear! (vs 2)
Now that this song of strength has reminded us who God is, we are much better prepared to face trouble.
2. Describing Trouble (vs 2-3)
“Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.” (Psalm 46:2-3)
What if “the earth be removed”?
What if “the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea”?
What if “the waters thereof roar and be troubled”?
By the way, why would the waters thereof roar and be troubled as described in verse 3? Because in verse 2 the mountains were just carried and dropped into the midst of the sea!
What if “the mountains shake with the swelling thereof”? (This is a reference to earthquakes).
Even if these things happen, the Psalmist is saying, “No need to be alarmed. We have nothing to fear.” Why? Because again, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And as a result, the realization of those amazing truths brings gladness into this song of strength.
3. Describing Gladness (vs 4-5)
“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” (Psalm 46:4-5)
Verses four and five are contrasting verses to two and three. Trouble is described in two and three, while gladness is pictured in four and five. Specifically, a glad city. The refreshing waters and the peaceful stream bring glad thoughts as the Psalmist describes the “city of God.” The most comforting element of that city is that “God is in the midst of her.” Interestingly the most beautiful aspect of heaven is not the golden streets or the gates