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Mighty to Save

God is our refuge and strength. Psalm 46.1-3

Our Refuge and Strength (2)

Opening Prayer: Psalm 46.1
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

Sing Psalm 46.1-3
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
God is our refuge and our strength; He is our help in times of need.
Thus though the earth beneath us should change, the sea consume the mountain range;
waters may roar with raging speed; yet God will rescue us at length.

Read Psalm 46.1-3

Preparation
1. What attribute of the king do the psalmists focus on here?

2. What happens because of this?

Meditation
It’s a good thing to teach children, while they are very young, that they can flee to God and take refuge in Him whenever they are afraid (cf. Ps. 56.3, 4). If we learn that lesson early on, we will not allow anything to deflect us from trusting in the Lord, for we will always find Him to be a very present help, whatever trouble may threaten to engulf us.

Here the psalmists posit a worst-case scenario: the sea rising so that it overflows and engulfs the mountains. And since water always seeks its own level, whatever was beneath the mountains would be consumed as well. The scene is reminiscent of Noah and the flood (Gen. 6-9). Then, the water indeed rose to cover all the mountains, and every living thing and person as well. Except for those who took refuge in the ark Noah and his sons had built. That ark was the mighty fortress Noah and his family needed at that time. God is our mighty refuge and strength always.

God is indeed “A Mighty Fortress” for those who flee to Him in their times of trouble. By resting our hope in Him and drawing on the promises of His Word, we find grace and mercy for all our times of need (Heb. 4.12, 16). Knowing this, that God is always present to rescue and lift us above our troubles, we have nothing to fear. We can rejoice in the Lord, give Him thanks and praise, and hold fast to His promises as we press on through whatever comes our way.

Hearing children sing about God as their refuge, strength, and very present help would have encouraged adults to have such faith as well. We can likewise be encouraged, and encourage one another, in the face of all our trials and troubles, that our Lord Jesus has promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age (Matt. 28.20). And He is mighty to save.

Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
To whom else would we go? He, and only He, has the words of eternal life (Jn. 6.68).

The psalmists, David, Habakkuk and Paul all posit worst-case scenarios that each resolve themselves in God. David asks:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your Presence?”
David answers that heaven, hell, the uttermost parts of the sea, and the darkness are no match for the very present help of the LORD. (Ps. 139.7-12) Mighty to save.

Habakkuk offers up this litany of defeated woes: “Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Hab. 3.17, 18). Mighty to save.

And Paul writes up another list of questionable problems: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” And he concludes that: “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Rom. 8.35, 37). Mighty to save.

Paul, then, offers the same hope that the children sing about in Psalm 46: “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8.38, 39).

He is mighty to save! Always has been, always is, and always will be!

Reflection
1. What does it mean to you to know that our God is mighty to save?

2. How would you counsel a troubled believer to take refuge in the Lord?

3. How can believers encourage one another to keep trusting in God as their refuge and strength?

There are many kinds of tribulation, and in all of them we must seek refuge in God, whether the trouble concerns our income, our bodily health, some danger threatening those we love or something we need to support our life. Whatever it is, there should be no refuge for a Christian other than our Savior. He is God, and when we flee to him, we are strong. Augustine (354-430), Expositions of the Psalms 46.3

Closing Prayer: Psalm 46.10, 11
Take refuge in God, and rest in Him for the day ahead. Look to Him for strength for all you have to do today, and remember to thank and praise Him throughout the day for being your very present help.

Sing Psalm 46.10, 11
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
Rest in the Lord and be at peace, all who are mired in sore travail:
Lift up our God, praise Jesus our Lord; proclaim to all the earth His Word!
God is our stronghold, never to fail: thus may our hope and joy increase!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can listen to our summary of last week’s study by clicking here.

Free Christmas Gifts
Luther’s great hymn can strengthen our faith, but only as we sing it understanding what he, following the sons of Korah, intended. Our book, A Mighty Fortress, walks through each stanza of Luther’s hymn to reveal the powerful testimony this song provides. Order your free copy by clicking here. Order several copies and give them to friends for Christmas.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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