Our Refuge and Strength (7)
Opening Prayer: Psalm 46.1-3
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
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; meditate on Psalm 46.6-11
1. From what did the sons of Korah derive comfort and help?
2. What are we to behold, and what are we to know?
The emphasis in this psalm is clear: God is with us (vv. 1, 5, 7, 11). The phrase “with us” in the Hebrew is עִמָּ֑נוּ, immanu. Add the Hebrew word for “God” to this prepositional phrase and you end up with Immanuel. The LORD of hosts is Immanuel. He is more powerful than the quaking earth (v. 2), raging floods (v. 3), warring nations (vv. 6, 8, 9), and everything else. He refreshes His city with living water (v. 4; cf. Jn. 4.10-14; 7.37-39) and fills His people with gladness.
He is our very present Help (v. 1) right smack in our midst (v. 5); He is the “With-us LORD” (vv. 7, 11). No wonder the sons of Korah could say, “Therefore we will not fear” (v. 2).
The mood of this psalm is confident and glad (vv. 2, 4), yet quiet and restful (v. 10). Reviewing the works of God, rehearsing His unfailing promises, entering His always-at-hand Presence, knowing Him as Immanuel, and defying every conceivable trouble in His Name – these are the great blessings that accrue to all the children of the Lord.
As those youngsters sang this song in the temple in Jerusalem, we can imagine the faithful weeping with joy, brimming with gladness, clapping in rhythm, and being emboldened in their faith. Their mighty fortress and God, Who ruled from heaven and dwelled in their temple, was Immanuel, God with them. And the experience of this was a source of hope, peace, and joy for all who believed.
Just as it is for us who know Immanuel is with us always, just as He promised (Matt. 1.22, 23; 28.20).
Treasure Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
God in the midst.
When you think about it, our God, the Creator of everything and everyone, declares that He is with us.
Not win or tie, but always. Even on the days that we lose.
Then He sent us His Son Jesus to be with us in human form. In the midst of the people.
And then, the ultimate With Us, the Holy Spirt.
He has made every effort to always be there for us through the:
Sovereign Creator Father,
Holy and only begotten Son,
and ever-present, omnipotent Holy Spirit.
Paul sums up this miracle of grace, and then adds our calling from the Triune Immanuel: “…pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. Amen” (I Tim. 6.11-16).
God. In our midst. Immanuel.
1. Why does knowing that God is Immanuel deliver us from fear?
2. What do we need to do to realize Immanuel’s Presence with us?
3. What is your calling in life? How should knowing that Immanuel is present with you help you to fulfill your calling in life?
Let us pray for the speedy approach of these glorious days, and in silent submission let us worship and trust in our almighty Sovereign. Let all believers triumph in this, that the Lord of hosts, the God of Jacob, has been, is, and will be with us; and will be our Refuge. Mark this, take the comfort, and say, If God be for us, who can be against us? With this, through life and in death, let us answer every fear. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Psalm 46.6-11
Closing Prayer: Psalm 46.6-11
Pray for the nations and peoples of the world, that they might come to know Immanuel and rejoice in His forgiveness and peace
Sing Psalm 46.6-11
(St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Known Thee As We Ought)
Kingdoms arise and rage and roar, threat’ning the earth with sore distress.
Nations may fall, earth melt away, His Word is yet our hope and stay.
God is among us, ever to bless; He is our stronghold evermore.
Come see the works of God’s Right Hand! He breaks the nations of the earth,
shatters their foolish weapons and pride, sets all their sinful strength aside.
Them He will show His infinite worth as they before His judgment stand.
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
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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.