Scripture

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the Lord has done,
    the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
    to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
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.”

11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Reflection

I often use this psalm in funeral messages. It serves as a reminder to those of us who remain when a loved one departs, that God is still our refuge in times of deep pain. The Psalmist is bold about this assertion. God is dependable, even when all seems lost. We all have fears, but the writer tells us we can lay aside all fears, even when it appears that all of creation is falling apart. The reference to the “city of God” is an allusion to Jerusalem, or Zion, seen as the center of God’s kingdom in the time of this writing. Imagine the nations battling, war raging all around, but the Temple in Jerusalem remains a fortress of refuge for all of God’s people. In times of distress and chaos, God provides a refuge, protection from all that threatens.

 

Verse 10, a popular verse oft-quoted, points to the peace that comes from knowing and experiencing God as the true King, the savior of the world. Though war rages, nations fall, and creation seems in chaos, “God is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in times of trouble.” Pausing to remember this, in the midst of the chaos, provides assurance and peace. When we are in troubling times, it may be hard to pause long enough to think. But that is what the Psalmist reminds us to do. Be still, and know that God is still God.

 

Do you struggle to be still in the midst of difficulty? 

Prayer

Dear Lord, teach me to hear, lead me to see and guide me to heed your words. Let these words from the Psalms infuse my soul. I trust you, Oh Holy One. I submit fully to your will for my life. Lead me on the path of righteousness and forgive me for the ways I fail. May your grace be born anew in me each day. Amen.