Today I was searching my computer for a particular Bible study lesson I had done in the past when another old document simply titled Psalm 46 caught my eye.
Psalm 46:10 says “Be still, and know that I am God…”
This verse, along with Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” have been on the forefront of my suffering friend’s mind. But until I clicked on my document I had forgotten that this very same verse another friend clung to a couple years ago as she endured cancer. Because of its significance to her, I used the verse as the basis for a devotional time with a group of our friends who had traveled to run the Las Vegas marathon after she completed chemo.
In re-reading it today I found the message to be just what I needed. How thankful I am for God’s timeless, living Word! Through the Word, Jesus enters in and is the source and only true healer for our soul. I know many others out there are suffering now, too, so I hope you find Him to be your refuge as you take the time to read Psalm 46 and reflect on excepts from my original devotional…
Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come, behold the works of the Lord,how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”
The word REFUGE here is like a storm shelter, and VERY PRESENT translated from the Greek means concrete or solid. For those of us living in Oklahoma we know what the safety of a tornado shelter is like in the midst of a tornado. In some storms, it truly serves as the only hope of survival.
TROUBLE in this verse is the kind of trouble where your insides are bleeding out; you are about to die. So translating this first verse to layman’s terms it could be read as:
God is our tornado shelter, a concrete help in the very worst times you can imagine.
The passage’s next image is that of a cosmic flood… a world-wide tidal wave or tsunami flooding the earth. Even the mountains, typically a symbolic picture of strength, are being swallowed up.
This is de-creation – it’s threatening to undo all of creation. Sin, too, is a picture of decreation; it’s power holds this same strength. None of this is how it was in the garden; it is not how it’s supposed to be. But, this is the world we live in…a world of chaos, de-creation and sin.
In the passage the chaos continues…kingdoms and nations at war. From all angles there is stress and unrest… from the sin within us and the turmoil, sin and decreation outside of us. We don’t live in the “garden”!
But in this passage, “garden” imagery is used in contrast to the chaos. We are told that believers, the church, is the CITY OF GOD. And in this city, or garden if you will, is where God dwells, where His presence is. And the RIVER being a metaphor of blessing and restoration.
We are surrounded by a world in chaos, yet we have safety in His presence. An oasis, a garden setting, in the midst of the brokenness, suffering and pain. A place where His grace and mercy flows freely.
If you are tracking with what Psalm 46 is saying is that though we are surrounded by danger and trials of cosmic proportions, He is with us.
Therefore, Do Not Fear. Stop trying to change, manage and secure your own situations, circustances, reputation, relationships, health, safety.
Be still and know that I am God.
To BE STILL is to rest, to relax, to be at ease. It’s dropping your hands by your side and resting. Unloading your burdens.
Sounds great, right? Like “Don’t worry, be happy”? But how do you do that with all that is going on in our lives and all around us?
It is hard to not fear and to rest when we are constantly striving to control! We may say that Christ is ruler of our hearts and lives, but every time a new insecurity, a new fear, an anxious situation, a stressful relationship or circumstance pops up, we tend to kick God off his throne and try to again take control.
But we find no peace. We try harder, often sinking further in to fear, stress and depression. This continues to happen when anything other than the grace of God takes center stage. If we are controlled and ruled by fear, or controlled and ruled by our performance, insecurities, idols or situations; whatever it is other than God’s grace in our lives will keep us from being able to be still and rest.
God is surrounding the unbearable surrounding us.
Jesus faced the ultimate insecurity and judgement when God rejected His own son at the cross, so you wouldn’t be. God turned his back on His Son for you so you COULD have security, so you CAN stand in his grace. So you would have no condemnation or ever face His abandonment. It was His work, not yours that earns you grace. Understanding this is the only way you won’t fear and that you can Be Still.
As believers, we have the ultimate REFUGE and FORTRESS… so on those days when you are ruled by whatever it is, big or small, that is consuming your mind, or you are in a trial that leaves you paralyzed by fear, the only way you can BE STILL and NOT FEAR is to know there is a God who speaks peace in to chaos and that He is bigger than the biggest tsunami.
The Lord of Host, the ultimate Warrior, is with us. The God of Jacob, who has been faithful to His people throughout all generations is our FORTRESS.
When I gave this talk we were physically running (far), but running to his REST is the only place we will ever find real strength. I ended that day reminding the girls that though our friend who battled the cancer is a strong fighter, the reason she found peace in the midst of it was not of her own accord, it was because she found protection and rest in the only One who can give it.
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