Weekday Devotion: Psalm 46

A continuing series of Psalm devotions for upcoming Sundays. These are written by Rev. Christopher Antonetti and adapted from The Psalms: A Devotional Commentary by C.M. Zorn.

Psalm 46

1      God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble. 
 2    Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, 
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 
 3    though its waters roar and foam, 
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

These are the words of a strong childlike faith. We are God’s children through faith in Christ Jesus. If we are in trouble or distress, where will we flee? We will flee to God, for he is our refuge and strength. What is a more basic or common fear than the destruction of this fallen earth? Landslides, earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes – we tremble at their awesome power. Yet our God is stronger. He is a refuge against all of them.

4    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High. 
 5    God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; 
God will help her when morning dawns. 
 6    The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; 
he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
 7    The Lord of hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Rivers flowed through the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:1) and will flow through the great city on the new earth when Jesus returns (Revelation 22:1-2). These streams are related to paradise. Even now, God’s stream flows through the church, the stream of forgiveness and grace, life and salvation. This stream is the gospel and the sacraments. Its source is the side of Christ on the cross and comes to us when we gather around God’s gifts in church. Therefore, the church is the “holy habitation of the most high.” We know that Jesus Christ is our Immanuel, he is “God with us” even now, giving his body and blood. Even as “nations rage and kingdoms totter” we will not fear, for the Lord, the mighty general of the heavenly armies, is with us for our God. While we may be drawn into the conflicts of the nations, we are ultimately safe in His care as in an impregnable fortress.

 8    Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth. 
 9    He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; 
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; 
he burns the chariots with fire. 
 10    “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 of hosts is with us; 
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

For all the desolations of the nations, the wars and conflicts, are still under God’s control. He determines the fates of the nations, and none will stand before Him. Since the tower of Babel, God has shown that no nation is so mighty that it can withstand Him. Where are the great empires of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Rome? Where is Holy Roman Empire, the Spanish, Ottoman, or British Empires? Where is the empire of the pope, who ruled Europe with frightful power? God has made these powerful empires fall, just as he prophesied in Daniel, Revelation, and elsewhere. The Lord will do this again whenever it suits his purpose. Therefore, nations, do not think yourselves so mighty! Christians, do not fear! “Be still, and know that I am God.” Among the devastation of the nations, the breaking of many weapons of war, God is our fortress, the Lord Almighty is with us.

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