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Simple Faith

Read Psalm 46 today... multiple times...

In this psalm, God is described in a couple of different ways: 1) A fortress or a protector and 2) A ruler... Too many times in my own personal life I have tried to move God out of the decision making role in my life because I believe that I have a better idea or a better grasp on the things that are happening. The thing is, what almost always happens is that I look back and see wreckage that could have been avoided had I simply followed what I knew to be God's will for my life. The reason I feel that way? Because we serve a God who has promised to protect us and defend us against the wiles or plans of the evil one... The one caveat being that we must follow His rule without question. Here in this psalm we see this played out as God is declared to be our fortress and our helper, but in the end of the psalm (v.10), the reader is reminded by God Himself to be still and know that He is God. Why trust an unknown future to a shaky decision maker? Why not put the unknown future in the hands of a known, powerful God?

Looking at each individual verse, we see a clearly defined message:

v.1 "God is our refuge and strength, a very present (or well proved) help in trouble." - The refuge part we like, the help in trouble part we like, but do not overlook the strength part. God is most assuredly our refuge and help, but He also expects us to rise up and fight. That strength given to us is not so that we can take up residence in the shadows and hope things turn out alright. We are commanded and expected to take up our sword and fight.

v.2 "Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea," - If these things literally happened, what would our response be? If we saw the mountains of the earth thrown into the sea and the earth around us began to break apart, what would we do? I put forth for your consideration that we would crumble just like that earth and just like those mountains. Yet, what we find is a word added for the one who takes God at his word - it is the word "not" - we will NOT fear even if those things happen!

v.3 "...though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling." - Even amidst the build up and eventual eruption, I am not going to fear. Even when nature itself is scared because of what is happening, I stand before you as one who takes refuge in God and sees things from His point of view.

v.4 "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High." - God is in full control of nature and remains that role until He determines to give it up. What a beautiful thought that even nature is striving to make God happy. As Jesus told the Pharisees, "...if these were silent, the very stones would cry out." (Luke 19:40)

v.5 "God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns." - In cities all over the world, there is a tremendous desire and hope for peace and tranquility. The most peaceful city in the world would be one where God is in its midst and there is a knowledge that God will help that city day in and day out.

v.6 "The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; He utters His voice, the earth melts." - Kingdoms of men will collapse under the weight of deception, greed, selfishness, and desire. Even an earthly kingdom built on spiritual principles will suffer loss due to our mortality. Ultimately, the only kingdom that lasts eternally is the one built by the being who can speak and the entire earth melts. God, our fortress and protector, is also the architect of an everlasting kingdom.

v.7 "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." - A declarative statement that can only be spoken by those with deep, abiding faith. This is a challenge to every reader to be in a place in their life where they can say that with as much confidence as the psalmist.

v.8 "Come, behold the works of the Lord, how He has brought desolations on the earth." - For those of us who may seek proof or a sign... let this be an attention-getter verse. Our God is merciful, loving, and forgiving, but do not lose sight of His jealousy.

v.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." - And even with the understanding of who God is, what He is capable of, and the unattainable power He has, the psalmist is quick to remind the read that God desires peace.

v.10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" - Power personified... God did not, is not, nor will not wait for us to wake up to the realization that He is who He says He is. God will be glorified and exalted whether we are on board or not.

v.11 "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." - Closing with a repeated phrase, the psalmist ties up all loose ends with the final vision of God as a fortress and as a protector throughout all of our days.

May we search the Scriptures and refuse to be complacent.

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