Psalm 46 -

God is Our Refuge

For the director of music.

Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.

1God is our refuge and strength,

an ever-present help in trouble.

2Therefore we will not fear,

though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

3Though its waters roar and foam

and the mountains quake

with their surging. Selah

4There is a river whose streams

make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

5God is within her, she will not fall;

God will help her at break of day.

6Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;

He lifts His voice, the earth melts.

7The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

8Come and see the works of the Lord,

the desolations He has brought on the earth.

9He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear,

He burns the shields 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."

11The Lord Almighty is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

In this world of doubt and uncertainty, of turmoil and travails, we all need a refuge. This psalm proclaims: "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (vs. 1). As our "refuge", our God is our "only, impregnable, accessible, delightful place of retreat." As our "strength", our God is "all-sufficient, unconquerable, honorable, and emboldening." As our "ever-present help", our God is "ever-near, sympathizing, faithful, real, and potent." [Spurgeon, 350].

The fact that God is our "refuge" should provoke a response in our lives. The Psalmist suggests we should make a resolution: "Therefore we will not fear" (vs. 2). Our lives should reflect that God is our "refuge and strength". The test of our faith that God is our "refuge and strength" is the amount of fear that we have. Do you fear circumstances around you? Do you fear the future? Do you fear death? Faith in God as a loving Father should drive this fear away. "Nothing can guard the heart of Godís people against the terror of possible, or imminent troubles, save faith in God" [Dickson, 266]. The Psalmist tells us we should not fear even the direst of circumstances: "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" (vss. 2-3).

After verse 3, the Psalmist places a "Selah". Most commentators believe that "Selah" was some sort of musical direction, most likely denoting a pause, or musical interlude. In this psalm, each section of the poem is followed by "Selah".

In the next section of the psalm, the blessings of those who have God as their refuge are described: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells" (vs. 4). The children of God have the privilege of bathing in the river of Godís blessings, the river of Godís grace, the fountain of life (see Ps. 36:8-9). "The streams of spiritual blessings flowing from God through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Ghost, make glad the city of God continually" [Plumer, 524]. "Divine grace like a smoothly flowing, fertilising, full, and never-failing river, yields refreshment and consolation to believers. This is the river of the water of life, of which the church above as well as the church below partakes evermore" [Spurgeon, 340].

The children of God dwell in the fortress of God, the city of God. God dwells with them, and so the safety of the children of God is sure: "God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day" (vs. 5). In time of war, the first shots of a battle are typically fired at break of day, but the children of God have nothing to fear with God as their fortress. Those of the world have no such security. In the world, there is turmoil: "Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall" (vs. 6). The Almighty God is in control: "He lifts His voice, the earth melts" (vs. 6). We need not fear: "The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress" (vs. 7).

The ability of God to be our refuge and fortress is demonstrated by His works: "Come and see the works of the Lord, 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" (vs. 8). Throughout the history of Israel, there have been many occasions when God has intervened militarily on behalf of His people. We ourselves can look at our own lives and recall instances of Godís intervention. We should make sure that our eyes are spiritually tuned to be able to recognize the work of the Lord in our lives, so that we will be strengthened in our faith, and so that we will have confidence that God is our refuge and fortress as we pass through times of trouble in the future.

The best way to improve our recognition of Godís work in our lives is to tune the world out, and spend time in quiet prayer and meditation. As the Lord exhorts: "Be still and know that I am God" (vs. 10). "Because men cannot understand where they are going, or what is their duty, so long as their passions are aloft, so long as their minds are tumultuous, busied about many things, and distracted from what is most necessary; it is good for people, from time to time, to gather in their straying thoughts, to silence their passions and perturbations, and humbly compose themselves for observation of whatsoever God requireth of them" [Dickson, 270].

The exhortation, "be still and know that I am God", is made for our good. God is God, and He lives and works, so it is to our benefit to know our God. Regardless of whether we seek to know Him, God tells us: "I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (vs. 10). It is for our good if we join in this exaltation of God. If we do, we can join with the people of God and dwell in the unconquerable fortress: "The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress" (vs. 11).

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