Today, Thursday April 13
“God Is Our Refuge and Strength”
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the 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 refuge. Selah”
Psalm 46 is a very well-known Psalm and is famous for being thought to be the inspiration and basis for Martin Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God.” The personal pronouns in 46 are plural (our, we, us), so this is a song for communal encouragement and worship. "Alamoth" means "young women" and is a musical direction we can't define. The emphasis in this psalm is on the presence of the Lord with His people (vv. 1, 5, 7, 11) and the difference it makes when we trust Him in the changes and difficulties of life.
The historical background is probably God's deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians in the time of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36-37). The dreaded Assyrian army had come marching out of the north, pushing southward through Syria into Israel and on south to Judah. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had been destroyed by King Sennacherib of Assyria, along with the other great cities of Syria. The outpost of Judah had also fallen. Now the great army of Assyria was surrounding the city of Jerusalem and Rabshakeh, King Sennacherib’s commander and spokesman, was demanding their surrender.
King Hezekiah first sought to appease this invading army by paying enormous tribute, but it didn’t work. Rabshakeh delivered a letter from King Sennacherib to King Hezekiah demanding that he open the gates of Jerusalem and submit to the Assyrian army. King Hezekiah took the letter into his bedroom and spread it out before the LORD and prayed for divine deliverance. God sent Isaiah the prophet to assure King Hezekiah that because he had prayed and put his trust in the LORD that God would fight on his behalf. So, Hezekiah refused to comply with the demand.
We know what happened next. Rabshakeh mocked and taunted Hezekiah and the Jews. Then God sent down an angel to deal with the besieging army. One angel, one night and 185,000 Assyrian were slain and their corpses laid on the ground around Jerusalem. And the mighty army was no more! It perished where it stood, and Jerusalem was saved. The jubilant city rang with hymns of thanksgiving and praise.
To commemorate the victory this hymn of praise was penned, perhaps by Hezekiah, perhaps by Isaiah, perhaps by an unknown poet laureate of Judah. But there is little doubt it was written to immortalize the triumph of the angel of the living God over the mighty army of the foe.
So great and glorious was the victory and so marvelous the deliverance that Jew and Christian alike have turned instinctively to Psalm 46 whenever disaster strikes, and it seems that all hope is lost. For this psalm assures us that God can handle, in His will, in His own good time and way, things which seem like total disasters to us.
May the Lord help us to put our trust in Him today, especially as we see the enemy coming in like a flood into our homes, our communities, and our great country! Remember the promise, “…When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).