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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. 2 Therefore we will not be afraid, though the earth trembles and the mountains topple into the depths of the seas, 3 though its water roars and foams and the mountains quake with its turmoil.

4 There is a river— its streams delight the city of God, the holy dwelling place of the Most High. 5 God is within her; she will not be toppled. God will help her when the morning dawns. 6 Nations rage, kingdoms topple; the earth melts when he lifts his voice. 7 The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

8 Come, see the works of the Lord, who brings devastation on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease throughout the earth. He shatters bows and cuts spears to pieces; he sets wagons ablaze. 10 “Stop your fighting, and know that I am God, exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.” 11 The Lord of Armies is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

The Original Intent

1) What is the significance of having God as our refuge and strength?

The specific background and occasion of this Psalm are not known, however the author is clearly familiar with battle and war, which was not an uncommon scenario for God’s people.  

From the opening line of, “God is our refuge and strength…” (verse 1) to the very last words, “…the God of Jacob is our stronghold,” (verse 11), the psalmist outlines the benefits of having God on the side of His people during struggles.  

This part of Scripture acknowledges that the battles being fought were both real and difficult, and that the circumstances may have felt out of control.  However, the author comforts God’s people by reminding them that the One who created and is in control of it all is for them.  

As their Refuge.  
God will give them rest when they are battle weary.  

As their Strength.  God will help them to endure the battle.  

As their Stronghold.  God will give them a safe place from which to fight.

The Everyday Application

1) What is the significance of having God as our refuge and strength?

“It is said of Luther that, when he heard any discouraging news, he would say, Come let us sing the forty-sixth psalm.,” (Matthew Henry Complete Commentary).

This psalm is meant to lift us in our darkest of times, to give us hope for the morning.  Let the reality of these promises sink deep into your soul – God is your refuge, your strength, and your stronghold – not accessible only for those who do the right things, wear the right clothes, go to the right places, say the right things, or “feel” close to God.  

No…He is those things for every imperfect and struggling one of us.  
You too

When your world feels out of control, where do you seek to find stability and strength for the fight?  Do you turn to the One who can offer you what you need, or do you instead turn to counterfeits that will always fail you in the end?

The Original Intent

2) How is God my helper – doesn’t that seem “beneath” him?

God’s people needed a reminder that He is “…a helper who is always found in times of trouble,” (verse 1).  

His presence would not forsake them.  He would be at their side.  No circumstance would be beyond His reach.  Not only is God present, but He willingly offers up His help. 

He doesn’t passively watch what is happening while they fight, but instead intervenes and works on behalf of His children.  Our finite, earthly problems are not too small or insignificant for the God of the universe. 

Not only that, the author also reminds His people that, “...God will help [them] when the morning dawns,” (verse 5).  What the psalmist emphasizes is that God’s timing is perfect.  While He is always there and present for His people, His tangible help for them comes when He determines the time is right.  

He wants His people to have confidence in the fact that His help will come, without question, and faith to know that He will offer it when He knows it will be best.

The Everyday Application

2) How is God my helper – doesn’t that seem “beneath” him?

“I don’t want to BE a helper, I want to have one!”  This is one of my favorite quotes from a friend, related to a wife’s role in marriage. Her statement was funny, yet it captures well the sentiments that can hide in the depths of our hearts.  

We often look at someone who simply “helps” as beneath us – less than and unimportant; so, imagining God with that role can feel a little bit…well, wrong.  But when we do that we cheapen how God actually feels about us!  

We can be tempted to handle things on our own, so as to not bother Him with things too insignificant.  Yet, that is not what God has asked us to do.  He invites us to extend what we have received from Him to others in our lives to help them (2 Corinthians 1:4).

Think about the people He has placed in your world.  Who needs help right now?  What experiences or gifts has God given to you that could be leveraged for the benefit of someone around you who is facing battle?  How can you offer that help on behalf of God as a source of encouragement and strength?

The Original Intent

3) What do we need to know when we are fighting a battle?

The psalmist wants those who hear these words to know the truth.  The reality of their struggles – crushing fears, roaring waters, quaking mountains, trembling earth, toppling mountains – is part of life.  

Even God’s chosen people cannot avoid the battle. 

However, the author also wants them to know that the battle is not theirs to fight.  God specifically addresses His people and says, “stop your fighting, and know that I am God,” (verse 10).

He promises to make the wars cease.  

And when He fights on our behalf, He becomes the center of the story, instead of His people taking the glory for the work of His hands, and His hands alone.

The Everyday Application

3) What do we need to know when we are fighting a battle?

First, God wants to fight for you.  All He asks is that you stop trying to manage and deal with it on your own.   He is asking you to allow your strength to come directly from Him, through prayer, scripture reading, and biblical community.

On the surface, the ask He makes of us seems simple.  But when it comes to living out the command, it can feel impossibly hard.  Our struggle to surrender control is always just under the surface as we attempt to be our own gods.  But just as the hymn A Mighty Fortress ends, we are wise to remember WHO, exactly, fights for us when we let Him:

Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing:

The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

The “right Man” is none other than Jesus.  And at a simple word, His victory is sure.  Rest in that truth. Allow Him to fight your battles.

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Nancy Richards
Nancy Richards
6 years ago

2 Corinthians 4:16 basically sums up Psalm 46. From a literary, personal, bio-medical, psychodynamic-inner healing approach, set in the environkent of social, and cultural context The Psalmist has exemplararily modeled a personal healing experience. It is my understanding that the Psalms were Davids own heartfelt prayers ot anguish, desperation, grief and sorrow during times at war. As well as praise, song and a poetic dance in times of celebration, triumph and victory. In order to bring this psalm into a literal poetic interpretation of a personal healing. I have applied other scriptires and learned and experiential knowledge, specifically to this… Read more »

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