So much is happening in our world right now: devastating wildfires, catastrophic flooding, social unrest, the war in Ukraine and the potential for it to expand in neighboring countries, the threat of North Korea, and the uncertainty of the future of our country. Then we also focus on what is happening in families: the impact on inflation, the influence of modern culture, the rise of anxiety and depression, the significant increase in the suicide rate, and the everyday stress issues that people face.
Indeed, our days are filled with uncertainty and anxiety. Fear abounds. So, how are believers to respond to the various challenges they face? Psalm 46:1-3 supplies the answer:
GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried to the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.
Verse 1 is a remarkable reminder for all of us when we struggle with fear.
The subject of verse 1 is “GOD.” Of course. That is where we start! Who is GOD?
· He is omnipotent (all powerful)
· He is omniscient (all knowing)
· He is omnipresent (all present)
· He is immutable (unchanging)
· He is eternal (forever)
· He is holy (totally different)
· He is imcomparable (unmatched).
GOD is the starting point for our fears.
Verse 2: (GOD) “is.” We have a linking verb. A linking verb is used to re-identify or describe its subject. The writer of this Psalm, King David, is about to describe to us what the subject of the sentence, GOD, is.
Verse 2: (GOD is) “our.” We have a personal pronoun, which indicates a personal relationship. The psalmist makes reference to himself and his readers, who have a personal relationship with GOD.
Verse 2 (GOD is our) “refuge.” Refuge is what GOD is to those of us who have a personal relationship with Him. A “refuge” is a place where you are safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble. Expositors Bible Commentary says: “He (GOD) is like a ‘refuge’ where one finds rest and asylum…The ‘refuge was an isolated, elevated place where people built a stronghold against the enemy.’”
Verse 2: (GOD is our refuge) “and.” “And” is a coordinating conjunction that joins two or more items of equal syntactic importance.
Verse 2: (GOD is our refuge and) “strength.” GOD provides us a safe place and the strength to withstand any fearful threat we might experience.
Verse 2: (GOD is our refuge and strength) “a very.” “Very” is used for emphasis: extremely, extraordinarily, Immensely, supremely, remarkably.
Verse 2: (GOD is our refuge and strength, a very) “present.” The psalmist means “right now!”
Verse 2 (GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present) “help.” GOD is a very present (right now) help in times of fear. G. Campbell Morgan said, “The secret of the confidence is the nearness of GOD.”
Verse 2 (GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help) “in trouble.”
So, whenever you experience fear, here is a reminder: GOD is your refuge and help, a very present help in trouble.
As a result of GOD being your refuge and help, a very present help in trouble, look at the outcome in verse 2-3:
Therefore we will not fear, 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.
In verse 2, the psalmist uses analogy to describe catastrophic events in our lives. So, what is he attempting to communicate to you and me?
Regardless of the dimensions and severity of the trouble that is arousing our fears, the prescription for our fears is the realization that GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Then the psalmist seeks to reinforce this truth with this remarkable and reassuring truth in verse 7: “The LORD of hosts is with us; The GOD of Jacob is our refuge.”
The answer to fear is faith. We believe with all our hearts that GOD is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Yes, indeed, the LORD of hosts is with us! The GOD is Jacob is our refuge!