God Our Refuge and Strength

During our time in the mid-west we were well acquainted with the tornado sirens. These warning sirens blew when the weather services determined that there was a tornado somewhere in the area. When these sirens went off we knew it was time to move to safety. That usually meant to the basement into a corner. That solid part of the house became our place of security … our refuge in time of trouble.

Psalm 46, our text for Sunday, is a Psalm of trust in the midst of danger. The historical background is possibly God’s deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians in the time of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18–19; 2 Chron. 32; Isa. 36–37). But of this we are not certain, nor should we be. Great Lutheran scholar H. C. Leupold, wrote, “Few psalms breathe the spirit of sturdy confidence in the Lord in the midst of very real dangers as strongly as does this one.” Leupold’s point is that no matter what danger or trouble we find ourselves in, the focal point of our strength is our confidence and trust in the Lord. In this Psalm we learn, through the use of metaphors and word pictures what our God is really like.

One of my favourite preachers and teachers is a man by the name of Mike Fabarez. At his church in Southern California they have a series of 8 Distinctives that govern their ministry. Number three is “We Seek to Maintain a High View of God.” They explain this distinctive as follows:

In a day when many have attempted to reduce God to be their spiritual therapist, it is important for us to remember that God, our Creator, is the highly exalted, transcendent, King of all things. We cannot afford to think less of God than he really is. We dare not respond to him as merely our comfortable friend and fail to worship him as our Sovereign Lord.

How important it is for us to have our lives, even when fraught with dangers, governed by an understanding of and a submission to our God. Not a god as we would have him, but rather the God of the Bible.

Job said out of the depths of his sorrow, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” (Job 13:15). David could state in his time of anguish “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” (Psalm 23:4) In Psalm 46 the Psalmist could proclaim “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 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.” (46:1-3) Paul could say triumphantly, “38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

Therefore, if we are doubting, feeling afraid or sorrowful, in the face of all we know about the God of all comfort, can we not realize with Job, David, Paul, and the saints of all ages, that nothing else is needed to quiet all your fears but that God is?

See You Sunday,

Pastor Byron