Life's Seasons Speaks

Psalm 46 - God Is

March 27, 2022 with Jenny & Tina Episode 49
Life's Seasons Speaks
Psalm 46 - God Is
Show Notes Transcript

Soul Soothing Sunday Episode

Psalm 46 - God Is

Psalm 46 is all about the faithfulness of God in light of chaotic worldly events

The basic premise of the Psalm is:

Sometimes God calms the storm around us
But sometimes God let's the storm rage on and calms His children

It is to encourage and comfort us that God is in control

God does not always take away the trouble
But God is always with us through the trouble

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 5-year-old Johnny was in the kitchen as his mother made supper. She asked him to go into the pantry and get her a can of tomato soup, but he didn't want to go in alone. "It's dark in there and I'm scared." She asked again, and he persisted. Finally, she said, "It's OK--Jesus will be in there with you." Johnny walked hesitantly to the door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw it was dark, and started to leave when all at once an idea came, and he said: "Jesus, if you're in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?" I don’t know about you, but 5-year-olds aren’t the only one who get scared These last few years have been scary for all of us Covid-19, Police brutality, Racism, Hate Crimes, Indigenous Schools And now Russia and the Ukraine It seems our world is spinning out of control Or is it? Let me set the scene for the scripture this morning Sometimes the Lord calms the storm Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child Psalm 46 [2] Setting - Scholars: Ps 46 = the time Jerusalem was under attack Besieged by the Assyrian King Sennacherib It’s a time when Jerusalem is miraculously delivered God sends an angel who kills 185,000 Assyrians (2 Kings 19) The psalm was composed to remember this great victory Where God is exalted as the Great Warrior King And Supreme Ruler over the nation of Israel It was written for the Sons of Korah from the tribe of Levi They were a choir of Levitical priests in charge of leading worship Their choir leader would lead them and the worshippers in this song Psalm 46 was a regular part of the song set Purpose: remind worshippers of God’s power, faithfulness, and sovereignty And what better way to remember important events then with a song Music is such a powerful communicator – Twinkle, Twinkle little star The 16th Century reformer, Martin Luther, used this psalm to write a hymn And that hymn is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” 2 So, let’s take a closer look at this Psalm Verse 1 speaks of Israel’s Confidence (1) [3] GOD IS – dwell on that for a moment – GOD IS To go any further in this psalm a person needs to embrace these 2 words GOD IS It speaks of God’s existence, presence All that follows is completely meaningless if the first 2 words are questioned Faith would have no object Biblical promises would have no substance Hope would have no foundation BUT, if one has faith that GOD IS, the possibilities are endless And the impossible is nonexistent One angel overthrowing an army of 185,000 Assyrian soldiers All things are possible with God because they are! I want us to note the tense of the verb: God IS Not GOD was…not GOD will be…but is – now, present And it is not a passive existence God is always at work Jesus confirms this in John 5:17 when He says, “My Father is always at work…” I don’t know what you may be facing today Or what the headlines will be tomorrow But I know this: God IS; He is present When impossible events break into our lives or into our world GOD IS = TRUTH IS = you are never, ever alone God in not distant during difficult times God may not deliver us from the trouble But He is always with us through the trouble Israel’s Comfort (2 – 9) [4] Confidence will always create comfort When you are confident fear gives way to comfort That was Israel’s experience When their future was uncertain as the Assyrians were closing in Their comfort was God IS Now that wasn’t always the case If you look at Israel’s history God didn’t always rescue them Sometimes He did and sometimes He didn’t But when He doesn’t, does it really matter? 3 After all, if one’s confidence is GOD IS that’s enough, right? The next 7 verses resonate with comfort, assurance, and peace Even though they go back and forth between good and bad Verse 2 starts with the word therefore Therefore, we will not fear Confidence creates comfort which turns into courage As we continue, we must recognize the book of Psalms is poetry and song Poetry always uses symbolism and metaphor Understanding this helps us grasp what the song is all about Keep in mind Jerusalem’s battle with the Assyrians is the background of the Psalm Words like tumble, crash, shake and swell They are images that describe upheaval, turmoil, and confusion The image is that of an angry sea It’s a picture of the relationship between the nations of earth The interaction of these earthly nations looks like an angry sea Hmm…doesn’t that look like what’s happening among the nations of Europe? An out-of-control tsunami raging across eastern Europe specifically And affecting the entire globe as well! The images on the news are disturbing, devastating, heartbreaking And what about the phrase “swelling pride” Doesn’t that describe the emotion behind the attacks in Europe? Just a thought As we move from verses 2 – 3 into verses 4 – 9 we see a transition A comparison where worldly kingdoms are compared to God’s kingdom Again, the language is symbolic and metaphorical Verses 2 and 3 speak of earthly nations looking like a churning unruly sea Compared to God’s kingdom in verses 4 - 5 One of a river and streams In biblical times streams was what they called irrigation ditches That image symbolized peace and prosperity The river mentioned here alludes to an end times picture Like the prophetic river in Ezekiel 47-1-12 flowing from the temple We find that image again in Revelation 22:2 ~ the river of life In v. 6 the image goes back to nations in an uproar, kingdoms tottering But God raises His voice and the earth melted Melted refers to nations Meaning they are completely helpless before Jerusalem’s Defender! Like an ice cream cone in a microwave Israel’s Great Warrior King = El Elyon – God Most High Is an undefeatable King Who is faithful to His covenant people 4 Verse 7 states God’s kingdom is a stronghold Then in verses 8 – 9 we’re back to earthly nations at war But amid these tumultuous nations in uproar God is supreme over them and over all the earth I see the psalmist putting forth another truth about God Simply in the way he crafted the psalm Between the two images of the earth in turmoil like an angry sea Pitching and swelling, crashing, and surging Right in the middle of all that mayhem is God’s kingdom Verses 2 -3 war and turmoil and verses 8 – 9 war and turmoil But verse 7, right in the middle is God’s kingdom of peace, joy, and prosperity Here’s the point I think the psalmist wants to emphasis: When you find yourself stuck in difficult times! When you’re surrounded by things beyond your control GOD IS (v. 1) right there with you in the middle of it all The psalm continues With the psalmist making this observation in verse 5 “God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved God will help her when morning dawns” The phrase when morning dawn is intentional In ancient times dawn was when attacks against cities were unleashed Interesting Have you noticed this in the news feeds? Russian attacks on the Ukraine begin at 4:00 am in the morning So, what does it all mean that God will help her when morning dawns? It means God is already there! Ready and waiting before the enemy even gets started Are you getting this, saints? This truth reinforces what the psalmist says in verse 2 When the world is upside down God’s people respond with confidence Not fear because God is there before and in front of everything Doesn’t that inspire confidence, evoke comfort, and summon courage? GOD IS…what a thought!!! Verse 5 goes on and gives another remarkable image God’s kingdom compared to earthly nations cannot be moved It is stable, secure, safe, and protected…Why? It’s obvious! GOD IS…God is with them, and God is for them! No matter what this world throws at God’s people, GOD IS with us and for us And if God is for us who can be against us Are you sure you are getting this, saints? 5 What makes this psalm so relevant today is its military imagery Remember the background of the Psalm Sennacherib attacking Jerusalem Verse 9 talks about wars and weapons and shields of fire You know, I really thought we would never see another war Not on such a scale but we are However, in the face of such a devastating event The comfort we have as God’s people is He is near He is here and He is with us The final verses of the psalm conclude with another undeniable truth Israel’s Covenant Keeper (9 – 10) [5] There was a time I viewed these verses as a personal message to me “Be still, Bob, and know that I am God” And that is okay…I need it However, in studying the psalm this is not the case “Be still, and know that I am God” is not God addressing me This is God addressing the nations As a matter of fact, the words “be still” or “cease striving” Depending on what version you have The phrase in the Hebrew language is “STOP! Be Quiet” “I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth.” It’s a rebuke aimed at the nations who are causing chaos across the earth Wait now: didn’t Jesus speak to a storm in similar terms in Mark’s gospel? The waves were crashing over the boat The disciples were scared spitless Jesus stands and rebukes the storm…with a word “QUIET!” Instantly the wind dies and the seas calms One word from His mouth stills the raging seas THINK ABOUT THAT! What power! What authority that just one word calms the elements! At that very moment the disciples had an encounter with GOD IS And bewildered cried out, “Who is this that even the winds and waves obey! Jesus also reaffirms a covenant promise with His disciples at the last supper “This is My blood of the covenant poured out for many for the forgiveness of sin” That is in Matthew 26:28 And in Matthew 28:20 Jesus says this as He ascends into heaven “And surely I AM with you always, to the end of the age.” God is a Covenant Keeping God He keeps His promises 6 And you, dear Christian, are one of His covenant people You have received Jesus as your Lord and Saviour and you are His child Let me close with the time frame we live in We are currently living in between verse 1 and verse 10 Between the period of GOD IS in v. 1 and GOD WILL BE in v. 10 Right now, at this very moment GOD IS, God is with us, and God is for us However, God is not currently exalted among the nations Or exalted in the earth BUT HE WILL BE For if God is the God who is How can He not be the God who will be! If what is talking place in this world has you a little rattled it’s okay It’s okay to be concerned It’s okay to be upset and a bit frightened…that is normal Sometimes God calms the storm But we are living in the times He lets the storm rage and calms His child And sometimes that just needs to be enough One day Jesus will return, and this world will give way to a new world I leave you with one thing in the wake of all that is going on in our world A simple truth GOD’S GOT THIS And as one of His covenant children that means HE’S GOT YOU TOO God our Father loves us, cares for us, watches over us and is with us always May we join the ancient choir of worshippers and declare God is and forever will be our Refuge and Strength May the Word of the Lord encourage and soothe your soul today