Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
I’m pretty sure you are familiar with this verse. It has been a source of comfort God’s people for centuries. While this may be our favorite verse from this short Psalm, there is so much more to Psalm 46. I did a little research on this Psalm today and I’d like to share what I discovered.
During World War I, whenever a contingent of young men were at the docks ready to sail to war, their families and friends gathered and sang an old Scottish Psalter based on Psalm 46. The people recognized the reality that many if not most of these young men would not return. Psalm 46 and the Scottish Psalter were a great source of comfort during times of crisis.
Psalm 46 was also the Psalm that led Augustinian monk, Martin Luther to write the hymn, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God. If you’ve been around church for awhile, you’ve probably sung that hymn at least once. One of the first churches I attended after I became a Christian in the mid 70’s, used a hymnal during worship services. I never really got into the hymns much (hope that doesn’t sound heretical), but I always liked this hymn.
Most commentators believe that Hezekiah wrote Psalm 46 in light of God’s miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrian army under king Sennacherib. During this invasion, Israel was in a crisis. Wisely Hezekiah relied of God for their deliverance rather than depending on Egypt or some other country, which was their usual procedure. God didn’t let them down. When the people of Jerusalem woke up one morning, the entire Assyrian army was dead, some 185,000 men. Sennacherib himself, went back to Assyria and was later killed by one of his sons while he was worshiping his god. That’s a bit ironic! God was with his people. Verse 1 of Psalm 46 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” God was with Israel, and God is with us. We too, are living in times of trial and danger. But the Psalm brings out that even if the earth itself falls apart and mountains break apart and fall into the sea, we should not fear. One writer puts it, “The worst that can happen is no cause for fear. God Himself is still with us.”
I believe verses 8-11 are talking about the end times. While man will do his worst, God will bringing desolation to the armies of the world. God is on His throne in Jerusalem and the strife has ended. He invites the inhabitants of Jerusalem to look out and see the deliverance of the Lord. As the people look, all they will see is the desolation and judgement of the armies of the world. God makes peace and puts an end to the fighting of the world once and for all time. His judgement is final.
Then God says, “be still…” (literally, take your hands off. Relax!). At Regen, I have heard time and time again something like, “I struggle with control.” It seems like we Americans like to be in control of things. But Hezekiah, won the victory because he let God work in His way and time. We too, need to let God, be God.
Finally, in verse 7 and 11, God calls Himself, “The LORD of hosts and the God of Jacob.” I’d like to end with the words of another commentator, “The LORD of Hosts is with us, that is, the LORD of the angelic armies of heaven. But He is also the God of Jacob. Now Jacob means, ‘cheat’ or ‘supplanter.’ Yet God speaks of Himself as the God of Jacob. Put the two thoughts together and you learn that the God of the angelic hosts is also the God of the unworthy sinner. The one who is infinitely high is also the intimately nigh. He is with us in every step of our way, our unfailing refuge in all the storms of life.” The bottom line is, even if we can’t see or understand what God is doing, He is always with us. He is our refuge, our strength and our stronghold. What we need to do is to put our trust in Him and not in ourselves or our own plans. May God give us the wisdom to put our total trust in Him.