What Is There To Love About God? (Part Seven)

Psalm 46 is a song of praise for an instance when the Lord intervened to save Judah, the southern kingdom, from destruction. If you study the Psalms carefully you will discover that each has a story behind it. We have looked at David’s “shepherd song” and his prayers to God for deliverance from Saul and Absalom, who were trying to kill him. Each psalm has its story.

Here are a few verses from Psalm 46.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns. The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered. He raised His voice, the earth melted. The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our stronghold.” (Verses 1-7)

As you consider these words, what do you think evoked such an outpouring of praise for the Lord? What do you say to and about the Lord when He delivers you from a serious threat or is with you through a really hard experience?

I’ll brief you on the situation that gave birth to Psalm 46, but you can dig a little deeper if you want to by reading 2 Kings 19 and Isaiah 36-37.

Sennacherib (704-681 B.C.), the ruthless king of Assyria, overtook and destroyed many cities and was determined to take the Holy City of Jerusalem.  No doubt, the horrifying news of death and devastation the Assyrian assassins had brought to neighboring towns and villages warned Hezekiah that he and his beloved Jerusalem would not be spared. Sennacherib’s messenger, Rabshakeh, offered King Hezekiah the following options, surrender and be exported to Assyria or I will destroy you,  Jerusalem, and everything in it.

When Hezekiah got the message he became greatly distressed, tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went to the Temple. His life and all he held dear were “on the line.” Hezekiah was a godly man and his next action was to seek help and counsel from the prophet Isaiah. He sent messengers to Isaiah with this message, “This is a day of distress, rebuke, and rejection; for the children have come to birth and there is no strength to deliver. Perhaps the Lord your God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the Lord your God heard. Therefore, offer a prayer for the remnant that is left.” (2 Kings 19:3-4)

Isaiah returned Hezekiah’s servants with this encouraging promise, “Thus says the Lord, do not be afraid because of the words you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Behold I will put a spirit in him and he will hear a rumor and return to his land. And I will make him fall by his sword.” (Isaiah 19:6-7)

Can you imagine the relief Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem felt when the disaster they were expecting never materialized? The pending storm vanished and radiant sunlight filled the sky. By God’s grace, they had averted disaster.

Psalm 46 describes God as “Our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” A refuge is a safe place or shelter to which we can go for protection. Israel had several refuge cities where someone could flee after accidentally killing another person to avoid the revenge of that person’s relatives. Many people have built storm shelters or designated safe places to protect them during dangerous storms. We need a place or person to which we can go when we are in danger.

Life is often dangerous. What are the storms or challenges you are facing? Is your marriage in trouble? Do you have serious health issues? Is your anxiety over a wayward family member keeping you awake at night? Whatever your concern, God wants to be your refuge and strength. He may not stop the threat for you as He did in Hezekiah’s case but He will keep you while you are in the storm. He will help you discover why you are in the storm and how to grow from your experience.

When the foundations of your life seem to be shifting and uncertain, seek the help that only God can give. Turn to Him as Hezekiah did. He will welcome you. If I could speak with you, I could tell you of numerous instances when God “showed up” when I called out for help. He has never failed me and I’m confident He will never fail you either.

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