Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Know, remember, drink and be still

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 46:1-11

TO CHEW ON: "God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble...
Be still and know that I am God..."
Psalm 46:1,10a

The Sons of Korah wrote Psalm 46 to encourage and give hope to people who were in trouble. By the things the psalmist mentions it seems the trouble was war with another nation. The writer begins with a declaration about who God is:

"God is our refuge  — shelter, protection, fortress, hope, place of trust — and our strength  — power, security — in trouble" 

He reminds the people about the security of the city (vs 4-5). It has an underground stream that provides water even if the water supply is cut off by siege. (Though there is no actual river flowing through Jerusalem, "it is believed by many that there is a subterranean water supply that is the source of various fountains and pools in Jerusalem" New Spirit Filled Life Bible, p. 723.) God's presence in her makes her unshakeable, in case of battering. He will help her at sunrise, which is a likely time for the enemy to attack.

He says more about the identity of God (vs 7-9). He calls Him Yahweh Sabaoth — the Lord of Hosts. I am reminded of the story of Elisha, when the King of Syria comes to capture him, surrounding the city with his army. In the morning, Elisha's servant sees the army and is afraid. But Elisha draws his attention to another army — an army of heavenly warriors: "Do not fear for those who are with us are more than those who are with them" - 2 Kings 6:8-17.

He also calls God the "God of Jacob." This reminds them of their history with God when, in the past, He has preserved their forefather Jacob and his descendants, causing havoc to enemy weapons and transportation.

In the light of all this, God Himself steps to the mic, telling the readers/listeners: "Be still and know that I am God."

The comment writer of my Bible suggests this is "God addressing the wicked warring nations." That may be so. But I think it is also God addressing the worried, wailing people. He tells them to still the fearful voices around them and in their own heads, perhaps even to the extent of silencing their own ideas and suggestions to God about how He could help them.

We may not be living in a city surrounded by an enemy army but our lives can feel just as attacked. Circumstances, demands of home, family and church, sickness, sandwich pressures (simultaneously looking after kids and parents), the clamour around us (internet, TV, radio, the constant demands of social networking via the phone, Facebook, Twitter) can make a mighty din, causing us stress, anxiety and fear.

At such times, let's use the encouragements of Psalm 46. We can:
  • Know our God — a shelter, strength, the Lord of Hosts.
  • Remember our history with God. ("He is the God of ___" [insert your name here]).
  • Drink from the river that flows within — get strength from the Bible and the Holy Spirit's application of what we read.
  • Be still — turn off the noise in our environment, refuse to listen to the chatter in our heads, even silence our own suggestions to God while we wait for His solutions (Exodus 14:13-14).

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to take advantage of what is available in You when I'm feeling stressed, anxious, surrounded by demands, or trouble. Help me to be still and wait for You to work.  Amen.

MORE: "Be Still" the song

Canadian singer-songwriter Carolyn Arends has written a song based on this verse. It's on her newest album Love Was Here First.

I can't post the actual song but if you go to this page, that songs starts playing when the page loads.

I love these lines from the bridge section:

Oh how I need a vacation
‘Cause it’s so exhausting pretending I’m God
There would be much less frustration
If I would let you do your job

All lyrics are here

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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