Psalm 46:1, 11 - God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble ... The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Reading through all of Psalm 46, we find disaster piled on top of terrifying disaster. The earth that we expect to remain solid and unmoving beneath our feet fails us and "gives way" in earthquakes and landslides. Mountains are "moved into the heart of the sea," and the sea itself roars and foams with power that makes the mountains tremble (see Psalm 46:2-3). Added to the natural disasters are the catastrophes created by people. "The nations rage, the kingdoms totter" (Psalm 46:6a). All of these frightening events are beyond our ability to control. These solid, foundational things, the earth and the sea and the governments of our world, may suddenly give way at any moment. We are left searching for stability, for a firm foundation on which to stand.
The first and last verses of this psalm describe the only true, unmoving foundation possible for our lives. The psalm begins, "God is our refuge and strength," and at its end we hear the comforting words, "The LORD of hosts is with us; God of Jacob is our fortress." God is "a very present help in trouble." Our Lord is with us now and always as a refuge and fortress. He is our place of safety, the One to whom we run in times of trouble. The Lord Jesus is "the Stone that the builders rejected" (Psalm 118:22a). Taking onto Himself the disaster of the world's sins, the disaster of our sins, He suffered the penalty of death that we deserved. On the first Easter morning, Jesus rose up in triumph over sin, death, and the powers of evil, over every disastrous thing done to Him, over every eternally disastrous thing that threatened us. The risen and exalted Lord has become the Cornerstone of our lives, the solid foundation on which we stand. As the apostle Paul writes, "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).
The shuddering earth and the roaring seas, the raging nations and tottering kingdoms are frightening. Things we thought were solid suddenly shift beneath our feet. Their shaking unsettles us, but these same terrifying events are themselves subject to the authority of our Lord. He "utters His voice, the earth melts" (Psalm 46:6b). He is the LORD of hosts, that is, the Lord of the armies of heaven, who tells the raging nations, "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations" (Psalm 46:10a). In frightening times, today and in the future, the God who redeemed us is present with us. He is our refuge and our fortress, our place of safety and the place to make a stand.
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, You are my hiding place and my help in times of trouble. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
1. The earth gives us plenty of natural disasters to deal with—fires, floods, earthquakes, eruptions. Have you ever dealt with a disaster like one of these?
2. How is God our fortress in such circumstances?
3. How did Jesus Christ lay the foundation for the lives of believers?
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