We all need a safe space, a place of refuge from the difficulties and challenges of life. It is important to choose a safe space that has the power to strengthen and keep us in times of trouble and upheaval in our lives. In the psalm for this week, Psalm 46, one of the descendants of Korah wrote a psalm that declared with such confidence that God is our safe space, where we can take refuge and gain strength.
It is through His omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence that we have victory over our trials and know, without a doubt, that we are never alone. This psalm is wonderful, in terms of the confident hope that the author places in the God of Heaven that can be felt right down into our souls. Through God the Holy Spirit, provision, protection, and preservation occur. Zechariah 4:6 states, “Then he said to me, ‘This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.'”
Psalm 46:1-4 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge. A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
The author began by proclaiming that God is our refuge and strength. Notice that the psalmist does not say that God is his refuge and strength, but our, meaning he was speaking to all of God’s people. He declared that no matter what happens or how catastrophic the events may seem, even as horrific as an earthquake, mountains crumbling, or an angry and surging sea, God is a safe space for them, a place of refuge. Refuge refers to shelter or protection from danger or distress, or something to which one has recourse in difficulty. In this case, it is Someone, the God of Heaven.
He is an impenetrable force who comes to us in times of trouble, not allowing troubles to overwhelm or defeat us. The author did not mean that there would be never be trials for God’s people, but that when they come, God would provide us the strength and courage to endure them. He will remain with us, through the Holy Spirit, so we don’t need to fear events that cause unbelievers to shake or tremble in fear.
He is our fortress and refuge, a safe space. Psalm 91:9-12 states, “If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will direct his angels to protect you whoever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. ”
I am reminded that in Matthew 18, Jesus cautioned the disciples about how little children in the faith were treated, and in verse 10, He said, “Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my Heavenly Father.” Each of us have angels that keep watch over us, a notion that I testified about in an earlier post.
In this psalm, the author proclaims that even in times of troubles, a river, which is living water, meaning a cleansing and healing flow of water, will run through the city bringing joy and relieving fears. God the Holy Spirit is symbolized as a living water in Jesus’s conversation with the woman at the well. Jesus told her in John 4: 14, “But those that drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” This river of living water, the Holy Spirit, supplies us with strength, endurance, perseverance, and love during times of tremendous grief or suffering, for He is our Advocate, Helper, Counselor, and Teacher, bringing all of God’s promises to our remembrance in times of trouble.
Psalm 46:5-7 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, earth melts! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
The psalmist reminded the people that because God resides in the city with them, it would not be destroyed, and, in the same way, because God dwells with us, through the Holy Spirit, we cannot be destroyed, as well. God will not let anything or anyone one that seeks to steal our joy and cause us to crumble in defeat and hopelessness win against us, for God is with us, and He surrounds us like a mighty fortress, allowing nothing and no one to defeat us.
In many cities in Europe are fortress walls built centuries ago that are still standing today! A fortress was impenetrable and very hard, if not impossible, to destroy, which is why they were built. The Christian reformer, Martin Luther, wrote a compelling hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, with words based on this very psalm.
No matter the chaos occurring in our country or in other nations, we are safe in the fortress that is our precious God, who still speaks into our lives, keeping us sane in an often insane world. In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 it states, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.”
Psalm 46: 8-11 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world. He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields of fire. “Be still and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
In traveling, we witness the glorious works of the Lord in all the places of the world. We see how cities and countries have changed through wars, visiting museums dedicated to keeping the history of wars alive, so that people do not forget the terrible price that wars cost in lives and property. Yes, God alone can end wars, and our prayer today is that He will end the wars around they world, so that the world may start to heal and be whole again.
But we also pray for relief from the wars that attack our hearts, minds, and spirits, signified by the everyday difficulties that cause us to feel overwhelmed and defeated. Depression and other mental illnesses, little slights and hurts by family, friends, and co-workers, physical and emotional violence in the home, the loss of loved ones, and financial strains are like wars that make us feel like we are being bombed in our mental and spiritual bodies all day long. But, thanks be to God, that even in the midnight hour when these troubles seem so big, God is among us, saying, “Be still and know that I am God.”
I remember many an early morning when I feared waking up to the chaos in my life, situations that seemed impossible to resolve, and, as I started to pray, the feeling of peace that descended on me. I remembered that God is always in control, and all I needed to do was be still, meaning to stop trying to fix the problems myself. I just needed to let God do what He does best: rescue His children from the wars that seek to harm them physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Recently, I have heard of the persecution of Christians in China, Africa, Egypt, and other places in the world, and I realized that from a small band of men and the women who followed and supported them from their resources a world-wide religion has emerged, and that truly God, through the acceptance of Jesus Christ, is being recognized and honored in every nation, just as He predicted. The Body of Christ, my brothers and sisters, are everywhere in the world, and His love and protection unites us and makes us one with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Praise God!
The psalm today is a wonderful reminder to each of us to remember that God is a safe space for His children, our refuge and our fortress, no matter where we live in the world. He is our strength in times of trouble, and despite what you may be enduring today, you will not be defeated. Let us be still, meaning let us remind ourselves of the power of God that has sustained others and us through difficult times, knowing that He never leaves us or forsakes us. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Like a fortress, He will protect and keep us, bringing victory in His own time and in His own ways. Give Him praise today!
Dear Heavenly Father, Abba, Lord Jesus, and Holy Spirit,
We come before Your throne of mercy and grace today to say thank you for all the works of Your hands in our lives. We feel protected from whatever the world may try to do to us, for we know that our Redeemer lives. When we think of the courage, love, and boldness of Jesus at the Cross, we are reminded that to the world, it may be foolishness, but for us who love and trust you, it is a constant assurance of the power that You possess to change lives and bring peace to our hearts and minds in a troubled world. Thank you for being a refuge and a fortress in our lives, giving us victory over every situation, and we will be still and wait for You to act in Your own way and in Your own time, for You know best.