2020-08-09

Charles Billingsley

Psalm 46 

1 God is our refuge and strength,

A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear,

Even though the earth be removed,

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,

Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;

God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;

He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,

Who has made desolations in the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;

He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

 

1. God’s Presence is with Us.  

46 God is our refuge  – He is who we can run to.  It is in Him that we find our shelter and rest.  

Golf story – Craig, Cindy, Shae and Me – We found refuge under that tree…And in God…we find refuge under the shadow of His wings.  

Psalm 36:7 (NKJV)

How precious is your lovingkindness, O God!

Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of your wings.  

To take refuge in the Lord means we are now under His protection, His care, His watch.  And it also means this is where we can find rest.   But not only do we find God is our refuge, He is also our strength. 

and strength –  He will bear your burdens.  

Psalm 55:22 – Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you…

1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 

Psalm 59:9 – I will wait for You, O you His strength; For God is my defense.  

God is strong enough to handle any problem you’ve got!  

A very present help in trouble. – Not past, not future….but present!   VERY present.  He is the right now God for your right now problem.   God’s presence is with us!  

 

2. We Have Nothing to Fear 

2 Therefore we will not fear – This is the resolve we must have as children of God.  With Covid 19 on the increase, riots everywhere, racial tension, cultural unrest, political wars, terrorist attacks, this is one of the craziest and most volatile periods in our nation’s history!   But we have NO reason to Fear.  

In the Presence of God, there is no room for the child of God to fear anything! 

And as a child of God, you are always in the presence of God! 

The Holy Spirit resides within you.  He is your comforter and your protector.  And until God is through with you, you are invincible.  

WE will not fear…. 

Even though the earth be removed,

And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;  Gives us the picture of a volcano erupting  Or of a mass of land crashing into the sea…which would cause a tsunami.  

3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, – Tsunami or even a hurricane

Though the mountains shake with its swelling. or an Earthquake 

The Psalmist is saying that no matter what natural disasters may occur, no matter how terrible, we will not fear.  No matter what catastrophe comes our way – from cancer to covid, from tornadoes to terrorist attacks, and from pandemics to protests, God’s presence is with us and we have nothing to fear.  

Selah –  Like a rest in music.  An intentional pause.  It means  “There ……what do you think about that.”   

 

3. God’s Spirit is in us

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

It’s interesting how a central theme of the Bible is rivers.  And the Bible is bookended with references to rivers.  

Gen. 2:10 –  Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads.

Revelation 22:1-2 – And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

It appears as though one day there will be a river that flows from the throne of God in the New Jerusalem.     

But there is no river that currently flows through Jerusalem.  And yet, it is the City of God.  Or might the psalmist be referencing not just a place, but also people?   A city is not just buildings…it is the people who make up the real heart of the city.  

John 4 – the samaritan woman at the well – Jesus tells her:

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” 

Rivers bring life.  Rivers bring hope. The ultimate hope is found in the life giving grace of Jesus.  Do you know Him today?  

 

4. We have nothing to flee

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;

God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 

  God is always there, and He is always on time.  Though it may seem dark and lonely and desperate, God will bring hope and help just at the break of dawn.  He is in our midst as we move throughout our work place. 

So take heart……you have nothing to flee! 

The Gulf Stream

Did you know There is a river in the ocean?  It is actually the largest and one of the fastest moving rivers in the world.   In a drought it never fails, and in a flood it never overflows. It begins in the Gulf of Mexico off the southern tip of Florida and ends in the Arctic Ocean.  

We have this amazing opportunity as the church.  As we live and move in this ocean of humanity, we have the awesome opportunity to bring the love and grace and mercy and message of Christ to the world.  Throughout history the church has influenced society and government and education. This has to continue.  We must continue to be a calm voice of reason in the midst of a turbulent time in our culture.  

6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; – this is not the first pandemic.  this is certainly not the first or the last time we will have cultural unrest or riots or violence.  That stuff was happening in this day too! Nations are raging and kingdoms are moving,  But God doesn’t move. 

He uttered His voice, the earth melted. – The earth and all that is in it…every nation, every kingdom, every culture, all the technology, all the people…it is all but putty in His hands.  God is sovereign and in control.  All of it was created by the utterance of HIs voice…and all of it can go away with the same voice.  

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge. 

Selah

On 31 October 1517, Luther posted his historic Ninety-five Theses, launching his defiant protest against the abuses of the Catholic church in Rome. This decisive act became the hinge upon which history turned. And at the very core of this Protestant movement were the Psalms, which continued to play a defining role throughout Luther’s life and ministry.  Luther referred to the Psalms as ‘the Bible in miniature’.

Luther would later write a paraphrase of Psalm 46, and it would become his most famous hymn.  A Mighty Fortress is our God.  

I believe we, too, can draw  strength and encouragement from this Psalm.  Meditate on it.  Marinate in it.  Let the words of this Psalm speak deep into your soul until the fear in your heart disappears and you able to float freely and boldly in the river of God’s presence and power, His mercy and grace.  

God’s presence is with us, so we have nothing to fear. 

God’s Spirit is within us, so we have nothing to flee. 

As we close the service today, i would ask you to stand and let’s sing this great old hymn together.   

A mighty fortress is our God,

A bulwark never failing.

Our helper He amid the flood

Of mortal ills prevailing.

For still our ancient foe

Doth seek to work us woe.

His craft and power are great,

And, armed with cruel hate,

On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,

Our striving would be losing,

Were not the right man on our side,

The man of God’s own choosing.

Dost ask who that may be?

Christ Jesus, it is He.

Lord Sabboth, his name,

From age to age the same,

And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,

Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, for God hath willed

His truth to triumph through us.

The Prince of Darkness grim,

We tremble not for him.

His rage we can endure,

For lo, his doom is sure.

One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers

Not thanks to them, abideth.

The Spirit and the gifts are ours

Through him who with us sideth.

Let goods and kindred go,

This mortal life also.

The body they may kill,

God’s truth abideth still.

His kingdom is forever…

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