What is our refuge and strength? If it is a political party, a particular person, or a pocket full of plenty, we should find ourselves fearing, for we will be failed by these “gods.” However if our refuge and strength is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, then we are in great shape.
What is it that we fear? Do we fear the upcoming elections and the continued deconstruction of America? Do we fear the physical, mental and relational consequences of old age? Do we fear a possible economic downturn, recession, depression, or a sudden loss of a key customer? Do we fear we may never find Mr. or Mrs. Right, or do we fear living with Mr. or Mrs. Wrong for the remainder of our days? Do we fear being unpopular or marginalized at school? Do we fear for the safety of our children? Do we fear for the conversion of our grandchildren? Or, perhaps like the Psalmist, do we fear devastation that comes from natural disasters or hostile nations?
In life, there are many opportunities and temptations to fear. And with such a temptation to fear abounding, the Psalmist writes:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress (Psalm 46).
What is our refuge and strength? If it is a political party, a particular person, or a pocket full of plenty, we should find ourselves fearing, for we will be failed by these “gods.” However if our refuge and strength is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, then we are in great shape (Psalm 46:1).
We ought to realize the power of our Refuge and Strength. God speaks, and nations stumble. He utters his voice, and real global warming occurs. He causes war, and he makes wars to cease. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, and he rules the nations simply by the word of his mouth. We have not even yet spoken about the power displayed by his mighty and outstretched arm. (Psalm 46:6,9)
And, we ought to consider the position our Refuge and Strength. He is present; actually he is “very present.” His proximity is in the midst of his people. The Lord of Hosts is with us in our day of trouble (Psalm 46:1, 5, 11).
And then we ought to consider the will, plan, or goal of our Refuge and Strength? His church may be troubled, but she will not be moved. The forces of evil find success for a season, but God has his way with them, and he will be exalted amongst the nations (Psalm 46:5, 11).
Therefore friends, after contemplating the power, position, and plan of God, the logical conclusion is — we should not fear regardless of that which befalls us (Psalm 46:2-3).
- “Fear not” are words spoken by God to his people (Isaiah 43:1).
- “Fear not” are words spoken by Jesus to his disciples (Matthew 10:31).
- Paul told his readers, “God has not given us a spirit of fear ….” (2 Timothy 1:7).
- Instead of we should be glad (Psalm 46:4).
- Christians are to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).
- Christians are to have “perfect peace” (Isaiah 26:1).
- This is indeed the case, for the “Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace ….” (Galatians 5:22).
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “The child of God should never give way to distrust.” But frankly, this is not our condition, is it? Oft times we find ourselves sinfully terrorized by what is or could harm us. At one point or another, we are all plagued by ungodly fear.
So what ought we to do? The Psalmist’s confidence and boldness comes from his worship of the Lord. Therefore, in order for us to vanquish fear we must also “behold the works of the Lord” (Psalm 46:8). In order to be bold we must “be still” (Psalm 46:10). So let us cease meditating on the assaults which comes from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Let us confess our sin of turning to false gods which always fail. Let us abandon our poor theology which doubts the power, position, and plan of God. Let us get our theology right and our thinking right, and let us experience our terror being removed.
Joseph A. Franks IV is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is Pastor of Palmetto Hills Presbyterian Church in Simpsonville, South Carolina.This article first appeared on his blog, and is used with permission.