Psalm 46: Peace, Stability, and the Sovereignty of God

Things with the coronavirus have certainly not gone the way I had hoped. Maybe I was overly optimistic, but I hoped and prayed that we would have a minor lockdown for a couple weeks to reduce the infection rate enough for hospitals to keep up and then we’d be back to life as normal. Only a week in to this “social distancing” concept and Dallas is already being moved to a state of “shelter in place.” Staying home and not going anywhere unless absolutely necessary. In the middle of all of this Psalm 46 has pressed more into my heart than ever before, and I thought it would be good to take some time to work through that in the hope that it provides myself and others some much needed encouragement and stability. This is part two in a three part series.

Psalm 46:4-7 ESV

4There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
5God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
6The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7The LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Selah

Everything has changed in Dallas and most major cities in America. Just two weeks ago we were free to do as we please and now we’re being told to stay indoors. Don’t go to work if you can avoid it. Children are staying home from school. Infection is spreading at an exponential rate. Turn on the news or look at social media and you’ll hear the roars of the raging seas and it feels like the earth has fallen out from underneath us.

But God is among His people. God is with His Church. The Psalmist says that the presence of God is like a river that makes “glad the city of God.” In the middle of the earth falling out from under us, the mountains moving into the seas, and the oceans raging, those who are in the city of God, His Church, are made glad by God’s presence and favor. Because in the middle of all the surrounding turmoil the river brings life. The river isn’t tainted by the saltiness of the seas and it will quench our thirst. Being close to the river allows us to grow as we should so that we can weather the storm surrounding us. The river is unaffected by the squalls of the sea and remains still and calm bringing us much needed peace as we see the storm around us.

We have peace because God lives among is people. He isn’t a far off, distant God but is “very present” (Ps. 46:1) and the Church is now the “holy habitation of the Most High.” Whatever we are going through, however hard it seems, God is right there in the midst of us. He’s with us in the storm. Contrasting the mountains being moved into the seas and the earth giving way, the Psalmist says that God’s holy habitation “shall not be moved.” This may be for many of us the dark night of the soul. We are concerned and rightly afraid of this virus infecting us or loved ones and even causing death. The fear of being on essentially total lock down for any length of time pushes against our Western sensibilities and our sinful desire to be our own authority. This may challenge our faith in God and our compassion toward man. But God is with us right here and now. He’s in the muck and the mire with us. He’s right next to us and indeed the Holy Spirit is inside of those who are in Christ right now as we lean in to this dark night. And God will help us when the morning dawns.

Did you catch that? The second half of verse five is just amazing. The Psalmist never has any doubt as to “if” the morning comes, but rather “when” the morning comes! No matter how long this dark night lasts the morning WILL come! That will be a critical time for many of us and God will be there to help and heal.

Nations and kingdoms are the ultimate authorities on Earth. There was no organization larger than a nation or kingdom in the day of the Psalmist. There really isn’t an organization with any real power to stop a nation even today. We’ve seen two World Wars on this planet so far. Twice now we’ve literally experienced nations raging against one another and kingdoms moving about feebly hoping they will be victorious. It took all of our might to end these wars. Yet God merely speaks and the earth melts. God undoes nations simply by the word of his power. Now, this seems a bit out of place at first, but the Psalmist is telling us how God is able to do and be what the previous verses say he is and does. His ability to be peace in times of turmoil and strength in times of despair is rooted in his absolute sovereignty and complete power over the whole of creation.

How is God able to be a very present help in times of trouble?
Because He is completely sovereign.

How can God be our peace when the Earth gives way?
Because He is completely sovereign.

How can God hold firm the city of God when all around it falls apart?
Because He is completely sovereign.

How can God silence nations and kingdoms with a word?
Because He is completely sovereign.

This sovereign God is WITH US! The LORD of all creation is WITH US!

The God of Jacob, the God who makes covenants with man and keeps his promises is with us! The God who fathered and shepherded his people throughout history is with us and is telling us that He will protect us in our times of trouble and during our dark night of the soul. Then when we get to the other side he will continue to help and heal us. Whether in this life or the next.

Grace and peace.

One response to “Psalm 46: Peace, Stability, and the Sovereignty of God

  1. Pingback: Psalm 46: God is Exalted | TransformingWords

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