Zev Porat

Saturday, August 29, 2015

God is Still in Control:Psalm 46:1

There are times when fewer words are best; times when silence and solitude are more beneficial for the soul than moments filled with talking, elaborating, or entertaining the words of others. There are moments of life where one just wants to enjoy the peace and solitude of being alone. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have on many occasions. By nature, I have an extroverted personality. I enjoy being around people, I become energized interacting with people, and I like to invest in people's lives for their benefit. However, there are moments when I just want quiet and stillness; quiet from the noises of life and stillness from the movement of general busyness. With all that is going on in the world, stillness and quietness are valuable experiences in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ because we can become so consumed with the craziness around us that we neglect the fact that because of Jesus Christ's death on the cross, we have peace that transcends our earthly temporal conditions. Through a series of events this week, God led me to Psalm 46. It was in this passage that I found the spiritual quietness and stillness I needed. It was also the place I was reminded of the fact that God is in control regardless of what is going on in the world around me.

Psalm 46:1 records, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (NIV 1984). There are three features of God listed in this one verse: God is a refuge, God is strength, and God is an ever-present helper. However, the usage of the word "our" signifies these features of God belong to a group of people, or these features are directed toward a group of people. In its original context the writer of Psalm 46 would have been describing and extolling God's affections toward His people—the Jewish people. Thus, the author would have recognized and praised the fact that God was a refuge for his people, the strength of his people, and the ever-present help of his people. In fact, if one were to continue reading Psalm 46, he would come to realize that the overarching point contained within Psalm 46: God is still God; He is still on His throne despite what is going on in the world. Thus, when the psalmist recorded these words he was acknowledging the principle that God's status as God Almighty was not changed by the temporal circumstances at hand. Moreover, in the midst of these circumstances the psalmist understood that God was the source of refuge, strength, and help for one to make it through these circumstances.

In regard to being a refuge, God was a place of shelter for His people. God was a place where His people could gather and receive protection from the stuff of life and the struggles of daily life. However, God's protection and God's sheltering did not prevent the storms of life from coming against His people; rather, God is the hope aiding one through the storms. In regard to strength, God was the strength of His people. God did not simply strengthen His people, He was the great power and the binding force that allowed His people to stand during uncertainty. He was the strength, He was the force, He was the stronghold; therefore, He received the glory and the praise when the storm or hardship passed. Moreover, in regards to being a source of help, the psalmist described God as being "ever-present help." In other words, God was the help that was always around and easily accessible during times of trouble. In short, God was a nearby stronghold of protection for his people so that they did not face life alone.

By the death of Jesus Christ paying the penalty of sin and bridging the gap between holy God and sinful man, salvation was offered to all people who would confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised Him from death. All who have accepted Jesus Christ are a part of the people of God. By extension the hope contained within Psalm 46:1ff applies to you. Even though the storms of life rage, God is a nearby stronghold of protection; therefore, run to Him as such, embrace Him as such, and allow Him to work as such. Yes, life is accompanied by political turmoil on a global scale, medical complications, family difficulties, and personal struggles that we attempt to hide from each other, but God's status as God Almighty is not changed by the temporal circumstances at hand.            

James Christopher Powell has served as assistant minister in Northwest Florida for ten years. 
He studies at The Baptist College of Florida where he is working on a Master's degree in Christians Studies.
He married his wife Jennifer in March 2014.

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