Be Still; the LORD is Our Refuge (Psalm 46; Psalm 80)

Scripture reading – Psalm 46; Psalm 80

Two psalms are the focus of today’s Scripture reading, and both are certainly pertinent and instructive to believers of the 21st century.

Psalm 46

Since the fall of man, the world has been filled with troubles, sorrows, and wars. The mass media of our day, and the reach of the internet has given us a view of events while they are unfolding. Sadly, there is little good news, and the proliferation of wickedness and violence, coupled with inept leadership, has brought the world to the precipice of anarchy.

What are we to do in the midst of our trials and troubles? Psalm 46 gives us the answer.

God is Our Refuge (46:1-3)

Our God has power over nature, and He is the place (and person) to whom we can flee in troubled times (46:1). He is our Refuge (shelter; strong rock), and Strength (our security, and place of safety). All who flee to the LORD have no cause for worry or fear (46:2). Whether the mountains are moved out of their places by an earthquake, or the seas are troubled (“seas” can be literal, or a symbol of human society), we can be confident God is steadfast and unshaken (46:2-3). “Selah,” pause and ponder that promise!

God is Our River of Life, and Source of Grace (46:4-7)

Jerusalem was the city where the LORD established His Temple, and it was an outward symbol of His presence in the midst of His people (46:4). God had covenanted with Israel to be a perpetual blessing to His people, but the children of Israel had failed to keep covenant with Him.

The LORD was “in the midst” of His people, and though the “heathen raged” (46:6a), the very sound of His voice would cause the nations to tremble (46:6b). The psalmist assured His people, “7The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (46:7).

God Will Be Exalted in the Earth (46:8-11)

The third stanza of Psalm 46 declared God’s judgment, and reminded Judah though the armies of their adversaries were fierce, it was the LORD who has power and authority over nature and the nations. God alone can bring peace, for “He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariot in the fire” (46:9).

Closing thoughts – We close being reminded when troubles and trials assail, people of faith look to the LORD. He would have us to, “Be still,” and rest in the knowledge He is sovereign. He is greater than our trials (46:19), and His purpose will “be exalted among the heathen [and] in the earth” (46:10).

No matter the trial, affliction or enemy, remember: “The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (46:11).

Psalm 80

The setting of Psalm 80 is thought to be after the fall of Israel to Assyria, and was a petition to the LORD to intervene for the Northern Kingdom. It was a song and cry for compassion, and salvation (80:1-7).

As a nation, Israel was described as a grape vine transplanted out of Egypt (80:8-9), a bough that flourished under God’s blessings spanning from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates River (80:10-12), and a land devastated by enemies portrayed as ferocious as a wild boar (80:13a) and wild beasts (i.e. lions, bears, wolves, 80:13b).

Psalm 80 concluded with the psalmist crying to the LORD to intervene, and save His people (80:14-15). Describing the desolations, Israel had suffered (consumed by fire and cut down, 80:16), the psalmist pens for the third time: “Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, Cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved” (80:3, 7, 19).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith