For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “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 Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
(Psalm 46:1-11 NIV)
This psalm captures the psalmist’s complete confidence in God for any and all situations.
In verse 1, God is our refuge, our safe place of protection against whatever might happen. And not only does God provide the safe place for us, He also is the guard stationed outside the door, whose strength is unmatched, and whom no one can overpower and break in.
God not only provides a safe place physically but also mentally. The psalmist says that God is an ever-present help in trouble. The idea here is that God provides peace of mind against fears, anxiety, and worry. We can truly rest in Him.
So what kinds of things does the psalmist envision that the Lord would be able to protect us from? Verse 2 says “though the earth give way” (earthquakes) and the “mountains fall into the heart of the sea”. The second part, the mountains, may either be literal or allegorical, indicating that the most stable things we know such as mountains or world powers or any other thing which we assume will always be there.
Verse 3 speaks of waters of the sea surging and pounding against the sides of the mountains. Against, this could be either literal or allegorical, indicating ocean turbulence, tidal waves, tsunamis, or wars, civil unrest, famine, and other human-related activity. And even if the ground beneath our feet shifts, or the “mountains” of stability crumble, or the waters of natural disaster, war, famine, and other unrest happens, God is still God, and will protect us.
Verses 4 – 5 contrast all the unrest and upheaval with the peace and calm that God provides, as found in a simple water stream. And this stream feeds and waters the city of God (Jerusalem), where God dwells among His people, in His house, the Tabernacle.
In verse 6, we see the sovereignty of God reigning over the affairs of humanity. God simply speaks to bring about His will.
The psalmist then reminds us to put our dependence on God as our protector and provider, not cowering in fear, but to see what God is actively doing – bringing desolation (destruction) upon evil, even stopping wars and breaking up the instruments of war.
In the end, the psalmist quotes God as He declares His sovereignty, righteousness, and power over His creation. God’s command to us is to “be still” – to be calm, relaxed, and in a trusting state of mind and body.
This command is not to have head knowledge of God.
Rather, it’s to “know that we know that we know”, in the deepest part of our being, in the depths of our soul, that God is sovereign and will protect and provide for us.
Does that mean that we will not experience danger, or hurts, or any kinds of trouble, that our lives will be all about our comfort and convenience?
Not at all.
In fact, quite the opposite. Jesus told His disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
The psalmist ends where he started – that God is with us, and that God is our fortress, our protector, and our provider.
May your heart be encouraged today, that whatever storm you may be experiencing, or whatever ground you are standing upon may be shifting and quaking, that God will guide you through and protect you if you will allow Him to do so.