Active stillness - 21 May 2020

Xanthe Hancox

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging … Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  Psalm 46:2-3, 6

Verse 1 of today’s psalm is probably one of the most quoted verses in the Bible but I wonder how many of us truly believe this—that God is our strength, and God is our refuge, and our defender and our source of renewal. Look at the connection between verses 2–3 and verse 6. "Though the mountains fall into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam . . . " The words for "fall" and "roar" are the same Hebrew words used in verse 6: "Nations are in [up]roar, kingdoms fall."

The point of using these same words like this is to show that whether the threat to us is from nature (with earthquakes and floods and storms, verses 1–3) or from political upheaval and wars (verse 6)—whether our world is shaking from nature or from the nations, God is our refuge.

And not just a refuge but an active counter force and a source of peace and renewal. Verse 6b says that God's response to the raging nations is this: "He lifts his voice and the earth melts." His response to dangerous seas that roar and foam is to become for us another kind of water—a river (not a tumultuous sea)—a river whose streams make glad the city of God (verse 4).

Let yourself be still this morning and know that God is God, that he will be exalted among the nations, and that his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. Find refuge and renewal in the Word of God.

Prayer: Lord, sometimes it's hard for us to see you and to believe that you really are our strength and refuge. Help us to be still in your presence and see how you care for us even when things seem to be falling apart. Amen.

 

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