Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

14 Trusting in times of trouble – Part 2

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Psalm 46:1-11

“1 God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. 2 So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea. 3 Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude. 4 A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. 5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. 6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! 7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude. 8 Come, see the glorious works of the Lord: See how he brings destruction upon the world. 9 He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 “Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” 11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude”

After pausing to appreciating God’s protection, second we see Him demonstrates His dependability through:

  • His Presence

Verses 4-7 say: “A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High. 5 God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it. 6 The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts! 7 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.” We have a God who provides protection but we have to choose to seek Him as our refuge. We don’t have to go far to find Him because His presence is right here with us but we do have to run to Him for refuge. Verse 4 paints a picture with a detail that many miss. You see the city of God is Jerusalem and unlike most of the major cities of its day it had no river that ran through. Babylon was built on the Euphrates, Egypt had the Nile, Rome the Tiber, but Jerusalem didn’t have a physical river, it had something greater, the very presence of God. It was God’s grace that flows through it like a river, bringing gladness and joy to His people. Most cities were and still are built on rivers because they provide the life giving water needed to sustain life. We know that without water we would quickly die, and what the Psalmist is reminding us of is that it is God who sustains our life. He is our living water, He is the only One who can quench our thirst and satisfy the deepest longings of our lives. In John 4:13-14 Jesus told the woman at the well: “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14 But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” He offered her life giving water, water that would not only satisfy and sustain but would flow over and out of her life. Later in John 7:37-38 Jesus again offered the world life giving water when: “On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! 38 Anyone who believes in me may come and drink!” Who and where are you running to be refreshed? While the oceans rage and the waves roll, God’s presence is depicted as a calm and steady river. This image in Scripture is used to represent peace and protection while everything else is falling apart. Peace is not the absence of problems it’s the presence of God. Most of us see prayer as petition God to remove the problems instead of as a vehicle to move us into the presence of God. What I need isn’t the removal of my problems it’s the reality of God. You see a problem free life without the presence of God is our greatest problem. God is inviting us to stop living in the problems and start living in His presence. To stop letting our problems dictate our reactions and instead respond based on His presence. When we live in the problems we end up dealing with drama but when we live in His presence life revolves around dancing. Do you want to live in the drama or in the delight? Are you problem focused or presence focused? God’s presence with His people is the central truth of Scripture, verse 5 says that “God is within her” and verse 7 declares that the “Lord Almighty is with us.” It comes from the root word Immanuel, meaning “God with us.” It was used in Matthew 1:23 to refer to Jesus who came to us that first Christmas, God with us, coming from Heaven to earth to die on a cruel cross. Are you pursuing His presence? Are you using prayer as a vehicle to bring you into His presence or just a way to petition Him over the problems? The last part of verse 5 says: “God will help her at the break of day.” No matter how big the problem or how bad things get God’s presence brings His power and help. It’s when things are at their darkest that we often despair and want to give up but just over the horizon is the break of day. The dawning of a new day brings the first rays of light which penetrate the darkness and turn despair into delight.  This is the moment when we wake to discover what Jeremiah did in Lamentations 3:22-23: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ then you have God with you at all times, He is faithful and will never leave you or forsake you. Romans 8:39 reminds us that: “Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s presence brings peace even when “nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble” The word “chaos” is the same word that is used in verse 3 to describe the roar of the waters. When the nations are agitated like the waves of the sea, God is still with His people and only He will still His people. We are reminded of God’s incredible power in verse 6, “God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!” we do not have to panic because it is the raging world that melts and dissolves before Him. Verse 7 concludes by saying that “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress” The Lord Almighty has all the hosts of heaven ready to do His work. Because of who He is and what He can do we should seek His protection and take comfort in His presence. It is here that Psalm 46 invites us to stop for the second time and soak in the truth of who God is. Right now take some time to pause and reflect upon His presence. Are you pursuing His presence on a daily basis, or do you only pursue Him in the problems?

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