Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

15 Trusting in times of trouble – Part 3

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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”

Not only do we see God demonstrates His dependability through His protection and presence but thirdly through:

  • His Position

We can depend on God during difficult times because of His protection, His presence, and also because of His position. Verses 8-11 invites us to: “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” We are invited both as a nation and as God’s children the church to: “Come, see the glorious works of the Lord” The word that is used here means to “run after or pursue” in order to “see.” This isn’t just a casual invite where if we have time we can come and take a peek, no there is a sense of urgency here. It’s the call to drop everything and run after Him so that we can see His glorious works. If you got word that your favorite band was traveling through your town and throwing a free concert would you run to watch? Many of us would because we would be driven by a desire to see, to hear and to experience the music. You would see it as significant and time well spent. So why don’t we see running after God as worthwhile?  What if you decided not to go and as a result you missed the greatest concert of the century? I wonder today how many miracles we miss because we are not running after the Redeemer. We are not just running after Him we are pursuing with a purpose which is to see the wonderful works of our Savior. To “see” here means to gaze at God not glance. It means to come contemplatively, to pursue and perceive His power and His position. This means that we need to cut out all competing distractions so that we can pay attention to the Almighty. It means making Him our focus not an afterthought. Verse 9 reveals the incredible power of His position as the Almighty God, for He can make “wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.”  Only God can cause conflict to cease. As people we all want peace our problem is that we pursue the piece of paper which promises peace instead of the Prince of peace. What about you are you pursuing people peace or the provider of peace? God in His position of power has the ability to render the weapons of war useless. He is the One who breaks the bow and shatters the spear so that they are no longer effective, and sets the shield on fire so that it cannot function. In His position as sovereign king, He and He alone is in charge. Verse 10 is a call to bow before His position as the rightful ruler, we’re called to “Be still and know that I am God.” To “be still” is more than just a moment of silence, it means to cast down or let fall, meaning to stop striving. It’s the picture of letting our hands fall to our sides as we leave matters with God. This is more than just a quiet time it’s a quitting time, where we stop putting forth exertion and start looking to and leaning on the Lord. The purpose is so that we can know the person of God. To “know” means to acknowledge the Almighty, to delve deep in our relationship and discover who He is. To stop keeping things on a surface level and start seeking a deeper more intimate relationship. But we will never truly get to know God experientially until we become still before Him. Verse 10 is actually a rebuke. We’re to stop trying and start trusting, it’s an invitation to rest and rely on Him. To stop striving in our own self-effort and submit ourselves to the sovereignty of God. The last part of verse 10 says: “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” As we quiet our souls we can reflect upon and recognize His position as Lord over the whole world. Our problem is that we never slow down long enough to be still before Him, we rush here and there because we are driven by doing not being. We focus on the problems instead of His position of power, so we put our energy into panic instead of prayer. Are you going to spend your time in worry or in worship? Are you going to be fear focused and spend your time fretting or Father focused and spend your time wisely? The greatest gift is not the removal of problems but the person of God, the joy comes from knowing Him.  Is your goal getting to know God or just getting from God? Many of us settle for a fix when we could have the Father. When we stop striving and start being still we will recognize His supremacy and inevitable triumph over the nations.  It does not say that He might be exalted, but that He will be exalted, God’s supremacy is a guarantee. Because of His position of power we can be reassured and we can rest. Philippians 2:10-11 reminds us: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Verse 11 is a great summary statement of the entire psalm, because “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.”  Are you resting in His presence, His protection, and His position as supreme commander of the armies of heaven? Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords, He is in control even in the chaos. Nothing has happened outside of His plan, there is nothing that catches Him of guard or leaves him bewildered. Though there is tragedy and the mountains fall into the sea, those who know and trust in Jesus have nothing to fear. Regardless of whether nature wreaks havoc, or the nations rage against one another our God is our refuge. It is here that we are invited for a third time to pause at the final “Selah” and be still before God. This is not just a pause it’s a repositioning of our focus from our fears to our Father. Where in your life do you need to be still? Where do you need to stop striving and start trusting?

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