1: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." - "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing…"1
2-3: "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah" - "Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing."1
4-5: "There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day." - God, like a river, flows His sustaining love in and through the hearts of His people.
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." - The power of God prevails forever over the ills and failings of the human spirit.
10-11: "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." 11The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah" - Be still and listen for God is with us always and willingly available to provide refuge and strength in everything we face in life.
Points to Contemplate:
Where do you go to seek refuge from the storms of life?
To what extent are you willing to go in search of a quiet and peaceful life? Does it seem, at times, that wherever you go, the storms and travails of life still find you? Is your mind filled with a constant ringing of life's issues and debates? Are you nights filled with worry, your days with discord, and your evenings with remorse? Do your attempts of escape into spas or get-away vacations fall short of their promised relief? Have you tried frequent prayer, regular meditation, and a constant focus on God?
Have your wars ceased to exist? Do you recognize that every issue of sin, faithlessness, doubt, worry, fear, and trepidation you face in life is a war that does not have to be? Have you come to understand that God will shatter these elements of warfare from your life? What will it take on your part to open the flood gates of His love and allow God to flow freely into and through your heart? Are you ready to experience His peace; a peace that surpasses all understanding?
Are you still? Are you fully aware that God is God? Can you hear Him speak and feel His presence? Are you able to break into songs of praise…shouting at the top of your lungs: "SELAH! For you are my God! SELAH!" What is stopping you? What keeps you from telling the world how God has plucked you from the depths of despair and hopelessness? Why are you not proclaiming for the world to hear the Good News of how "the Almighty God is with (you)" and how He is your refuge and strength in life? Promise of the Gospel:
As we read this psalm and listen to the song it inspired, we come to recognize that the same God offering refuge and peace to the psalmist while under the assault of the Assyrian armies in Jerusalem was at work offering inspiration and guidance to Martin Luther during his struggles with a powerfully oppressive church. Thousands of years have passed and myriad of human struggles have transpired and, yet, God is still with us. His river of love continues to flow in and through our lives providing refuge, strength, and undeniable peace in the midst of strife and turmoil. We are to be still, set aside our worries, and listen to God. He will not fail to rescue those who love Him.
1"A Might Fortress Is Our God," Words & Music by Martin Luther, ca 1529.