Lately my daughter has developed a fear of tornadoes. I mean almost daily she will say something along the lines of, “Is it spring? Is a tornado coming to carry us away?”
And every time we respond with a few simple promises. First, we remind her that God is in control and that He will always be with us no matter what. Second, we remind her that statistically there is a very low probability of a tornado carrying her away. Third, we remind her that Mommy and Daddy will keep her as safe as they can.
And then we remind her where her shelter is if a tornado is coming. Run into the basement and stay there until the storm is past. We are pointing her to a place of refuge.
A refuge is a place that is providing a shelter. A refuge is a safe place where you can be at rest even though the world around the refuge is full of chaos.
Today you may feel you are in a world surrounded by chaos. Your social media feed fills your mind with all kinds of questions and doubts. The news channel is broadcasting so many hopeless stories and leaves you wondering what reality is. Then add the chaos of your own house full of people who desperately need to get out of the house and see friends and other people. Chaos!!!
And even in the midst of all the chaos you know that you need to find a place of refuge. Where can I go and be safe and confident in the middle of chaos?
One of my favorite psalms to focus on in the midst of calamity is Psalm 46. I run to this passage many times when I am struggling with thoughts of worry and concern. Over and over again I am encouraged by the reminders and the truths that are found in this poem.
I hope as we look at this poem we can see the beauty of our greatest source of refuge.
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. 6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; He raised His voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (Psalm 46 – NASB95)
This poem is written in a way that starts at the point of hope and works it way through the conflict and ends with our source of hope again. I hope as we take this poem apart and put it back together it will encourage you.
God is our Refuge!
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (v.1)
This is a simple reminder for us that God is that refuge we are looking for. And every time in the middle of trouble, He can be found.
Like a villager scrambling to the castle as the threat of attack approaches, we can always know where our refuge is. Or like a little girl sprinting into the basement as the winds howl across the fields, we can always know where our refuge is.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; (v.2)
The person who is safely in the place of refuge can rest comfortably even though everything in the world around them is crashing down.
God rules over natural calamities!
3 Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High. (vs.3-4)
Even though all of nature is in uproar God is in control. At His command, peace is restored. I love the story of the disciples in the boat in the midst of the craziest storm. They are getting tossed all over the place on the boat deck. This must have been a big storm because these are experienced fishermen, who had been on a boat in the middle of big storms before. Yet, they were afraid. Then Jesus steps up and says, “Peace, be still!” and immediately all is calm.
Listen, there is no natural event that is too out of control for the One who reigns over nature. You can rest and trust in His sovereign plan. There is no craziness that can take place over which God is not sovereign.
God is present!
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. (v.5)
The beauty in all of this for the believer is that our refuge is always there with us. We do not even have to run and look for Him. Even if my daughter is safely in our basement playing on a perfectly calm day, she does not feel as at peace as she does if I am with her. It is my presence that is most comforting to her.
Friend, God will never leave you or forsake you. He is there with you. Rejoice in His presence.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered; (v.6a)
As if it is not enough that nature and the world is crazy around us, we are reminded that even politics can get out of line.
He raised His voice, the earth melted. (v.6b)
God allows chaos into the world at various times. These times are not easy, but they are reminders of His power.
God is present!
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (v.7)
Now we are being reminded of the same truths our attention was turned to earlier in the poem. We have been taken all the way in to see the depths of the chaos. Nature is in turmoil, the nations are raging, and God is allowing this trial to take place in the world.
Yet, it is just another gentle reminder. God is still there. He is still present in your chaos.
God rules over political calamities!
Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations in the earth. He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. (vs.8-9)
God even knows the craziness of the political climates, and yet He is still there.
“Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (v.10)
How often are you pausing to just be still and recognize the presence of God in the middle of the chaos?
God is our refuge!
The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. (v.11)
As the chaos approaches in your life, may you run as quickly as you can to your only source of refuge.
God is with you! You are safe! Be still and know that He is God!