Music is medicinal for the the troubled soul. When King Saul was troubled, he would have David play the harp as a means of soothing his weary soul. When we find ourselves going through trials and seasons of terror—the people of God should turn to the songs of Scripture to be reminded of the greatness and majesty of God. The purpose of the Psalms is to exalt and magnify God. Through the different Psalms, we may encounter:
- People Worshiping
- People Crying
However, in all that we encounter in these beautiful poetic songs, we must turn our attention to the God who is ruling and reigning over his creation at all times. Martin Luther, commenting on the Psalms, once said that the Psalms are “The Bible in miniature.”
The 46th Psalm is a wonderful song that puts on display God’s robust sovereignty and reminds us of the fact that God is with his people and upholds them by his divine strength. When Martin Luther would go through intense struggles and trials in life, he would often gather his friends together and sing this theologically rich song to comfort his soul.
God Is Our Refuge in Times of Natural Disasters
Even if the earth shakes and the mountains are moved—according to the Psalmist—God is our refuge. Some of the most terrifying times in life are in the midst of a natural disaster. From the high winds of a tornado or a relentless hurricane to mudslides and forest fires—people find themselves at the breaking point emotionally as they endure through such calamities.
In recent days, we have watched hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm, smash into the coast of Texas on August 25th 2017. It caused over 180 billion dollars in damage and took more than 70 lives in the process. Not long after Harvey came Irma, a category 5 storm that ran up the coast of Florida causing more than $100 million dollars in damage and claiming more than 75 lives.
Where can we turn during the midst of such powerful storms? According to the Psalmist—we can turn to God. Not long after the hurricanes hit, the earthquake in Mexico City caused massive buildings to crash and it claimed more than 350 lives in an instant. Where can we turn in the wake of such tragedies? We can turn to our God.
God Is Our Fortress When Nations Rage and Clash
Certainly God’s people understood what it was like to experience the horrible pressures of war, famine, and threats of national enemies. According to the Psalmist, God had saved his people. According to Psalm 46:6-7, “he nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” We are not told what the exact situation was, but in some way, God devoured the enemies and saved his people. This gave birth to this Psalm where the people of God would sing and remember the great work of God.
When nations flex their military muscle and clash in war—what power do they display that can compare to the power of God. The Psalmist writes, “he utters his voice, the earth melts” (vs. 6). When enemies of our nation flex their nuclear muscle—we can trust in our God. When terrorists plot against God’s Church—we can trust in our God. He is with us!
God Is Our Fortress—Be Still and Know
Whatever the circumstances were that the Psalmist seems to be alluding to in this psalm, we are not sure. However, what we are sure of is the fact that God has delivered his people. That has been the case all throughout the history of God’s people!
- God delivered Moses and Israel from Pharaoh
- God delivered David from Goliath
- God delivered David from Saul
All throughout the OT – we see that God is constantly delivering his people from their enemies. Just do a quick word search regarding “enemies” in the Psalms and you will see that there are 56 occurrences of this word. God will be exalted among the nations. Everyone is to know that He is God. We are called – as God’s children – to be still and know that he is God.
We are to consider the great works of God. We are to be still and consider these things. We are to know that he is God—and by direct contrast—there is no other. In the days of Martin Luther, in the wake of his bold stand before the Diet of Worms in 1521 and the translation of the German Bible—the Black Death hit Europe. While approximately 33% of all of the population of Europe was taken by the plague, in some local areas, the numbers extended as high as 50-70%. Luther opened his home as a hospital to care for people. With the looming pressures of the Roman Catholic Church and the stench of the Black Plague surrounding him, he would turn to Psalm 46 in song. It would be during this time that he would pen the words to his famous hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
For Luther, he understood that God was bigger and more valuable than anything this world had to offer him. God was bigger than his enemies. God was stronger than the Wartburg Castle. God was more powerful than the Black Plague.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.