Sunday, March 7, 2010

Psalm 46 – Confidence in a Calamitous World

WE KNOW OH SO WELL POST-HAITI AND CHILE that the physical world shakes, nudging the Richter scale, as these parts of the world threaten to break catastrophically apart, doing so locally. Our response, emotionally? We’re tempted to lose hope for the future of this physical world and for our safety and welfare.

And who would blame us, really? Without the sight of God and the knowledge of his promises we don’t stand a change, surely. No wonder people give up.

But, Psalm 46 reminds us that it’s not just a chance we stand—assurance in the Spiritual realm is guaranteed, if we trust God.

There are four portions to this psalm: verses 1-3; 4-7; 8-10 and verse 11. The fourth completes the ensemble—majestically, reminding us,

“The Lord Almighty is with us… [He] is our fortress.”

There are three “Selah’s” in this psalm—the Amplified version defines the Selah as a place to pause and reflect. And the mood of reflection is apt for this psalm, so famous for its 10th verse—“Be still, and know that I am God...”

During times of natural disaster, like other less obvious times, God is our only true place of safety, be that physical safety—knowing that spiritually, the physical doesn’t matter so much, and not to therefore be fearful—or spiritual safety in the simple expression of optional faith, for faith is merely a decision to trust. Expressing this trust of faith may hence enable people to become helpers in disaster and not hindrances.

Those who God is for (and they know of it), have very little disabling fear, for there is no danger beyond God. “The works of the Lord in verse 8 we can but just watch and observe—and marvel—as lands are toppled and seas surge. Sure, we do what we can to help and, of course, we don’t know why these calamitous things happen. But, we accept that God is wholly good.

Just as our world’s break apart emotionally and spiritually occasionally, we too can have a confidence beyond our own understanding. God is here. He is present.

In all this we can take a sweet confidence. Be still!

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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