My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
7The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
In our last post we considered the fears a saint may reject if we know our God as a refuge and strength, who is not only able to help the saint, but most assuredly, He is available to the saint. We found that the passage may describe a situation that is not unlike our own, where we find systems breaking down, moral corruption and social decay. The psalmist spoke of the earth moving and the mountains shaking. Turbulent catastrophes that have the natural result being the striking of fear in the population. A natural result of catastrophes is fear, but for the saint, as the psalmist describes our God as a provider of strength and ever available, would allow the saint to reject this fear! There is a refuge to be found and a strength to rely on!
The psalmist continues with describing a river. A river that has streams feeding into it. The picture in my mind is of a mighty river, with many tributaries (streams) feeding into it. It appears the psalmist is drawing a contrast with the water based upheaval in the previous verse, of the water roaring and the mountains crashing into the sea.
You see, this river isn’t turbulent, roaring or destructive as the fear inducing sea is above. It makes glad the city of God. It produces joy, or merriment. No fear in this scene, for the joy replaces the fear.
And yet the psalmist seems to be stating this is a current condition for the saint, that the fear discussed in verse 2, which the saint decides not to live in, is contrasted or replaced with this experience of joy and peace.
Don’t get me wrong when I mention we can choose to reject fear as if that was something any person can do. Fear is not to be replaced by dogged determinism, by simply saying no to fear, but by chasing after or deciding to have the joy of the Lord that He provides.
If He doesn’t provide this joy (but praise God He does), all the decision making of the most determined person out there to reject fear would still simply leave him full of pride. What a fearful place to be! But this river that provides joy is only at the City of God, the church of the Living Savior.
God is in the midst of her, and we cannot speak of this truth without understanding that the city of God is the church, a body of believers that have confessed Jesus as Lord and seek to follow after Him in their crippled, weak and imperfect ways. This church will not be moved, or as the Master said
Matthew 16:18 …I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it
The psalmist continues with describing the stability of the church, the city of God. God shall help her and that right early, or just at the break of dawn. Many of the popular translations refer to the dawn breaking in relation to when God will help the church. This implies in my thinking that the church may have to go through dark periods of trial prior to the help received from God. This requires the faith that is so critical at times when it seems the God who is available doesn’t seem to be paying attention.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
In support of the thinking that the first few verses as speaking of national catastrophe as opposed to geological ruination of the planet, the psalmist speaks of the heathen raging, resulting in the moving of a kingdom. We have political upheaval being described here, where those who do not live in the city of God (heathen) are raging, making noise, and causing kingdoms to move. As we see disruptions in our society, and voices demanding change to satisfy their wants, we see kingdoms change. Whether in the west or the east, the power of the combined voice of the people will change kingdoms. Mob raging makes change happen!
Multiplied voices of heathen can rage. And move a kingdom.
He simply utters His voice. A single voice pronouncing a statement. A declaration that changes everything. The earth, as a result of His declaration, is spoken of as melting away, dissolving, being consumed!
This declaration is not defined in this passage, but may I suggest a New Testament reference?
The declaration that “melts” the earth is
concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans 1:3-4
His resurrection is the “declaration” we need to run to, we need to take refuge in, the resurrection that produced the City of God, and has given a river of joy to all who follow.
The psalmist returns to reminding us that God is a refuge. Notice that God is the refuge, and not the city of God, blessing that it is.
He alone is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of need.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.
2 thoughts on “Psalms for Psome – Ps 46-B”
A favorite Psalm but my vision of this river is the river that comes from the throne, His habitation, and covers the land in caring love and peace once the new Heaven and new Earth appear.
I love the thought of the river of peace coming from the throne, and I tend to think that image is found in Ezekiel’s prophecies of the church age. And I understand this peace that flows like a river from the throne of God is available for the NT saint even today. It comes from the throne of God, where the Savior provides for His people the peace, wisdom, grace and forgiveness we all need. Thanks for reading, and I appreciate your thoughts! Be blessed.
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