Psalm 46: Praying for Strength

For Meditation

Trouble finds us. It is inescapable. Whether we bring it on ourselves through our own choices, or it comes upon us because of the choices of others or just because the world is a broken mess, we experience trouble. While we most often just try to be strong - handle difficulty ourselves, coping the best we can, the writer of Psalm 46 approaches trouble very differently.

We are seeing in our study of the Psalms this summer how these poems instruct us to learn how to approach the powerful things we deal with in life and the emotions they produce in us. The Psalms teach us to pray. They direct us to realign our perspective on reality that will profoundly affect our emotional reactions.  Psalm 46 presents us with a very powerful picture of reality that turns our perspective on our troubles around.

Often, when we want to comfort someone who is in pain or difficulty, we tell them, “It will be all right.” We tend to want to minimize the pain or encourage our friend not to be overwhelmed by what they are facing.  Not so with this Psalm writer. The help given is to put the person in trouble in touch with the great calamity they are in. The writer tells us God is a very present help but then goes on to talk about the earth falling apart, mountains breaking up, waters roaring and foaming, nations rioting and political regimes ending.  Some comfort!

God is described as being a refuge and a fortress, images that separate and protect us from battle. But God is not described as far away from the tumult of life. God’s help is described as being right there with us in the midst of the trouble. He actually enters into the turmoil and adds to the conflict in order to bring refuge and rest. The Psalm describes God as the powerful leader of a large army who enters into the fray in order to bring it to an end.

Join us to explore the call of this Psalm to see God this way and how that reshapes our way of dealing with trouble as it challenges us to cease our striving and rest in knowing God’s mammoth effort to bring us help and how He is a refuge and strength.

Once finalized, our weekly worship guide can be found here.

Psalm 46

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.

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. 

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.