Psalm 46 - What do you do in CRISIS?

Pastor Samuel Sutter - 3/29/2020

Sermon Notes
Today we're asking a big question. In CRISIS.... Where do you go? What do you do?
We're looking at Psalm 46.
Psalm 46:title–11 (NIV)
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song. 1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. 5 God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. 6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 7 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. 8 Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. 10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 11 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
THIS IS A psalm of radical trust in the face of overwhelming threat. While the specific cause of threat is never clarified, it does seem to have to do with the uproar of pagan nations (46:6) and wars that Yahweh brings to an end (46:9). The psalm has a more universal tone, beginning with the cosmic, mythic turmoil of chaotic waters before creation (46:2–3) and continuing to Yahweh’s ending of wars “to the ends of the earth” (46:9). Throughout all this threat and upheaval, God is—as the psalm insists from the opening lines—“our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”... THE OPENING SECTION affirms a radical trust in the protective strength of God in terms that hark back to the theme of “refuge” especially characteristic of psalms in Book 1 of the Psalter, but also found throughout the Psalter. The ideas of God’s providing “strength” (ʿoz) and being a “fortress” (miśgab) are related in the earlier appearance of this theme as well as in this psalm (“strength,” 46:1; “fortress,” 46:7, 11). He is described as an “ever-present help,” which in Hebrew (nimṣaʾ meʾod) means something like a help that “can be found when you need it.” The radical confidence of the psalmist is exhibited in an ability to stand without fear in the face of what constitutes a threat of uncreation. In the ancient Israelite cosmology (cf. Gen. 1 and elsewhere in the Old Testament), Yahweh established the stable environment for human existence—the earth—at creation by an act of sovereign control and limitation of chaotic waters. He established an orderly universe by creating and enforcing boundaries for these waters so that dry land appeared as a place where humans and land animals could live. --Gerald Wilson
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