Sunday Devotional 4th September 2022
by Bruce Billington
We are continuing to explore the knowledge of God as expressed in the Psalms. This week we will continue to explore Psalm 46, written by the sons of Korah.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
This Psalm is often misinterpreted. It is not a quiet Psalm at all. It is very noisy – mountains are falling into the sea and the sea’s waters are foaming and raging. But during such raging turmoil, God offers His people peace and serenity.
The aspect of a river is significant for life to all people, so this becomes a powerful metaphor. Many great cities have rivers flowing through them, sustaining people’s lives by making agriculture possible and facilitating trade with other cities. But of interest here is the fact that Jerusalem had no river flowing through it – instead it had God, who, like a river, sustained the people’s lives. If the people walked in His ways, God would ensure that the city was invincible. But when the people abandoned him, God no longer protected them, causing Jerusalem to ultimately fall to the Babylonian army.
The prophets Ezekiel and Zechariah spoke of waters flowing out of the sanctuary of God (Ezekiel 47:1–12; Zechariah 14:8–9). The Apostle John saw a crystal river proceeding from God’s throne (Revelation 22:1). And Jesus described the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in believers as rivers of living water flowing out of our inner being (John 7:38–39).
It doesn’t matter what is going on in our lives; how threatened, distressed or overwhelmed that we might be – God promises us that He will be our refuge and shelter and establish a place of peace for us while our troubles are raging. Charles Spurgeon provides us with a great description of this river by saying,
The streams are not transient like Cherith, nor muddy like the Nile, nor furious like Kishon, nor treacherous like Job’s deceitful brooks, neither are their waters “naught” like those of Jericho, they are clear, cool, fresh, abundant, and gladdening.
The presence of God in our turmoils of life, makes it seem like a well-ordered city, surrounded with mighty walls of truth and justice, garrisoned by omnipotence, fairly built and adorned by infinite wisdom.
God is referred to here as the “Most High.” This title indicates His power, majesty, sublimity, and excellency. As such He is able to take us into a different realm, where all that may be troubling us becomes insignificant compared to who He is.
Verse 5 assures us that He is in our midst at all times and will not be moved. This means He is present in every event in our lives. Nothing escapes Him. This is both a comforting and sobering thought. We should take great care that nothing we do grieves Him. He is a holy God. We can do well to remember His words to Joshua as Joshua was leading His people into the Promised Land.
“Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so (Joshua 6:2).
Verse 5 tells us that His help will come as the morning arrives. Note that this means that it may take some time. There may be a period of waiting or enduring until He moves. This is one of our biggest challenges. It requires patience and reminding ourselves (and one another) of the truth that His timing is perfect. Any delay in His response is always for our long-term benefit and well-being, even though we may not understand it at the time. The coldest time of the night is just before sunrise. The darkest time of the night is just before the dawn breaks. This is the hour when the Lord shall appear.
God’s constant presence in our lives through His indwelling Spirit gives us indescribable joy and peace, even during life’s fiercest trials (Philippians 4:7; 1 Peter 1:8). When we drink of the Lord’s presence, we too will be refreshed (Psalms 42:1–2).
God bless you.