Sunday Devotional 23rd of April 2023
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 – a Psalm of the sons of Korah.
Psalm 46:4-5 – “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.
I love these beautiful verses. They are best read slowly and with much contemplation.
It is of interest that this Psalm was written in Jerusalem which does not have a single river in it. As a result it is commonly assumed that the mention of a river here refers to the life-giving influence of worship and service flowing from the sanctuary of God (Ezekiel 47:1–12; Revelation 22:1–2).
It could also well reflect that despite having no rivers, Jerusalem had God, who, like a river, sustained the people’s lives. The heart of the covenant was that if God lived among the people, the city was invincible. But when the people abandoned him, God no longer protected them, and Jerusalem fell to the Babylonian army.
Whatever else we take from this, the Scriptures often refer to the fact that God’s divine grace is like a smoothly flowing, nourishing, and never-failing river, which yields refreshment and consolation to believers. Written in the context of this “noisy” Psalm this river is not some raging torrent or violent ocean. Nor is it muddy or polluted – it is a crystal clear, tranquil stream that will flow amid turmoil and disturbance in a way that brings serenity to all those who partake of it.
What joy comes from finding such a river!
Its streams make glad the city of God – an expression often used for the Kingdom of God established after Calvary, with the formation of the New Covenant. It is in this Kingdom that we find the confidence and tranquillity of being at peace with God, not ever having to be in place of shame on account of our own fallen nature, or the issues of life that may surround us. John Calvin makes an excellent comment here. He says,
God comes to our aid in a secret and gentle manner, like the still flowing streams, yet it imparts to us more tranquillity of mind than if the whole power of the world were gathered together for our help.
Verse 5 states that because God is in the midst of this beautiful city, she shall not be moved. If we consider this literally it would mean that if Jerusalem was besieged and surrounded, then so was God!!
Wow – who would want to be an enemy that had surrounded a city where the Almighty God dwelt? At any moment of His choosing, He would break out upon His adversaries and annihilate them. We need to consider this when we are in such a place in life. God is not only near to us when we are in adversity – He is in the midst of it with us. Knowing this, let us maintain clean hands and a pure heart and wait for Him to stretch out His hand of rescue, provision, or justice against all that would attempt to oppress us.
God dwells amongst us with the express purpose of preserving us to produce His will in our lives and to reap the blessings that come with that. As David as able to say at the end of his life “I have never seen the righteous forsaken (Psalm 37:25).
Let us reassure ourselves and one another that the darkest hour of the night is just before the first light of the morning sun appears. Even in the darkest times of our lives, God has a blessing coming to us that will enrichen our lives and our relationship with Him as a result. Isaiah learnt this in his own journey of life and shared it with us.
Isaiah 45:3 “I will give you the treasures of darkness And hidden wealth of secret places, So that you may know that it is I, The LORD, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.
God bless you.