Psalm 46 is very well known and popular with Christians in the past and today, indeed it was Martin Luther’s favourite Psalm and he based his famous hymn, “A mighty fortress is our God” on it. In the darkest times he used to say, “Come, let us sing the 46th Psalm, and let them do their worst”. In referring to this Psalm he also said, “We sing this Psalm to the praise of God, because God is with us, and powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends his church and his word, against all fanatical spirits, against the gates of hell, against the implacable hatred of the devil, and against all the assaults of the world, the flesh and sin.”
- Our refuge is in God
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. Selah
God is our refuge, and all our strength is found in him, and all our strength comes from him constantly, immediately and eternally. As a result of this we have no reason to fear anything. Some early translations have, “Though the earth be turned upside down”, and to some extent that has been our experience during this past year. The mountains represent those things that we thought solid and unmovable and the sea deep and dependable peace, so, despite the complete disruption of these certainties in life God is still our refuge and strength.
Some think that these events represent the run up to the great “Day of the Lord” when the Messiah will return in glory to judge the world.
- The dwelling place of God
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. Selah
In among all this chaos the people of God, the church, are the “City of God”, which is blessed by the streams of God’s mercy, love and grace and is the dwelling place of God himself by the presence of his Holy Spirit working in and through his people. (People who have responded to the love of God demonstrated by the life, death and resurrection of his Son Jesus Christ who died so that the barrier of sin that divided us from God could be destroyed and we could become God’s children). The church will survive and prosper because God’s spirit is present and active, and the people are obedient and faithful to the gospel.
When a church is not inspired and motivated by the Holy Spirit and the people become apathetic then it ceases to be the dwelling of the Most High with fatal consequences.
Psalm 121: 1:
1: I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from?
2: My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
3: He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber;
4: indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The nations and kingdoms may be in total chaos but when God speaks all creation stands aghast at the sound of his voice.
- The invincible power of God
8: Come and see the works of the LORD, 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: “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. Selah
Only when Jesus, the Messiah comes in glory will the nations stop trying to solve their differences with violence. It was an ancient tradition that after a battle the victors would collect all the weapons and armour of the defeated and burn them so that they could not be used again. So it will be with the great “Day of the Lord”.
The Psalmist now encourages us to reflect on these things. We serve a great and awesome God who lives in us and with us by his Holy Spirit. Our God created everything we can see, hear, touch and taste and at a time of his choosing he will bring the present age to an end and there will be a new heaven and a new earth.
As Peter wrote in his second letter chapter 3:
9: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10: But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.
We live with the assurance of God as our refuge and our responsibility as the “City of God” is to sally forth and live out the good news of Jesus Christ knowing that we are secure in him, how else will people come to repentance?
Prayers for Sunday 25 October 2020
Psalms 46 reminds us that ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble’. Our Father thank you that whatever we have to face in life, you are there with us, holding us securely in your arms of love and leading us forward in your name.
- Loving Father, thank you for all who lead us here at St Cs. Our leadership team, the PCC, children and youth leaders, the worship team , Peter who will be joining us next month and so many others .Help each of us to feel part of a family and to use our gifts in the community of which we are a part, encouraging us to share your love
We pray this month for the work of the Sunflower Fellowship, a staffed home in Romania providing holidays for sick and underprivileged children. It also provides a social programme enabling school and kindergarten children to get help with their homework and a good meal, all in a loving environment. This is where our shoeboxes will be distributed. Thank you, Lord for the commitment and faith of the staff.
- We pray for Boris Johnson, the cabinet, medical scientists, business advisors and all who contribute to the decision making about the levels of lockdown and virus control at this crucial time. Lord, this has become contentious and our country has become very divided. We ask for your insight, wisdom, compassion and courage to bring unity and deal effectively with these problems in this very difficult but vital work.
- We pray for all teachers and those working in the education sector as half term begins after what has been a very difficult and exhausting period, implementing constantly changing rules about hygiene and social distancing. Lord we pray for rest and refreshment for them, compassion and wisdom as they not only teach but also emotionally support a lot of the children in their care
- We pray for the mental welfare of all who are filled with anxiety, unable to concentrate or see a way out or a future because of a business failure, rent arrears or difficulty in being able to feed their family. We pray for those on our prayer list who are ill, waiting for operations or tests, those who are mourning loved ones who have died, those shielding in their homes and who feel lonely and those who can’t visit loved ones in care homes. May your presence bring comfort, hope and love to them. Thank you Lord for the safe return home of Alan and your continued healing of him.
Thank you, Lord for the colour and forms of your creation and the joy this brings us. We pray for strength and courage to cope with the changing restrictions on our lives and your peace to quieten our anxieties.
Drop thy still dews of quietness, til all our strivings cease;
Take from our lives the strain and stress
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace.
Merciful Father – Accept these prayers for the sake of Your Son our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen
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