Today’s readings are full of praise for the one true and living God. They loudly proclaim His power, His authority, His nearness to us in trouble, and the wonder of His blessings to His people. It is full of praise for the God who deserves it.
A very present help in trouble (46:1) — The side note in the NASB offers an alternate translation: “Abundantly available for help in tight places”. I like that. Have you ever been in a tight spot? Wasn’t it good to know that God was “abundantly available”? Not tied up with someone or something more important? He loves His children and is always a refuge and strength, when we need Him. Don’t let the fact that He sometimes expects us to “wait on the Lord” fool you. He is there, abundantly available — not always on our time schedule, but never too late.
Cease striving and know that I am God (46:10) — The more popular version of this passage that we sing is “be still and know that I am God.” Unless they know the context, people often think the passage is speaking about how we should still our souls and minds to become more aware of God’s presence. While there may be great value in such a deed, especially in our hyperactive society, the context of the passage is really a command to all the warring nations to be at peace and recognize God’s sovereignty. Of course the world’s nations have never been terribly submissive to any of God’s commands, including this one, but there is coming a day in which “… at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11, NAS95. And in a spiritual sense, the individuals of the nations of the world — in as much as they are members of God’s eternal kingdom, the church — have ceased to strive against one another and do acknowledge God and His sovereignty. Thus, Jesus is our peace and is known as the Prince of Peace.
For God is the King of all the earth (47:7) — In some respects this phrase may be considered a no-brainer, but have you taken a moment to consider what this proclamation might imply? Two that occur to me off the top of my head are: 1) God is King in the sense that He has authority to call the shots in this world — authoritatively. Like a king makes laws that all its citizens must obey, so also everyone on the planet has an obligation to obey the Lord. There are plenty of rebels in this world in this regard, because the world is mostly under the sway of Satan. But there is another sense in which He is the King of the earth; 2) God still is in charge of history and governments, and other events of this world. Oh, certainly Satan instigates a lot, but in the end it is God who orchestrates the direction that all of history is heading, fulfilling His grand scheme of redemption. So even though much of the world is blind to His mighty hand guiding the wheels of time and history, let us never be blind to His power, and judgments, and providence in the individual affairs of people like you and me but also in the macro sense of nations and the course of history, because of the fact that He still is King of all the earth and always will be — even when, especially when, things look their worst.
He will guide us until death (48:14) — Some commitments we make as sort of open ended — agreements with escape hatches. Some wedding vows have proclaimed, “As long as love (not life) shall last”. But real discipleship and covenants aren’t like that; they’re lifelong commitments — and that’s the commitment of this psalm in it’s last line. Will He guide you until death? Through thick and thin, through tight spots (see above) and broad places, through blessing and suffering?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.