Be still….and know that I am God…. (Psalm 46: 10)
I would like to invite you as many of you follow Sentinel For Christ from all over the world and some of you are new, to take a breath. Chaos is not in control. The God of the universe is in control. He is the one who loves us from all nations and peoples. Even if it was just you or me on planet earth, I believe He would have sent Jesus for us.
God’s love and concern over us is a truth principle embedded into the fabric of the heavens and the universe; even the ground of our planet that if you believe it, it has great power to meet us with whatever is confronting us. Right now, there is a supernatural attempt to saturate the world with fear and hopelessness. It’s trying to root itself in communities and nations to cause disorder and unbelief. God is in control and the enemy of men and women, satan, will not prevail.
Right now, let’s proclaim something clear. I want you to speak it as you read it where you are. Jesus is King, not a virus, not chaos, and not division. Jesus is also King over all governments, nations and peoples. I know as I’ve been around long enough as some of you spoke those words the power of God was felt within you in a way that immediately changed the atmosphere around you. You actually felt it. Christian or just someone seeking after God.
It’s been a long time since the world was facing a crisis that put people on edge and caused this type of concern and worry. We are seeing just how fragile and vulnerable our society; our nations and our planet really is. Last week while purchasing groceries before all the lockdowns and restrictions were in place, I could feel the profound anxiety surrounding me. The elevated level of fear amongst the people in my immediate vicinity was shocking. I prayed quietly for all of them and myself, “Lord break this atmosphere which hangs over the planet right now.”
Psalm 46 is a prayer for the world right now. It gives us appreciation that all generations face times of uncertainty or “seasons” when it feels like the wheels are coming off everything.
Notice the circumstances reflected in this short little Psalm. Its brief but powerful in its implications
“GOD is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
That’s a picture of a unstable earth where uncertainty prevails and even the security of what seems unmovable is toppled. But notice even in this circumstance God, “is a refuge and strength.” Right now, in your country, your home, or your circumstance, God is a refuge for you.
God is not far from anyone one of us regardless of where we live or what surrounds us. This Psalm’s promise is “He’s a place we can go.” That’s what a refuge is. It’s safe. He a source of strength. Many need His strength right as their strength has been far overwhelmed. God waits to give His strength to those who ask. Because this is a promise of God it reflects an reliable aspect of who He is right now, not back in history but now in our present circumstance. The amazing fruit of believing this promise is:
Fear, anxiety, even dread can be managed. Even wiped out.
“THERE is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Highest dwells. God is within her; she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:4-7)
It’s the river aspect of this Psalm I wanted to highlight. At first it puzzled me. Water of many types, oceans and rivers are used in the scriptures of the Bible to say something about God and particularly how He interacts with people. This “river” mentioned in Psalm 46 is no exception.
The river is a picture of the favor of God. Its not a picture of a raging torrent but a supplier of life-giving pouring favor (kindness) from God over the earth by the vehicles of streams which branch off of the main artery. Just like a naturally occurring river runs it course over the ground, and divides into smaller streams which water the area providing life to the earth, the river of God waters the earth with His favor. In this Psalm the portrait is God’s abundant favor to the earth flowing over it to reach the people he loves, everyone. The writer of this Psalm thought it so important in the midst of raging uncertainly to point this out. This river which reaches out to the world makes the very City of God glad, the place where He dwells.
How could it possibly accomplish that you might wonder? Because the effect of the water pictured here is God’s favor which will have its intended effect on the people God desires passionately to bless. All we have to do is ask and receive it.
God’s heart is glad when reconciliation and restoration take place between His people and all of us, even if we don’t feel like we know Him that well, we still are His people. We may feel forgotten but we’re not forgotten. As you read this you are not forgotten by God. In fact, it’s quite the opposite you are loved deeply and desperately by Him.
“For God so loved the world (men and women) that He gave his only Son that whoever would believe in Him would not die but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) God the Father in Jesus invested a long time ago in the world when he committed His Son Jesus to rescue the earth through the cross.
COME and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth. He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire. (Psalm 46:8-9)
What does it mean for God to bring a desolation on the earth. The “desolations” here are in the context of the wars referred in verses 8 & 9. God will put all chaos and war to an end. There is spiritual war occurring in the heavens and earth and wars amongst nations. God, however will end all of them. Why do these things occur in the first place? The truth is desolations don’t have to come. They occur when we get to far from the river. In the same way a city won’t thrive without water, if we run to far from the favor of God’s toward us, we can find ourselves in a desert, either physically or spiritually. Even the busiest among us can be profoundly isolated in life. God’s antidote is to be connected to this life-giving favor and kindness offered by Him. It doesn’t take a tragedy or a pandemic to cause it, but adversarial times certainly have the ability to reveal it.
Notice one more aspect of a river. Smaller streams flow towards a greater river. Many of us may be coming into contact with God now feeling like we have little or no knowledge about Him, about religion, about church and how to have a relationship with God. I know many have the impression of God on their hearts right now as the world feels completely unsettled. One voice we might be hearing is loaded with fear, even frustration as fear and anger are common partners. This is not the voice of God’s favor. We want to be sensitive That God desires to comfort us in this midst of what is occurring. This is how God’s voice speaks. God’s voice is never detached from the circumstances that surround us. This is why so many of us fail to recognize it. We think if God would speak to us it would be recognizable like human communication. But the Bible tells us “God is Spirit, and those who reach for Him and seek to have relationship with Him must come through spirit.” God is speaking to the world now through His voice which is a desire for comfort. This voice of comfort is like that smaller stream which we stumble upon that provides life and leads to even greater life, the greater river referred to in this Psalm. He is already communicating to people encouraging them to reach out for Him as he will provide.
Why not tell God right now, if this is speaking to your spirit “I hear you Lord.” “I receive your comfort.”
Now let me share how beautiful, how personal this river truly is.
“On the last and greatest day of the feast, Jesus stood up and called out in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said: ‘Streams of living water will flow from within him.’ (John 7:37-38)
Jesus was referring to the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the very personality or you might say the “being” of God Himself. The God of refuge of Psalm 46; is Spirit and desires to be experienced and living through a human being who thirst for Him. This living water Jesus was referring to reflects the gift of intimacy of this possible relationship. The “rivers” in Jesus words are metaphor for God’s Spirit living in those who thirst for him. The river of God, His presence, His favor and comfort are found in the Spirit of God which can live in us.
And all it takes is a thirsting for Him to receive this.
Consider what a thirst means. It’s not anything intellectual or emotional other than a real need for something that provides life. In this case water. But the life-giving water God offers through His Son Jesus is much more than physical water. Its spiritual life that comforts, and soothes and provides purpose and resilience even in the midst of uncertainty and surges up into something more than “life as we know it.” It becomes eternal life.
When men and women reach out to God, this transformation can occur. When they “thirst” for Him and acknowledge Him (which is a form of self-surrender) and simply ask for Him; He reveals Himself in the face of His Son Jesus. God does not withhold life to those who seek Him. Then what was an encounter at a small stream of God’s presence. His grace leads to a river of favor which becomes eternal life, complete, abundant. When this occurs the truth of the Psalms final declaration become an amazing reality for those who surrender to Him:
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:10-11)
God is waiting for the world to ask for help. He’s also waiting on those who know Him to walk like they do.
When things get tough in the world its remarkable just how quickly God is held high and exalted. God is exalted because He never left. He’s always been there. It’s just people tend to find Him easier when things feel desperate. The beauty of God and His love is He’s not far from anyone. I find great comfort in that. He has an invitation now for each and every one of us:
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
God and His Son Jesus have the world in control. They are not going to give something ibroken to us. Jesus made that clear when he said:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Reach out and ask God for the peace needed in your circumstance right now. Its there for the asking if you want it.
M.S. Counseling M.C.M. Pastoral Counseling
JP Grier is the founder and contributing writer at SentinelforChrist.com – A network of Christians helping each other to press deeper in Christ. You can reach JP at: firstname.lastname@example.org