God is our refuge and strength (Part 1)

This Psalm gives two different messages from a single fact.

That fact is this:- God is the strength and hope of his people.

Looked at in the light of the New Testament, we can say that this fact is a fact only because of the life, death and rising again of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The two different messages are these:

1. God’s people should be comforted in this reality, even if they are in deep trouble.

2. God’s enemies should fear and re-think their opposition to God.

Title of this Psalm, which is just as much the word of God as the rest of the Psalm, is ‘A song for Alamoth’, that is for young women (or children) with high voices. It is like other victory songs in the Bible. For instance, the songs sang after the deliverance at the Red Sea under Moses, or after the victories of Saul or David.

These songs signalled that it is now safe. Children and young women may safely roam the streets because the enemy is defeated.

The victory that this Psalm celebrates came after a very distressing time in the past, but the song is an encouragement for God’s people for present and future troubles as well.

v.1 God is our refuge and strength, and very present help in troubles.

First of all we need to know who the real God is. He is not an idol (not a figment of our imagination). Rather he is the God who IS, the uncreated maker of all things, the almighty. God is the one who does as he pleases, who will be glorified.

This is a victory song that only Christians can enjoy, because only Christ brings people safely to God.

There is a sense in which God is saviour of all men as he is the source of life in anyone who has it. But this song is about an extraordinary deliverance of God’s own people, a rescue that goes beyond the here and now.

 v.2-3 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed and the mountain fall into the midst of the sea.

This is an unconditional lack of fear which extends beyond the here and now. This is shown by the fact that even the prospect of death or the actual event of death does not affect this fearlessness. Those singing this song have no need to fear ‘even though the earth be removed’, that is, even if our world comes to an end; even though we might lose everything here and now, we will not be afraid.

Why? Because God, who raises the dead is with us.

Consider what God had saved the Israelites from.

The Psalm was likely written of the Assyrian threat in the days of Hezekiah.  The Assyrians were not nice people. On  the walls of their own cities, they produced relief art of the devastation they caused to their victims.

No one had been able to resist or defeat the Assyrians. When the Psalm talks about the Mountains falling into the sea, it is probably speaking metaphorically. The mountains are cities (often build on high ground), and the seas refer to people – in this case the Assyrian armies. City after city had fallen to the Assyrians, and now they had come to Jerusalem in the days of Hezekiah.

The Rhabshakeh, the spokesman for the Assyrian King, reminded Hezekiah of all the cities the Assyrian King’s armies had taken, and boasted that the God of Israel was powerless to save, as all the gods of the nations had failed, so would Jehovah.

Continued in Part 2

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One thought on “God is our refuge and strength (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: God is our refuge and strength (Part 2) | Don't take it from me

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