Friday, January 18, 2013

Day Eighteen: Refuge

The WORD of the Day:

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." 
--Psalm 46:1-3, 7

Let Me Give You a Lift:

The book of Psalms is a collection of poetry written by many different authors, the most famous author being King David.  But for several Psalms in the book the author is unknown.  Today's Word is one of those Psalms. No one knows for sure who wrote it, but scholars generally believe this was a poet well acquainted with a world turned upside down. Psalm 46 was written during the lifetime of King Hezekiah (some even suggest he was the author). That was a time in which the Northern Kingdom of Israel was destroyed, and in which Jerusalem was under siege by the Assyrians for many years.   

Knowing this background lends even greater weight to the description of God as a refuge, a help, and a fortress.  We can imagine the scene being depicted here: enough Hollywood natural disaster movies have been filmed that we can picture earthquakes, mountains crumbling, great floods.  And the writer says that even when all the world around us gives way we need not be afraid. The rest of the poem is filled with vivid imagery of wars, natural disasters, mass destruction--a world in chaos.  Yet with each example is a reminder that God protects us from all of these things.  Near the end of the poem, God speaks these words:

Be still, and know that I am God.

Wow, powerful words.  

At the end of each phrase in Psalm 46, the Hebrew word selah appears.  Simply put, it means "pause, and think of it."  God is in the stillness.  We find ourselves swept away sometimes by the craziness of the world around us.  Tragedies, wars, and illnesses, yes, but also the every day cares and anxieties of living.  But even when everything around us is swirling out of control, we can have a stillness in the soul that comes from relying on God.  He is our peace, our shelter from the storm.  But sometimes to recognize it, we must stop, take a step back, and reflect on our situation in the context of our whole lives, including the ever after. 

Be still, and know that I am God.

Pause, and think of it. 

Give it a Listen:

Today's song is Natalie Grant's “I will Not Be Moved.” It's basically just an anthem to staying strong in the Lord, and it's something great to listen to when you need to need an energy boost or musical pep talk. Favorite line: "I will make mistakes, I will face heartaches, but I will not be moved." The later part of that line actually comes from Psalm 46:5, which states that the city of God "shall not be moved." Enjoy!

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