Psalm 46 offers a timely presentation of facts that encourage us though “the earth give way and the mountains fall into the sea” (v. 2). When flood-weary communities are seeking to rally themselves to once again throw sandbags you and I must not forget what the sons of Korah penned in this great song.
Take time and read through Psalm 46. When you do you will identify some needful thoughts for the soul. First, one is reminded that God is ever-present. The psalmist states clearly, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (v. 1). Also, verse 7 offers, “The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” God is involved in the here and now. He has not withdrawn. He is not reclusive. He is every bit as occupied with our current circumstances as He was with Israel’s liberation from Egypt or Jonah and the fish. Do you believe this? Have you bought into the theme of the old Bette Midler song that declares, “From a distance, God is watching us”? He certainly is not looking onward from a distance.
A second thing with which to grapple is that God controls all things by His word. Nothing escapes His attention. The psalmist writes, “Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts” (v. 6). So much time and energy is spent on what man should do and can do, and yet in the end it is the God of Heaven and Earth who ordains all things. The writer of Proverbs says clearly in Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
Thirdly, the Lord brings about peace. The psalmist writes in Psalm 46:9, “The Lord makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear.” The peace that our world constantly cries for will only come by the hand of the Almighty. The same is true for the peace that my heart longs for. In another psalm it is said, “No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength” (Psalm 33:16). Only the Lord saves, and therefore, only the Lord wrings peace out of the community that is broken and weary. He may use us and our leaders for this task. But it is ultimately His task.
Because God is ever-present, because His word rules over all, because He is the One who brings about ultimate peace, we can and must “be still and know that [He] is God” (46:10). Great as we are, our people and leaders are not God. Worthy as a given effort may be, the effort itself cannot replace God. We pray and support and encourage and hope for the very best of things to transpire, but in the end there is only one God—the maker of Heaven and Earth, who holds all things in the palm of His hand.
Including our community.
And the rivers.