First Off…read Psalm 46!
I’ve thought about things that COULD happen that would make my world collapse. When I was a kid it was me not being around my parents. And not only not being around them but them actually being fully removed from my life. I couldn’t imagine not having my protectors, my providers, my love and support physically around me doing all those things I needed them to do and be. And it wasn’t only that I needed them for those things – it was that they were my everything. I even remember quite vividly those half dozen + months when I was in 7th grade when my dad was deployed and away from us. Even HALF of my support system being gone led to some really tearful nights. And I think about my life today. My wife, my kids, my friends, church…my family – those fears are still prevalent.
We don’t know much about what the psalmist is experiencing except for the fact that all the things that represent chaos and destruction in her life…are present. Waters roaring and foaming (vs 3), mountains quake and surging (again, vs 3), nations and kingdoms attacking, defending, and falling (6) – all of these things represent terrific strife, chaos, pain, suffering, sadness, and worry.
And to the people of Israel, all these things represented things that were beyond them – but they are also things that are massive and intimidating. And if you are anything like me when you think of these things you too feel somewhat intimidated and insignificant. Mountains are MASSIVE obstacles. When they tremble, when they blow…fear and chaos ensue – same with waters that roar and foam. I’ve been whitewater rafting enough times to know the destructive power they wield. And nations and kingdoms? To the Israelite it was war, death, and battles – consistently. Again, I’ve seen enough on the news and internet to see all the pain, death, suffering, and destruction that is STILL going on.
So what does one do? When your world is turned upside down – when things are out and beyond your control…to where do you turn?
There is, and should be, nothing else in this world that brings us peace, comfort, and solace than God himself. His presence, as well as his promises.
I get it. My hope and trust as a kid was in that which was tangible and daily in my life: My parents. As an adult I grew in my faith, grew in my understandings, and grew in my walk and have slowly began to understand that comfort has never been IN people – it was in God who SURROUNDED me with his presence and love WITH those people. I don’t mean to say nor come across that those things aren’t deeply important to me – but I’ve learned that the only thing consistent in life is God. Not others nor “things”. And when all else fades away, and they will – God still remains.
Everything that we have, everything that we cling to in times of worry must be God. Who he is and what he is doing. And in the end, as we grow in our faith and our walk, we begin to understand that our hope is in his security…and in his promises.
And that’s exactly what we have here: God’s promises = Comfort/Peace.
And what we need to always remember is that the promises God gave to Israel, the comfort that Israel had in who God was and that he held to his covenantal promise to them…is still true today. The psalmist was brought to peace because of the Lord and his promise to never abandon (Dt 31:6)…and he never did. He consistently brought them to peace and security. Yes we can find countless texts where it SEEMED like God was not protecting them – but in all those instances it was the people who walked away from God. And so while they may have FELT abandoned, God was always there. Waiting for them to truly seek his hand of comfort – and when they did – he was there. In his silence he was still present. Ever watching, ever waiting.
This is a comfort and peace we have today as fulfilled in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Christ descended to this world so that we could be in final peace and comfort with him INSTEAD of death and destruction which was where we were heading. Christ’s death pulled us in and reminds us that even when we try to walk away, or run away, or focus on other things than Him he will never let us out of his grip. And then God said he would give us his Spirit to continue to bring peace and comfort into our chaotic lives (John 14:16-21). Filling us WITH his presence too in the storms as well as the peace in our lives.
The question I find myself asking, the question I want YOU to think about – is when your life does seem to be in a downward spiral…how is your fear stilled? When those mountains in your life crumble, when a sudden squall sets in, when the rivers slosh and foam and toss you about – where is your peace?
Answer: “Be still, and know that I am God.” (vs 10)