God the Refuge of his People and Conqueror of the Nations
To the Chief Musician, A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 3 Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, who has made desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
The following commentary is from Warren W. Wiersbe’s book, ‘BE Worshipful’.
Most people recognize this psalm as the basis for Martin Luther’s hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.” The historical background is probably God’s deliverance of Jerusalem from the Assyrians in the time of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18—19; 2 Chron. 32; Isa. 36—37). It would be helpful for you to read these accounts before examining the psalm. King Hezekiah was a poet and may have written not only this psalm but also 47 and 48, which probably came out of the same historical context and celebrate God’s victory over the enemy……The emphasis in this psalm is on the presence of the Lord with His people (vv. 1, 5, 7, 11) and the difference it makes when we trust Him in the changes and difficulties of life. The psalm focuses on the Lord and what He is to His trusting people.
God Is Our Tower of Strength (vv. 1-3). The word translated “refuge” in verse 1 means “a stronghold, a high tower, a fortress.” Both words declare that God is a dependable refuge for His people when everything around them seem to be falling apart……But He doesn’t protect us in order to pamper us. He shelters us so He can strengthen us to go back to life with its duties and dangers (29:11; 68:35; Isa. 40:31)……He is an “ever-present help,” but He cannot work for us unless we trust Him (Matt. 13:58).
The word trouble describes people in tight places, in a corner and unable to get out; and when that occurs, the admonition is, “Don’t be afraid!”…..The earth may change, the mountains may be hurled violently into the sea, there may come earthquakes and tidal waves, but all things are in the control of our sovereign Lord……Circumstances may change, but God’s covenant with His people will never change (Isa. 54:10). He is our high tower and our refuge in the uncertainties of life.
God Is Our River of Joy (vv. 4-7). The scene shifts into the city of Jerusalem, where the people are confined because of the Assyrian army camped around them. Water was a precious commodity in Palestine and especially in Jerusalem, one of the few ancient cities not built on a river. Wisely, Hezekiah had built an underground water system that connected the Spring of Gihon in Kidron with the Pool of Siloam within the city, so water was available…..But the psalmist knew that God was their river and provided them with the water of life (36:8; 65:9; 87:7; and see John 7:37-39)…….God’s people have always depended on the hidden spiritual resources that come from God alone. Whenever Israel turned to a pagan nation for help, they ended up in worse trouble.
Jerusalem was indeed the Holy City, set apart by God, and His sanctuary was there, but these things were no guarantee of victory (Jer. 7:1-8). The king and the people needed to turn to the Lord in confession and faith, and He would hear and save them, and this is what they did……The Commander of the armies of the Lord is always with us (Josh. 5:13-15), for He is “Immanuel, God with us” (Matt. 1:23; Isa. 7:14; 8:8) No matter what the circumstances, we may drink at the river of His joy and blessing and find the peace and strength we need.
God Is Our God! He Will Be Glorified! (vv. 8-11). The third scene is on the fields surrounding Jerusalem where the Assyrian soldiers lay dead, their weapons and equipment scattered and broken. There had been no battle, but the angel of the Lord left this evidence behind to encourage the faith of the people……The Lord defeated and disarmed His enemies and destroyed their weapons, and they could attack no more.
“Be still” literally means “Take your hands off! Relax!” We like to be “hands-on” people and manage our own lives, but God is God, and we are but His servants. Because Hezekiah and his leaders allowed God to be God, He delivered them from their enemies……There is a time to obey God and act, but until then, we had better take our hands off and allow Him to work in His own time and His own way. If we seize His promises by faith with both hands, we won’t be able to meddle!
God allows us to get into “tight places” so our faith will grow and He will be exalted. (See 22:27; 64:9; 86:9 102:15)……People boast of the great things they have done and never give God credit for anything, not even the strength and breath He gives them freely. But that will change. “The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11).
I wish all of you a very blessed day.