Psalm 46
For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
1      God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2     Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3     though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.         Selah
4     There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5     God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6     Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7     The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.      Selah
8     Come and see the works of the Lord,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9     He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
he burns the shields with 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 Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.      Selah

Verses 1-6: The Lord is Our Defense
·         Confession (verse 1)
o   Look at the power of this confession: “God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble.”
§  “refuge”
·         Literally, taking shelter from a rainstorm or protection from any danger in a high place (like a mountain).
·         There are also indications that this word implies being overshadowed by a great power for protection.[1]
§  “strength”:
·         When used of God (as it is here), it is a petition for the Lord to show his strength since he is already inherently strong.[2]  He’s not strong because we acknowledge it; He is strong and we are asking for this strength to be imparted to us.
o   Echoed for us in the NT, God is always with us—even in trouble.  We are told by God in Hebrews 13:5 (which is a quotation of Deuteronomy 31:6) “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”[3]
·         Theophany (verses 2-6)
o   A theophany is a compound word from the Greek words for “God” (theos) and the Greek verb “to appear” (phano).  A theophany is a “manifestation of God in temporary forms perceptible to external senses.” [4]
o   This is
a theophany because in Hebrew thought, God caused all these calamities to happen.  When the planet seems to be going crazy, they took it as a sign that God was supernaturally entering into history.  This is also part of the significance of all the weather and geological upheavals when Jesus was on the cross and died.
o   Verse 6 is the culmination of this thought: when things appear at their worst, God “arrives” and once again does something truly magnificent.
Verses 7-11: The Lord is Our Peace
·         Confession (verse 7)
o   Look at this peacefulness:
§  “The Lord…is with us”
§  He is “our fortress”
o   They knew whose side they were on and could be confident and have peace in the middle of turmoil.
o   Do you know whose side you’re on?  Is your witness clear to others around you?
·         Prophetic Oracle (verses 8-10)
o   The tone changes from the prose of a song to the prose of prophecy.  The song of confidence, celebrating God’s presence in Zion, is the reason for the prophetic exhortations.[5]
o   The Psalmist says in verse 8 “come and see”.  Look at what God is capable of doing.  He causes wars to cease—He is alone capable of bringing real and lasting peace.
o   This, however, will not happen until Christ returns and establishes His “Messianic Kingdom”.
·         Confession (verse 11)
o   The repetition of verse 7.  Repetition wasn’t a Jewish poet’s way of filling a space. 
o   Why did he repeat himself?  (emphasis—just in case you didn’t get it the first time!)
o   Indeed, this is something to “hang your hat on”:  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
o   The “Selah”s in the Psalms are notation markings but it also serves as a powerful reminder to STOP and THINK about what you just said/sang (we do the same thing with instrumentals today).
o   Here is that verse again.  This time, we will “selah”—think deeply—about it.  Say verse 11 with me out loud:  The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

[1] R. Laird Harris, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, electronic ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 307–308.
[2] Ibid, 659.
[3] Hebrews 13:5, NIV.
[4] Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale reference library (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 1251.
[5] Willem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms” In , in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 5: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), 353.