Summary: The measure of our faith may be known in our abilty to be still

Do you have trouble being still? We commonly associate trouble keeping still with children. Many of us remember the methods or means that our parents and for some reason particularly our moms would use to keep us still in church. My mom had the secret pinch. It looked like she was just moving up beside me with her arms crossed when in actuality she had used her thumb and finger to hold just a small part of the back of my arm… and she would look at me and smile and if I remained a distraction she applied pressure… until I stopped. Some of you have told me of the secret laser eyes that your mother had, how she could stare you down from across the sanctuary, even from the choir and burn a hole in your stomach, or at least it felt that way.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not of the persuasion that the church ought to be solemn and quiet and still all the time. In fact, I am excited that our worship has seemed to become more invigorated. I am glad to see people clapping with the music or raising their hands or in any way legitimately expressing that emotion so that action or emotion and really everything is focused on God and we are not being distractive. No, I am not really concerned that we may not be still before God at church. I am really concerned that we are never still before God… at all. I am concerned that we may never find time to be quiet, to stop striving, to just be still and quiet before God. That is one reason I am so encouraged by our new Sunday School Curriculum and the family Bible study involved and devotion.

I am also glad that our texts this week is such a poetic and powerful call to do just that, to be still before our God. Psalm 46 is a song of celebration and meditation. It is written for worship and praise. It is poetry and uses all of the rich poetic devices available in poetry. And in the Psalter, the entire book of the psalms, its place is to commemorate the righteous rule and kingdom of David and the strength of the nation when their trust was in God. Even so, even in the best of times in Israel still has enemies and bad things still happen and so it is very important for them to remember the source of their strength, their stability, and their serenity is not their prosperity or their land or their weaponry or really any part of their temporal situation. The psalm celebrates God and calls the people to return to God in whom they trust.

For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. [1] A song.

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields [2] with fire.

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

The psalmist begins with a foundational claim. God is our refuge and God is our Strength, a very present help in trouble. This is the given in the equation. And with that there is a call to question. Do you really believe that God is your refuge? Do you really believe that God is your strength… a very present help in trouble? You can reject this foundational claim, but if you embrace it, then some reasonable things will follow.

Because if God is your refuge and not the mountains that would provide you refuge in the time of war, or when you needed a secure place, if God is your refuge and your strength and not the earth or even the mountains, when the mountains tremble… when the thing that seemed the most secure is suddenly insecure... and carried to the depths of the sea, then you are not overwhelmed when the false security has proved to be just that.

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