Summary: Christians may be calm when the world is in chaos.
Title: Being Calm in Calamity
Text: Psalm 46
The Big Idea: Christians may be calm when the world is in chaos.
Project Masada 1
Masada is the name of ancient fortifications in the Southern District of Israel on top of an isolated rock plateau. Masada is on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert and overlooks the Dead Sea.
Project Masada 2
Masada means fortress. It was a place of “many towers, and the fortress included storehouses, barracks, an armory, the palace, cisterns, and fortified gates,” built for Herod the Great as a refuge for himself in the event of a revolt.
Historians say that a group of Jewish zealots who resisted Roman rule took the fortress from Romans soldiers who were guarding the site as an act of rebellion against the Roman Empire. After months of laying siege, which included the building of an elaborate ramp against the western face of the plateau, the Romans were able to breach the wall with a battering ram.
Masada, like any other archeological site, is hardly a shadow of its former glory. The once proud and impenetrable fortress with its palace and roman bath is little more than rubble on a mountain-top. God, on the other hand has not been diminished by the passing of time. God does not change.
1. The one thing in our lives that does not change is God… God remains consistently God.
God speaking through the Prophet Malachi made as definitive statement as can be made when he said, “I am the Lord, and I do not change.” Malachi 3:6
In the Old Testament story of Balaam’s prophecy to King Balak he said, “God is not a man that he should lie. He is not a human, that he should change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19
James wrote of God and his goodness, “Every good and perfect gift comes to us from God above, in whom there is no variableness or shadow of change.” One translator puts it, “God never changes or casts shifting shadows.” James 1:17
God remains consistently God despite the shifting of sand and the passing of time… though Masada lies in ruins, but God remains our refuge and strength.
• God is our refuge and strength
“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Our text describes God as our refuge in verse 1, and our fortress in verses 7 and 11. The imagery evoked is that of God as a high, defensible and safe place or sanctuary. A sanctuary is a sacred place of worship but it is also understood to be a place of refuge and protection.
In the Old Testament there were cities of refuge. “There were six cities in the land of Israel where a person could flee for asylum and be safe until trial.” A city of refuge served to break the cycle of violence that goes along with tit for tat / eye for an eye systems of revenge. (Longing for God, Glandion Carney and William Long, IVP, P 133ff)
In recent news here in the Denver Metro area we have been following the story about a rear end accident following a Nuggets game in which a stopped car on I-25 was rear-ended resulting in the deaths of two teenagers riding in the struck car. The details of the accident are only now coming to light and cast a different slant on the circumstances of the accident. But at the time of the accident the driver of the car that was struck, beat the other driver to death at the scene of the accident.
That is the reason cities of refuge existed… not to thwart justice but to give sanctuary to and protect a person until justice could be served.
Our text says that God is our fortress or refuge or sanctuary or city of refuge to whom we flee in times of trouble.
• God is our “on site” help… God is here among us.
“The Lord Almighty is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.” 46:7 and 11
We are familiar with a somewhat new industry that caters to a certain niche in society… they are called safe rooms or panic rooms. They are designed by architects and built into the homes of wealthy or high profile people who want a secure place of refuge in the event of an intrusion, attempted robbery, kidnapping, or terrorist attack.
The most important thing about a safe room is that it readily accessible. The most important thing is that it be there, on site. It is best if you can access the room immediately and without the intruder seeing you.