Summary: This psalm encourages us to hope and trust in God, and His power, and providence, and gracious presence with his church in the worst of times, and directs us to give him the glory of what he has done for us and what he will do.
DIVINE RESOURCES FOR LIFE’S DIFFICULTIES
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 46:2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; 46:3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. 46:4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 46:5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help
her, and that right early. 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. 46:9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
It is not possible now to ascertain the occasion on which the psalm was written. It was evidently in view of trouble, or of some impending calamity; apparently some national calamity, or some time when the nation was in danger, and when it was felt that their only refuge — their last hope — was in God. It would seem to be not improbable that the psalm was composed when wars were ragtag abroad in the earth; when the nations were convulsed; and when Jerusalem itself was besieged and threatened with
ruin. The main thought of the psalm — the central idea in it — is, that, amidst these general and far-spreading agitations and convulsions among the nations of the earth, the people of God were safe. They had nothing to fear, even though those convulsions and agitations should be multiplied and increased; even though they should be carried so far that the very foundations of the earth should be shaken, and the mountains removed and carried into the midst of the sea. There was to them an Infinite Protector;
there were unfailing sources of peace; they had nothing to dread. It was their duty, therefore, to be calm, still, confiding, for God would be exalted among the nations of the earth. Barnes’ Notes
On October 31, 1517, Dr. Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses on the door of the church at Wittenburg, Germany. The result was what historians call the Reformation, an attempt to bring the truth of salvation by faith back to the hearts of the people. Out of the Reformation came a return not only to Biblical doctrine, but also to the singing of hymns in the churches. Martin Luther was an accomplished musician himself and used music to express his faith and teach his people. “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” is the one song more than any other we associate with this great man and his work. Warren W. Wiersbe
This psalm has been called Luther’s Psalm. It was that which he was accustomed to sing in trouble. When the times were dark; when the enemies of truth appeared to triumph; when disaster seemed to come over the cause in which he was engaged, and the friends of the Reformation were disspirited, disheartened, and sad, he was accustomed to say to his fellow-laborers, “Come, let us sing the 46th Psalm.” Barnes’ Notes
This psalm encourages us to hope and trust in God, and His power, and providence, and gracious presence with his church in the worst of times, and directs us to give him the glory of what he has done for us and what he will do: Matthew Henry
I. WE NEED NOT FEAR; WE HAVE A REFUGE
A. In the Person of God:
1. There is a place of refuge.
a. God is for us as a place to which we may flee for safety; a source of strength to us in danger. The first word, “refuge,” from a verb meaning to “flee,” and then “to flee to”— or to take shelter in — denotes a place to which one would flee in time of danger — as a lofty wall; a high tower; a fort; a fortress. Barnes’ Notes
b. Literally, “a place of trust” JFB
2. Scriptures of significance.
a. Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.”
This type is used to describe the rest, peace and safety of the child of God who, in the midst of the storms of life, flies to the secret place of prayer and there leans upon the breast of his loving Lord. A Dictionary of Bible Types