Summary: Knowing who God is lessens the grip of fear as you walk through difficult circumstances. This message is also a wonderful affirmation of the person of our Holy God.
Black Bart was a professional thief whose name struck fear as he terrorized the Wells Fargo stage line. From San Francisco to New York, his name became synonymous with the danger of the frontier. Between 1875 and 1883, he robbed 29 different stagecoach crews. Amazingly, Black Bart did it all without firing a shot. Because he wore a hood, no victim ever saw his face. He never took a hostage and was never trailed by a sheriff. Instead, Black Bart would later say from prison he did not need to fire a shot; all he had to do was to use fear to paralyze his victims. “Fear, the face of the unknown, was my weapon of choice, my weapon of intimidation.” One of Satan’s greatest weapons is fear.
According to most studies, people's number one fear is public speaking; number two is death. “This means,” Jerry Seinfeld once commented, “to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you are better off in the casket than doing the eulogy!"
Psalm 46 was composed in response to a terrifying event in the life of Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 20 says he was a good king, a godly king. One day, his troops saw the dust clouds of three mighty armies marching toward Judah. The Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites, had made a treaty to attack and plunder their nation.
Jehoshaphat was understandably afraid. His tiny, ill-equipped army could no way defeat such a force of strength; so, he prayed, pouring his heart out to God. In response, God sent the prophet Jahaziel with a message. Listen, King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says to you; “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but the Lord’s.”
Upon hearing this, Jehoshaphat led the people in a worship service. The next day, he and his army went out to meet their enemy with the choir leading the way still singing God’s praises. As they crested the hill and looked down on the enemy camp, all they saw were dead bodies. In the night, God had confused the enemy soldiers so much they had attacked each other and not one warrior in that vast army had remained alive. This inspired Jehoshaphat’s music minister to write the 46th Psalm. SCRIPTURE
God says, in verse 10, when fear raises its ugly head, you and I must: Be still. As the armies of all those “ites” came his way, Jehoshaphat heard God say, “Relax; lay down your arms. Put the army at the end of the column with the choir singing my praises in the front because the battle is not yours to fight; it is mine.” Be still and know that I am God. Verse one reveals three things we can know about our God which causes fear to be less. He is…
God is our refuge. We are granted access to the love, care, and concern of the Holy God. The word refuge appears three times in Psalm 46: in verse 1, 7, and 11. Its meaning is “a place of shelter.” God is our shelter in the midst of the storm, much like an umbrella shelters us from the rain. This does not mean God removes us from the storms of life any more than an umbrella causes the rain to stop; rather he shelters us while we are in its midst.
Not everyone, though, receives this shelter. The Hebrew verb “to seek refuge” implies placing one’s trust in the source of shelter in order to receive its benefits. We have access to our shelter through Jesus Christ. Jesus declared, I am the way the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.
God knew of the need for deliverance from the “ites” and allowed access to His salvation. In the same manner, God knew of your need for deliverance from the penalty, power, and presence of sin in your life so He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life. You have a direct, unhindered access to the Holy God as you place your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.
Child of God, if you feel oppressed, weary, or afraid; if you are grieving, anxious, disappointed, lonely, or heartbroken, then hear Psalm 9:9. The Lord will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.
Jehoshaphat accessed the shelter of God as he prayed. All you need to enter this refuge is to ask. Psalm 62:8 says, Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Fear is less when you are sheltered within the presence of God. Are you needing the shelter of God? First, come to faith in Christ as your Savior. Second, seek Him with all of your heart.