Summary: A sermon to remind us that in these times of natural disaster and world turmoil - God is Our Refuge
God is Our Refuge
I. The World is in Turmoil
II. God is in Control
III. Our Hearts Can be at Peace
It seems that every time these day that we turn on the news, we see tragedy. Florida has been pounded by two hurricanes in as little as three weeks and there is the possibility that yet another one is heading for our shores. Out west wildfires are burning thousands of acres of land. In Russia terrorists are holding children as hostages. And in all of these events there has been senseless loss of life.
But what about the tragic events in our own back yards. Unusually cold summer putting the crops behind schedule. More rain than we would have liked and so the cost of drying the crops will be costly. An early frost, severe weather, damaging winds that have destroyed the crops and all of these things happening just weeks apart.
All these images whether they are in Russia or Florida, or if they are in Minnesota, are still fresh in our minds, and they bring with them a sick feeling in our stomachs. This morning Brother & Sisters no matter what is going on in the world or our own back yards, God has a simple message for us during these turbulent times. God, in his Holy Word, reminds us of something we can hang onto when tragedy rears its ugly head. Here in the verses of Psalm 46, speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the Psalm writer declares for all to hear: God is Our Refuge. In these verses, the writer points out three key truths which are especially applicable for our lives.
The World is in Turmoil
God is in Control
Therefore, Our Hearts Can be at Peace
First, our world is in turmoil. In the opening verses in this psalm the writer draws a contrast between the stability which God offers us and the instability which characterizes the world around us. The psalmist writes, "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". Listen to those words again as you think of the people in Florida having to leave their homes and seek shelter elsewhere: "though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea." My friends, three weeks ago with hurricane Charlie and again last week with hurricane Francis, millions of people experienced exactly what that psalmist is referring to. The things that we stand on, the things that we trust in, are not completely stable. But God is. We can put all our weight on God. We can rely on God-because God says, "I the Lord your God do not change." (Malachi 3:6). God is still our solid foundation even when the physical world is caving in all around us.
That’s one kind of turmoil we face. The turmoil created by nature, earthquakes, hurricanes, and the like. But the Psalmist goes on to speak of a 2nd kind of turmoil in our world. He says, "Nations are in uproar" and "kingdoms fall." Here the psalmist is speaking about the turmoil that exists among nations. Even our nation is in turmoil as we fight the war against terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq. There’s a lot of turmoil going on in many different nations of the world. Our country is remembering the 3rd anniversary of 9/11, still, it’s just one act of aggression among many, many wars going on around the world. The psalmist had it right. Nations are in an uproar.
But if you think about it, none of this should come as a surprise to us, should it? Jesus himself described the signs that would precede his second coming. Jesus told his disciples, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." (Matt. 24:6,7)
Make no mistake about it. Until the day when Jesus returns in all his glory, there will continue to be animosity, aggression and atrocities of every kind, committed by man against man. All of which only further bears out three Biblical truths: #1: All mankind by nature is morally corrupt. #2. When human beings reject the true God and ignore their conscience that God has given them, they are capable of committing unthinkable crimes. #3 We are not in heaven yet. Life in this sinful world is not paradise, as some would have us believe. Rather, it is what Luther called it, "a vale of tears", a place where the Satan has a great deal of influence in people’s hearts and lives.