Summary: When the world is falling apart, and God’s judgments begin to fall, God is our refuge, our very present help in time of need. Whom, or what, shall we fear?
God is Our Refuge
By Pastor Jim May
This 46th Psalm is a song of encouragement and a song of praise unto the Lord for his ever present help to Israel in her times of distress. After the messages last Sunday morning, and the one this morning, I felt that it would be good to hear some words of encouragement.
Psalms 46:1 begins with some instructions, "To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth." What does all of this mean?
The Chief Musician was the presentor , or director of the Levitical choir and orchestra in the temple. This title is mentioned in the opening lines of 55 of the Psalms and in Habakkuk 3:19 where he is called the “chief singer”. The first Chief Musician was a man by the name of Jeduthun and the office of this worship leader appears to have been passed from one generation to the next through the same family.
Since it is also meant for the sons of Korah, perhaps we need to know who these men were.
Korah was a Levite, the son of Izhar, who was the brother of Amram. If you remember, Amram and Jochebed were the Hebrew parents of both Moses and Aaron. The institution of the Aaronic priesthood and the Levitical service at Mt. Sinai was a great religious revolution.
The old order of the priesthood that consisted of the heads of families was abolished by God’s new order. Of course the removal of some of the old priests from office wasn’t accepted too easily by some of them and it gave rise to murmurings and discontent.
While the Israelites were encamped at Kadesh for the first time all of this discontent among the old order of preists came to a head in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, and the rebellion was headed by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.
Two hundred and fifty princes, "men of renown" , men who were well-known from among the other tribes, joined the conspiracy and they all demanded of Moses and Aaron that the old state of things should be restored. They claimed "they took too much upon themselves to assume that God had only called them to be the heads of Israel."
On the morning after the outbreak, Korah and his associates presented themselves at the door of the tabernacle, and "took every man his censer, and put fire in them, and laid incense thereon." But immediately "fire from the Lord" burst forth from the altar and destroyed them all.
Dathan and Abiram "came out and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children," and as they stood there in objection to what God had done to Korah and his false priests, an earthquake struck, the ground opened up and everyone of them went down live into the pit of hell.
God sent a plague began among the people who sympathized in the rebellion, and it was only stopped when Aaron stepped between the living and the dead, and made "an atonement offering for the people".
The descendants of the sons of Korah who did not participate in the rebellion afterwards rose to be accepted into the Levitical service of the tabernacle and then into the Temple, and thus it was to this order of priests that the Chief Musician was to present the 46th Psalm.
The instructions for this Psalm was that it was to be presented upon Alamoth. This was a musical term that meant that the Psalm was to be sung by the female voices of the choir only and sung only in soprano.
I just thought you might find those facts interesting. You can find all kinds of little jewels of information in every Word of the Bible if you are willing to look for them.
Psalms 46:1-3 continues by saying, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah."
What this word “Selah” means is questionable. Some believe that it just means that there is to be a silent pause in the music. Others say that it signals a louder string of music, or the addition of other instruments into the music. In any case it appear only as some sort of division in the way that the Psalm is sung or played in the temple. It appears about 74 times in the Bible and mostly in the Psalms.
The important thing is to look at the lyrics and see what they are saying about God.
As in all forms of worship, in all styles of music, the thing to look for is what do they say about God and who is being lifted up. Do the lyrics lift up Jesus or man? Do they praise God, lift up the name of Jesus, or give credit to the power of the Holy Spirit, or do they lift up the ego of the singer, making him or her look praiseworthy? If you examine the lyrics of the song you will discover whether it is truly a worship song or not, and if you can’t hear, understand or learn the lyrics, how do you know what you are singing and who you are singing to? Too much of the music found in our churches are not what I would call Godly. They only show off the talents of the song writer, singer or musicians, but they don’t really lift up Jesus.