Summary: Each of the 3 lyrical movements ends with “Selah” which means pause and mediate on His word.
Psalm 46 is a liturgical psalm for public praise and worship. It is widely recognized as “A Songs of Zion.” The introduction of the Psalm in the New English Translation says , “For the music director by the Korahites; according to the alamoth style.” in Hebrew it means “young women,” therefore most theologians believe that the psalm meant to be sung by women. It was addressed to the chief musician and the Korahites (the sons of Korah), who were descendants of Kohath, the son of Levi and the granddaughter of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. This Psalm also parallel to the book of Isaiah and 2 Kings.
Although there are many suggested writers of Psalms 46. The writer of this psalm is unknown. Bob Yandian, suggests that Hezekiah a godly man wrote the Psalm just after Jerusalem was besieged by the mighty Assyrian army. Some may think that Martin Luther wrote Psalms 46, but was only inspired to write hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”
Barnes comments: this psalm has been called Luther’s Psalm. It was that which he was accustomed to sing in trouble. Practically the friends of the Reformation were dispirited, disheartened, and sad, he was accustomed to say to his fellow-laborers, “Come let us sing the 46th Psalm,” Martin Luther himself comments; “we sing this psalm to the praise of God, because God and his church, his word, against all fanatical spirits, against the gates of hell, against the implacable hatred of the devil, and again all the assaults of the world, the flesh and sin.” Perhaps, David is the author of Psalm 46; however, David is only credit for 77 out of 150 Psalms. Therefore Psalms 46 is not ascribed to King David but to “the Son of Korah” and there are no indications in the psalm that David was the author, or as it refers to his time.
There are 3 lyrical movements in this Psalm we want to observe; firstly, it is a praise of confidence in a sovereign protector verses 1-3, secondly, it is a praise of confidence in a covenant promise verses 4-7, and thirdly, it is a praise of confidence in a divine providence verses 8-11. Psalm 103:19 reads, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and his sovereignty rules over all. Let’s observe in verse 1, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Now the Hebrew word for “present” is “matas” meaning to be found or to be in the possession of or to be enough or sufficient . For three thousand years Jerusalem has had a special place in the hearts and lives of those who worship the God of Israel. However, Sennacherib’s attack upon Jerusalem was catastrophic to all Jewish worshipers.
Now notice in verse 1 of this psalm, he is “present” for refuge, strength, and help. Therefore His help is sufficient in times of trouble. We also recognize the parallel in Deuteronomy 4:7, which speak of the hope and trust in God. “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him.” This is important in context because God controls and rule all things; therefore he has the power over demons, nature, history, and angles.” Chip Ingram suggests, “There is absolutely nothing that happens in the universe that is outside of God’s influence and authority. As King of kings and Lord of lords, God has no limitations.” Verses 1-3 are loaded with figures of speech; we’re seeing attributes of personification which means to attribute personal or human characteristics to non-personal thing. Verse 3, inspires praise; “though the earth change, though the mountain slips into the heart of the sea, though the water roam and foam, though the mountain quake at its swelling pride.” Now notice a very interesting word “though” is mentioned 4 times in verses 1-3, “though” in the Hebrew translation is “hen” a primitive particle meaning “lo,” “behold”,” if”, or “hypothetical” as to say, what if the earth changes? Or the mountain slips into the heart of the sea? Or the water roam and foam and the mountain quake at its swelling pride? Let us notice the implication here in verse 2, “therefore we will not fear”; why because God is our refuge, our strength, our help in times of trouble. Psalm 18 verse 2 says, “The Lord is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer. My God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Just as a great ship sails on the sea, and while traveling face grave danger. Don’t worry there is a harbor in view where the ships can cast their anchors and take shelter until the storms cease.