Summary: How to deal with life when bad things happen
God is Our Refuge and Strength Against the Elements of Nature Itself.
A. Every day we hear of floods, droughts, volcanos, earthquakes, etc.
1. Thousands are killed by these disasters.
2. Many times there is little or no warning. Man can do nothing, not even hide!
3. Many ask, "Where is God in all of this?"
B. God is in control of the elements of nature.
1. He dried up a path through the Red Sea and Israel walked on dry ground.
He drowned an entire Egyptian army in the exact spot!
2. Jesus calmed a sea that threatened His disciples.
3. Mountains shook and rocks split at His death!
What can we say about the threat of nature when all our efforts fail us?"
"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;"
Some may depend on their bank accounts, their jobs, their families, their relationships. But our God is a far better refuge than any of those. It is not that relationship we’ve invested so much time in that is our refuge and strength. It is not a job or a house that is our ever present help in time of trouble. It is not the economy that gives us our strength. It is not the age, appearance, condition or health of our bodies which provides us help. It is God Who provides us with a place to run, a place to hide. Deuteronomy 33:27 contains this awesome, encouraging truth: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
The reality of disasters
There are times when everything in the world gets turned upside down verse two says, there are times the earth is moved.. Sometimes the waters roar and the mountains shake (v.3). It seems as everything is against us and out to destroy us.
No one is exempt from these realities! Whether it is a national tragedy that involves millions or a lone person sobbing in a hospital waiting room after learning their loved one has died in the night, tragedy in life is a reality.
Matthew 5:45 says that God sends rain on the just and the unjust.
We live in a fallen world
Our Response to Bad Things
We cannot control the things that happen to us, but we can control how we respond to those things
he truth is that God often uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It was the broken Jesus who gave us life. And it is broken families, cities, and nations who will rally and become stronger. Just like a broken bone is stronger after it heals. God promises, as we heard in our reading, that He will make all things work out for the good of those who love Him. Don’t forget that when you find yourself in the midst of a calamity. First, be sure that you are one of those who has put their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior. That relationship is our sure foundation when the earth is shaken.
When the earth moves we can stand firm. Charles Wesley wrote in a hymn:
How happy then are we,
Who build, O Lord, on thee!
What can our foundation shock?
Though the shattered earth remove,
Stands our city on a rock,
On the rock of heavenly love.”
At times our foundations are shaken. It seems like everything is coming apart and beneath us. But those who put their faith in God will not be swallowed up by such events. We have a firm foundation in God!
When the waters roar and the mountains shake we can stand firm. As Charles Spurgeon wrote: “Faith rests on a firmer basis, and is not to be moved by swelling seas. Evil may ferment, wrath may boil, and pride may foam, but the brave heart of holy confidence trembles not.” Even when everything seems to be against us, Christians can remain at peace. This doesn’t mean we will never go through storms for we do. It means Christ is with us in the storm and he brings peace in the midst of that storm.
II. The Comfort of Our God (vv.1,8b-9,10,11)
A. He Is a Powerful God (v.1)
We find comfort in a powerful God. The Hebrew word for God is Elohim, the God above all so-called gods. Whenever the word Elohim is used in the Bible it is in the plural. This doesn’t mean God is many Gods. He is one God who comes to us in a fullness that is beyond imagination. Most of the time Elohim is translated LORD. The is the God who is truly God. All others are pitiful imitators.