Summary: As the dust settles and the fires subside in New York, how do we face this calamity? How do we face any the great calamities of life? Psalm 46 offers us God’s answer.
WHEN BROUGHT LOW – LOOK UP (PSALM 46)
On the first day of the invasion of Normandy, 1500 American soldiers were killed. At Pearl Harbor, 2500 Americans were killed. At Antiteham or Sharpsburg, 4700 Americans were killed during the Battle of Bloody Angle. Throughout American history, the Battle of Bloody Angle stood as the single deadliest day in American history. But on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, a tragedy and an act of aggression was carried out on American soil that took more lives than Pearl Harbor and D-Day combined and more lives that the Battle of Bloody Angle. It was undoubtedly the darkest day in our history.
As the dust settles and the fires subside in New York, how do we face this calamity? How do we face any the great calamities of life? Psalm 46 offers us God’s answer. When Martin Luther read Psalm 46 he wrote, “We sing this Psalm to the praise of God, because God is with us, and powerfully and miraculously preserves and defends his church and his word, against all fanatical spirits, against the gates of hell, against the implacable hatred of the devil, and against all the assaults of the world, the flesh and sin..” Consider what Psalm 46 teaches us about facing hard times and healing deep wounds.
I. The Calamities of Life (vv.2-3)
A. The Reality of Calamities
Calamities are a reality to all of us. There are times when everything in our world gets turned upside down. As verse two says, there are times the earth is moved. There are times that all our plans and preconceived notions are abruptly changed. 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.
B. Our Reaction to Calamities
Since we all face calamities in life the more important question is, “How do we react to them?” It is important at this point to remind ourselves that even in such hard times, God always has a plan in the midst of them! Romans 8:28-29 promises us that God is in control even when we can’t see it.
The 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.